Introduction To House Training your puppy using the Crate Method

by Eric J. Lubbers (Note, this image is from Flickr user Eric under creative commons.  Eric was potty training his puppy and I thought it fit with this article, plus the puppy is adorable. 

The information in this article is based on the successful crate training method. Crate training is not cruel. I repeat: Crate training is not cruel. If used correctly, it uses the dog’s natural den instinct to your own advantage by encouraging the dog not to pee or poop where it sleeps. Dogs are naturally clean animals and will avoid going to the bathroom where they sleep. But you need to keep the following points in mind to be successful.

Establish A Regular Eating Routine

As I’m fond of saying, ‘what goes in must come out’. To help you figure out the best times to get your dog to go to the bathroom it’s important to feed your dog at the same times every day. This is the ideal time to practice your house training lessons. For your dog’s comfort it’s also a good idea to feed your dog in the same place every day, a place that they will identify as their eating spot. With your puppy, there’s a very short time between eating and eliminating. Figure around 15 – 20 minutes. When feeding your dog, give her 15-20 minutes and then pick up the uneaten portion (if any). This will also teach your dog to eat when fed. Again, these rules can be relaxed once your dog is house trained but for now it’s key to establish a routine.

Until your dog is house trained, also avoid treats and in-between meal snacks. The whole idea is to feed your dog, observe them constantly for the 15 -20 minutes after they eat and then bring them to the place where you want them to do their business. Do it like clockwork and you’ll be putting your puppy in a position to succeed. This is all about setting expectations and teaching your eager learner to do what you want. And when they do, praise them wildly. Make it seem like that little pee or poop that they did is the greatest and most magnificent thing you’ve ever seen in your entire life. Your friends and neighbors may think you’re crazy, but I can’t stress enough the power of praise. It’s what your puppy craves. Give it to her in generous amounts.

How Old Should Your Puppy Be?

How old should your puppy be before you begin house training? Start as early as you can but don’t expect results until the pup is about 14 weeks old. Before 14 weeks your pup cannot physically hold it in. Then why start early you may ask? Well, even though your pup may not be physically able to hold it in, she’ll at least begin learning what’s expected of her. Consider any training before 14 weeks to be ‘pre-school’. When her physical abilities catch up with what you taught her, it will make it that much easier to put the lessons into practice.

Size Matters

If you’re considering crate training your dog as a means of house training, keep in mind that the size of crate you choose is very important. A good rule of thumb about size is: the crate should only be big enough for the dog to comfortably stand up and turn around in. You don’t want the crate so big that the dog will mess at one end and sleep at the other. For large-sized breeds that will continue to grow substantially, you may need to buy a larger size later on if you intend for your dog to continue using the crate after it is house trained. And the most important rule of all: NEVER, under any circumstances, use the crate as a form of punishment. The crate should be a place where your dog wants to go, to sleep and get away from the bustle and activity in your home. You never want them to associate it with being punished.

Happy House Training!

About The Author

copyright © Gene Sower

Gene Sower is the author of the Happy House Training ebook: ‘Learn To House Train Your Dog Easily & Effectively’; http://www.lucythewonderdog.com/ebook.htm

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