DESIGNER PUPPYS: Everything you wanted to know about raising designer or mixed breed dogs,
featuring The BOYZ: Prince Alvin His Cuteness (on left) and Sir Simon The Sad, Cockapoo pups.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Crate Training 101 - Lessons Learned

Prince Alvin During One of His Rare Moments of Rest
in His Crate

Your "dog whispering" friends are recommending crate training because of course it worked for them both during the day and over night.

You google "Puppy Crate Training, " read the articles, buy a crate, and are hopeful that this will be THE solution to your housetraining nightmares. Here's a link: Crate Training a Puppy or Adult Dog.

I agree that crate training will work for your puppy under these conditions:

  • you are disciplined,
  • the pup is healthy, and
  • you follow the crate training guidelines outlined online.

Prince Alvin the Bichon Cockapoo was NOT blessed with owners who stuck to crate training rules. We used a crate at night and when we were out for short time frames.

During the day, I stuck to the standard schedule -

pup goes outside

  • when he gets up,
  • after meals,
  • after a nap,
  • after playing,
  • before bedtime
Also, take away the water bowl after about 8 pm.

The rules are that you take the pup out every few hours at night (hours = dog's age in months plus one). Alvin's time interval should have been 3 - 4 hours. Except that Alvin had a urinary tract infection (the infection was being treated with antibiotics) and cried every two hours to be taken out. Over a two-week period, I probably logged about 3 hours of sleep every night and was showing definite signs of sleep deprivation.

When he started peeing in the crate repeatedly, it was time to change the method. Remember this is NOT supposed to happen because dogs do not like to soil where they sleep.

Here's what I learned from this experience:

1) Know the signs of a urinary tract infection.
Try this link Urinary Tract Infection in Dogs and see if it helps you determine if your dog has a UTI. Alvin was peeing every 1 - 2 hours and drinking a lot of water. A lab test at the vet's confirmed the UTI.

2) When the pup crate trains YOU, it's time to change the method.
By the time Alvin's UTI started to clear up, he was fed up with the crate and wanted out. He developed the every 2-hour whining routine. This leads to #3.

3) Stick to the guidelines.
If your dog is healthy and you just took him out, but he's whining, put the crate in another room on the other side of the house/apartment, and set an alarm for the next time he's supposed to be let out (hours = dog's age in months plus one). Alvin's other family members can't handle his whining, so this did not work for us.

Hope this helps eliminate problems with your puppy's crate training.

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