*lt helps immensely with potty training
*It prevents them from getting into something toxic, or that can cause an obstruction in their bowels that would need to be surgically removed.
*lt also teaches the dog to feel comfortable in the crate, so when he comes into the Vet practice to be fixed, he is not scared of the cage. I see a huge difference in anxiety at the hospital, when dogs are not taught to be in the den/crate. You never know when, or for how long, the puppy (or dog of any age) may need to be hospitalized. Don't add to the stress of hospitalization, by having the puppy uncomfortable in a crate.
*lf you ever have an emergency, and he need to go to a boarding facility that only has cages, he will feel more comfortable if he is already comfortable with the crate situation.
*Some people use the crate for traveling in the car.
*It gives the puppy/dog a safe place to go when they have "had enough", and want to be left alone.
Where is the best place to put the crate?
Where ever it is most convenient for you. Some people want it in their room. Others in the high traffic area, such as the kitchen. Others want it in the basement. If you have the puppy in your room, they will likely want to sleep in your room for the rest of their life. That is fine, if you can tolerate a dog barking and snoring in their sleep.
How to Crate Train
Please remember that there is more than one way to do things that could both be correct. The main thing is that you are consistent, and persistent. That does not mean that if a method is not working for you, you can not change it. Just be consistent, and persistent with the new method.
In the wild, dogs live in dens. The crate is meant to mimic the den. They know where all 4 sides are, and it makes them feel safe. The crate will help to potty train the puppy, and to prevent the puppy from swallowing something that could cause a life-threatening obstruction. The longer that your puppy is allowed to have accidents in the house, the longer it will take to potty train. The crate gets them potty trained very quickly. It is also a safe place for them to go to, if they do not want to be bothered. Please do not wait until your puppy has swallowed something and gotten very sick, to decide that it is time to crate train them. If you start right away it is very easy. If you feed your puppy in the crate, he will love it.
For the first 48 hours after you get your new puppy, keep a log of when he needs to urinate, defecate, eat, play, etc. I recommend having them sleep in your room for the first 2 nights. The puppy will be leaving all of the things that he knows, and it can be scary for them. Feed him at the same time every day. Please note here, that the whimper or cry of a 7-9 week old puppy, and a rustling in his cage, means that he has to go out. When he naps put him in the crate. When he is older, do not let him out of the crate if he is crying/whining/digging, etc. This is positive reinforcement for bad behavior. Let him out only when he stops crying. You will see the difference of the barks.
Here are the general guidelines for when he will have to urinate and/ or defecate:
-First thing in the morning
-15 minutes after eating
-Every 15-20 minutes during play time (i.e. if play time is 1 hour, you may have to take the baby out 3-4 times!)
-Anytime you take the puppy out of the den (crate)
He should be in his den (crate) if you are not watching each and every move he makes. A quiet puppy is a dangerous puppy!!!! If he is quiet, something is keeping him busy!!! If you are cooking, cleaning, etc., and not watching him, he should be in the crate. The less accidents and mischief he gets into, the quicker the potty training and chewing will be. Again, do not let him out if he barks. This will make him bark louder, longer next time (and make for unhappy neighbors down the road)!
Here is an example schedule:
7am Take puppy out of crate and carry him, with his leash on, outside to go potty.
Feed him in the den (crate).
Aprrox.10 minutes later, take him out the same as above. If he does not go, put back in den and try 10-15 minutes later.
Once he has gone potty, puppy can play with you as you try to wake up, and eat. Remember, he may have to go out 15 minutes later
Love and kiss him
Puppy goes back in to den (crate) for nap.
10am Take puppy out of crate and carry him, with his leash on, outside to go potty.
Play with puppy, get him tired. Lots and lots of exercise to prevent behavior problems!!!!! Love and kiss him
Den (crate) for nap time
lpm Feed in crate
Walk him approx 10 min later to go potty. If he does not go, put back in den and try 10-15 minutes later.
Play with puppy outside if not hot, humid, raining, snowing, etc; or play inside.
Den for nap.
4pm Out to go potty
Have the kids get puppy good and tired (as you probably are already good and tired)
Remember if you are inside, he will have to go out every 15 minutes during play time. Also remember to clean areas with Nature's Miracle or Petastic where he has an accident.
Den to nap
7pm Outside to go potty.
Feed puppy in crate, and 10-15 minutes later take him out to go potty......
Have puppy hang out with you. Watch for those sniffs, and turns, indicating that he has to to potty.
11pm Walk puppy one last time
Den for night.
3am Outside to go potty. This is a business meeting only. No treats. No love. When he goes potty, just a quick "good go potty". If you give him treats and love, he will keep waking you up in the middle of the night!
Put in den.
How Long Can They Be Crated?
As a general guideline:
At 2 months, they can hold it for 3 hours.
At 3 months, they can hold it for 4 hours.
Each puppy is an individual. Use that log that you kept for the first 48 hours to determine what your individual puppy's schedule is like. As they get older, they will drop out some of the times that they have to go potty.
Remember, they may still have accidents at first. The more you watch them, the less accidents, the quicker they will be trained!!! Watch the puppy well after you come inside from him going potty. Sometimes they get distracted, and do not finish their business outside, then need to go again within moments of coming back in. They are not being spiteful, just puppies.
If the puppy falls asleep on the floor (kitchen) should we move them to the crate?
Yes. The more they sleep in the crate, the more comfortable they will feel in there.
You mention in your puppy schedule to walk the dog at approx. 3:00 a.m what if the puppy is sound asleep should you wake them or wait till they wake?
No. This was just an example schedule; and to prepare you for the fact that you may have to wake up at night.
Remember, for the first 2 days that you get the puppy, I recommend keeping a log of when the puppy urinates and defecates. If you feed your puppy at the same time every day, they will continue to follow their schedule pretty closely.
My puppy will yelp when we put her back in crate after 2am and 5 am outings, she just has so much energy then, after 3 or so hours of sleep. But we are trying not to establish that as play time, any suggestions?
As with most "problems" exercise is key. If you get the puppy really good and tired during the day, they are much more likely to sleep through the night.
During the night outings, make it very matter of fact. Keep lights low, and don't talk to the puppy. Just out of crate, outside, and back into crate.
You could try to have the puppy sleep in someone's room. Dogs are pack animals, and she may just want to be with the pack. This is not a problem, if you wish to always have the puppy sleep with you, and if the puppy has some alone time during the day. ie. if you are with the puppy all day, and you have her with you all night, she could develop separation anxiety when you are gone.
This phase will be very short-lived, especially in comparison to children!
Cynthia Mazzola DVM has been working in the Veterinary field for over 30 years. In addtion, she has been breeding and training Labrador Retrievers for over 30 years.
Make Our House Call Vet YOUR house call Vet.