Just recently I met a new client with an 8 week old puppy that had questions about potty training. It seems they were misinformed that this puppy they had just received was "completely" potty trained and the following Monday they left for work for 9 hours and left him with a potty pad in the kitchen with free rein of their house. They were disappointed and confused to find messes every where upon returning home and thankfully reached out to a trainer (me) to help them.
After explaining to them that an 8 week old puppy can no way be completely potty trained at that age and that leaving him to roam the house was probably not the best idea, I started telling them about my sure-fire way of potty training, which involves crate training and received shock from them as to why I would recommend such a torturous thing!
Dogs don't think being in a crate is torture. In fact, research shows that dogs are den animals and really enjoy the comfort of a crate. Think of a crate as your dog's private relaxation place where he can go to get some R&R when the house is too busy, when guests are over around stressful holidays or a safe place to sleep at night.
Crates have so many positive functions that I hope more people will crate train their puppies and dogs.
- Puppies will not potty in their den, therefore a crate is a great way to potty train a puppy. The crate must not be too large for the puppy to potty in the back and lay in the front though. Large enough for the pup to turn around and lay stretched out.
- Crates are a safe place to put the pup when you are busy and can't tend to him (further avoiding accidents and chewing things in the house).
- Many of my clients also use the crate as a time-out zone when puppy has done something wrong and needs some time to calm down.
- Pups should sleep in the crate at night to ensure no midnight romping, peeing or snacking when you are sleeping!
- In addition to a crate, some owners who will be gone for too long, will attach a pen to the crate so the pup has a potty spot if they are gone for over the length of time the pup can hold it.
- For a fully trained dog, an open crate is a place of refuge during times of stress (when children are visiting, when another dog is visiting, changes in lifestyle etc).
- As per my previous post, crates are also great ways to transport a dog in the car.
- If a dog is crate trained, there will be less stress involved for air travel, boarding at the vet or boarding facility and pet sitters are very appreciative to owners that crate trained their dogs!
- If your dog ever has surgery and is prescribed cage rest, there won't be stress associated with crating a dog that is unfamiliar with it.
- Visiting a friend or going to a hotel? Friends, family and hotel owners appreciate crate trained dogs that will not be destroying rooms or getting into things when their owner is away!
- Thinking about taking up a dog sport in the future? When it isn't your dog's turn, they must be crated.
Dogs can be crate trained at any age, it is just easier in puppyhood and has more applications if started sooner. If you would like more information, check out this link: http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/dogs/tips/crate_training.html