Spring is officially in the air in Massachusetts! With the blossoming tulips and crocus’ popping up, more puppies are born during this time of year also. Spring time is a great time of year to add a new fur addition to your family: warmer weather means more walks throughout the day, less cold night potty breaks and more ways to socialize your new pup with his/her neighborhood friends; all sound like compelling reasons for new dog owners to finally take the plunge.
Puppies as cute as they are, don’t come pre-programmed to understand that going potty inside the house is any different than going outside where they’re supposed to. In this blog, we will discuss the proper and most effective ways to help with crate training.
1) Crates are your puppy’s friend
I know, I know… It’s heartbreaking to hear your puppy whine and cry when they’re placed in their crate. Trust me when I say, you are not alone in this! Crate training is a beneficial tool that will create a sense of security and comfort as your dog gets older. First things first:
Crate training “do’s”:
Do not put your 5-pound puppy in a massive crate that can hold a full-sized mastiff. If you prefer to have one crate throughout your dogs’ life, it is perfectly fine to get a much larger crate but purchase a crate with a divider to adjust as your puppy grows. Your puppy will go to the bathroom in the same space as he/she sleeps, as long as there’s enough room to accomplish both.
Crate training “don’ts”:
Do not over use your puppy’s crate. The one thing many dog owners do when they start crate training, is to use the crate for punishment or when not being paid attention to. Yes, puppies should go in their crate after they have gone potty and had some play/training time, as a way to unwind or get some rest. However, placing your puppy in his/her crate for hours at a time, punishment for when he/she had an accident or when using your hand as a teething item, is never recommended.
2) Puppy toys and teethers are great at preventing boredom while crated
Puppy toys and teethers are an absolute must to prevent boredom while crate training. Freezing a toy or bone and stuffing it with plain yogurt or peanut butter (xylitol free) are great options for when you can’t be at home. Too many items in your puppy’s crate can be overwhelming. It is best to start with 1-2 toys and rotate each week when your pup becomes uninterested!
3) Keep a Schedule for Your Puppy’s First Couple of Months
Consistency is key, for dogs and humans alike! For the first couple of months, keep a schedule. This includes: keeping track of the time your puppy typically goes potty each day, where his/her favorite spot to go is and about how long after he/she eats that he/she needs to go out for a potty break.
4) The Golden Rule For Night-Time House Breaking
Puppies can typically hold if for one hour for every month of age (i.e., 2-month-old puppy can hold it for approximately 2 hours at a time). Every puppy is different with their needs so adjust accordingly. By about 6 months old, most puppies can last the majority of the night without a potty break. If you notice that your puppy is awaking on a consistent schedule each night but they’re able to hold it for a good chunk of time during the day, plan to set an alarm to take your pup out 15-30 minutes before they typically wake you up. This can help in breaking any habits that have been formed! If you notice that he/she is waking up and doesn’t rush to go to the bathroom, this could be helpful in understanding whether it’s necessary, or just a habit that needs to be tweaked.
Are you in need of help with your new pup while you’re working from home or heading to work? We can help with getting your new fur bundle on a schedule and keeping them tired so you’re able to get those hours in!
Co-owner/walker/sitter/puppy nanny/blogger/dog training and behavior enthusiast and scheduler