The Key To Successful Housetraining
Is Prevention, Not Punishment
Veterinary Exam & Urine/Fecal
Your puppy's state of health will affect his ability to be successfully housetrained (housebroken).
Make sure your puppy is seen by a vet within 48 hours of his coming home from the breeder or animal shelter. If your puppy
does not receive a "clean bill of health", it is important that any physical conditions that can impede successful housetraining
(such as cystitis, bladder infection, etc.) be properly treated. A fecal check will determine whether worms or internal parasites
are present. (There are several types of worms that are not visible except under a microscope. Also, fleas can cause tapeworm.)
Feed Your Puppy A High-Quality Puppy Food
A consistent diet of a high-quality premium
brand dry (kibble) puppy food is recommended. Avoid feeding your puppy table scraps or changing brands unnecessarily. If you
should need to change your puppy's food for any reason, do it gradually over a period of 4 to 7 days (by overlapping both
the old and the new puppy food together, until the old food is phased out completely). [Note: Feeding your puppy lots of canned
dog food can loosen his stool, making it harder to housebreak him.]
Close Supervision Is
Close supervision is essential any time your puppy is not crated indoors (or confined
to a small area covered with newspapers) . It only takes a few seconds for your puppy to have a housesoiling accident, so
watch for signs that your puppy may need to eliminate, such as sniffing the floor, circling, or running out of sight suddenly.
Confinement When Puppy Can't Be Supervised
Crate Training or area confinement are recommended
for puppies and most adolescent dogs when left unsupervised alone in the house. If properly introduced and used appropriately,
crate training is an efficient and humane way to prevent housetraining accidents as well keep your puppy safe when you can
not watch him (or when you leave the house/apartment without him). The crate should not be used for excessive periods of time
and should not be used as a punishment (although brief "time outs" in the crate are fine). Sufficient daily companionship,
interactive playtime and exercise are very important to all puppies and dogs.
[Note: Crate training and other forms
of confinement must be balanced with sufficient exercise and companionship. Excessive periods of isolation can be very detrimental
to your puppy, and can contribute to numerous behavioral problems including hyperactivity, destructive behavior, digging,
self-mutilation, and excessive barking.]
Determine Puppy's Safety Zone, Grey Zone &
Keep a diary of your puppy's urinating and defecating times for several days or
more. Determine the minimum interval between elimination. Subtract 15-30 minutes from this period of time and that will be
your puppy's temporary "Safety Zone". This is the duration of time he can generally be trusted to hold his urine after he
is taken for a walk or has "gone" on his newspapers, provided he does not drink a ton of water during this time. Make sure
however, that he is still closely supervised any time he is not confined to his crate or confinement area.
Frequent Access To Newspapers, Backyard, Or Taken For A Walk If Fully Immunized
need to urinate shortly after the eat, drink water, play, chew, or sleep. For most puppies over 10 weeks of age, that means
somewhere between 5 and 10 times a day! Adolescent dogs (from 6 to 11 mths. old) will need 4 to 6 walks a day. Adult dogs
need 3 to 4 walks a day, and elderly dogs need at least 3 to 4 walks daily (incontinent dogs will need more).
Do Not Return From A Walk Until Your Puppy Eliminates
If your puppy has been confined
overnight to a crate, take him outside first thing in the morning (before he's had a chance to soil indoors.) Be prepared
to stay outdoors with him until he eliminates. (This could take from a few minutes to as much as several hours!) As soon as
your puppy eliminates outdoors, offer him lavish praise and a treat. If you take your puppy back inside the house before he's
fully eliminated, he will surely have an housesoiling accident indoors!
[Note: If you absolutely have to return home
before your puppy does his "business", crate him, then try taking him outside again every 15-30 minutes until he "goes".]
Early Interactive Socialization With People Is Important
Early and ongoing interactive
socialization with lots of friendly new people (including calm friendly children) is very important. If your puppy is not
immunized sufficiently to taken for a walk, make sure to have lots of new people visit your puppy in your home. You can also
carry your puppy outdoors to public places to properly acclimate him to the sights, sounds and activities of the outdoors
(especially crowds of people and traffic noises) soon after he has received at least two series of shots, provided he is not
placed on the sidewalk or streets, and he is not brought near other dogs (or anywhere other dogs might have been).
Praise & Reward Your Puppy For "Going" Outdoors
Lavish paise, a trigger word (ie:
"potty", "get busy", "business", "bombs away", etc.) and a treat reward immediately following his eliminating in the right
place (newspapers, backyard, or outdoors) will help you to communicate to your puppy that you are pleased with his behavior.
