Dogs naturally want to seek shelter in the house. A crate provides security, comfort and prevents excessive barking and chewing. Not only is does the crate provide security, but it also acts like a babysitter for your dog.
It will give him a place he can claim as his own territory.
Crates are the easiest and quickest ways to housebreak a dog. Puppies are less likely to soil their eating and sleeping area. A confined space like a crate will teach them to hold it.
When should you crate train?
As soon as your new puppy or adult dog arrives home and preferably when he is ready to nap.
NEVER force him in the crate or he will associate it as a bad thing. As he enters the crate give him lots of praise. This will acclimate him to his crate before housebreaking begins.
Potty training for pups should begin at week 12 and usually takes about 4 weeks to complete.
How should you crate train?
Dogs are very social animals and therefore the ideal location for a crate in a room with lots of activity. This will make your pet feel like part of the family without getting in the way. Respect his privacy while he is in the crate and try to keep your kids from socializing with him.
Putting the crate in a lonely and isolated area will make your pet feel unwanted and punished.
Make the crate comfortable by providing washable bedding.
SIZE: This is important - the size of the crate should only be large enough for him to stand and turn in it. Getting a crate that is too large will defeat the purpose of trying to take advantage of his instinct not to soil in his den.
Start by putting your tired pup in the crate for 5 minutes at a time. Stay in sight and give him lots of praise. It is common to expect some distress at first. He may whine but do not let him out until he stops or you will be rewarding him for negative behavior.
Puppies need to relieve themselves every 2-4 hours. Do not get a puppy if you cannot be consistent with this or it will take a long time to housebreak your pet. As a general rule, puppies can control themselves for one hour for every month of age, up to 9 or 10 hours. It is best to walk them after eating and playing. Reward him when he eliminates outside. You will then soon be able to leave the door open all of the time.
If your dog soils in the crate it may be because the crate is too big for him or you left him in there too long.
Do NOT reprimand your dog while he is in the crate. This should represent a "happy" place.
You may feed your dog in the crate to eliminate distractions and help digestion.
The crate is his den and therefore should not be taken away once he is housebroken. Crates give your pet a sense of security.
It's never too late to crate train your dog. There is no age limit.
The City of Boston Animal Shelter highly recommends crate training to all new adopting families.