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It’s not a toy to put in the crate while you’re busy and take out a few hours when you have time. You believe that’s not fair to the dog. Crate training may be a popular method for housetraining, but you don’t have to do this to successfully train your dog.
As you’re training the dog to wait between potty breaks or until you return home, you can isolate him in a smaller area. A bathroom, laundry room or tiled kitchen is a good choice. The room needs to have an easy to clean floor.
Either close the door or add a baby gate. When you’re at home, use the baby gate so that you can observe the dog and so that he doesn’t feel punished by being away from you. You can also watch for the physical signs that he needs a potty break.
Dogs have their own signature moves – some seem agitated, restless or shake when they need to have a break. Others sniff in a circle and begin squatting when the time comes. You still need to follow the same approach for establishing a regular feeding schedule and follow-up with potty breaks.
When you come home to take the dog out to go potty, put the leash on him and head directly outside. Don’t let him run around the house celebrating his freedom. In his excitement, he’ll leave a puddle on the rug – not because he’s mad at you, but because his enthusiasm overcame his bladder control.
Crate training advocates insist that this is the best and fastest way to housetrain a dog. Opponents totally disagree, countering that the difference of a few weeks is nothing compared to having a well-adjusted dog that feels like a member of the family rather than a prisoner of war most of the day.
If your dog is in a small room, he probably has far more space than in a crate. He also has a tall ceiling above him, so he feels free and happy. He can designate a spot in the room for an emergency potty and still have room to get away from it.
Your dog is going to be a member of your family for many years. So what if it takes a little longer to housetrain him? You may have to use the small room training location for nights until he’s old enough or well trained enough to wait until morning to go potty.
This isn’t the time to weaken and put him in your bed. You’ll both wake up in a chilly puddle. Give him time to adjust to the training, and then you can welcome him to a soft bed in your room, or surrender the extra pillow if you choose.