Delayed praise is not effective, so witnessing him going in the right spot is important.
Access To Inappropriate Areas To Eliminate
Many puppies and dogs prefer certain areas or surfaces
to eliminate on, such as rugs, carpeting, etc. Keep your puppy away from risky areas or surfaces whenever possible. If your
puppy suddenly runs out of sight (ei: out of the room), he may be looking for a secret spot to eliminate, so close doors to
rooms where he may sneak a quick pee or poop.
Neutralize Urine Odors With Enzyme-Based Deodorizer
Should your puppy have a few housesoiling accidents despite your best efforts to prevent them, neutralize any soiled
areas (carpet or floor surface) with an pet odor neutralizer such as Nature's Miracle, Nilodor, Fresh 'n' Clean, or Outright
Pet Odor Eliminator. Avoid using ammonia-based cleaners to clean up after your puppy's urine, as ammonia breaks down to urea,
which is a component of urine.
No Water After 9PM
speaking, it is advisable to take up your puppy's water bowl after 9 PM, unless he seems very thirsty or weather conditions
are exceedingly hot. (But a couple of ice cubes are OK)
Eliminate Worms and Parasites
Contact your veterinarian if you suspect that your puppy has worms, coccidia, fleas, ticks, or other internal or external
Diarrhea Will Prevent Housetraining Success
puppy or dog cannot be expected to be reliable if he has diarrhea. Loose, liquidy or mucousy stools will hinder any housetraining
After-The-Fact Discipline Does NOT Work!
discipline (verbally or otherwise) your puppy or dog after-the-fact for housesoiling accidents that you did not actually witness.
(Even if you should see your puppy eliminate on the floor or carpet, harsh physical punishment is never recommended.)
Never Discipline A Dog For Submissive Urination!
Submissive and excitement urination
are completely involuntary, so never discipline your puppy for this. Eye contact, verbal scoldings, hovering over, reaching
out to pet your puppy's head, animated movements, talking in an exciting or loud voice, as well as strangers/ visitors approaching
your puppy, may all potentially trigger your puppy to piddle. Disciplining your puppy for involuntary piddling must be avoided
or the problem will simply get worse.
Providing your puppy or dog with an indoor kennel crate can satisfy many dogs' need for a den-like enclosure. Besides
being an effective housebreaking tool (because it takes advantage of the dog's natural reluctance to soil its sleeping place),
it can also help to reduce separation anxiety, to prevent destructive behavior (such as chewing furniture), to keep a puppy
away from potentially dangerous household items (i.e., poisons, electrical wires, etc.), and to serve as a mobile indoor dog
house which can be moved from room to room whenever necessary.
A kennel crate also serves as a travel cabin
for you dog when travelling by car or plane. Additionally, most hotels which accept dogs on their premises require them to
be crated while in the room to prevent damage to hotel furniture and rugs.
Most dogs which have been introduced
to the kennel crate while still young grow up to prefer their crate to rest in or "hang-out" in. Therefore a crate (or any
other area of confinement) should NEVER be used for the purpose of punishment.
We recommend that you provide
a kennel crate throughout your dog's lifetime. Some crates allow for the removal of the door once it is no longer necessary
for the purpose of training. The crate can be placed under a table, or a table top can be put on top of it to make it both
unobtrusive and useful.
Vari-Kennel type: Take
the crate apart, removing the screws, the top and the door. Allow your pup to go in and out of the bottom half of the crate
before attaching the top half. This stage can require anywhere from several hours to a few days. This step can be omitted
in the case of a young puppy who accepts crating right away.
Wire Mesh type:Tie the crate door back so
that it stays open without moving or shutting closed. If the crate comes with a floor pan, place a piece of cardboard or a
towel between the floor (or crate bottom) and the floor pan in order to keep it from rattling.
Furnishing Your Puppy's Crate
Toys and Treats: Place your puppy's favorite toys and dog treats
at the far end opposite the door opening. These toys may include the "Tuffy", "Billy", "Kong", "Nylabone" or a ball. Toys
and bails should always be inedible and large enough to prevent their being swallowed. Any fragmented toys should be removed
to prevent choking and internal obstruction. You may also place a sterilized marrow bone filled with cheese or dog treats
in the crate.
Water: A small hamster-type water dispenser with ice water should be attached to the crate
if your puppy is to be confined for more than two hours in the crate.
