When a brand new puppy arrives at the house, it really is a very exciting time for everybody.
So, for the puppy homecoming to go as smoothly as possible, it really is a great idea to spend a bit of time getting everything prepared.
Having worked in foster care and more specifically with puppies, one of the biggest challenges of owning a new puppy (especially for first-time owners) is the method, and sometimes issues of house training.
With all my own puppies, and the ones I foster I have always used the puppy crate training and schedule method which has always been the quickest and most successful.
I can guarantee if you gain some basic knowledge and approach it with a positive attitude it really is a lot easier than a lot of people make it out to be.
In this article I hope to help you with your decision on puppy crate training and outline a schedule to help you make this method an easy and successful one.
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The Puppy Is Coming Home.
The moment you get your puppy home you will need to take them outside.
Your puppy has either been on one of the most exciting rides of their little life so far with unfamiliar sights, sounds and smells, or one of the most nerve racking either way they will be busting to go to the toilet.
When you do this try to take them to the spot you are going to use as the place you will take them as part of their toilet training, this will start the process of toilet breaks are to be outside.
I explain this in an article I wrote – How To Toilet Train My Puppy – Every Owners Dream which you are welcome to read by simply clicking on the title.
Doing this from the very start is not just a matter of short term hygiene, it is also acting as a behavior removal, in other words the more your puppy goes to toilet in the house the more likely they are going to do it again and
Bringing your puppy home for the first time should be the start of their toilet behaviors moving forward! So,
- Take them to the area you have decided will be the toilet place moving forward and put them on the grass.
- Be patient as you may have to wait a bit while they sniff around. I know these are exciting times but you need to make sure you don’t start petting them. The last thing you want to do is for them to associate this place with fun and games! This is a toilet area only.
- When they do start to go to the toilet make sure you use a phrase like wee time, or go wee or anything that you have decided fits best. My advice with this one is to make it as short and easily recognized as possible so your dog can pick this association up quickly.
- When they are done, make a giant fuss over them, give them as much praise, cuddles and possibly one of the many treats I know you have gotten in preparation for this homecoming. BUT ALWAYS!! take them away from this toilet area before doing this, remember I said earlier this is a toilet break area and it cannot be associated with fun and games.
Now, when you take them into the house, the puppy crate training and schedule you’ve decided upon should start immediately.
In all my years of owning and working with dogs I truly believe that crate training from a puppy is the most effective and successful way of house training your puppy in the shortest amount of time.
What Is Crate Training?
Crate-training is basically the use of a small indoor kennel that you will keep your puppy in when you can’t be there to look after them.
How Does Puppy Crate Training Work?
As a general guideline and what I found was the cheapest and best long term option was to get a crate that your dog will grow into. It should be big enough for your dog when fully grown to move about in comfortably without having to crouch move around in and of course to stretch out, because trust me once your puppy gets used to their crate this will be their haven for years to come.
Now, I hear you saying I am sure Mark said earlier that the crate should only be a little bigger than the puppy? And you are correct which is why I will give you my two options below:
You can go out and get a crate you know will be large enough for your puppy when they become fully grown, and if you are handy you will make a divider that will split the sleeping area inside the cage to suit the size of your puppy.
You then continue to do this as the puppy grows making sure that the area is never any bigger than what I mentioned beforehand
There are also some crates on the market that have the divider included.
With this option you will simply look for the cheapest possible crate available, again sticking with the size rule we have discussed and simply replace the crate as you puppy grows.
I personally recommend option 1 as it will work out easier in the long run and as I said this will be a place your dog will end up growing to love and head to every time they want to chill out!
I have used both options with equal success.
Using The Crate For House Training.
Okay, so how does crate training work?
Your puppy will be in their crate unless they are eating, sleeping (while you are home) outside with you on a toilet break or playing with you inside, which is what I call active supervision.
I really can’t stress this enough, you really need to be consistent with this while puppy crate training otherwise I can tell you right now this won’t work!
If you start letting little fur ball wander around the house unsupervised before they are properly house-trained, what you are saying to them in reality, is the house is the toilet please go anywhere you like!
And another thing to put in the memory bank is, that each time they do this it will be so easy for them to do it again and again and again and again – You get my point.
A Sample Schedule.
With my work I am very lucky these days as I work from home which Is why I volunteered with an animal refuge where I specialize in getting puppies ready for their new homes with the crate training already completed.
The schedule I have outlined below works for me, however this is only an example and you can change this to suit your families life style.
