Crate training is arguably the easiest and most successful way to housebreak a puppy. However, it is a process that does require following the proper guidelines and you will need to be persistent if you want it to work. What follows are some simple tips to crate training a puppy that will have them housebroken relatively quickly.
Encourage Them to Enter
No puppy wants to enter a cage as they can see they will be stuck inside. So, you need to encourage them with gentle persuasion and using treats. Be sure to praise them when they enter and provide them with a treat. Upon closing the door, sit near the crate for a few minutes quietly and then go into another room for a few minutes.
You are creating an atmosphere where the puppy believes that they are not being trapped, but instead it is a safe place for them to be. You may hear some whining or barking from the puppy, so the first time should be relatively short. You’ll want to lengthen the times that they stay in the crate until they are comfortable going in and out. Use treats for a while, but you can stop giving treats to them after they become used to being inside.
Admittedly, this is the one aspect that stops many people from properly crate training their puppy. However, you can use the whining to your advantage if you can get them to associate it with a potty break. If your puppy starts to whine, do the following;
- Put them on a leash and take them outside
- Wait two minutes while standing in one place
- Do not play or provide attention to the puppy
- If they potty, then give the puppy a treat and put them back in the crate.
- If they do not potty, just put them back in the crate
It will not take long for the puppy to associate whining with the need to go potty, so use this to your advantage.
Time in the Crate
A good rule of thumb is that puppies can be left inside the crate for a specific period lasting no longer than one hour per month they are old plus one. So, a four-month old puppy can be left in a crate for five hours. That may seem like a long time for a four-month old puppy, however, you’ll find that once they are crate trained leaving them inside for long periods does not harm or depress them if you do it right.
Remember, you can crate them at night, so they stay in one place and do not make a toilet of your home. However, if they start whining, you will need to take them out and let them go potty. If you are persistent and positive, you can crate train a puppy in a reasonable amount of time. The effort you put in will be worth it as your puppy will learn to love that crate and not make a toilet out of your house.