Crate Training Your Dog

Crate training your dog will help him control his bladder and bowel movements. It will also introduce him to the concept of having his own private space. During training, your dog will benefit from a repetitive ritual and being in a structured environment.

Start the training process by familiarizing your dog with his new crate; here's how:

Invite Your Dog Inside the Crate

Open the door to the crate and place a treat inside. Crates are made with a variety of entrance doors, such as at the front, back and top. You can entice your puppy to go inside the crate by dangling a treat from the back door.

For starters, you can place your pup inside the crate through the roof. However, your goal should be to get your dog to enter the crate willingly. Eventually, this will become part of his daily routine.

Length of Time for Crate Training

A dog can stay in a crate for several hours a day depending on his age. For instance, a 3-month old puppy can be crated for up to 3 hours.

Before you crate your dog for any length of time, give him a good round of exercise. A tired pup will adapt to his alone-time better.

At first, only crate your dog for short periods of time. Never leave a dog in crate for a long stretch when he's just learning. Some dogs become highly anxious when crated for the first time, and may even cause themselves harm.

The Best Crate for Your Dog

First, choose the right sized crate. When shopping for a crate, it's very important to accommodate your dog's dimensions correctly. Your dog needs to be able to stand up, turn in a circle, and lie down inside of the crate. Next, don't get a crate that's too big so that your dog can do his business on one side and sleep on the other.

Create a comfortable place for your dog's training experience. Outfit the crate with his favorite toys, chews and pillows. Be sure and place a food and water bowl inside his crate, too.

Tips for Housebreaking a Puppy

  • When housebreaking a puppy establish a common ritual. After each meal take your puppy outside to urinate. Keep him on a leash and praise him every time he urinates.
  • Follow the same route with no variations; go down the same path or route. Be sure and stop at places your dog has sniffed before so he gets into a routine.
  • Expect a lot of whining and barking especially when crate training a puppy at night.
  • Place the crate close to where you sleep so that your puppy knows you are near.

When to Enlist a Dog Trainer

  • A professional can help an older dog break established behavior patterns, like urinating in the house or excessive barking.
  • When you've tried training with no success, your puppy may have a breed-specific issue or require specialized help.
  • If you do not have adequate time to commit to wholehearted crate training, enlist help.
  • Have a trainer housebreak your dog; then continue behavior modification techniques on your own.