Crate Training Puppies
The Best Method to House Train a Puppy

Many dog owners feel that crate training puppies is cruel. This thinking is wrong because it prevents them from taking advantage of the best house training tool at their disposal -- a dog crate.

Based on a puppy's natural instinct to "den", crates provide puppies with a profound sense of comfort and security.

Best of all, crates help expedite house training because puppies are equipped with a natural instinct to keep the area dry and clean.

Crate training is ultimately the best way to house train puppies in the shortest period of time.

This article will help you learn some effective strategies and tips on how crate training can make the house breaking process easier.

Why Crate Training Puppies Works

As mentioned, puppies are den animals; indeed, it is natural for mother dogs to whelp puppies in a dark den so to protect them from outdoor elements and potential predators.

Crates, ultimately, mimic dens because they are snug, comfortable and provide puppies with a sense of safety. It is also part of a puppy's instinct to not soil areas where they eat or sleep, which explains why crates work great for house training.

Choosing the right size crate is important for successfully house training a puppy. If the crate is too large, the puppy may feel comfortable in doing its business in the far end corner of the crate while still feeling at ease in eating and sleeping in the opposite corner. Make sure the crate is snug enough to prevent soiling in a corner, but still comfortable enough to allow your puppy to stand, lie down and turn around.

Crate Training Puppies

Choosing the Best Crate for Crate Training Puppies

If you are shopping for a crate, consider that there are different types of puppy crates on the market for crate training puppies. You may want to do some research to find which one will work best for you.

Wire crates offer a vast array of benefits. For instance, many wire crates are collapsible and easy to store and transport. Many offer removable divider panels which allow you to expand the puppy's living space as he grows. Best of all, wire crates are easy to clean, provide ventilation and your puppy is visible so you can always keep an eye on him, even from a distance.

Plastic crates, on the other hand, offer different advantages. Many puppies prefer plastic crates because they offer a greater sense of seclusion and privacy. This may help the puppy settle and get ready for a nap. If you need to travel, plastic crates are the perfect solution because they are light, sturdy and durable. If you are planning on traveling one day with your puppy, it may be wise to invest in an airline-approved plastic crate.

Training Your Puppy to Like the Crate

Once you have selected the best crate that suits your needs, it may be time to officially start the crate training process.

The best way is by conditioning your puppy to love the crate. Because wonderful things happen inside the crate, your puppy will want to investigate it and spend time inside it on his own initiative. To obtain these results, you must do your best to allow your puppy to make positive associations with the crate.

The following dozen tips will help transform the crate into that special place to call home.

  1. Place a soft blanket inside the crate along with an enticing safe toy.
  2. Leave the crate door open or remove it altogether.
  3. Let your puppy investigate the crate on his own.
  4. If your puppy is reluctant to go inside, place some treats by the entrance.
  5. Place treats gradually farther and farther inside the crate.
  6. Praise your puppy when he is inside the crate, but ignore him when he comes out.
  7. Lure your puppy inside the crate with a stuffed Kong icon or other safe, long-lasting food puzzle.
  8. Once your puppy finds the Kong and starts extracting the treats, close the crate door.
  9. When your puppy empties the Kong let him out.
  10. Lure your puppy inside the crate with his filled up food bowl, close the door and again let him out once done.
  11. If your puppy is reluctant to enter the crate, place the food bowl inside the crate and close it with your puppy outside; your puppy will be eager to get inside to get to the food bowl.
  12. Keep the crate in a quiet area, yet, nearby family activities so your puppy feels part of the pack. If this is your puppy's first night in the crate, keep it next to your bed for the first few nights.

How to House Train A Puppy with a Crate

Once your puppy is used to being in the crate and has learned to feel safe, comfortable and happy in it, you can begin using the crate to its full potential for house training.

Place your puppy on a strict schedule by feeding him and taking him outside at specific times. How often you take your puppy outside depends on your puppy's age. Generally, young puppies under the age of 12 weeks may need to be taken out to potty every 1 to 2 hours, including the night.

When your puppy is not outside he should be either in a dog play pen, supervised in a small room or inside the crate. Watching your puppy carefully is important because you need to recognize signs he needs to be taken outside. Look for circling, sniffing or appearing suddenly distracted.

If your puppy is in the crate, he may whine and appear uncomfortable since he instinctively does not like to soil his crate. It is important to not keep a puppy inside the crate for too long; if you need to leave home for more than one hour, it may be a good idea to leave your puppy in a small, safe area with the crate open and puppy pads several feet away on the floor in case he needs to potty.

Common Crate Training Mistakes

Being aware of mistakes commonly made when crate training puppies will help you steer away from trouble and put your puppy up for success.

  1. Size really matters when it comes to puppy crates used for crate training puppies. Choose the right size wisely: either purchase a small crate or a larger one that comes with dividers.
  2. Always remember to remove a collar when crate training your puppy.
  3. Never use a crate for punishment. This will defeat the purpose of the crate which is to provide a comfortable, pleasant place to be in. You certainly do not want to lose the best house training tool at your disposal!
  4. If an accident occurs inside the crate, clean it with an enzyme based cleaner. Puppy crates that smells like urine or feces are to a dog's eyes the equivalent of a flashing neon bathroom sign!
  5. Take your puppy outside after drinking, eating, playing or sleeping. Always praise for successfully going potty outdoors.
  6. Ignore puppy crate training whining if your puppy's needs have all been met.
  7. Invest in crate padding that is comfortable, yet easy to clean. Rubber padding along with training pads may be a practical idea. Make sure your puppy does not chew on any padding used for crate training puppies.
  8. Despite what others say, the use of a rolled up newspaper is very effective in the crate training puppies process. The moment your puppy soils inside the crate, use it to hit yourself on the head and say to yourself "bad owner! You forgot to take the puppy out!"

Here is a brief video that provides additional potty training tips...

Final Thoughts...

Crate training for puppies is not only for house training purposes; indeed, a crate is a great tool to prevent your puppy from chewing on inappropriate items or getting into contact with something harmful when you are not supervising. And, most importantly, crates used for crate training puppies are extremely useful in many ways both during and after the house training process is complete.

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Want to learn more?

Puppy Training

Need more help? You will find additional crate training and housebreaking tips and advice in this guide to housetraining.


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