We decided we’re going to do this blog on housebreaking, or, crate training your puppy. This is something that we get asked about daily with two three four: five, even six and eight-month-old puppies, which is pretty crazy to me when the housebreaking crate training process is properly done, the dog should pretty much be accident-free and a Hundred percent housebroken by right around the age of four months, maybe even sooner so, that’s what we’re going to discuss today is how to housebreak your dog, all the do’s and don’ts and troubleshoot all the issues that you’re having when you’re in the housebreaking process. Remember, we recommend housebreaking your dog before installing your electric dog fence. So the first thing we’re going to talk about is picking the perfect crate for your dog. That’s something a lot of people tend to have trouble with now. The thing we hear a lot is well, I want to make sure he’s comfortable when we’re gone. I want to give them enough space. I don’t want to feel like he’s confined or trapped in a little crate when you’re going through the housebreaking process. It’s really really important to actually have a crate that’s the right size for your dog. For example, you would want to have a small eight week, old, puppy, and a large Great Dane crate. So how do you know when you have the right crate for the size of your dog. First, I always recommend people get a crate that has a divider. A lot of crates you can get on the market now come with a divider. So what you can do is you can get one large crate and use the divider and section off a part of the crate. So, as the dog grows, you can him more and more space without buying a small crate and a medium crate, and a large crate. So start with a large crate with a divider and section it all. All you really want to do is to give your puppy enough room so he has room to spin around stand up without his back touching and lay down. He really shouldn’t have much more room than that. For example, you should have the dog where he has the front of the crate this much and the crates this big. If you start doing that, what will actually happen is your pup will go to the back of the crate and use the restroom and then come to the front because that’s allowing him to stay away from it. Dogs don’t like to go to the restroom and the crate, but if they have enough room where they can get away from it, then they will go to the restroom in there because they run off to deal with it. So that’s the first thing to ensure that your crate is the proper fit for your dog, and he doesn’t have too much room in there. Now that you have the right crate, what should go in the crate with the puppy? I’m a huge advocate against putting any type of bedding, pillow blankets, anything like that in the crate, with a small puppy. That’s for a couple of reasons generally. The first reason is, the puppy will probably shred it eventually you’re going to come home and have cotton, balls, and thread and everything shredded or create. I’m sure most of you know exactly what I’m talking about. So it’s the first reason: they’re simply going to destroy a lot of the times that mattress or pillow or blanket can actually act as a diaper. So what will happen? They’ll still go to the restroom in the crate because that bedding or pillow is actually absorbing that, so they still don’t have to deal with it, so it kind of acts like a diaper. So if you put that stuff in there, the puppy may and probably will still go to the restroom in the crate, which is hindering the housebreaking process The most important reason is if you put that nice fluffy pillow or that nice fluffy dog bed in there and the puppy’s chewing on it for the eight hours you’re gone a lot of those things have cotton inside of it. So as he’s chewing on and shredding it if that caught and gets stuck inside of his throat, it could cause him to suffocate or choke, and no one’s there to see or hear that. By the time you get home, the worst could have happened. So I’m a really big advocate against just leaving the flat metal tray in there. That’s all the dog really needs. Many people who actually put bedding – your blankets in there actually is fine. The dog will shuffle all the blankets and pillows to the side. They’ll still like the plastic because the bedding and blankets are warm and the nice plastic bottom is nice and cool. So a lot of times they dig it out of the way just to lay on the plastic. What I always like to tell people is, if you’re, putting a blanket or pillow or anything like that, and therefore you’re really doing it more for you to make yourself feel better and you’re really not doing it for the dogs. The dogs don’t need it. A lot of dogs don’t want it and it can be a safety hazard. Again it can help deter the housebreaking process by acting as an absorbent. So that’s a really big thing, just your simple plastic bottom in the crate. They really don’t need much more than that. Now the third thing we’re going to talk about leaving toys or anything like that in the crate. If you really want to leave a toy or a tug or a ball or something like that, crate. Really make sure it’s much bigger than the dog’s mouth. Don’t leave a small ball in there allowing the dog to choke on it while you’re gone. So I would use a large cone filled with peanut butter or something like that. So that way you know that he can’t you know you can’t chew. It makes sure. It’s an indestructible toy: that’s why Kong’s are usually pretty work, pretty well the housebreaking process in itself. This is kind of where we’re getting the meat potatoes of housebreaking. Again, as I said, I’m a huge fan of using a crate, I’m not a big fan of the pee pads, the doggie pads, because when you use a pad essentially what you’re doing is you’re still teaching the dog they can go to the restroom in the house. You’re just saying try to go to the restroom and this small 1 foot by 1 foot square, which is a much much harder concept to teach the dog than you’re never allowed to go inside. The house no exceptions also the problem with teaching a puppy to go inside the house that 8 weeks old 12 or 15 pound Labrador golden retriever pitbull Rottweiler, whatever breed you have is going to turn into a 60 70 80 