How to Crate Train a Puppy

Crate Training Moodle

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

Crate Training CavachonNo 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.

Puppy Whining

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

Crate Training MoodleA 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.

When to change from puppy food to adult food

First a little bit about feeding your puppy

Puppies eatingA growing puppy should only be fed a formula which provides enough nutrients for their rapidly growing body. While it is important that they have access to plenty of food this should be controlled and only given to them at feeding times. Feeding times for most puppies over 8 weeks old will be twice a day, with larger breeds needing feeding at least 3 times a day while still young.

Leave the food out for 10 minutes only and then remove it, and wait for the evening meal before you feed the puppy again. Puppies will learn quite quickly that their food supply is limited and that they should eat their fill when it’s available. As the food quantity is being controlled by humans there is no danger of the puppy overeating. This feeding schedule should carry on throughout the puppy’s life as it also reinforces the humans as dominant, in charge, and in control of all of the food.

Allowing a puppy to overeat can be habit forming, and may eventually lead to weight and health problems as the dog gets older, such as skeletal disorders, obesity, and diabetes. If your puppy needs vitamin and mineral supplements it should only be supplied on your veterinarian’s orders.

So now you know the basic do’s and don’ts of feeding your puppy, but at what age do you transition them to an adult diet?

Cavachon puppy in basketThe general rule for transitioning your pup towards an adult diet is when they reach about 80 to 90 percent of their adult weight. This is a guide only and changes depending on the breed of dog. Another rule of thumb is to wait until the dog is 7-8 months for smaller dogs such as Cavachons, 8-10 months for medium sized breeds, and at least a year for the biggest breeds. Larger breeds are prone to skeletal diseases if they don’t receive enough nutrients during their growing stage which explains the longer time frame.

When it is time to wean your dog off puppy food don’t just start immediately as this abrupt change may lead to diarrhea and stomach cramps – leaving the poor puppy feeling quite miserable. Instead, do it gradually over a period of two weeks or so. Mix in 75 percent puppy food with 25 percent adult food to start, and over the next few days gradually increase the ratio until the adult food makes up 100 percent of the meal.

Remember, puppy food is very rich when compared to adult dog food, so continuing to feed them puppy food well into their adult life is not doing them any favors, as it will eventually lead to health problems.