Different strokes for different folks as they say but when it comes to house training puppies most folks opt for crate training. To the uninitiated, crate training is often dismissed as they think of the crate as a cage but nothing could be further from the truth. In the good old days, puppies were often given an old cardboard box and a blanket which became their house, home, personal area, bedroom and refuge. Nowadays, the crate has replaced the old box in the corner but it serves all the same purposes but with some considerable advantages.
Why Use a Crate
A crate is purpose-built to give a puppy a safe and clean environment in which to relax, eat and sleep. It is also a great device to potty train puppies. Dogs do not like to foul their homes and by getting used to doing its toilet away from home the puppy learns to control bowel and bladder movements until the correct time arrives. But how do you achieve this goal?
- First Steps. A new puppy with no potty training will do what comes naturally whenever she feels the need. This is natural, but not desirable for the owner. However, as the puppy will not want to soil its own living quarters she will call for help to leave her crate when the time comes to do her toilet. This will allow you to establish how often and when toilet time comes around.
- Establish a Routine. As with a new-born baby, don’t go running at every little yelp from the crate. The puppy will soon learn that she has to control herself or mess her own crate. Over time, the urge to go to the toilet will become less frequent and more regular. Of course, accidents will happen so it is a good idea to have a quality stain and odor remover such as the aptly named Wee Away at hand.
- Praise and Reward. This may be viewed as a form of bribery but it works! When the puppy does her business in the right place, then a small reward will encourage her to keep doing things right. It doesn’t always have to be food although most pups will seldom refuse. Praise and attention are always appreciated as well as an extended or bonus period of play. Puppies soon get to realize that when they do their toilet in the right place and at the right time there will be a little reward in it for them.
- Set Time Limits. The whole idea behind using a crate for potty training purposes is to teach the puppy self-control and to encourage her to only go to the toilet outdoors or in a specifically allocated area. This is not the easiest thing to do in the early days as a puppy will decide that she wants to go to the toilet whenever she feels like it. When taking the puppy to the toilet only allow her five to ten minutes to perform her duty. If nothing happens within this time, take her back to the crate and give her another thirty minutes or so to see if it makes a difference. When the puppy realizes that you are not at her beck and call, she will soon learn to do what she should and when she should.
A Crate is Not a Cage
Although they may look similar, a crate is not a cage and should not be used as one. A crate is a puppy’s living quarters but it is also a useful device for potty training. A puppy should only be confined to a crate to minimize damage she might cause if left free to wander the house. And even then, it should only be used while the owner or family are present and not as a prison while the dog is left unattended.
Over time, and perhaps even from day one, a puppy will come to love her “special place” in the house. A place where she can simply play or relax or take time out from us interfering humans. But remember, unlike humans, a puppy cannot clean her room and a crate needs regular attention to keep it clean and germ-free. Usually a wire-brush and hot soapy water will do the trick and a good deodorizer and stain remover such as the excellent Wee Away Original Formula is invaluable in any clean-up operation.
This article was written and provided by Joe of Best Dog Crates and Beds. Best Dog and Beds is a leading resource in dog training tips, advice, and dog product reviews. Follow them on Twitter @BDogCratesNBeds