Crate Training Tips
I, like many people, use crate training as an effective means of
housebreaking puppies. There are, however, misunderstandings of
the proper methods of crate training. Many well-meaning people
with the intended goal of housebreaking puppies end up putting
their pet in dangerous and unhealthy situations.
The first step in crate training is to get a cage big enough for
your dog. If you are housebreaking puppies, get one big enough
for them to grow in. But if its too large, your pet may end up
using one end as an elimination area. Keep in mind that some
crates offer divider panels to expand the size as he grows.
Choose one large enough for him to stand and comfortably turn and
When crate training overnight, it is important to keep shoes
handy to let your dog out as soon as you wake. Don't get
discouraged when you are housebreaking puppies and they go the
minute they see you in the morning (or 2 feet from the front door
on the way out). It is very difficult for a puppy to hold his
bladder until 6-9 months of age.
While crate training is excellent for housebreaking puppies,
leaving a dog confined in a small area for too long can be
dangerous. If you work extended hours, you should make
arrangements to come home during your lunch hour to allow your
pet to relieve himself. There are even services you can hire to
do this. Forcing your pet to hold it all day can cause serious
bladder and kidney problems.
When crate training a dog, leave the door open while he's not
confined. Generally, in addition to housebreaking puppies, you
are creating a safe place where your pet will feel comfortable
Don't make crate training a punishment. If your dog eliminates in
the house, trainers suggest making a loud, surprised sound - but
avoid NO! as they might associate the act itself as something
bad. Then take them outside. Be sure to give exaggerated praise
when your pet eliminates outside so they will learn that it's a
Lastly, be sure your crate or cage actually keeps your puppy
inside. If, when housebreaking puppies, you discover they are
little Houdinis, consider confining them in a bathroom or laundry
room with a pee pad or two, just in case.
John Schwartz is the owner and webmaster of
. He lives in East Texas with his
wife, Shannon, who owns a dog rescue 'no kill' shelter.
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