WHAT IS CRATE TRAINING?

Crate training is a method of teaching your puppy to hold his bladder and bowels by confining him to a crate whenever he’s not under your active, direct supervision. Your puppy, like the rest of us, wants to avoid soiling where he sleeps, so confining him in his crate reduces the likelihood of accidents. Dogs also have a “denning” instinct that makes them feel cozy and secure in small spaces.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT CRATE

Your dog’s crate should be just large enough for your dog to stand up, turn around and lie down. Use the divider that came with your crate to gate him/her just enough to curl up and lay down. If you give your dog too much space, he’ll be tempted to use half his crate as a bedroom and the other half as a bathroom, which will make crate training him impossible. (And stinky.)

WON’T HE HATE IT IN THERE?

Crate training is just that: crate training. It’s not punishment. When he’s there, it’s because you’re actively showing him the correct way to behave.

Even thought you want your dog to be comfortable, don’t use any cushion or padding in their crate until you’re sure they won‘t potty on it. If your dog potties on a soft blanket or pillow the urine or fecal matter will absorb into the fibers of the material and stay even after washing. It’s a tough smell to remove for human noses, and even more so for sensitive canine noses. If your puppy continues to smell it, it’s likely he’ll take it as a cue for a repeat performance.

WHEN SHOULD MY PUPPY BE IN HIS CRATE?

When you’re crate training your dog, he’s only allowed in three places:

  1. In his crate.
  2. In a safe area where he’s allowed to go potty (fenced yard, dog run, indoor potty area, etc.)
  3. In the house under your DIRECT supervision.

It’s a very short list, but to avoid accidents during the early phases of crate training, your dog should have absolutely no unsupervised free time in the house. None. Zero. Nada. Remember, if your puppy has an accident and you’re not there to catch him in the act and correct him, he learns that he gets sweet relief from pottying on the floor, which means he’s much more likely to do it again. It feels just as good to go in the wrong place as it does in the right place if nobody’s there to teach him the difference.

MAKING THE CRATE A POSITIVE EXPERIENCE

Bring your puppy to the crate for naps and quiet-time breaks so that he can unwind from family chaos. Start in increments of 10 minutes and work up to longer periods. 

Every single time you take your puppy out of the crate, take him for a walk so he can potty. He’ll begin to realize that potty time comes after crate time. Remember to praise him after he potties in the correct place.

NIGHT TIME IS THE RIGHT TIME FOR THE CRATE, MATE

As tempting as it is to cuddle up with them, the best place for your puppy to spend the night is in his crate. They may cry the first night or two—in most cases, they are simply adjusting to life without their mom and littermates. When they’re very tiny, you’ll have to take your puppy outside to potty in the middle of the night, but by the time they’re four months old, most puppies should be able to sleep through the night without a potty break. Cut off water 3-4 hours before bedtime to reduce the need for overnight pees.

COMMON SENSE

Never ever leave a puppy in his crate all day. He needs multiple bathroom breaks, regular meals and lots of playtime. And even though instinctively he won’t want to soil his sleeping area, if he is in there for extremely long stretches, he may do it anyway. So would you if you were stuck in a confined area for hours with no end in sight. You know you’ve thought about it when you’ve been stuck on the freeway at rush hour.

#cratetraining

🤔What’s your dog’s understanding of your crate protocols? Not only during his time *in* the crate, but also the way he enters and exits the crate. ⁣
⁣
➡️ Does he think of crate time as something he needs to tolerate, but *secretly* can’t wait to get out of because the rest of the world is so much more fun?⁣
✅ Or......does he feel that crate time is a happy, zen event?⁣
⁣
➡️ Does your dog bark, whine, spin in circle, or paw wildly at the door, and then is REWARDED by you opening the door??⁣
✅ Or.....when you approach the crate, does your dog understand that demonstrating impulse control and calmness ‘makes you’ open the door?⁣
⁣
➡️ Is your dog allowed to come flying out as soon as you open the door and blow past you?⁣
⁣
✅ Or.....does he wait until he’s released from the crate? Will he then obey a Sit, Down, Place, even go BACK into the crate command? Super handy when you’ve just let your dog OUT and then realize the front door is OPEN!😱⁣
⁣
➡️ If your dog is in the ⚠️rewarded for pushy behaviors and allowed to go flying out of the crate without even a “thank you!” category⚠️ that’s a problem. The way he comes out of the crate literally sets the tone for the next interactions for the rest of the day.⁣
⁣
✅ If your dog is in the 👉 earn what he wants through being patient and calm category 👈 then you’ve got the beginnings of an incredible relationship with your dog! And it can start with Crate Protocols!
🤔What’s your dog’s understanding of your crate protocols? Not only during his time *in* the crate, but also the way he enters and exits the crate. ⁣ ⁣ ➡️ Does he think of crate time as something he needs to tolerate, but *secretly* can’t wait to get out of because the rest of the world is so much more fun?⁣ ✅ Or......does he feel that crate time is a happy, zen event?⁣ ⁣ ➡️ Does your dog bark, whine, spin in circle, or paw wildly at the door, and then is REWARDED by you opening the door??⁣ ✅ Or.....when you approach the crate, does your dog understand that demonstrating impulse control and calmness ‘makes you’ open the door?⁣ ⁣ ➡️ Is your dog allowed to come flying out as soon as you open the door and blow past you?⁣ ⁣ ✅ Or.....does he wait until he’s released from the crate? Will he then obey a Sit, Down, Place, even go BACK into the crate command? Super handy when you’ve just let your dog OUT and then realize the front door is OPEN!😱⁣ ⁣ ➡️ If your dog is in the ⚠️rewarded for pushy behaviors and allowed to go flying out of the crate without even a “thank you!” category⚠️ that’s a problem. The way he comes out of the crate literally sets the tone for the next interactions for the rest of the day.⁣ ⁣ ✅ If your dog is in the 👉 earn what he wants through being patient and calm category 👈 then you’ve got the beginnings of an incredible relationship with your dog! And it can start with Crate Protocols!