How to crate train your puppy
Crate training can be considered to be one of the best (and quickest) ways to train your dog.
One of the most important and powerful tools when crate training your puppy or dog, is to reinforce good behavior with praise and reward. This inevitably means that you will have to be present when this good behavior takes place. It is vital that the puppy associates the action with the reward.
This can be problematic when you have to be out of the house for several hours and your puppy is in the house. Any good behavior goes unnoticed and any bad behavior continues unchecked.
The usual crate training method is to restrict your puppies movements in the house. Ensure that your puppy has one room to itself. That way you can lay down paper or other absorbent material and if your puppy eliminates, it is in a restricted area. There is a big problem with this though. Your puppy is learning that it can eliminate INSIDE the house every time you go out. This is where crate training comes in.
What Is Crate Training?
Crate training takes advantage of one very useful instinctive behavior of your dog. Your puppy or dog WILL NOT eliminate in its own personal space if it can be avoided. This means that if you can temporarily restrict your dogs’ personal space, then it will hold on longer when it wants to eliminate. This is the point at which you take your dog outside on a leash and allow it to eliminate outside in your presence. Giving you the chance to heap a lot of praise on your puppy and reward his good behavior. This positive reinforcement teaches your puppy bladder and bowel control as well as setting out an acceptable area that your dog can eliminate.
There is a BIG difference between crate training and just using a crate to restrict your dog while you are not home.
How to crate train your Puppy | Training Tips
You should only ever use a crate when you can be sure that you are going to be home for the duration of the confinement. You should never leave your puppy in the crate for more than two hours at a time. After this time, you should take your puppy outside and check whether it wants to eliminate. NEVER put your puppy in its crate and then leave the house.
If you abuse the use of the crate, your puppy will eventually eliminate in its own crate, this will not only undo all the hard work that you have put into training your puppy, but it will be unhygienic and distressing for your puppy.
Every time you take your puppy out to eliminate, if she does so, it is time for lots of praise and a treat. You can also give her the run of the house until her bladder and bowels fill up again. This is approximately every 45 minutes to an hour in a young puppy. If she fails to eliminate, put her back into the crate but check every hour whether she wants to go again.
You will soon learn the habits of your puppy and will be able to put her in her crate for the correct duration. If you do ever find that your puppy has eliminated inside your house, do not punish her. This is YOUR mistake for not correctly judging when she is next ready to go. Just make a note of the time and adjust as necessary.
Crate training has become a controversial technique in recent years.