Dogs by nature are denning animals, therefore den-like settings tend to have a calming effect. Crate training works both as a housetraining tool, as well as a means to teach your pup other house rules. Since dogs don’t like to go to the bathroom where they sleep, the act of crate training essentially teaches the dog how to hold it until he gets let outside.
Initially, it’s a good idea to leave the puppy in the crate for short periods of time, releasing him to do his business. This method has proven to be a very effective at teaching the puppy bladder control. The important thing to remember is that the crate should never be associated with punishment.
Never place your crate in a dark corner of the basement, try and keep it somewhere where the family spends a lot of time like the kitchen or the bedroom.
What Type Of Crate Do I Buy?: Now, when I say “crate,” I don’t literally mean a box. I’m talking about those molded plastic crates, usually known as “flight kennels” or collapsible, metal dog pens. You don’t want your crate to be too large or else your potty training efforts will be in vain. The crate should just big enough for him to stand up and turn around in.
The Crate Training Process:
Introductions: Line your crate with a soft towel or dog blanket and gently bring your pup over to the crate. Next you want to drop some small treats near the crate and some just inside the crate. If treats don’t work, his favorite toy might work instead. Gently encourage the pup to enter the crate, never forcing him. He should eventually go in on his own.
Feeding Time: Once your pup has gotten used to the crate, you can start feeding him near the crate. This sort of positive reinforcement will teach the puppy that the crate is not a bad place. Gradually start placing the food towards the back of the crate. Once you are able to get your dog to eat inside the crate, gently close the door. Initially, it’s best to watch your puppy and release the door as soon as he’s finished eating but as your dog acclimates to the crate you can start to leave the door closed for longer periods of time. If he starts whining, you’ll know that it’s time to come out.
Respect The Crate: Once meals are regularly being eaten in the crate, start to confine your pup in the crate for short periods of time while you’re home. Once in the crate, spend a few minutes around the crate – walking out of the room every so often. Once the puppy is able to remain in his crate for a half hour, you’ll know that he’s acclimating well to his new environment. The next logical step would be letting him sleep there through the night.
Home Alone: Once your pup is able to stay in the crate for short periods of time with you in the house, it’s time to start leaving him there when you leave the house for a short time. It’s a smart idea to crate him for a short time before you leave the house, just to get him used to it. Relaxed and low key exits and re-entrances are key, otherwise your dog will get over excited. As long as you’re crating your dog for short periods of time both while you’re at home and while you’re away, the dog won’t associate this shelter with being left alone.
Conclusion: By following some of these guidelines, you’re likely going to have a potty trained and very happy puppy on your hands. While the length of time it takes to effectively crate train a puppy varies based on your dog’s age, temperament and several other factors, you shouldn’t expect a noticeable change overnight. The process could take days or weeks. The key is patience and understanding.