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How Do You House Train Your Puppy?

Do you need a crate to house train your puppy or prevent chewing?

There is a school of thought that dog crates play no place in our world with dogs. The other school of thought is we can’t do without them.

Expect accidents in your home when you get a puppy. They do not have great bladder or bowel control until about 3 to 4 months old,

I believe there is a happy medium. Many times we hear the use of dog crates being abused and resulting in many very sad dogs. Dogs and puppies being subjected to hours at a time of forced solitude in a very small space and all in the name of sorting out house training and separation anxiety! Or prevent furniture being chewed.

IMO it is unnecessary and only serves to confine a puppy to one space and may well stress a puppy if he needs to relieve its self, left with options of uncomfortably holding on or messing his bed until the owner decides its time to perform. Its not natural.

Many are advised to crate their puppy from day one so it aids in the process of house/potty training or to stop chewing furniture.  Often, we come across dogs at the age of 4 months and beyond being subjected to long periods of isolation in crates for management of undesirable behaviours.

The best way to house train your puppy

When you get a puppy ensure you take your puppy out when it wakes and after food. Reward with a tidbit when it has performed. Put up with the odd accident, be vigilant but not over the top so you get a stress head of a puppy.

dog in crate

How to help teething puppies

We  know pups will go through teething, give them things they can chew on.

If you find they have something you don’t want them to chew. Swap it for something they can chew. When you are out, put them in an area that is free from wires and things which they could harm themselves on, providing you have fed and played with and given the puppy time to be a puppy he will sleep.

Leave soft music playing (icalmpet) and wean your puppy off your undivided presence to prevent separation anxiety  before you even consider a quick exit to the shops . We do not live in the ideal world there are times we have to leave them alone. They need to get used to this.

Keep your puppy safe when un-supervised

Many homes do not have a separate laundry room for the pup to be in where there are no wires or expensive table legs to dig their teeth into. In these instances then a large crate with the door shut for a short time is the best solution. Leave to door open when you are at home. Manage the situation rather than exclude him from your space or he will not be able to relax in your presence either.

Get the biggest crate your home can hold in the space you have. It needs to be seen as a place of refuge, not a prison. So if the pup also needs to relieve himself he has one end to do so away from his place of sleep.

Bladder control and bowel control happen as the pup matures,

You cannot force it but you can help it to know where it can go outside in the garden, local grass area or yard. I back away from puppy pads as this encourages your puppy to defecate in the home and invariably they chew and play with them.

Do not be precious about the area your pup has been assigned to for a long time as you will then end up with a dog that has accidents through stress or fear.

dog looking through crate barsDog crates have their place in some peoples homes

BUT I believe that the door should always remain open. It is a place the pup should be able to go to where he feels relaxed away from the hustle and bustle of daily living. A place he can call his own, where no one encroaches, his special space. Covered to make it cosy and inviting where he cannot be peered in at or feel cornered. How many dogs will sleep under tables or chairs to get away from it all, a place they can truly relax? Isn’t it easier if they have their very own covered area just for them? Door open so they get a choice.

Choices for dogs and puppies is important

When we bring up pups we have to give them choices and not force any behaviour we want or it becomes a fear. So if you don’t force the crate it will not be an issue, it is just a bed.

By having a crate with the door open it teaches the pup through adolescence to adulthood that it’s a good place to be. So when you then have to crate in the car or at the groomers or vets then it is no big deal when you have to shut a door on them.

So be a wise owner and DO NOT use a crate as a prison or a correction and prevention tool. Work with your puppy as he grows. Show him how you like things and giving him choices.

Dog crates should not be used to confine a dog in the home, they should not be used as your solution to separation anxiety issues, sort the problem do not mask it, you still have a sad dog.

by Caroline Spencer

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4 responses to “How Do You House Train Your Puppy?

  1. Have always used a crate with my dog – it is large enough for him to walk around in and is covered. He chooses to go in and out during the day and often settles in there to sleep if he is not up on the sofa with us. However when we go out or at night he goes in and the door is closed. We have tried leaving the door open but he gets distressed within seconds of us going out of the door and starts barking. As long as we close the gate before we leave he just curls up and goes to sleep! We have tried getting him a bed to sleep in but he wants the crate.

  2. I foster ex breeders from Puppy farms and if they are particularly scared they appreciate a crate as a bolt hole. These are not normal dogs, many of them have been terrorised by pup farmers all their lives. They appreciate a sanctuary, covered with a towel or blanket and next to another beating heart. I never close the door. Sometimes feed them there and they sleep in my bedroom, so I am sure they are ok through the night.
    The thing that worries me using a crate is when people want rest from a pup or use it as punishment.
    I also use crates to make sure the fosters travel in the car safely, my dogs are ok in the back of the car.
    Some dogs love their crates, but it is always down to the intention of the owner, security for the dog or a short cut to making life easier.
    A Puppy/Dog comes with a certain amount of work.

  3. With our first dog, he loved his crate and sometimes used it as a safe haven when younger kids were in my house. Our new dog detests it, every time we have tried to use it, we have ended up with him crying, howling and defecating himself. I just cannot cause him any more distress so it’s been banished to our shed.

  4. Hi Susan,

    Thank you for your comment 🙂 I completely agree! Using them to get ‘free time’ away from your pup or as a means to punish is very not cool at all!

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