A Foolproof Formula for Crate Training

A crate can make potty training quick and easy! Canine’s also like to have access to a safe den. To ensure success make sure that you have the correct size crate for your dog. Your canine should be able to stand up, turn around, and lie down. If your dog has too much room then he might relieve himself, and sit on the other side of the crate.

For best results follow these rules:

1. Consistency

When you follow the training steps make sure you are as consistent as possible. The more consistent you are the faster your pet will catch on.

2. Positive Reinforcement

Use plenty of positive reinforcement such as praise and/or treats. Intelligent dog breeds who want to please such as Border collies or Australian shepherds perform the best on plenty of praise. Dogs that are more on the stubborn side or have a slower learning style such as terriers perform best when treats are involved. Your dog might do best with a combined approach involving both treats and praise. Keep in mind that dogs enjoy high pitched enthusiastic voices versus a flat dull one. When you are excited your dog will be too!  

How to Crate Train

Keep in mind that no matter how consistent you are accidents will happen. If you catch your dog in the act:  say “no” firmly, take him outside to reiterate the location he is supposed to potty, and then put him back in the crate while you clean up the mess. Do not rub your dog’s nose in the potty.  If you find some feces or urine in your home clean up the mess, but don’t punish your dog. He will have no idea what he is being punished for. Dogs have to be reinforced immediately because 5 seconds later they have forgotten what they have done.  Follow the following steps to crate train your four legged friend:

  1. Place your dog in his crate for approximately 30 minutes.
  2. Remove your dog from the crate, and attach a leash. Immediately take him outside to his designated elimination location. Let him explore the area. If he sniffs the ground he might be trying to find a location to potty.  When you let your dog out of the kennel always take him to his potty location. This will create an easy to understand pattern, and it’s natural for dogs to relieve thmselves when they leave their den.
  3. Allow your dog a full 15 minutes to relieve himself. He should be on a leash, and you should be ready with immediate positive reinforcement. During this process give your dog the command, “go potty.” Right now he has no idea what is going on. In the future you will be able to give your dog this command, and he will know what you want.
  4. If your dog did not go to the bathroom: Bring him back inside, and put him in the crate. Resist the urge to give your dog attention. After 15-30 minutes repeat step 3. Repeat this cycle continuously until your dog relieves himself.
  5. If your dog went potty: Once your dog is completely finished immediately provide lots of positive reinforcement! The quicker you provide reinforcement the quicker your pet will learn. Then, bring him inside for play as well as bonding time!  If you notice that he starts sniffing excessively he might need to go potty again. Dogs will also sniff to explore their environment.  Do not leave your dog out of the crate longer than 45 minutes during the training period. Leaving your dog out for too long will increase the chances that an accident will occur.
  6. Repeat this process until your dog is potty trained or starting to learn what you expect. When your dog understands the situation start increasing the amount of time outside of the crate. Every dog will learn at a different pace.

Dog training is not a one size fits all approach. Sometimes different variations will need to be used. Some small breeds will have trouble holding their potty all night even if they do have the correct size crate. To minimize this don’t let your pet eat or drink to close to bedtime.  As your puppy gets older he will be able to hold it longer. Another thing to consider are the ingredients in your dog’s food. Some brands cause your dog to go poop more frequently and cause it to be softer. A meat based dog food will cause your dog to have less feces and it will be easier to clean. Remember crate training will get easier with time. Eventually your dog will be fully trained!

About the Author:

Kaitlyn is working towards becoming a dog breeder with an emphasis on dog health, and positive traits. She is a blogger for Journey To Dog Breeder. Kaitlyn has a Masters degree in human resources management, lives on a small farm, and is a stay-at-home-mother of two toddlers.

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