Crate training your dog makes the job of potty training easier and faster. A crate or kennel is essential for traveling with your dog. It also gives him a place of security that’s his own.
Dogs feel safe in small, dark places. That’s why you often see them crawl under things. I have one dog who loves to lay down under our coffee table in the living room. I have another one who loves to sleep under the blankets. Crate training your dog creates a den or cave environment – that small, dark place of security that’s his own.
Crate training your dog should have two primary purposes: to potty train and make traveling with your pet a safer experience. Your dog will come to love his crate and go into it on his own to rest, have time alone, play with toys, or chew.
However, dogs should not be left in a crate all day while you’re gone. No dog should be a crate for more than 4-6 hours at a time. Otherwise, you’ll sabotage your training efforts and possibly make the potty situation worse.
Remember, the purpose of a crate is not to punish a dog. He should not be sent to his crate as a form of punishment or to ease your frustration.
If you just brought home a new puppy, he can probably stay in his crate for up to two hours if he’s at least 12 weeks old. He can spend longer periods of time in his crate as he gets older and has better bladder and bowl control.
INTRODUCING YOUR DOG TO A CRATE
Your dog should not be introduced to his crate by putting him in it and locking the door. Think of the crate as a place of security for both you and your dog. Put the crate in a room where you can watch your dog. The best place at night time is in your bedroom.
Keep the door open to while you are crate training your dog during the first day. You’ll want to put a blanket or matt into his crate and add some toys to make it comfortable and inviting.
Periodically throw a couple of treats or a favorite toy into his crate. When he sniffs inside or ventures in with a paw or two, give him praise! He’s doing what you want him to do. You are starting to see early signs of success in crate training your dog!
Let him stay in or out of his crate as he wants while he explores his new den. Repeat this process a few times throughout the day.
Some people choose to leave food and water in their dog’s crate. It is wiser to keep his food and water dish outside of the crate while potty training. This helps establish a routine potty schedule and makes potty training easier.
When it’s time to go to bed, put the crate in your bedroom. Your presence through the night provides security for him. Lure him into the crate with a toy or treat, and close the door of the crate.
If your dog whines or tries to get your attention when he’s in the crate, talk to him in a sweet voice. Do not let him out of his crate, however. That would teach him that whining or barking gets him out of the crate.
HE SHOULD BE COMFORTABLE IN HIS CRATE
Crate training your dog simply means getting him comfortable in his crate. That’s your goal over the next few days.
Lure him into the crate with a treat. Praise him! Close the door. If he whines or barks, ignore him but stay in the room where he can see you.
If he’s quiet for a few seconds after you close the door, let him out. Do not praise him when he comes out. While crate training your dog, you want him to associate your happiness with him being inside his crate.
Continue these simple steps a few times every day. As your dog catches on, increase the length of time he spends in his crate. Then, begin leaving the room for a few seconds while he’s inside his crate.
It won’t be long before your dog is comfortable in his new crate. Crate training your dog will now allow you to use his crate as a confinement area for potty training.