How to properly crate train your puppy
Properly using a crate can make house training a breeze. Before we go through the necessary steps to properly train your bully, we need to explain the importance of a crate.
A crate is a plastic kennel that you will use to house your dog during the puppy stages and times where your dog can not be supervised.
A crate can be a very comfortable enclosure for a dog, dogs are born with denning instincts. In the wild a dog/wolf would chose to live in a cave or enclosure type atmosphere.
The idea to a crate is to have a dog in an enclosure big enough to stand up and turn around in; yet, small enough that they could not use the bathroom and still be able to get away from it.
If you are starting with a puppy, you will have to purchase different crates as your dog grows in size.
Four Steps in Crate Training
The first step is to get your dog to like and enjoy their crate. Make it fun for them to go in the crate, get excited and say “crate’, then praise them upon entering their crate. Placing toys and feeding them inside the crate, can help them to enjoy being in there. Most of their play time with a toy should be inside the crate, as well as outside.
The second step is knowing when to put your dog in the crate. The easiest answer is any unsupervised time, and bed time. If you are not able to supervise your dog, then your dog should go into his/hers crate. A puppy should not be in the crate for more than 3-4 hour stretches. Adults can go way longer.
The third step is understanding your dogs bathroom habits. You never want to leave your dog in the crate when they have not relieved themselves completely. I general rule is after drinking, a dog will need to relieve themselves within 10-20 minutes. After eating, a dog will need to relieve themselves within 30-60 minutes. Always make sure your dog is completely relieved before leaving them in their crate.
The fourth step is going from the crate to outside. Always take your dog straight from the crate outside. Never give them a moment to wander in the house without going straight outside. Even if your dog has recently been relieved, you should still keep the habit of going right outside.
These are simple steps to follow, if you get your dog in these habits, accidents will rarely happen. The idea is to not give your dog the opportunity to have an inside accident. Preventive maintenance is the key.
Other things you should know while crate training your dog are giving them supervised free time. Once your dog has gone outside and your are sure they have relieved themselves, then you may bring them inside for “free” time. This is supervised play time within your house. If you are watching your dog, you will notice and be able to prevent an accident before it occurs. For instance, dogs usually smell around and prepare to use the bathroom. When you see them getting ready to do this inside the house, immediately take them back outside again. If a dog is chewing on furniture or getting into something they shouldn’t, you should be able to reprimand them immediately.
When you are unable to give them constant supervision, then it’s time to put them back into the crate. It is also extremely important to note, that exercise is a must! Dogs need at least 20 minutes of natural light a day. Dogs need at least ½ hour o f exercise three times a day at a minimum. Your dog must have enough time to stretch and work its muscles and limbs daily. Too much crate time can be detrimental to the health of your dog, you must exercise your dogs, not too mention, it’s great for your own health. Take the time to work and bond with your dog daily. Another tip is to teach your dog not to bark or howl in the crate. This can be done very easily, but you will have to set the incident up to make it work. Put the crate someone where you can toss a shoe or something against it that will make a loud noise, but where the dog will not be able to see you. The idea is to make your think you have left. Say a strong word that you will use for be quiet, such as, no, ous, etc…
Say this word at the say time the object hits the crate. The idea is to startle the dog and then they associate the word you used. If done correctly, you should only have to do this a few times before the dog will understand. From that point on, your dog will know that word means be quiet. Again, you will have to startle the dog, so hide and be very quiet.
Over time your dog will need to be crated less and less. As your dog gets older and learns the routine, you should be giving longer “free” time. In most cases, after a year of age, most dogs can become completely house trained, by using this method.
The key is simplicity, try and prevent an accident form ever occurring, and your dog will simply not know how to have an accident. When followed correctly the crate method can be 100% effective. Crates are safe and can help your dog learn how to be the ideal house pet. Crates can also help for travel, vet visits, and times when you have to keep your dog isolated.