netpets logo
Crate Training Your Dog!

Lyn Richards

Crate Training and "Potty" Training

Remember that repetition is necessary. Your puppy will not understandwhat you want unless you repeatedly show him/her the desired behaviorMANY times.

Keep in mind also that your puppy does not know what is expected andmust be shown the proper place to eliminate, and when.

Your best potty training friend is your crate. When you cannot watchyour puppy, use a crate. Thinkof the crate the same way you think of a playpen for a human child.Even if you are only leaving the room for a "minute," either take thepuppy with you or use the crate. After all, you would not leave atoddler in the house alone "for just a minute" would you?

Crate training can be fun for the puppy if you make it a POSITIVEexperience. The DEN is an integral part of the wild dogs upbringingand safety zone. The same thing applies to the "crate". Giving the pupspecial "treats" is a great way to introduce him to his crate. Theonly time the puppy receives these special treats is when he is in thecrate; the treats become associated with the crate.

Use the crate wisely. Don't crate only when you are leaving the house.Place the puppy in the crate whileyou are home as well. Use it as a "safe" zone, or for "time outs".(thus keeping your sanity)

By crating when you are home AND while you are gone, the puppy becomescomfortable in the crate and not worried that you will not return, orthat you are leaving him/her alone. This helps to eliminate separationanxiety later in life.

Most puppies will not soil their "den." The first couple of tries youmight have some accidents, but don't be discouraged. An easy way toavoid accidents in the night for the first few weeks is by followingthis routine:

1. set your alarm for about 3 hrs after your normal bed time. When thealarm goes off, get up immediately, go to the crate and CARRY the pupoutside (I do this in my robe, with my shoes kept by the door to theoutside). Place him on the ground and encourage him to eliminate.PRAISE when he does, and bring him back to the crate. Go back to bed.

2. Set your alarm for another 3 hrs, and get back to sleep. When thealarm goes off repeat part 1.

3. After about a week of the above routine, IF it has been successful(no crate messing) then you can set the alarm for * way through yoursleep time. Follow the remainder of part 1. When you arise in themorning, TAKE the pup outside BEFORE you do anything else. Feed thepup and then crate. Follow your regular waking routine, then walk thepup one more time before going off to work.

4. Repeat the feeding, walking and crating at lunch time. Pups fromthe ages of 2 to 4 months CANNOT control their elimination for muchmore than 4 hours, so if you cannot return home at lunch time, arrangefor someone to do this for you at lunch.

If the CRATE is too large, the pup can easily soil on one side andsleep on the other. The way to prevent this is to buy a crate thatwill accommodate your pet when it is fully grown. Then get a box thatwill fit inside the back of the crate. The box should be large enoughthat there is only room for the puppy to stand and lie downcomfortably.

As the puppy grows, provide more room by putting in a smaller box, orcutting down the size. When the puppy reliably asks to be put outsideto eliminate, remove the box so the puppy can use the whole crate.

If the puppy messes the crate, replace the box size to the point atwhich the puppy was reliable, and just give the pup a little more timeto learn. In conjunction with crate training, potty training startsimmediately.

Whenever you remove the puppy from the crate or just want the puppy to"go potty," take the dog to the door that will always be used to "gooutside." Use the SAME door throughout the training period.

On the handle of this door, tie a bell to a string, dropping it evenwith the height of the puppy's nose. When you bring the puppy to thedoor, lure the puppy to touch the bell with either it's nose or paw,(using a treat) causing the bell to ring.

After the puppy rings the bell, give it the treat, (use a SMALL pieceof meat or dried liver) and say "OUTSIDE" in a happy tone of voice.Take the puppy outside on leash.

Reminder: During housebreaking DO NOT allow the pup outside toeliminate alone or loose in the yard. Yes, that means in the rain,snow, whatever: YOU GO OUTSIDE ALSO. Give the puppy plenty of time.Don't rush or you will be sorry. When the puppy urinates ordefecates, praise the puppy with "Good Outside" and again, give thepuppy a tiny, tiny treat.

Continue to wait. When the puppy poops, again praise the puppy with"Good Outside" and give a treat.Go back inside, stop at the door again, and treat once again. If thepuppy does not "potty" even after stayingoutside 15 minutes, return back inside, place the puppy back into thecrate, wait 15 minutes and start again from the beginning.

If done religiously, this training process should take only about 2weeks for the puppy to understand. This method will work with any dog,regardless of age. If you adopt a dog from a shelter or a rescueprogram, follow the same routine. Remember, even though the dog isolder or even an adult, he still does not know the rules of your home,and may not have ever BEEN in a house. Be PATIENT and this method WILLwork.

Take it slow and PATIENT....and have FUN with your dog!

Contact Lyn RichardsAbout Lyn Richards

Copyright© Lyn Richards
Obedience Train Your Dane!
Worldwide pager
3020 Brown Ave #10, Manchester, NH 03103
Member Association of Pet Dog Trainers, Inc.

Published with permission of the author.