Ahhh, My Favorite Place!
If you’ve been following along with our Puppy Training process, hopefully some of you are already seeing success. With a little luck, the timed visits outside have virtually eliminated accidents while the heavy praise is sending a positive message to your little one. A few puppies may even be totally housebroken already! For the rest of us, it’s time to take the next step and investigate some other options you may have not considered yet.
Many new owners wince at the idea of crate training, thinking it cruel and unfair. The truth is, almost any trainer or behaviorist you will speak to will agree that crate training is actually a great technique when done properly. It’s even sanctioned by The Human Society of the United States, The American Dog Trainers Network and the MSPCA.
How Does Crating Help with Housebreaking?
The crate works because dogs are naturally clean animals, and programmed deep onto puppy brains is the den mentality. Harkening back to their wolf ancestors it is against a puppy’s instinct to soil in his own den. As such, the puppy will instinctively demonstrate a higher level of bladder control while in the crate if he sees it as his special place. This will help eliminate accidents while the pup is left unsupervised, not to mention keep your puppy safe and happy.
- Size the Crate Properly: Your dog’s crate should be just large enough for him to stand up and turn around in. If your dog is still growing, choose a crate size that will accommodate his adult size. Block off the excess crate space so your dog can’t eliminate at one end and retreat to the other.
- Furnish the crate so it is comfortable: Place soft bed and blanket in the crate as well as a favorite toy. Many dogs enjoy having their crate covered to make it more den-like.
- Place it in a high traffic location like the kitchen: Place the crate in a location so the dog doesn’t feel isolated when in the crate.
- Slow and steady introduction: This step is the most important; there are some great introduction techniques at the links listed above. Just remember not to force it!
- The crate is NEVER to be a “puppy jail”: Using the crate as a punishment even ONE time can undo all your dogs happy feelings about it, so as tempted as you might be, never use the crate in anger.
- REMOVE YOUR DOGS COLLAR: Small pups can get hung up on the inside of the crate so ALWAYS remove the collar when in the crate.
Remember, if done correctly, your dog will LOVE their crate and see it as their special place to get away!