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Crates, when used correctly, are an essential tool for having a happy dog. Crates are like the dog's own room or safe place. Since dogs don’t like to soil where they sleep, crates can be a very effective tool for housetraining! Even after he is housetrained you can keep the crate around for your dog to use.
- Start gradually by giving him his favorite toy or treat in his crate.
- Don't just put him in, shut the door and leave.
- Leave the gate open all day so he can go in and out as he wants.
- The crate should be big enough for your dog to stand up, turn around and lay down easily. You may even want to take your dog with you when shopping for a crate to get the right size.
- Make the crate inviting with blankets or soft cushions.
- Practice by shutting the gate and staying where your dog can see you. That way he won't think "crate equals mom leaving."
- Your dog may whine or cry when first in the crate. Give him a few minutes to calm down. Giving him his favorite toy or treat in the crate can help diminish his “protesting.”
- The crate should always be associated with good things. Don’t send him there as punishment because then he’ll think of the crate as a bad place. However, if your dog becomes distressed and hurts himself while in the crate, don't force him to stay in.
- Consult a trainer or behaviorist for professional help!
From the puppy who needs to go out in the middle of the night, to the older dog who was never allowed in the house, house training can test a family’s patience. House training can be broken into three basic parts: observe, prevent, reward.
Most dogs will give some type of warning that they need to go. It may be obvious like going toward the door or more subtle, like sniffing and circling.
When you see your dog give the “signal” take him outside immediately. Don’t wait until he is already going to try to get him outside.
Give your dog praise or treats when he goes outside. Gradually reduce the treats until praise is the only reward.
No matter how vigilant you are, your dog will still probably have an accident in the house. Do not punish your dog by yelling at him or putting his nose in the mess. This just teaches him to be afraid of you. Instead, clean it up and deodorize the area to remove the scent and decrease the chance of your dog going in that spot again.