Getting a puppy is one of the most fun and exciting things you a human can do. Most dog breeds are eager to develop close bonds with their owners and can be readily taught required behaviors.
Possibly the most important thing your pup will need to learn is to be house trained. You can let the puppy outside for toileting, or train the animal to use a puppy pad indoors if that is your preference.
One of the most effective methods for conditioning your dog either way is to utilize crate training. The term may sound worse than what it entails.
A crate for house training purposes is essentially just a dog kennel that confines a puppy’s indoor movements. With proper training, it’s a place that they can call their own and they’ll come and go as they please – without you even closing the door.
Secrets For Crate Training Success Infographic
Let’s get right to it! Here’s our secrets for crate training success infographic:
1. Choose The Right Crate
There are many styles to choose from depending on your dog’s size. According to Kit Darling of Texas A&M, the kennel should be large enough to enable the pup to move around and be seated comfortably or to lay down if desired. There should not be extra room for pacing or squatting in a corner.
Provide a comfortable bed but no food or water inside the kennel. Your dog should be let out of the crate frequently, and have access to food or water according to your breeders’ or veterinarians’ recommendations.
2. Stick To A Schedule
Dog training usually follows the path of putting your dog on a schedule. Activities include eating and drinking, toileting, playtime, naptime, and repeating the same order of activities in the afternoon if there is time.
Each breed and dog may require different lengths of time for these activities with the owner’s supervision. When a young puppy is first brought home, they should be crated more frequently but for shorter periods of time. Whenever the puppy is outside the kennel, the puppy should be supervised at all times to prevent a toileting accident.
It is important to keep in mind that puppy bladders cannot hold much liquid for long periods of time. They will need to be toileted every hour or two at first until they get used to their surroundings, their schedule, and their new kennel. They may have accidents in the kennel if left there too long. As they grow, puppies can wait longer between toileting breaks, especially when crated between daily activities.
3. Provide Support
While the puppy is crated, especially if at first you notice them whimpering or barking, talk to your pet in a soothing an reassuring tone. Try providing them with a chew toy, and consider staying within view at first until your new family pet gets used to the kennel and the schedule.
Be prompt and consistent about taking the puppy out for toileting breaks, and your pet will come to expect those opportunities like clockwork. At first, you will have to get up at night a few times to give your puppy a bathroom break, but soon the pet will be sleeping through the night. Just be sure to provide toileting breaks first thing in the morning and last thing at night before putting your pet into the kennel.
4. Let Them Feel At Home
Puppies often get excited and anxious in a new home environment. It may take both the puppy and the owner a few days to settle into a comfortable routine. Whining, chewing, and barking may occur, but these behaviors are temporary and will soon subside as your puppy learns to trust you and adapts to the new home and schedule.
Many dog experts, including Matthew Kearns, DVM, claim that puppies enjoy being crated – especially at night. This takes root in a hereditary mindset over thousands of years that taught dogs to seek shelter at night or while in an unfamiliar locale.
Over time, the goal is to have your puppy enter the crate voluntarily enter their crate as if it were their bedroom. Ideally, you’ll be able to leave the door open, and the crate will serve as a calm, safe place where your dog can get some rest
Your puppy will soon think of the kennel as its home, and as housebreaking continues, you can expand the kennel by moving the divider, or get a larger one.
5. Set Reasonable Expectations
With the crating method, many puppies can be housebroken within a week or two, depending on their age and the owner’s consistency in providing timely toilet breaks. However, puppies are excitable and may have accidents when other people or pets come around.
Placing the puppy in the kennel soon after eating or drinking the next time can help to review the training process. Resume structured toileting breaks until the puppy relearns the proper toileting technique.
6. Be Patient and Trust The Process
Housetraining your puppy is as challenging as looking after a toddler, except your puppy will grow much faster and soon be able to manage toileting functions with minimal owner oversight.
The crating method provides peace of mind for you as the pet’s owner and trainer to ensure that your puppy learns proper toileting activities in your home.
The puppy benefits from clear but gentle guidance with the help of the crate, or kennel, to learn in a safe and effective way how to manage an essential bodily function and behavioral need.
If you plan on getting a puppy, crating is a great way to make your pup feel secure and welcome in his or her new home.