Dog Crate Training: The Basics

Dog crate training is one of the most effective ways of modifying your pet's elimination habits. If your puppy or new pet has decided that they want to leave puddles or other unsightly messes around your house, then taking a closer look at this method may be in order.

Dog crate training is based around the premises that most dogs will not eliminate where they sleep or rest, provided that they are given options to release elsewhere. Therefore, owners will temporarily confine their pet to a cage of some sorts, in order to change negative behaviors. However, the confinement is only one aspect of dog crate training; the other, more important aspect occurs when the dog is released from it's cage, is brought outside to go to the bathroom, and is instantly praised.

It is important to note that this method is used only to temporarily confine your dog when you are crate training him, or when you are away from your home for shorter periods of time (i.e. going to work). This method is meant to teach your dog bladder control, helping them to learn when and where it is, and is not appropriate to do the deed.

However, dog crate training is not meant as a stopgap measure for a difficult dog; at no point should your dog EVER be locked up for an extended period of time, or the problem will only intensify.

Your pet should, at first, only be confined to his crate when you are within close range (i.e. at home, or going for a walk around the block). Other than when you go to sleep, you should allow your dog to initially take a break from the crate every hour to go to the bathroom. As soon as you open the cage, guide them outside and give them a couple of minutes to take care of themselves. If within five minutes they haven't, gently guide them back to their cage. If your dog, however, does take care of himself outside, IMMEDIATELY provide some sort of positive reinforcement that your dog already associates with being good, such as a toy, treat, affection, long walk or something along those lines.

When starting the dog crate training, make sure to keep a diary of when your dog eats, sleeps and requires a bathroom break. Soon, you'll see patterns to his behavior, and you can slowly stretch out the times to allow him outside of the crate for a break. For instance, if your dog needs a potty break every day when they wake up, and then again during the lunch hour, allow him to run free outside of these times, except for ONE HOUR before that time occurs. Then, put your dog back in the crate so that an accident doesn't happen, and continue positively reinforcing the behavior. Bit by bit you'll be able to stretch this out until after a couple of weeks, you should no longer need the crate at all.

Note however that accidents do happen. If they do, just clean it up, and don't do anything to your dog. Just note the accident, and make sure the next day to put him in his crate an hour before the same corresponding time, and use the same methods again, until the problem is corrected.

(c) 2005 dog-training-info.com. This article may be republished as long as these bylines are included. Kevin Simmons is the webmaster of http://www.dog-training-info.com. Please visit the site for more free dog training articles. Online URL for this article: http://www.dog-training-info.com/dog- crate-training.htm

In The News:

Adoptable pets for Dec. 13-19  Knoxville News Sentinel
Cold Noses: Adoptable Pets of the Week  The Florida Times-Union
Pets of Harvard, 2019  Harvard Crimson

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