When you get a new puppy, the first thing you need to do with it – besides give it lots of hugs and kisses – is to establish boundaries. This is especially important when you are housebreaking your dog. There are a lot of different ways to do it, but one of the best ways is to crate train your dog.
How do you crate train your dog?
• Find an appropriately sized crate that your dog can grow into
When you bring your puppy home, it will be small and cute. However, it's important that you figure out approximately how big your puppy will get so that you buy a crate that's appropriately sized and will limit the amount of room your dog will have in the crate. If necessary, ask your vet or dog trainer to tell you what size crate to get.
• Use several crates around the house if appropriate
One of the best ways to crate train your dog is to place several crates around the house that you can put your dog into during the training period. If you can, make it possible for your dog to see you while it is in the crate rather than making it feel isolated. Having several crates around the house will allow you to crate your dog, yet keep it near you.
• Don't use the crate as punishment when an accident occurs
You want your dog to like its crate. Crate training is designed to teach your dog to wait to go to the bathroom until taken out and given permission to do so. If your dog does happen to have an accident in the crate, don't punish it for doing so. Instead, reward your dog with lots of praise whenever it successfully goes to the bathroom outside.
• Keep your dog on a schedule
Don't make your dog "hold" it when it has to go to the bathroom. Puppies especially need a schedule; take your puppy outside within 10 minutes after a meal or drink of water so that it can eliminate appropriately – with lots of praise. Adult dogs should be taken outside 20 minutes after breakfast and once or twice in the evening.
• Put your dog in the crate while you're at work and at night when you sleep
Put toys in the crate and a blanket for warmth. Make sure you stay on schedule with necessary walks and bathroom breaks so that the crate never becomes a place where the dog soils itself. The crate is meant to be a deterrent to this, since dogs do not like to soil their living spaces.
• Keep your pet's crate neat and clean
Buy a crate that will break down for cleaning easily and reassemble quickly. Keep the crate a pleasant place for your dog, and crate training will be accomplished much more easily.