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Understanding & Implementing Crate Training

What is crate training?

Crate training is a type of behavior training to help dogs associate crates or kennels with safety and comfort. It can help your new puppy potty train and provide a calm space for your dog at night.

What is crate training not?

Crate training is not a solution to behavioral problems and should never serve as a time out punishment. Dogs are social animals that require physical interaction and exercise. A crate is not a space intended to house dogs for extended periods of time.

Implementing Crate Training

Initially, whether he's a new puppy or a seasoned pro, your dog won't like his crate. Although dog owners often refer to their companions as "den animals", there's actually no fair scientific comparison between the den a wolf mother uses right after her pups are born and a kennel that confines your dog while you're at work.

Therefore, it's important to

  • Create positive associations with the kennel
  • Use the kennel only for short periods of time
  • Use the kennel only for unavoidable reasons

Crates for Potty Training

A crate is a great tool for potty training. Because dogs don't like to make where they sleep, your dog's crate should surround him or her fairly snuggly while laying down.

The key to successful potty training is consistency and timing. Whether you've brought a brand new puppy home or you're looking to potty train an adult dog, the process is the same.

First, create a comfortable crate environment by using washable pet bedding or blankets. We recommend cutting a Pish Pad to size for easy cleanup if an accident does occur.
To avoid creating negative associations with crate training, ensure that your dog isn't left completely alone in his or her crate. Keep the crate nearby and talk to your dog.

1. Take your dog to the same designated spot outside each time.
It your dog doesn't pee or poop within about a minute, move on to step 3.

2. Dog goes:
Praise! Praise! Praise! At this point, your dog needs to know he or she has done a great job. Keep training treats in your pocket to provide an immediate reward, then feel free to play with your new companion for 10-15 minutes before returning to the crate. He's earned it.

3. Dog doesn't go:
If after a few minutes your dog appears to have no interest in relieving himself, that's perfectly OK. For now, place him back in the crate but be sure to try again within 10 minutes to avoid accidents.

4. Once your dog has gone, set a timer for two hours and begin again at step 1!

All dogs need to be allowed outside first thing in the morning and after consuming foods or liquids.

Tip from the experts
Don't give into the temptation to let your new dog play freely all day. The longer you wait to properly potty train, the more difficult it will become.

You’ll be amazed how quickly your dog will begin to associate positive rewards such as treats, toys and walks with going to the potty.
Dogs should be prompted to relieve themselves each morning after waking up, each time after they've played outside and each time they've eaten. The average time for a puppy to process food or liquids is 5-10 minutes.

After establishing some consistency, you'll be able to calculate how long your dog can hold it by converting his age in months to hours. For example, on average, a 5-month-old puppy can control his bladder for five hours.
This rule is only true up to eight months, and should never be used in lieu of proper training to help your dog learn all about his proper pee spot. If you’re finding a sudden increase in accidents, you’ve demanded too much too soon. Take your pup out more frequently.

Using the Pish Pad for Indoor Training

Training your dog to pee on a pad follows the same process, however, instead of moving your dog from the crate to the lawn, you'll simply move him to the Pish Pad. This option is great for apartment dogs. Potty training works best with consistency and plenty of positive reinforcement. Don't give up on potty training. If you can devote just a few short days to be diligent about this process, your dog will reward you with a lifetime of dry floors.