Crate Conditioning


Use a crate to help create a calm dog when you are not home, scheduled rest periods, as well as a safe place to put your dog when the situation is too stressful for them while they are getting settled in their new home.

Many newly adopted dogs have not been taught to go potty while on leash or may hold their pee or poop, for a few days and even fr a week until they are comfortable in the new environment.

Crate training is one of the most effective ways to house train your dog, Most dogs like to keep their areas clean and the crate helps teach them to hold their pee and poop.

 

Be consistent on the times you take the your dog out to go potty, try and have a set schedule. You can take your dog out more often, but there are certain times each day that are a given that your dog should go out, such as: 

  • First thing in the morning
  • Before you go to sleep at night
  • Right after they wake up from a long nap
  • About 15-20 minutes after mealtime (puppies)
  • After a training or play session 
  • As soon as you get home

House Train Your Dog With 10 Minutes In 10 Minutes Out:

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First thing in the morning take your dog outside for about 10 mins for a potty walk and if your dog doesn't go, then go home and put your dog back in their crate. Wait 10-15 mins mins and take your dog back out. Repeat this and when your dog does go potty reward with plenty of praise and treats. When your dog does go, start putting it on Cue by giving it a name such as "Go Potty" the more you build up their reward history the better your dog will understand. Once your dog is better house trained the walks can be less frequent and your dog will start to let you know when they have to go out.

After your dog has gone potty outside, it's usually safe to let them roam around while you are watching them. If you notice your dog circling or starting to sniff the floor take them outside to go potty.

I recommend using what we like to call the "umbilical cord" technique. This means tethering your dog to you so you can keep watch over them and set them up to success. If you feel them pulling away, maybe towards where the door, start smelling and circling, take them right out. Allowing you to catch every opportunity to teach them where to go potty is essential.


For Puppies:

After your puppy has gone potty outside, it's usually safe to let them roam around while you are watching them for short periods, maybe 20 minutes to start. If you notice your puppy circling or starting to sniff the floor in the home pick them up them up and take them outside to go potty. Once they have learned to hold it you can walk them on leash.

I recommend using what we like to call the "umbilical cord" technique. This means tethering your puppy to you so you can keep watch over them. It can also teach them to relax with the leash on and stay by you and also helps you monitor and set them up to success. If you feel them pulling away, maybe towards where the wee-wee pad used to be, the door or start smelling and circling, take them right out. Allowing you to catch every opportunity to teach them where to go potty.


Play Crate Games:

Have going into the crate a great thing, throw a treat into the crate and when your dog goes in mark with "Yes" or a click and reward, when your dog goes all the way in give your dog a few more treats as a "Jack pot". When exiting the crate, slowly open the door and don't let your dog rush out marking and rewarding calm behavior. Start using the crate at other times not just bedtime. Remember to walk by mark and reward, being in there will be the best place to be. Put tasty Kongs in there at other times, and when he's not looking hide treats too. When your dog goes in mark it with a click or "Yes" and give your dog plenty of verbal praise calmly.

All good things come from the crate, so any bully sticks, or high value chews, and all meals come in the the crate with the door closed. 

Here is a video playing Crate games with June

Here is Maja, who is a bit fearful of her crate practicing crate games as well.


Separation Anxiety

Your dog might begin to feel anxious when you get ready to leave, as well as bark and destroy things when you are gone. Here are a few things that can help.

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Feed all meals in the crate with the door closed, all good things come from the crate, You can also give them tasty stuffed Kongs with frozen peanut butter when you leave as well as when the dog walker leaves. Play dog calming music, Amazon Prime and Spotify have a wide selection, here is my dogs playlist, Start playing the music about 10-15 mins before you leave as well as when you are home as well as not to form a departure cue.

Change Your "Departure Cues"

Dogs are great reading the signs and patterns we make as we get ready to leave. Change up your departure cues by getting ready to leave and sit back down. grab your keys and don’t leave. Change up your routine. Remember no big hellos or goodbyes.

Practice "Graduated Departures"

Work on having your dog in the crate, and you being in another room. When your dog is quiet go back and mark with a clicker or verbal “Yes" and reward. Drop the treat in the crate don’t hand it to your dog,

Leave the apartment for, 5, 10, 20 then 30 secs, mark with a clicker or verbal “Yes" and reward. Leave and go to the elevator or down the hallway, then outside, down the street/corner each time mark and reward. Slowly adding more time. Practice being other rooms/out of site and your dog in the crate. As your dog learns a good "Down-Stay" and "Place" you can use these tools as well to get your dog comfortable being away from you. The goal is to be away for 40 mins with a calm and quiet dog. Remember no big Hellos or Goodbyes

If your dog continues to bark you can use an Interrupter, such as a loud clap, dropping a large book on the ground or using interruption devices such as the Doggie Don't or Pet Corrector.

I highly recommend getting a remote camera or using a app to monitor your dog during this period, and see how they are doing while you are away. A bark collar might be an option but I like to start with training first and then possibly adding one.


Separation Anxiety: The cure is straw?!

Another technique you can try is Marc Goldberg's Straw Technique, Download his PDF explaining how it all works.

Here are the tips from the Marc's PDF:

Use an airline plastic crate and fill it hip deep to the dog with straw.

  • Don't use hay because that is dried grasses and dogs are more likely to eat it
  • Dogs don't normally eat the straw, but you can keep an eye if you're worried
  • You can use long strips of newspaper if you prefer, but it gets dirty and dusty
  • Put a sheet under the crate to make for easy clean up. Straw is messy in the house
  • It works because it engages the dog's nesting/denning instinct
  • Many breeders keep puppies in some sort of organic bedding for a few weeks so straw is likeold home week
  • It is comforting to dogs to have something pressuring their body in the crate
  • Straw encourages some crate dirty dogs to be clean, but check for wet spots
  • Discontinue if you're getting more crate eliminating rather than less
  • Change the straw at least weekly. They like new straw. It's like getting clean sheets.
  • I use it more for crate anxiety rather than housebreaking
  • If the dog digs around and fluffs the straw, so much the better
  • Foraging in the crate is better than freaking out in the crate, so you can toss in some treats
  • Straw helps rest time be more restful for many crate anxious dogs, but they probably still need more exercise than they're getting
  • I'd give it at least a few weeks, but then you can remove handfuls of straw per day to wean off
  • Feel free to adapt any of these ideas as needed for your dog.