Bedding: Place a towel or blanket
inside the crate to create a soft, comfortable bed for the puppy. If the puppy chews the towel, remove it to prevent the pup
from swallowing or choking on the pieces. Although most puppies prefer lying on soft bedding, some may prefer to rest on a
hard, flat surface, and may push the towel to one end of the crate to avoid it. If the puppy urinates on the towel, remove
bedding until the pup no longer eliminates in the crate.
Location of Crate
Whenever possible, place the crate near or next to you when you are home. This will encourage the pup to go inside
it without his feeling lonely or isolated when you go out. A central room in the apartment (i.e.: living room or kitchen)
or a large hallway near the entrance is a good place to crate your puppy.
Introducing the Crate to Your Puppy
In order that your puppy associate his/her kennel crate with comfort, security
and enjoyment, please follow these guidelines:
Occasionally throughout the day, drop small pieces of
kibble or dog biscuits in the crate. While investigating his new crate, the pup will discover edible treasures, thereby reinforcing
his positive associations with the crate. You may also feed him in the crate to create the same effect. If the dog hesitates,
it often works to feed him in front of the crate, then right inside the doorway and then, finally, in the back of the crate.
In the beginning, praise and pet your pup when he enters. Do not try to push, pull or force the puppy into the
crate. At this early stage of introduction only inducive methods are suggested. Overnight exception: You may need to place
your pup in his crate and shut the door upon retiring. (In most cases, the crate should be placed next to your bed overnight.
If this is not possible, the crate can be placed in the kitchen, bathroom or living room.)
You may also
play this enjoyable and educational game with your pup or dog: without alerting your puppy, drop a small dog biscuit into
the crate. Then call your puppy and say to him, "Where's the biscuit? It's in your room." Using only a friendly, encouraging
voice, direct your pup toward his crate. When the puppy discovers the treat, give enthusiastic praise. The biscuit will automatically
serve as a primary reward. Your pup should be free to leave its crate at all times during this game. Later on, your puppy's
toy or ball can be substituted for the treat.
It is advisable first to crate your pup for short periods
of time while you are home with him. In fact, crate training is best accomplished while you are in the room with your dog.
Getting him used to your absence from the room in which he is crated is a good first step. This prevents an association being
made with the crate and your leaving him/her alone.
A Note About Crating Puppies
Puppies under 4 months of age have little bladder or sphincter control. Puppies under 3 months have even less. Very
young puppies under 9 weeks should not be crated, as they need to eliminate very frequently (usually 8-12 times or more daily).
Collars: Always remove your puppy or dog's
collar before confining in the crate. Even flat buckle collars can occasionally get struck on the bars or wire mesh of a crate.
If you must leave a collar on the pup when you crate him (e.g.: for his identification tag), use a safety "break away" collar.
Weather: Do not crate a puppy or dog when temperatures reach an uncomfortable level. This is especially true for the short-muzzled
(Pugs, Pekes, Bulldogs, etc.) and the Arctic or thick- coated breeds (Malamutes, Huskies, Akitas, Newfoundlands, etc.). Cold
water should always be available to puppies, especially during warm weather. [Never leave an unsupervised dog on a terrace,
roof or inside a car during warm weather. Also, keep outdoor exercise periods brief until the hot weather subsides.]
certain that your puppy has fully eliminated shortly before being crated. Be sure that the crate you are using is not too
large to discourage your pup from eliminating in it. Rarely does a pup or dog eliminate in the crate if it is properly sized
and the dog is an appropriate age to be crated a given amount of time. If your pup/dog continues to eliminate in the crate,
the following may be the causes:
The pup is too young to have much control.
The pup has a poor
or rich diet, or very large meals.
The pup did not eliminate prior to being confined.
The pup has
The pup has gaseous or loose stools.
The pup drank large amounts of water prior to
The pup has been forced to eliminate in small confined areas prior to crate training.
pup/dog is suffering from a health condition or illness (i.e., bladder infection, prostate problem, etc.)
The puppy or
dog is experiencing severe separation anxiety when left alone. Note: Puppies purchased in pet stores, or puppies which were
kept solely in small cages or other similar enclosures at a young age (between approximately 7 and 16 weeks of age), may be
considerably harder to housebreak using the crate training method due to their having been forced to eliminate in their
sleeping area during this formative stage of development. This is the time when most puppies are learning to eliminate outside
their sleeping area. Confining them with their waste products retards the housebreaking process, and this problem can
continue throughout a dog's adult life.