hundred plus pound dog. So do you really want a 100 pound Rottweiler, go to a restroom in the house, and now you come home and you have to clean that every day for the next 14 years or 15 years? So again, I’m a really big advocate against using the pee pad so after the great training process. The biggest golden rule in the crate, training when you’re trying to housebreak your dog is what I call 100 % supervision. That’s right I’ll say it again: 100 % supervision. If your dog is not 100 % accident-free, housebroken, anytime they’re outside of that crate, you need to have 100 % supervision. If you’re downstairs in the living room. With your pup he’s down there, you’re gonna run upstairs and take a shower… back in the crate. If you’re going to run down the stairs and fold laundry… back in the crate, that’s really really important. As you all know, you can supervise him for 4 hours and that 2-minute window that you leave what’s going to happen, That’s when he’s going to go to the restroom in the house. So 100% of supervision is probably the single biggest secret and crate training. So what to do if your dog does go to the restroom house again. If you are sticking to 100% supervision rule, then you saw him go to the restroom in the house or you’re, seeing him and that action of going to the restroom in the house all you do is give a nice loud verbal “no”, run it over pick him up running outside and set him down to the grass. I’m a huge fan of using a keyword like go potty or potty. Anything works generally. We use “go potty”. So once I yelled “no,” I’m going to scoop him up, set him down outside. I’m going to say, “Go potty. Go potty!” He finishes. Praise and good boy, good boy and then bring them back in the house. That’s really all you’re doing for a correction is a nice verbal correction of the word ‘no”. I’m a huge advocate AGAINST you know, rubbing the dog’s nose in it. Hitting them with the newspaper, all those things of things that are proven to NOT work and they can actually hurt the process. That’s why that supervision is very, very, very important. As I always say, unless your dogs 100 % housebroken, they should literally never be able to go inside of the house without you catching them in the act. If they did that’s a failure on your part, not on the dog’s part. Another thing I’m going to discuss is the food and water. I’m a huge fan of feeding puppies on the schedule, meaning you feed them at 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Feeding on a schedule versus free feeding.. When you free feed, it’s really hard for your puppy to get on a schedule to go to the restroom. So if you feed them on a schedule, if it gets the restroom on a pretty good schedule as well. A good rule of thumb is to take them out to the restroom on your own, an hour after they ate in about 20 minutes after they drank and a good amount of water. That’s a really good rule to stick by. Aso, you can cut off the puppy’s food and water at 7 p.m. so by the time you go to bed at about 10:00 p.m. you, let them out for the last time. It helps get all that out of their system and then you can go to bed at night. Something we’ve all experienced is: you let your puppy out to the restroom in the morning? You try to encourage him, go, he doesn’t go, he doesn’t go, he doesn’t go after a little bit. You finally bring him back in and about five minutes later. What happens? He’s squatting to pee in the living room and you get really annoyed because you said, “Hey! I just had you out for twenty minutes. Why? Why did you wait till you came in?” So what I’m a huge fan of doing is taking off to the restroom in the morning you’re using that good, solid keyword. That’s really important because that’s how your dog’s going to start letting you know that he has to go to the restroom. So if you take your dog out first thing in the morning and he doesn’t go, what I will do is I’ll bring them in and put them right back in the crate, I’ll wait about 15 minutes, and then I’ll take them outside again go potty. Go potty! Go potty if he doesn’t go right back inside right back in the crate and I’ll repeat that process until he finally goes outside and then I’ll let him stay out with the family. Essentially, what that does it teaches your puppy is you’re just going to keep going back in the crate until you go to the restroom, so what he learns is the first time you’ve. Let me out I’m just going to go to the restroom, so I can go out and be free and have the run of the house, essentially with the family. So if he doesn’t go to the restroom that first time, bring him back in the crate. 15 minutes later repeat and just keep repeating that cycle until he goes outside nice, good praise, good boy, good, potty, good, and now he can stay in the house and what you’ll learn is as that process goes on within a short amount of time. That, the first time you take him out he’ll go to the restroom because he’s going to learn, if not you’re, just going to keep putting me back in the crate. Another method is a bell on a string. It’s very simple! You, essentially, you take a string hanging from the doorknob put the belt about the dog’s paw level. Every time you take the dog outside pick up his paw make him ring the doorbell, give them a lot of praise and then open the door and let them out. If you repeat that, every single time you take the pup out what he’ll start to do is associate and ringing that bell with the door opening so now, all of a sudden when he has to start to get ready to go outside he’ll walk up to it. The bell, because he’s learned: that’s: why opens the door to release them to go outside? That’s another very simple and effective method that allows your dog to let you know, and he or she has to go outside of the restroom. In closing, if you have a properly fitted crate for your dog enough for him to spin around lay down, and stand up without his back touching there’s no bedding or pillow inside of the crate, allowing it to act as an absorbent, you’re, feeding him on a set schedule and cutting off food and water a few hours before you go to bed and you’re, giving your pup hundred-percent supervision catching him, 100 % of the time in the act. You should have a very short housebreaking process.