If you’re looking for an effective way to train your dog, than you may want to consider a crate training schedule. When it comes to house training your pet, using a crate is a proven method of doing so, and is recommended across the nation by known trainers. Dogs instinctively want to keep their resting area clean and dry; as such they aren’t likely to “go potty” when confined to their crate. If you are to immediately encourage your dog to “take care of its business” after releasing them from the crate, you are installing good behavior as well as letting your pet know where the proper place to “go” is.
You don’t need to worry about your dog feeling trapped, either, as dogs are naturally den animals. Much like the wolves they were bred from, domestic dogs will seek out small places that mimic a den, and providing them with a crate gives them a space that isn’t under your bed or desk. Dog crates are excellent dens and can double as a hangout and bedroom. However, you must never use the crate as a punishment, as training generally only works if the create is a special, safe place for your dog to retreat to.
Before beginning to crate train your dog, you must first have the proper crate to train with. Be sure you have the proper size, first of all. If you’re buying a crate for a puppy, buy one that will fit the size of the dog once it’s full grown. If your dog is already fully grown, make sure the dog can walk in, stand up, and turn around, but no larger. If the crate is too large, your dog may just use a corner of it for the restroom.
If at all possible, don’t put food in the crates, as this will cause your dog to need to “go”. You may add a small amount of water, but remember that this will induce urination. On top of that, don’t put bedding or newspapers in the crate, as they will be seen as a place to go to the restroom and then be covered. This will cause issues in learning the proper behavior.
Be sure to place the crate in a busy area of the house so the dog can interact with its “pack” while still inside its “den”. Don’t have the crate in a draft or direct heat. Be sure to remove all collars or tags before placing a puppy in a crate, to prevent possible strangulation.
Do not force your dog into their crate, and be sure to praise them EVERY time they enter on their own. Allow them to explore the crate at their own pace. Encourage this by tossing in a favorite toy or treat, and leave the door open during this introduction. If your pet barks or whines while in the crate, reassure them but wait until they calm down before letting them out. You don’t want them to think they can come out every time they respond negatively. When you do let your dog out, take them to the same area to use the restroom each time. They will begin to associate that area with doing their business.
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Below is a basic crate training schedule for puppies and adult dogs. Be aware that you can modify this schedule to fit your needs. Remember, crate training is temporary tool to get your dog to be housetrainied.
7:00 Take dog outside before starting your morning routine
7:15 – 7:30 Play time (if worried about accidents, stay off carpeted areas)
7:30 – 8:00 Feed and water dog, allow fifteen or so minutes for digestion, and then place in crate
8:00 Take dog outside
8:15 Place dog in crate
12:00 Take dog outside
12:15 - 12:30 Play time
12:30 – 1:00 Feed and water dog, allow fifteen or so minutes for digestion, and then place in crate
1:00 Take dog outside
1:15 Place dog in crate
6:00 Take dog outside
6:15 – 6:30 Play time
6:30 – 7:00 Feed and water dog, allow fifteen or so minutes for digestion, and then place in crate
7:00 – 8:00 Take dog outside
8:00 – 9:00 Play time
9:00 Return dog to crate
11:00 Take dog outside
11:15 Return dog to the crate for the remainder of the evening
Patience is the key to successful training!