We strongly believe that crate training is the best way to help with potty training your puppy or new dog. The idea behind crate training is dogs do not like to potty where they sleep or spend time therefore they will try to hold it until they are let out. The crate also becomes a safe place for your dog to go whenever needed. It also helps when you cannot supervise 100% and your dog does not roam and get into trouble like having accidents or chewing furniture, wires or shoes.
Sit with your dog in front of their new crate.
Repeat these steps for a few days or longer depending on your dogs success. Do one to three sessions a day for around 2 to 10 minutes per session. Remember as in all training to always keep it fun for you and your dog. If your dog struggles in any type of training drop to the level below and proceed.
Once your dog is offering the behavior or being successful three or four times in a row you can begin adding a cue like "CRATE" or "PLACE".
We always try and make their crate a fun place to be therefore we can feed daily meals inside the crate. Give your dog the cue you conditioned to enter the crate. When your dog enters the crate, click and place the meal inside and leave the door open while he eats.
When your dog seems comfortable or not in tune with being in the crate and focused on his food, start closing the door while he is eating his meal. Close the door for a second or two and work on duration. Remember every dog is different and always work at your dogs level never rush and don't forget to always praise any good behaviors you are observing.
Keep repeating steps one and two until you can keep the door closed until your dog is done eating. After your dog is done eating you can open the door and start conditioning a release work like "OK" or "FREE" so your dog knows it's ok to come out.
After your dog is successful with your new cue to enter crate use it. After your dog enters crate click and reward. Immediately say "OK" or your conditioned release word to let your dog know he can come out.
Give your dog the cue to enter his crate. When your dog is inside click and reward while he is inside, close the door slowly. Give your dogs lots of yummy treats while praising while the door is closed.
Cue your dog "OK" and gently open the door to let him know he can come out.
After your dog is doing this step 3 or 4 times you can begin working on duration while the door is closed. Remember never rush any training and work at your dogs level and always setting them up for success and keeping it fun. You can stay on any step for as long as it takes when it comes to training new cues.
Give your dog his cue to enter his crate. Click and reward while your dog is inside, gently close the door. Give him lots of praise and treats while the door is closed.
Here is where we work on duration wait anywhere from one second to 20 depending on your dogs body language (eg. arousal or anxiety). Remember we want our dogs to be successful, low arousal and stress during this training. Open door and cue "OK" ( your release word) letting him out.
Repeat steps 1 and 2 for a few more repetitions.
After we are observing good results start stepping away from the crate while your dog is inside with the door closed. Return to the crate praise and treat.
Open door slowly and cue "OK" to let your dog know it's ok to come out.
When your dog is comfortable with steps 4 and 5 we can begin waiting for longer times before returning to the crate and letting him out.
To build on step four we can begin walking out of the room where the crate is with your dog inside and door closed. We always advise in any training or behavior change to start slow and steady therefore disappearing for a second or two is good. Walk away and come back treat open gate slowly and cue them "OK" to let them out. Do not get excited or silly be calm throughout this process.
Repeat this 1 to 3 times a day and always set your dog up for success.
When your dog is comfortable with you out of the room and your dog in the crate start leaving the house for short periods. Remember start slow and build on duration and always working at your dogs level of success rate. You can leave some treats, bone or a stuffed KONG for mental stimulation to help with duration and stress levels.
When you return you can give praise and another treat calmly open door and cue "OK" to let him out.
Building on this until you can safely leave your dog for a few hours. You can install a WiFi camera and watch via phones to help with training.
- Your dogs crate should be big enough for them to stand up and turn around in.
- You can try to keep them mentally stimulated when your gone by leaving a stuff Kong with frozen treats. You can also leave them with a safe bone or toy.
- You can also leave your dog with a comfortable bed if your confident they will not destroy it or have an accident.
- Also remember any regression in their training is normal in the learning process.
An event marker that identifies the desired response and “bridges” the time between the response and the delivery of the primary reinforcer. A secondary reinforcer that can be delivered with extremely precise contiguity. The clicker is a bridging stimulus which also includes stimuli such as whistles, clickers and praise words.
Ok now that we have the technical stuff out of the way we will explain in very simple terms. Ever hear a trainer say keep it simple for the dogs so they can learn and get access to reinforcers such as food? Well this is very true and one of the reasons why we use an event marker to keep it simple. Think of it as taking a picture of the behavior you wanted and letting the dog know what they just did was what earned the reinforcer. Which is why we also always hear timing is very important in dog training. An event marker takes out all the confusion when we are teaching, especially new behaviors. Therefore making it simple to understand what behavior they did lead to a reinforcer.
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A good rule of thumb is to make sure our dogs went potty before we crate them or doing any crate training. We also make sure we did some mental and physical stimulation before crating our dogs therefore we can rule they have to potty or they have lots of energy. Your dog may be getting bored also so we can add some safe toys, Kong or treat puzzles like a ball. Another good rule is we try to never give attention when they are whining so we don't reinforce the whine unknowingly. Remember in order for your dog to tie a consequence with a behvaior it has to be within a second. Therefore always wait a few seconds to break the chain. So if your dog is whining wait a few seconds for quiet to let them out.
Always remember go slow and steady with all training and set them up for success. Take a step backwards if your going to fast for your dog.
Please note puppies grow fast and you can get a larger crate that has a movable divider inside.
Firstly don't panic! It's normal in any type of learning to have some regression. Very important to not punish your dog in any way especially if you didn't catch them in the act. Any type of punish can teach them bad things happen in their crate and have a huge set back in any crate training in the future. If you ever catch your dog in the act you can interrupt and gently take them outside to finish eliminating. Remember to always praise and reward when going potty outside. Please always remember to clean any accidents with the proper cleaners and disinfectants. (no household protects other than white vinegar).
If your dog is having many accidents we must take a step back and reevaluate our training program. First we must rule out any medical causes eg. urinary track infection UTI. Second make sure their crate is the right size for your dog. If their crate has to much room your dog may take advantage of the extra space by eliminating in that space. After we ruled out any medical issues or in proper crate size we can try feeding them inside the crate more. Dogs do not like to potty where they eat. You can also give more treats , bones or stuffed KONGS inside the crate.
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