Step-By-Step: How To Crate Train Your Dog

Crate Train Your Dog with Bulldog Pictured

Another long day at the office and what do you see when you come home?

Hopefully, not your dog’s daytime accidents.

No one likes cleaning up these little surprises, especially not in their own homes.

If you are tired of coming home to your untrained dog’s messes and looking for house training solutions, learn how to crate train your dog in this step-by-step guide to no more accidents.

More and more dog owners are using crate training these days, simply because it works.

The idea goes back to the natural canine instinct of a den with the crate being the den. Wild dogs use dens as a place of safety and comfort as they would eat and sleep in this cozy place.

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The dogs always left the den to do their business and returned home shortly afterwards, which goes hand in hand with the old saying, “One should not release themselves in the place one eats.”

If your dog is introduced to crate training properly, the same natural den instinct will be triggered in the back of your dog’s mind.

Step 1: The crate

The crate you choose to begin training will be slightly smaller than the crate you will want to use after the training is complete. The starter crate, if you will, should be big enough for your dog to stand up, turn around and lay down in.

If the crate is too big, your dog will simply do his business in the corner and move to the other side of the crate.

Crates with a plastic bottom are best for easy cleaning.

Step 2: Crate Introductions

Your dog’s crate should be seen as a place of comfort, so by placing a towel (one you would throw away) on the floor of the crate your dog will see it as a place of rest.

Associating food or treats with the crate is a positive crate training method. Dogs love food, so if you were to place a few treats inside the crate the dog will go inside and get them.

Try closing the door and push treats to your pooch through the wire, then open it again. Leave the crate with the door open for a couple days to get the dog accustomed to it.

Try placing his daily feedings inside the crate to associate the love of food with being inside the crate.

Step 3: Inside the Crate

Crating your dog requires routine and schedule. You must put him inside and take him out of the crate at about the same time every day to develop a habit.

If your job discourages you from returning home at the same time every day to let Fido out, crate training will not work in your situation.

Step 4. The Great Crate Schedule

Put Fido in the crate with a clean towel, toy and/or treat every day at the exact same time.

When you come home, let him out of the crate and go directly to the door to let him outside. Once he is outside, repeat a simple phrase for him to associate with as the correct time to relieve himself such as “go potty.”

Keep the phrase simple and to the point so your dog won’t become confused.

After Fido has relieved himself, return him back inside the house.

Crate training takes most dogs about a month to master and over time you will be able to use a bigger crate, or no crate at all.

Never scold the dog after an accident, unless you catch him in the act.

Dogs do not understand what they have done wrong when they did something an hour to five minutes ago. Simply say “no” in a stern voice and clean up the mess.

Be patient, don’t lose your temper with the dog or the dog will associate the crate as something bad, and all that training will have been for nothing.

Important Notes: If you are working with an older dog or a dog that comes from a puppy mill, it may take longer for these dogs to realize that they are not forced to go to the bathroom in the place where they sleep.

It is also helpful to note that puppies cannot be crate trained. Puppies have tiny bladders and require “outside time” several times a day.

Therefore, you are setting yourself up for disaster trying to crate train the little guy.

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If you have tried crate training for over a month and still are cleaning up unruly messes, consult your veterinarian.

You could be missing a serious health problem that is causing your dog to lose control of his actions, such as a bladder infection or muscle issue.

Training your dog with a crate to avoid accidents is not going to happen overnight. Fido isn’t going to just wake up one day and realize, “Hey, I should go outside to do my business.”

No, create training takes weeks if not longer to really get your dog to realize what you are wanting him to do.

As always, treats are a great way to reward your pooch for when he does wait to go outside and keeping patient is key.

By learning how to crate train your dog, you are on your way to no more accidents!

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