One of the BIGGEST challenges of owning a puppy is potty training. It’s a huge issue for most dog owners, and if you’re reading this article then I’m sure you’re finding this out the hard way. Am I right?
If you’ve done your research, you know that the first step in this process is crate training. Puppies and dogs both like their sleeping quarters to be clean. In the wild, wolves keep their dens impeccably clean, leaving their “houses” to eliminate outside the den. They don’t like to potty where they sleep! Learning how to crate train a puppy is the first step.
So, as good dog owners we need to replicate this system. We do this by choosing a crate that is big enough to allow the puppy to stand, sit, and turn around in but small enough that he can’t eliminate in a corner and be able to get away from it in the other side of the crate. When you choose the right crate, the process becomes simple. All you’ll need besides the crate is a washable dog bed to keep him comfortable.
But we’re not done yet!
Crate training puppies can be a little more difficult than training fully grown dogs. Older dogs seem to catch on a lot easier. Take my Labrador mix for example! She was nearly a year old when I adopted her and she caught on immediately. Whereas my Pomeranian, who I adopted as a small puppy, was terribly stubborn. Sometimes it just takes puppies longer to understand!
One of the biggest challenges of this process is crate training puppies at night. I hear owners complaining about this ALL the time! Oftentimes new puppies become frightened. Just think about it… they’re in a strange place without their mother or siblings. That’s terribly scary for a little puppy! Crate training puppies at night often comes along with a lot of crying, whimpering, and digging.
In some cases, the whining and crying that comes with crate training puppies at night is just them telling you that they need to go outside. A puppies bladder is not as big as a full grown dog. They simply can’t hold it that long, and until your puppy gets a little older, you may have to sacrifice a little sleep each night to take him or her outside.
In other cases, your puppy may just be crying for attention. This is the downside to crate training puppies. They don’t like to be left alone for long! But your puppy must learn to sleep the night through, and if you want your puppy not to grow up to be spoiled (just like children, spoiled dogs are not nice to be around) then you need to ignore it. If you have to put the crate in another room, then do it. You will be doing more harm than good and reinforcing this bad behavior by catering to your puppy every time he wants out. Eventually he’ll learn that he doesn’t get what he wants (a.k.a. to get out of the crate!) by crying, and he will stop.
Another tip for crate training that I am going to offer up is to stick to a schedule.
At night, before bed, don’t give your puppy food or water after seven o’clock. Take him out right before you go to bed, and make sure you take him IMMEDIATELY outside. If this means picking him up and carrying him to the yard, then do it. If you give him even the slightest chance, he will potty on your favorite rug!
Now that you know how to crate train a puppy, you have the tools you need to continue the training process which will last his whole life. Good luck!