There is lots of information online about how to train a puppy, including housebreaking puppies. Experts agree that one sure way to successfully train a puppy is by crate training. There are right ways and wrong ways with regards to crate training puppies, and this article will focus on the proper techniques, while pointing out things to avoid to ensure crate training a puppy works.
Crate Training Puppies
It’s important to note that crate training puppies is easier than for adult dogs to be crate trained, but it’s not impossible. You’ll just need to be more encouraging, persuasive, and patient.
Crate training puppies is a wonderful way to housebreak a puppy, keep it safe and secure, and at the same time, protect your personal belongings, including furniture, from becoming Fido’s next chew toy. Consider the dog crate his personal bedroom, so you’ll want to decorate it and make it his personal space, so make it:
Cozy: Line it with a comfy blanket or comforter
Comfortable: Ensure the base is cushioned
Safe: Add a cushioned bumper (yes, like the ones which line a baby crib). This will provide more comfort and at the same time protect your little pooch from getting his paw caught, for example.
Relaxing: If you’ve made it comfy, then he’ll go there for a peaceful sleep.
Fun and Inviting: Don’t forget to put his chew toys in the dog crate. Toys will keep him busy and he’ll learn that these are things he is ALLOWED to chew on. An excellent way to keep him in the dog crate at first is to use a distraction toy stuffed with a treat. It would take him a few minutes to get it out and enjoy it, so he won’t be crying to get out. Consider using a “KONG” toy. Also, a bit of dog food in a safe dog bowl and a treat will serve to make him feel right at home (if you aren’t using the treat-stuffed distraction toy).
The Best Way to Get a Puppy into a Dog Crate
After you have turned the dog crate into your puppy’s den, you need to get him into it. This step-by-step guide will help:
- Use a command word.
- Choose your command word and refer to the dog crate by it at all times. Examples could be: crate or kennel, but you can be as creative as you like, but use a pleasant tone!
- With a treat in your hand, point to the interior of the dog crate.
- Reward your puppy with the treat once he enters the crate and give him lots of praise.
- Close the crate door and sit by it quietly for about 5 minutes.
- Leave the room so your puppy can’t see you, but only for a couple of minutes.
Why is Crate Training Effective?
Crate training for the purpose of house training is effective because dogs of all ages don’t like to “go” where they sleep. Of course, left free, your pooch will just go elsewhere in the home, to your dismay. So, safe in their manageable small space, they will learn to “hold it” much faster and strengthen their bladders and bowel muscles.
That said, it is important to understand that young puppies don’t have the discipline or a mature enough bladder to hold in their pee and/or poop for more than 3 or 4 hours at a time.
How are Dog Crates Useful?
- Using crate training puppies are more able to deal with a small space rather than a huge home, which can overwhelm them.
- Being realistic, you can’t keep a constant watch on your puppy 24/7 and a dog crate can be your sitter to give you a break and enough time to run a few errands.
- Crating your puppy when traveling is safer. Plus, as the world as he knows it quickly changes, he can feel more secure in his safe place.
- By nature, dogs and puppies protect their territory. A crate allows an insecure puppy to protect a smaller area, which can help it to relax easier.
What to Avoid When Crate Training Puppies
Punishment! Never force a puppy angrily into the crate. He will associate it with anger and punishment and will fear entering it.
Never leave your dog in the crate for long periods of time. He NEEDS interaction and exercise. A dog crated for too long will eventually display behavioral issues, like anxiety or depression, among others.
How Long is Too Long?
A puppy younger than 6 months should not be crated for more than 3 or 4 consecutive hours. For one thing, their bladders and bowel muscles are not mature enough, so they will end up having an accident.
Adult dogs newly introduced to crating should follow a similar schedule to that of a puppy at first, until they get used to the crate.