The Care and Well-being of Dogs
One of the most important things we will train our dog to do is potty training. Certainly it is best to potty train your dog to go outside instead of using pads especially if you want your dog to eventually go outside exclusively. It will only confuse the dog if you train to go inside sometimes and outside other times.
I will explain to you how to potty train your dog using a crate. Using a crate actually speeds up the potty-training process.
The best way is to stick to one area and that area should be outside of the house. Certainly it is the most common way to go. It does not matter the age of the dog as all dogs can follow the same method. Certainly it is not as difficult as you may think as dogs are very smart. Most catch on quickly.
Actually, potty training for dogs can be easier than you think as long as you are committed and consistent with your guidance. First and foremost, your dog needs a daily schedule.
Be sure to have a scheduled daily routine for your dog. Feed them at the same time each day (twice a day for most dogs). After 20 minutes, any uneaten food should be taken away. You don’t want them to eat throughout the day whenever they want. Otherwise, they may have to “go” at all different times throughout the day.
Some people think using a crate for training is cruel. Certainly it is actually quite the opposite. Crates rank as a high potty training tool. They make life easier for everyone. Dogs usually end up loving their new space.
When choosing a crate for your dog, make sure there is enough room for him to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably. He should not hit his head on the ceiling when standing and he should be able to stretch out without being cramped.
The best way to begin introducing the crate to your dog is to exercise your dog first. It will reduce anxiety and you will have a more cooperative dog. Who doesn’t want that, right?
I would put the crate in an area where your dog likes to sleep or sit around in the house or put in a place where the family will be so they are not alone. You may need to move the crate around depending on if the family will be in a certain area of the house for a long period. Add a soft blanket or a crate mat inside to make it comfy.
First, let your dog sniff the crate and become familiar with it. Give your dog a small treat near the crate so he can start to associate it as a positive experience. Open the door(s) to the crate and leave them open. You want your dog to naturally go inside and not be forced in.
If your dog does not go in, try dropping a treat inside the crate. Make it fun. Add toys in the crate that your dog loves. This will introduce the crate in an exciting way. You can throw the toy in the crate so your dog will have to go in and get it. When he goes in there, slowly close the door and throw a treat in through the crate. Then open the crate and let him out again. Repeat this a couple of times so the dog gets used to the crate.
Never force your dog inside or yell at him to go inside. This will only make your dog fearful of the crate and associate it with negativity.
Feeding your dog inside the crate will make it a more pleasurable place. For more fearful dogs, try feeding him right outside the crate instead. I used to feed my dogs inside their crate on a daily basis. They would go in there on their own and expect to eat from inside the crate. I would also put their water in there. That also helps to prevent them from going potty in the crate as they will not go where they eat and sleep.
Make the crate like a bedroom. It will be his place to sleep and be comfortable. He will relax in there and it will be his personal space. It can be several days or up to a week for your dog to feel comfortable, however most dogs will be fine in a few days at most. Your ultimate goal is getting your dog complacent with going inside.
Eventually, your dog will go in there on his own. It will be a sense of security for him. After he is potty-trained you can leave the door(s) to the crate open for him so he can go in and out at his own leisure. Later on, you can remove the crate all together.
Once your dog embraces the crate as his personal space, it is time to potty train. If the dog is not directly under your supervision, he should be in the crate. This way you can monitor him.
You should take a young dog out approximately every 30 min or so and older dogs about every hour. Older dogs can hold “it” for several hours, however for training purposes it is good to try each hour.
When you remove the dog from the crate, take him directly outside, preferably to same area. Tell your dog to “go potty” or whatever term you want to use. Make sure you use the same words each and every time so your dog does not get confused. I would also point in the direction of where to go.
Repeat “go potty” right as you see your dog getting ready to go or if he is in the middle of going. I always found it best, to repeat the words “go potty” right in that moment. That way, he has no choice but to do what you are commanding as he is already in the act. When he is done, praise and pet him. Let your dog know he or she is a “good boy” or “good girl”. You can also give him treats as a reward
When should you praise your dog for going potty outside? Always! I praised my dogs their entire lives. It became habit after a while. Neither one of my dogs ever had an accident in the house after learning.
Hint: Don’t raise your voice too loudly when giving commands, simply say it in a calm but firm tone. You don’t want to scare your dog.
Remember, mistakes happen! There will be times when your dog will go to the bathroom in the house. Unless you catch him in the act, do not say anything to him. He will not understand if you yell at him or tell him “no” after the fact. Dogs are “in the moment” kind of animals. Simply, clean up the mess and move on.
If you do catch your dog going potty in the house and I mean actually see him in the act, then simply tell him “no” in a firm voice and take him outside immediately and say, “go potty.” If he goes outside, praise him. He may or may not go. It depends on if he was finished but hopefully he’ll get the idea that you want him to do his business outside and not in the house.
I would keep the crate near your bed at nighttime so he does not feel alone or abandoned. The first few nights you will have to take him out about every few hours or sooner depending on your situation. Just remember when you remove him from the crate, take him outside immediately.
Do not crate a puppy for longer than it can hold its bladder. If you do, this will give the puppy no choice but to potty in the crate. If this happens time and time again, it can set back your training possibly weeks.
As soon as you get up in the morning, take your dog out of the crate and directly outside to go potty. When you have him outside, point to the area you want him to go and again, say, “go potty.” You want to keep this a consistent routine for your dog. As I mentioned before, always pet and praise your dog after he goes outside. That will encourage him to do it again the correct way.
If all the training after several weeks does not help, you may want to take your dog to a veterinarian to rule out any medical issues.
Being patient and consistent are so important as well as positive reinforcement. I know you want your canine friend to learn right away, however all dogs are different. Some will learn in a few days whereas others in a few weeks. Hopefully this article will help you train your dog in an affirmative way.
The idea is to instill good habits while building a loving bond.
Happy crate training!
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