The purpose of crating a young dog or pup is to keep him safe while you cannot
directly supervise him and to teach him to control his bladder and bowels. This
is best done in a confined area and we've found that the crate is perfect for this.
Be sure the area is not larger than 2x the length of your dog's body and that it's
just tall enough for him to stand up. He will need to be in the crate long enough
to have to go. Because he's in a small space he won't want to mess up his "den"
so he will wait. You can put an old towel or blanket in with him and a chew toy
to keep him occupied. If you have a wire crate, it's best to remove any collars
that have tags as they can get caught in the bars of the crate.
Have the crate in your view or in an area where the family members are. If he
fusses too much you may have to move him to another room until he quiets down.
Don't reward barking in the crate with attention as that will reinforce the
barking. When he stops barking, then go see how he's doing and give him a
treat or some reassurance. For a 3 month old pup you should have him in the
crate at least an hour but not more than 3 hours at a time, if possible.
As soon as you get him out of the crate, take him outside to a selected area.
Don't take him for a walk as all the smells will be too distracting, but
just stay in one spot and let him pace in an area 5 to 10 feet. The pacing
will get things moving and once he's smelled all the smells in that area
he'll most likely go. When he goes, praise him or if you're using a clicker,
click at the end of the bowel movement and then give him a really juicy treat.
After he goes and he's back in side you can play with him or let him
play alone in a confined area no larger than a bathroom or mudroom, for
about 20-30 minutes. Then put him back in the crate so he can build up
enough time to have to go again. Let him have water as this will speed
the process. If he whines and paces, that may be a good indicator that
it's time. As you crate your dog longer and longer you will learn how
long he can hold it, but also it will strengthen his bladder so that
he can hold it longer. Remember, no longer than a 3 or 4 hour stretch
for young pup. You want to set him up for success, so don't wait too long.
If you take him outside and he doesn't go after about 3 or 4 minutes,
then take him back in and put him right into the crate. Then take him
out in one hour intervals. Each time he doesn't go, he goes back into
the crate. This is not punishment, but you'll need to confine him until
he learns to hold it and only "go" outside. By letting him have a playtime
after each urination or bowel movement he will also get the message
that there are rewards for going outside. Each time he has a success
let him play in the confined area a longer period of time. You may
find that in just a few days time he will be holding it longer and
longer and when you take him out he will do his business sooner and
sooner as he gets the message about what's expected. Remember not to play
with him when you go out, but let him be bored enough to do his business.
If he has accidents inside, don't scold him. He won't understand but
even worse he may associate going to the bathroom in front of you as
a bad thing and that could lead to problems with getting him to go
while on leash (because he won't want to get punished). If he's having
accidents, then he needs less free play time and more crate time until
you get him back on a schedule.
|Crating At Night
It's crucial that your new pup be crated at night and preferably
NOT have the crate in your bedroom.
Take him outside just before bedtime and then put him in his crate with
a soft blanket or towel.
- First thing in the morning, take the pup outside to go to the bathroom.
Give lots of praise when he goes, and promptly bring him in for breakfast.
- Feed your puppy in the crate, if possible, as it gives him a pleasurable
experience while in the crate. Within 10-20 minutes take him outside again
as he will often need a bowel movement shortly after eating.
- You should allow your puppy to eat until full, then pick up the bowl
and do not allow him to free feed. The reason is that you want him on a
schedule so that he will not have unexpected bowel movements. Dogs who
eat all day tend to go all day and house training is not as easy.
- Once he's had a bowel movement, praise him and bring him in to play.
He should be good for another 30 minutes or so.
- When you cannot supervise him, you should put him in the crate with
a chew toy to keep him busy.
- Puppies can generally "hold it" for an hour or two, so when the hour
is up, take him out again and praise him when he goes.
- You'll want to take him out before you retire for the night and then
again first thing the next morning. Crating at night will help teach your
pup to hold it through the night. If he whines in the middle of the night,
it may mean that he has to go. Most pups over 8 weeks can make it through
the night without incident, depending on the size of the dog, the larger
the better for ability to hold it.
Your pup may make mistakes in the beginning, but once he realizes that
he's going to get out of the crate for lots of pee and play time, then
he will learn to hold it longer and longer. As he's allowed more free
play time, leave the crate door open so he will be accustomed to
going in and out of his little den. Even after he's outgrown the use
of the crate, it's a great tool to have for trips or for when you
need to isolate him (example, when carpenters or cleaning people who
are apt to leave doors ajar are at your house). Remember, the
crate is a tool and the more consistent you are in the beginning,
the greater success you will have in the end.