Here I will describe the process of using Crate Training as an aide in housebreaking. This article will focus on how I Crate Trained my own dog since he was a small puppy to his current age where I left him outside of crate completely. You are asked to draw your own conclusions and schedule, as all dogs are not the same and I can’t promise that this exact procedure will work in same timeframe on your dog as it did on mine. Crate Training uses your dog’s natural cleanliness as a tool. Even the youngest pups frown at the thought of eliminating in their own den. The crate should be shown to a pup as his small place where he can retreat if to he wants. The crate ideally should not be used as a punishment tool, but opinions differ on that subject. I recommend only using the crate for moments when you can’t see your pup at all times, i.e. when you are at work, or when you are sleeping.
Puppy Stage Crate Training:Age: 2.5 months (This is when we just got him) to 4.5 months.
Note: age is relative, depending on your dog you may need to go longer or shorter with crate training.
In this stage we left the pup in the crate when we could not see him constantly. When we left for work we put took him out for a long walk so he could empty his bowel and then let him in the crate. At mid-day we came home for lunch and took him out for another potty break. At this point he had spent around 4 hours in the crate alone and he didn’t spoil his crate the whole time. As we left for work we told him how great he was. In the evening after 4 more hours had passed we returned from work and took him out right away for another potty break. Then followed by a session of playtime, which lasted few hours, after that we proceeded to take him outside for a walk where he did his business and played with friendly neighborhood dogs. After that we let him sleep by us where we could see him at all times. When we were ready to go to sleep we told him, “crate,” and he would go to his crate and start sleeping there. We repeated this procedure on all weekdays. On weekends we would only crate him for the night, at all other times we kept a close watch on him. We followed this procedure untill he was around 5 months old. It worked wondrously without him having any accidents after the first week or so.
Crate Training in Adolescence:Age: 5 months to 8 months
During this stage we made some changes to our crate training technique based on our pup’s progress. At this state we would still crate him when we were not home to watch him, but we let him sleep outside the crate at night when we were home. At this age he already learned to ask us to let him outside so we didnt have to worry about him making an accident with us home. Now when we came home from lunch he didn’t want to go outside as often, most of times he slept through our visit home. This stage’s highlights were the experiments with leaving him home without our supervision to see how he would do. We made sure to puppy proof our house before we got him, so it was very safe for him to stay. To our surprise he did very well.
Final Stage of crate training:Age: 9 months +
This is more of a conclusion to our crate training article then anything else. By the time our dog was 9 months old he was 100% housebroken and could safely be left in the house without supervision during the night and the day. Our patience with crate training paid off and saved us the headache and money associated with puppies destroying your house. When he was around 1 year old we removed the crate altogether as we saw no use for it. Now he roams around our property protecting the house.