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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 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 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 thing.

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.

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 at http://www.puppies-dogs-supplies.com for dog training, health, and product tips.

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