A puppy comes into this world having no concept of what humans expect of it. Right or wrong, humans teach them everything they learn, so it’s best to teach them right from the beginning! Why use a crate to train a puppy? There are many good reasons: for the puppy's safety, for the safety of the home and its contents, and to preserve the sanity of the owner.
A puppy crate does three very important things. First, it makes the housebreaking process go a little more smoothly by teaching a puppy where to go to relieve itself. By using its own natural instincts, the puppy will not urinate or defecate where it sleeps, provided the owner does his or her part. Secondly, it relieves the stress of being alone while the owner is away. Thirdly, it will protect furniture and keep other belongings safe during the teething stage when a puppy is driven to chew on anything it can.
A Crate Training Example There is no magic to house breaking. It’s accomplished by understanding the way a dog thinks and following a few simple rules. A puppy should be on a daily food and water schedule.
7:00 A.M. - The puppy should be let outside to relieve itself. After this, the puppy should be brought in and given water, then put in its crate with food for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes has expired, the food should be taken away. Being fed in the crate keeps the puppy from being distracted and helps it focus solely on eating. After this, the puppy should be given more water.
7:45 A.M. – The puppy should be taken outside again. When an owner is not able to watch a puppy, the puppy should be in its crate. In this example, the puppy should be let out at least three times before the owner leaves so that it may empty its system.
9:00 A.M. – The puppy should be put in the crate before the owner leaves, and there should be no food or water left in the crate with the puppy. Because what goes in must come out, leaving food and water in the crate will make it more difficult for a puppy to learn the rules of house breaking.
3:00 P.M. – Let’s say that the owner comes home at 3:00 P.M. The same above schedule should be repeated. The same would apply if the owner came home at 5:30 P.M.
In this example, the puppy should never be fed past 7:30 P.M. However, between 7:30 and the time the owner goes to bed, the puppy should be taken out often so that when it is crated, it can sleep all night without having to relieve itself. Food and water should not be accessible at all times because food + water = GOT TO GO!!!
If you get your puppy and it is say 6 weeks to eight weeks of age and you let your puppy out to potty for the last time for the evening and at about 3:00 A.M. or so you hear it starting to cry you need to get up and take the puppy out to go potty. Not Much Fun !! The good news is that every week that goes by the puppy will sleep longer through the night and before you know it your puppy will be waking up when you get up.
During the course of the evening, it’s ok to give the puppy a little water to wet its whistle, particularly if it’s been playing. However, letting the puppy drink too much water will most likely cause an accident during the night. An owner should always take a puppy out just before going to bed. The more a puppy is let outside, the faster it learns where to go.
Know The Key Times A Puppy Needs To Go Outside:
20 to 30 minutes after it’s been fed
10 - 15 minutes after it’s drank a lot of water
Every time it wakes up from a nap
Any time a puppy is playing or being played with. Remember, activity stimulates a puppy’s need to relieve itself.
For example, let's say an owner takes the puppy outside, it relieves itself, then the owner brings it back inside and starts playing with it. After about 8 - 10 minutes of play, the puppy should be let back outside. If the owner is watching a puppy while it is outside the crate and it starts to sniff the floor while walking around in a small circle, the owner should immediately pick it up and take it outside. If a puppy has an accident in the house, it is the fault of the owner.
When taken outside, the puppy should be taken to the same spot every time, and the puppy should be praised after it relieves itself. Both of these actions will teach the puppy what is expected of it.
Here Are A Few More Important Points:
If an owner can’t physically keep eyes on a puppy, the puppy should be in the crate.
The crate should not be kept in a place which is isolated from the owner. Dogs are pack animals, and an owner is part of the pack (hopefully the leader). Even if a puppy is in the crate, it makes it much easier on it to be able to see and hear the owner.
For safety reasons, collars and harnesses should be removed when a puppy is crated.
The crate should never be used as punishment. The crate is the puppy’s “room”, so it should always be a positive place.
When an owner first crates a puppy, it will most likely cry, bark, and howl. This is typical puppy behavior, and the puppy should not be let out. If an owner attempts to comfort a puppy when this happens, it only makes it more difficult for the puppy to get used to the new situation. Within a few days of proper house breaking, such barking and howling should diminish.
When an owner is home with the puppy, it should still be crated: one hour in, one hour out. This teaches the puppy that the crate is a positive place and not just a place where it is put when an owner is not at home.
As the puppy gets older, it can have more time out of the crate. Many people make the mistake of leaving a puppy out of the crate too long to soon. Doing so will cause problems, so patience and consistency are paramount in successful house breaking.
If an owner takes a puppy outside, the puppy gets distracted, and then doesn’t relieve itself, it should be brought back inside and crated for about 20 minutes, then taken back outside again. After the puppy has relieved itself, it should then be given some supervised time out of the crate with the owner and/or owner’s family.
After talking to thousands of people over the past 40 years about dog problems, some people think that using a crate is cruel, what they don't realize is that most dogs are in the pound because the dog chews and destroys the house or they never could housebreak their dog. Your crate will help you to avoid both problems.