The main thing is to be consistent.
Puppies Crate Training Schedule
6.00am: Wakey Wakey Its time to get up. Puppy comes outside with you for a toilet break.
6:30am: As puppies this is when I give them breakfast.
6:45am: Take them back outside to the toilet spot and stay with them.
6.50am: The best part of my day, Puppy Play Time! Your puppy will be out of their crate and inside with you for fun, cuddles and some great times!
7:10am: After the excitement it is back outside for a toilet break.
7:10am – 10:30am: Your puppy is into the crate for a well-earned sleep. The first few times they will cry, you must ignore this as hard as that might be for some of us. You will thank me in the end.
10:30am: Puppy comes outside with you for another toilet break.
10:40am – 11:00am: Some outdoor playtime, cuddles, pats, and basic training (Sit, Come and Stay) but do not stress too much about them getting it right this is still their fun-time. There will be time for training soon and I have outlined some great tips and tricks in an article I wrote not long ago, How To Train A Puppy At Home – Sounds Impossible? Which you are welcome to have a read of.
11:30am: Lunch time for both me and the puppies!
11:45am: Take your puppy back outside for a toilet break.
11:45am – 2pm: Puppy goes back into the crate for a sleep.
Then you simply keep doing this throughout the day.
From my experience crate training generally takes about 6 weeks, however that can depend on the breed of dog and how much time you are spending on the training process and your schedule.
What you do then is, as the puppy gets older you can start to lessen the amount of time you have them spending in the crate. But be careful not to do this to quickly.
Some Other Crate Training Rules
Some puppies are happy as a pig in poop to go into their crate from day one and others not so!
A lot of puppies want to be outside with you getting all the cuddles and attention they know they get every time they are out.
But remember this really is for their own good (And yours) and if you have followed everything, I have laid out here and possibly what I have covered in my other articles, in a noticeably short amount of time they will come to simply accept their crate as their very own doggy haven where they can go to chill out and get some peaceful and uninterrupted sleep.
For the family, it is SO important not to give in to the crying and whimpering that more than likely will happen initially.
The best place for you to have the puppy crate is right in the middle of where the family is most of the time, this could be the kitchen/dining area, somewhere all the family usually hangs at.
It is important to remember that just because they are in a crate, it does not mean that they cannot still feel like they are a part of the family.
You never want to make your puppy feel alone or isolated as this will lead to other behavioral problems later in their life.
The crate needs to be a very welcoming, inviting, and comfortable place for your puppy.
I suggest laying some nice soft, thick blankets down for them, place one or two of their chew toys inside and always leave the crate door open unless it is a designated crate time.
You will soon see that they will start heading to their crate when ever they feel like resting, they now see this as their own little den.
Some Handy Toilet Facts About Puppies.
Puppies’ bladders and bowels are so small and weak that they need only a really small window of opportunity between knowing that they have to go to the toilet, and having that feeling become real.
So, because of this, it is so important that you make sure that you take them outside as soon as they wake up ( Don’t worry with time they will let you know this by scratching at the door and whining), and within five minutes of eating or playing.
Some things your puppy may do to let you know they need to go to the toilet are sniffing/smelling the ground and then circling that area.
Again, because they are still only young, they won’t be able to show you these warning signs for very long – so as soon as they start, take them out right away to our toilet spot we mentioned earlier in this article.
It is better to have an uneventful trip to the garden than a wet patch on the rug or carpet!
I have always used the following methods to work out how long a puppy can be crated for at any one time and that is the puppies age, plus one month. This time will obviously be longer once the family goes to sleep.
So with that method a 3-month-old puppy could be crated for 4 hours, however that is a fair amount of time to be cramped up with nothing to do, not to mention probably a little boring and uncomfortable!
As I said this is fine while you are sleeping but stick with the schedule if you are home and of course if she is still sleeping just let her wake up naturally. The schedule doesn’t have to be set in stone; it just needs to be consistent for it to work.
For a greater look at house training along with some really helpful information on dog behavior problems and the most effective training methods to address these you can check out The Ultimate House Training Guide which is a complete dog house training guide through Kingdom Of Pets.
Did We Cover Everything For Puppy Crate Training?
I sincerely hope you enjoyed this article on Puppy Crate Training and Schedule and if you have any more questions on this or would like to leave your own personal training tips or advice please feel free to leave a comment below and I will respond to them as soon as possible.
May Your Home Be Filled With Love And Dog Hair!
Founder of our Dogs World 101