More Potty Training Tips: How to Crate Train

If you have a puppy, your life is probably revolving around potty training. Helping Fido get with the program isn’t always easy, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. These basic tips will get you started and teach your dog to potty appropriately, but crate training will take training one step further.

Crates are not “puppy prison.

Some people assume crates are cruel, but that’s only the case if you leave your animal in them too long. Your dog’s crate is just like your kid’s room. It’s their place to have a little solitude or quiet time in a space that’s all their own.

Think about rooms from a puppy’s perspective

Puppies often have accidents because their spatial awareness isn’t the best—on top of that, they are so small they may not know what room they are in and where it’s okay to potty. If they pee in the corner, it might mean they were trying not to go in the family “pack’s” living space. In other words, by not peeing on the couch, they thought they did the right thing. Crate training gives your dog a clear definition of living space, and since they won’t want to potty where they sleep, they will gradually learn to hold their potty until you take them outside and praise them for going there.

Timing is everything.

Don’t leave your dog in her crate for an extended amount of time, especially not at first. Every breed is different because of bladder sizes, and age is also a factor since, just like babies, toddlers, children and adults, each age dog can hold their potty for different amounts of time. For a crate training schedule that’s specific to you and your pet, come see us at LazyPaw Animal Hospitals.

Size Matters.

Choose the right size crate. Your pet should be able to comfortably sit, stand up, and turn around, but that’s about it. If your pet’s crate is too big, they might try to potty in the corner so they don’t go in their “living space.” If it’s too small, they will be cramped. If your puppy is going to grow to a much larger size, most crates come with removable dividers that let you minimize or extend crate space as they get bigger without having to buy multiple kennels.

Add comfortable, washable bedding.

A few blankets or towels will make your pet’s crate feel more like home. Don’t leave them unattended with toys, however, because they could choke. Bedding should be washable, since your puppy might have a few accidents in the beginning. Puppies also sometimes throw up from time to time, just like babies; so washable bedding is a must. Simple blankets and towels will also let your dog paw and nest so they can be as comfortable as possible.

Sweeten the deal.

Not all puppies are ready to love their crates, so introduce them gradually. Leave tiny treats or enticing toys inside, then let them wander in. If they go in and out a few times but don’t lie down, that’s just fine. Gradually start shutting the door once they are comfortable, at first for just a few seconds at a time, and slowly work up to a few minutes. Over time, once your pet is comfortable and calm with being inside a closed crate, you can work up to an hour or more. When your pet is at ease, you can start leaving the house while they are in their crate.

Crate training is simple if you follow the basic rules. Once your pet gets used to their crate, they will love having a personal retreat and will also have better control over their ability to wait to potty outside.

Brent Bilhartz

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