In The Crate
If your puppy messes
in his crate while you are out, do not punish him upon your return. Simply wash out the crate using a pet odor neutralizer
(such as Nature's Miracle, Nilodor, or Outright). Do not use ammonia-based products, as their odor resembles urine
and may draw your dog back to urinate in the same spot again.
Crating Duration Guidelines
Approx. 30-60 minutes
Approx. 3-4 hours
17 + Weeks
Approx. 4+ (6 hours maximum)
Except for overnight, neither puppies nor dogs should be crated for more than 5 hours at a time. (6 hours maximum!)
The Crate As Punishment
NEVER use the crate as a form of punishment
or reprimand for your puppy or dog. This simply causes the dog to fear and resent the crate. If correctly introduced to his
crate, your puppy should be happy to go into his crate at any time. You may however use the crate as a brief time-out for
your puppy as a way of discouraging nipping or excessive rowdiness.
[NOTE: Sufficient daily exercize is important for
healthy puppies and dogs. Regular daily walks should be offered as soon as a puppy is fully immunized. Backyard exercize is
And The Crate
Do not allow
children to play in your dog's crate or to handle your dog while he/she is in the crate. The crate is your dog's private sanctuary.
His/her rights to privacy should always be respected.
Barking In The Crate
In most cases a pup who cries incessantly in his crate has either been crated too soon (without taking the proper
steps as outlined above) or is suffering from separation anxiety and is anxious about being left alone. Some pups may simply
under exercised. Others may not have enough attention paid them. Some breeds of dog may be particularly vocal (e.g., Miniature
Pinchers, Mini Schnauzers, and other frisky terrier types). These dogs may need the "Alternate Method of Confining Your Dog",
along with increasing the amount of exercise and play your dog receives daily.
When Not To Use A Crate
Do not crate your puppy or dog if:
s/he is too young to
have sufficient bladder or sphincter control.
s/he has diarrhea. Diarrhea can be caused by: worms,
illness, intestinal upsets such as colitis, too much and/or the wrong kinds of food, quick changes in the dogs diet, or stress,
fear or anxiety.
s/he is vomiting.
you must leave him/her crated for more
than the Crating Duration Guidelines suggest.
s/he has not eliminated shortly before being placed
inside the crate.
(See Housetraining Guidelines for exceptions.)
the temperature is excessively
s/he has not had sufficient exercise, companionship and socialization.
Buying a Crate
Where to buy a crate: Crates can be purchased through most pet supply outlets,
through pet mail order catalogs and through most professional breeders. Some examples are:
Crate Size and Manufacturers:
Small: (Vari-Kennel #100 or General Cage #201)
Toy Poodles, the Maltese, etc., with average
weight of 6-10 lbs.
Medium Small: (Vari-Kennel #200 or General Cage #202/212)
Mini Schnauzers, Jack Russells,
etc., with average weight of 11-20 lbs.
Medium: (Vari-Kennel #300 or General Cage #203/213)
Spaniels, Field Spaniels, small Shelties, etc., with average weight of 21-40 lbs.
Large: (Vari-Kennel #400 or General
Huskies, large Samoyeds, small Golden Retrievers, etc., with average weight of 41-65 Ibs.
Large: (Vari-Kennel #500 or General Cage #205/215)
German Shepherds, Alaskan Malamutes, Rottweilers, etc., with
average weight of 67-100 lbs.
Extra Large: (General Cage #206 or Mid-West #89-Z, 89-E or 99)
Great Danes, etc, with average weight of 110 lbs. plus.
Cost of A Crate
Crates can cost
between $35 and $150 depending on the size and the type of crate and the source.
The Cost of Not Buying a Crate
The cost of not using a crate:
chairs and sofas;
throw rugs and carpet, and
electric, telephone and computer wires.
The real cost, however, is your dog's safety and
your peace of mind.
Method Of Confining Your Puppy
are alternative methods to crating very young puppies and puppies who must be left alone in the house for lengths of time
exceeding the recommended maximum duration of confinement (see Crating Duration Guidelines). We suggest the following:
Use a small to medium-sized room space such as a kitchen, large bathroom or hallway with non- porous floor. Set up
the crate on one end, the food and water a few feet away, and some newspaper (approx. 2'x3' to 3'x3') using a 3 to 4 layer
thickness, several feet away. Confine your puppy to this room or area using a 3 ft. high, safety-approved child's gate rather
than shutting off the opening by a solid door. Your pup will feel less isolated if it can see out beyond its immediate
place of confinement. Puppy proof the area by removing any dangerous objects or substances.