Crate training is one of the most effective ways of house training any puppy or dog. Crate training is very efficient, and very effective, since it uses the natural instinct of the dog to achieve the desired result of a clean house and a well trained dog.
The concept behind crate training is that a dog naturally strives to avoid soiling the area where it eats and sleeps. By placing the dog in the crate, this instinct is enhanced. The dog will come to see the crate as its den, and it will try to avoid soiling its den.
The key to successful crate training for a puppy or an older dog, as with other forms of dog training, is to establish a good routine. This routine will enhance the ability of the dog to do its business in the right place, and avoid eliminating in the wrong place. It is important to shower the dog with praise each and every time it eliminates in the established toilet area, and not to express frustration or anger when the dog makes a mistake.
It is important to confine the dog or puppy to a small part of the house, generally one puppy proofed room, when you are not at home. The room should contain a soft bed, fresh water and some favorite toys to prevent the dog from becoming bored and frustrated.
Crate training is different from confining the dog to one room, however. With crate training, the puppy or dog is confined to a crate when unsupervised. The idea is that the dog will think of this crate as its home, and not want to soil is home.
When crate training, it is important to remove the dog from the crate as soon as possible after returning home, and to take the dog promptly to the previously established toilet area. When the dog does its business in this toilet area, be sure to provide lots of praise and treats. It is important that the dog learn to associate proper toilet procedures with good things like treats and toys.
It is important to never leave the dog in its crate for long periods of time, as this will confuse the dog and force it to soil its sleeping area. The crate is simply a tool, and it should not be abused by leaving the dog in it for extended periods of time. If the dog is left in the crate for too long, it could set back the training program by weeks if not months.
The dog should only be confined to the crate when you are at home. Except for nighttime, the dog should be given the opportunity to relieve itself every 45 minutes or so. Each time the dog is taken out, it should be put on a leash and immediately taken outside. Once outside the house, the dog should be given three to five minutes to do its business. If the dog does not eliminate in this time period, it should be immediately returned to the create.
If the dog does its business during the set time period, it should be rewarded with praise, food, play, affection and either an extended walk or a period of play inside or outside the home.
During the crate training period, it is important to keep a daily diary of when the dog does its business each day. If the dog is on a regular feeding schedule, the toilet schedule should be consistent as well. Having a good idea of when the dog needs to eliminate each day will be a big help during the house training process. After the dog has used his established toilet area, you will be able to give the dog free run of the house to play and enjoy himself.
Dealing with accidents during crate training
It is very important to not punish the puppy or dog when it makes a mistake or has an accident during the crate training process. If there has been an accident, simply clean it up. Accidents during house training mean that you have provided the dog with unsupervised access to the house too quickly.
The dog should not be allowed unsupervised access to the home until you can trust her bowel and bladder habits. If mistakes do occur, it is best to go back to crate training. Taking a couple of steps back will help move the house training process along, while moving too quickly could set things back.