The single most important step you need to take when getting a new puppy. Why? It teaches your dog to be obedient, to not pee in the house, and obey commands. Now that we know it is important, lets dive into crate training.
Five Easy Crate Training Tips
Step 1) Choose the right crate. You don’t want the crate to be too small, causing your dog to be uncomfortable, but if it is too big your dog will section off one corner of the crate to relieve himself in which defeats the purpose. The crate should be big enough for your dog to stand up and turn completely around in, with a few extra inches of space surrounding him.
Step 2) Prepare the crate before introducing it to your dog. Place a blanket and food/water bowl in it. It may be helpful to buy the food/water dishes that attach to the side of the crate to prevent messy spills, but this is not necessary.
Step 3) Introduce your dog to his new crate, but do not force him to go in it yet. Just place it a room the family spends a lot of time in (with the door propped open.) Most dogs’ natural curiosity will intrigue them to go in and explore their new crate. If after a few hours your dog still hasn’t investigated the crate, then place some treats or his favorite toy in it to encourage him to go check it out. Leave the crate open and voluntary until the dogs seems to be warming up to it. For at least 2 days before you lock him up, feed him his meals in the crate (without shutting the door). Your dog will begin to associate his crate with food and for most dogs, feeding time is happy time.
Step 4) Put your dog in the crate. For the first week or two, he will need to be taken outside every hour or two. This is especially important for puppies, because they are not physically capable of holding it. Older dogs can physically hold it, but have not learned yet that they will be expected to. After the first week or so, you can begin to let your dog out on a schedule or learn his natural schedule, and can let him out only at times you know he normally has to go. Most dogs need to be let out 4 to 6 times a day.
Step 5) Reward your dog. Praise is key in house training your dog. Every time he uses the bathroom in the desired area, give him either a treat, praise, or a combination of both. If your dog goes outside, and you are sure he is emptied out, then reward him with two to three hours of time outside of his crate. Only allow him freedom in the house if you take him outside first. Accidents still might occur, but don’t punish your dog for them. He is still learning. Just clean him up, and try to pay attention to the times he typically needs to use the bathroom.
Extra Crate Training Tips
Extra Tips: Feeding your dog the same amount of food and at the same times everyday will help you learn your dogs bathroom needs better. For example, a lot of dogs will need to go out a half hour after they eat.
Only feed your dog in his crate. Associating it with food is a good thing.
Dogs have a natural instinct to seek dens for shelter. You want your dog to feel as of his crate is a den for him to seek shelter, safety, a place to rest and eat. Do not lock him up as punishment or he will begin to view his crate as a bad place and may even start to fear it.
Use the same phrase each time you put your dog in his crate, such as “home” “bed” or “create”. This will help your dog predict when he will be put in there and your dog eventually will go in there on his own when commanded.
Also use the same phrase when letting your dog out of his crate such as “do you have to go to the bathroom?” or “outside”.
Do not let your dog out of his crate if he starts whining or barking. This will only teach him that this is all he has to do to be let out.
Dogs that are locked up in their crate too much run the risk of becoming depressed and unhealthy due to lack of exercise. Try not to lock your dog in his crate more than 10 hours a day total.
Your dog will not use the bathroom in his crate if given ample time to go outside, so if your dog has an accident in his crate you will need to let him out sooner next time. Remember not to punish him, just clean it up. With these simple tips, crate training is easy.