Crate Training / Housebreaking
Puppy Rap answers most of the questions that you might have regarding the care of your new puppy. Because you are now the substitute parent of this new family member, the puppy will look to you for guidance and instruction. The topics and techniques discussed are the result of many years of the study of dog behavior and training. These tools and techniques will enable you to use instincts that your puppy already has to allow him to adjust to living in harmony with your family.
The first instinct we will use is the “den” instinct. This instinct is deeply rooted in the psychological behavior of most dogs. Dens are places of safety, they are small and dark and have only one opening to guard for entry and exit. There are certain innate “rules” associated with the den instinct. A puppy can sleep and eat in his den but should never soil his den. When a puppy soils his/her den, the presence of the feces or urine in the den violates the den instinct and a very uncomfortable deep-rooted feeling happens. This feeling is so strong that it makes the puppy promise to “never do that again”.
Select an airline type pet taxi or kennel cab or some other crate similar to a den with four walls a top and a door as a home for your new puppy. We recommend putting the puppy in the “den” any time you cannot observe the puppy, i.e. at night, while your gone to the grocery store, or during the day while your at work. A den is a place where the puppy can go when he or she feels scared or threatened. A den is a place where it is okay to play, sleep, eat and drink but, it is not okay to urinate or defecate. The den instinct teaches the puppy to use those muscles to help control the bowels and the bladder.
A puppy sets up four stations or “corners” in their mind; an eating and drinking station, a playing station, a sleeping station, and a urinating and defecating station. If given enough room in their crate, a puppy would establish all four of these stations within this den space. The smaller crate/den narrows the stations down to one area that becomes the sleeping station. This station is small enough so that if the puppy did urinate or defecate in the crate he/she would not be able to get away from it. The puppy then realizes that he/she has violated the “defecating station” instinct and makes a promise that he/she will not do this again. Therefore, the urge to urinate or defecate in the crate is inhibited by the den instinct.
The crate training process is the foundation for “house-breaking”. The same rules that a puppy follows for not soiling his crate eventually will include the whole house. To prevent crate soiling we recommend that as soon as you get up in the morning or come home that you let the puppy out of the crate. When doing this, be sure to pick the puppy up and carry him/her outside to where you want the “defecation station” to be. Be patient and watch the puppy until he/she voids, then praise the puppy immediately. Do not feed the puppy while it is in the crate because it is natural reflexes for a puppy to eat then defecate. We do recommend leaving water in the crate all the time. Placing the puppy’s chew toys in the crate teaches them what is OK to chew on, thereby sparing your rug and shoes of the “destructo-doggy” stage. While you are at home, we recommend taking the puppy out multiple times during the day encouraging it to “go potty” outdoors and praising him/her when it does so.