Toilet Training Your Puppy Or Dog
Crate training is a fantastic method of managing the safety and well being of young puppies. When used properly the crate is an invaluable tool for establishing good habits and also preventing behavioural problems.
Crate training is the best way to quickly teach your puppy to eliminate (go to the toilet) outside. The speed and success of the crate method far out weighs the traditional toilet training methods of ‘wee wee’ pads and newspapers, which only encourage your puppy to eliminate in the house.
What is a dog crate you may ask?
Well a crate basically comes in 2 styles durable plastic or wire mesh. Its purpose is to provide confinement for security, protection of household goods, safety during travel and to assist with toilet training.
Now some of you may think that putting your puppy in a crate is inhumane. Au contraire. By placing your puppy in a crate you are providing the security of its own space. Somewhere they can sleep, chill out and relax and thus satisfying the ‘den instinct’ which your puppy would have inherited from their den dwelling ancestors.
The concept behind crate training is that a dog naturally strives to avoid soiling the area where it eats and sleeps. By placing your dog in the crate, this instinct is enhanced. Your dog will come to see the crate as it’s den, and it will try to avoid soiling it.
When the puppy gets used to his crate, you can keep it in it gradually building up to about two hours at a time.
When choosing your crate choose a size appropriate to your dogs age at the time. The crate should not be too large or they may soil in the farthest corner from his sleeping spot. If the crate is big, put a small cardboard box in it. The crate should be just large enough for your puppy to turn around and lie down with comfort. The best location for the crate is usually the kitchen or utility room.
Soon after getting your puppy home, get them used to their crate. Put a nice treat or something they like to play with inside the door and have them go and fetch it. Say something, like “Bed” or “Kennel”. Praise them and give them a treat for going in. Repeat many times, so that going into the crate is associated with something pleasant. Then try closing the door, without locking it, as you continue to put a treat or toy inside first. Soon you will be able to lock the door for just a few seconds. Then open it, but don’t make a big fuss when they come out. Gradually extend the time until your dog is comfortable staying inside. Then you can put them in their crate for a couple of hours at a time, when you have to go out or just don’t want them underfoot. If they cries or whimper, don’t open the door until they stay quiet for a minute or two. Dogs are quick learners. Don’t teach them that by crying they can get their own way!
Your new puppy needs lots of rest. They can take several short naps each day in their new den. You can leave something comfortable like a blanket or towel, and a favourite toy inside to make it feel like home. When they wake up take them outside immediately. When you cannot watch the puppy, they should be confined either to their crate or a safe play area. Don’t lock them in their crate too often though.
After waking, after each meal, or drink, and several times during the night say something to the puppy like, “Toilet?” and take them out to the spot where you would like them to go. (Eventually, when you say the phrase, they will show you by running to the door that they needs to toilet.)
When outside, wait until they start going to the loo, then while they are in the process, say something like “Toilet” or “Be Clean” and give them lots of praise. It may take a while, but after some months they will have an irresistible urge to go to the loo whenever you say the command word. This can be very useful when you are on a trip with your dog and you make a pit stop on a rainy day.
Be ever watchful and take them out often for the first week. Wait with them each time you take them outside until you’re certain they really empty before you let them back in the house! This may take a long time for a new puppy, but the fewer accidents they have indoors, the quicker the housebreaking job will be.
You can’t lock your dog in a crate and just expect the whole concept to work – it won’t. You will need time and patience to introduce the crate to successfully ensure your dog sees it as its home and safe haven.
Put your pup in its crate at regular intervals during the day up to a maximum of 2 hours at one time. It’s a good idea for the crate to be your dog’s only bed.
Plan to use the crate until the puppy is ten or twelve months old, well past the chewing stage. You will not need to continue crating once your dog becomes an adult (and is trustworthy), but your dog will probably enjoy the continued use of the crate as its own den. If you decide not to keep the crate, slowly wean your dog off it.
Don’t crate only when you are leaving the house. Place the dog in a crate while you are at home as well.
By crating when you are at home AND while you are gone, your dog becomes comfortable in the crate and not worried that you will not return, or that you are leaving them alone. This helps to prevent separation anxiety later in life.
Although the crate is your dog’s safe haven, it must not be off-limits to humans. Acclimatise your dog from the outset to letting you reach inside at anytime.
Finally but most importantly: Never use the crate as punishment and never discipline your puppy while in the crate, it is their safe haven and should never be associated with any negative experience
The key to successful crate training for a puppy or an older dog, as with other forms of dog training, is to establish a good routine. This routine will enhance the ability of the dog to toilet in the right place. It is important to shower the dog with praise each and every time it eliminates in the established toilet area, and not to express frustration or anger when the dog makes a mistake.
Good luck with your conquest as long as you follow the above plan with consistency and patience and adopt a positive mental attitude (PMA) I’m sure you will achieve great results.