|Crate Training Tips
by John Schwartz
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 it’s
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 sprawl.
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
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 sleeping.
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 good
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
About the Author
John Schwartz is a writer and avid dog lover who lives in
East Texas with his wife and 18 pet dogs. Visit his dog site
for dog training, health, and product tips.