Basically, crate training a dog is one of the easiest things you'll be doing.
A Papillon enjoying her new
dog training crate. How 'bout a crate party?
How Crate Training Works
Your puppy is in the crate at all times UNLESS she is eating, outdoors with you going potty, or being supervised in some form of indoor play.
You must be consistent or this won’t work. You can’t let your puppy wander off through the house unless you’re focusing your complete attention on her.
If you allow access to the house before she’s thoroughly house trained, you’re basically encouraging her to relieve herself INSIDE — and remember, each time she does this, it’ll be easier for her to do it again and again, in which case you get to start crate training all over!.
Crates are best located where there's traffic in the house: the kitchen or study or any area where people congregate.
Just because she is in a crate does not mean she can’t feel like she is part of the household. In fact, it important for her to hear the sounds of a working kitchen, smell the smells of the household and not feel isolated. She must never be isolated.
The dog’s crate should be a welcoming, inviting place for her to go. Put some thick blankets or towels in the crate along with several toys and a chew toy or two.
Puppy Toilet Facts that will come in handy:
NOTE This is likely to be pretty tough for the young puppy to be cooped up for 3 hours with a need to make wee wee and no way to do it.
Unless she is sleeping, she should be taken out every hour or two. (If she’s sleeping, she should be left to wake up naturally.)
Crate Training A Shelter Dog
If you adopt a dog from the ASPCA/SPCA or any Humane Society animal shelter or a rescue group, the chances are very good that you will end up with a mature dog that is already house trained. He may have a little baggage, but not always.
I have found shelter dogs to be the best all ’round adoptees you can find. They are almost always house trained so if you read the info above, you can see what a plus that is.
I bring the new dog in the house, take him in and out the side door a few times to the yard, and next thing I know, he’s sitting by the door when he wants to go out. End of house training and no need for crate training. We then move on to more pressing matters like “where’s my food bowl!?”
If I come across a shelter dog that is not house trained, he can still benefit from crate training, as long as it’s a small dog. For bigger dogs, I keep close eye on them and continue taking them to the yard every hour or two, always through the SAME door. It is surprising how quickly a mature dog will catch on as to what that door means.
The only problem I have ever had with mature dogs has not been a crate training issue, but rather a scent-marking issue. A male dog will come in the house and try to mark territory. We clean up with Natures Miracle, the only commercial product I know of that completely eliminates the odor so the dog can’t find his own spot again. Pet stores carry it.
I say nothing to the dog when he makes a mistake and just take him to the yard when I think he should be ready to potty and praise him heavily when he does it in the right place.
For potty training, dogs have an inherent dislike to pee or poop anywhere near their food, water and bedding. By putting the puppy inside a crate, you are restricting her movement and she is forced to “hold it in” until the crate door is opened and she is let out. This works as long as you don’t let her go too long.
When picking out a crate you have to be sure to get one large enough to hold the dog when she gets older as well as now so some research is needed. (Careful though, if you get a crate too big, a puppy can use one end to relieve herself and the other to sleep in.)
Most dogs LIKE crates, especially the plastic kind, because as “den” animals, they appreciate the seclusion and sense of security.
Crates don’t work for large dogs. You can’t pick them up when the puppy becomes an adult. Imagine a fully grown, 110 pound Rottweiler in a crate! Who’s going to carry that around?
With some dogs, by the time you buy a crate big enough for the puppy to grow into, it may be too big for the puppy. In this case, put some empty boxes in the back of the crate as “fillers” while she is very little. This way she can’t use the back end for an indoor potty.
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