How To Use Crate Training To Housebreak A Dog

Posted on: 10 September 2014

Are you trying to housebreak a new pup? Housebreaking a dog is one of the first things that dog owners need to do, along with getting their dog's vaccinations at an animal hospital. One of the most effective methods of housebreaking a new dog—whether young or old—is by using crate training. Crate training involves a small, wire crate that becomes your dog's "den." Your dog, seeking not to soil its den, will not go to the bathroom until you let your dog out. This is an easy way of showing your dog where it is appropriate to go potty, but it needs to be done properly.

Get The Right Size Of Crate

Your dog's crate should be large enough for your dog to stand, turn and lie down comfortably. It should be no larger than this because your dog will not feel as safe and because your dog may begin to use the bathroom in the other side of the crate. If your dog is a puppy, you can usually get a crate that is sized larger and then use a divider to make it smaller temporarily. The divider can be moved as the puppy grows.

Make Your Dog's Crate Feel Like A Home

Decorate your dog's new home to make them feel comfortable! Your dog's crate should have a soft bed and some of their favorite toys; you can also include a shirt or two of yours to make your dog feel more comfortable. Do not include any hard toys or chews as your dog could choke while you are not there.

Schedule Your Dog's Potty Breaks

When you are first housebreaking your dog, you should be taking them out regularly. Every hour is good to start, and then you can slowly start drawing out the time in increments. The idea is to get your dog to associate going outside with using the bathroom. 

Don't Leave Your Dog Too Long

Your dog should never be left in a crate for longer than four hours and should not be left in a crate for more than twelve hours a day. Ideally, the crate is only used when you are sleeping or otherwise occupied. When your dog is not being crated, you should instead have it leashed and tied to your waist; this helps you notice when your pet needs to use the bathroom because they are in close proximity to you.

Never Use The Crate As Punishment

Ideally, your dog should see their crate as their home. They should be happy in their crate. Using the crate as punishment undoes all your good work because your dog will no longer see the crate as a den. Additionally, dogs really don't understand this type of punishment, so using a "time out" system is futile.

When done properly, your dog should be housebroken within just a week or so—of course, different dogs learn at different rates. Eventually, you should no longer need the crate—but don't get rid of it! Just open the door and let your dog go in and out. Your dog should love their crate and feel comfortable enough to sleep within it, even when not put inside.


Keeping Your Pets Healthy

After I started staying home full time instead of working, I realized that my pets weren't as healthy as I thought they were. They basically laid around the house all day, and I started growing increasingly concerned about their well-being. I wanted to know more about their health, so I visited a veterinarian in my area. He gave me a few really good tips on reducing their caloric intake and encouraging exercise. Now, I can say that my dogs are truly healthy and energetic. This blog is all about keeping your pets healthy so that you can continue to enjoy their company.