Close Supervision Is Essential!
Close supervision is essential any time your puppy is not crated indoors (or confined to a
small area covered with newspapers) . It only takes a few seconds for your puppy to have
a housesoiling accident, so watch for signs that your puppy may need to eliminate, such as
sniffing the floor, circling, or running out of sight suddenly.
Confinement When Puppy Can't Be Supervised
Crate training (see below) or area confinement are recommended for puppies and most
adolescent dogs when left unsupervised alone in the house. If properly introduced and used
appropriately, crate training is an efficient and humane way to prevent housetraining
accidents as well keep your puppy safe when you can not watch him (or when you leave
the house/ apartment without him). The crate should not be used for excessive periods of
time and should not be used as a punishment (although brief "time outs" in the crate are
fine). Sufficient daily companionship, interactive playtime and exercise are very important to
all puppies and dogs.
[Note: Crate training and other forms of confinement must be balanced with sufficient
exercise and companionship. Excessive periods of isolation can be very detrimental to your
puppy, and can contribute to numerous behavioral problems including hyperactivity,
destructive behavior, digging, self-mutilation, and excessive barking.]
Determine Puppy's Safety Zone, Grey Zone & Danger Zone
Keep a diary of your puppy's urinating and defecating times for several days or more.
Determine the minimum interval between elimination. Subtract 15-30 minutes from this
period of time and that will be your puppy's temporary "Safety Zone". This is the duration
of time he can generally be trusted to hold his urine after he is taken for a walk or has
"gone" on his newspapers, provided he does not drink a ton of water during this time.
make sure however, that he is still closely supervised any time he is not confined to his
crate or confinement area.
Frequent Access To Newspapers, Backyard, Or Taken For A Walk If Fully Immunized
Puppies need to urinate shortly after the eat, drink water, play, chew, or sleep. For most
puppies over 10 weeks of age, that means somewhere between 5 and 10 times a day!
Adolescent dogs (from 6 to 11 mths. old) will need 4 to 6 walks a day. Adult dogs need 3
to 4 walks a day, and elderly dogs need at least 3 to 4 walks daily (incontinent dogs will
Do Not Return From A Walk Until Your Puppy Eliminates
If your puppy has been confined overnight to a crate, take him outside first thing in the
morning (before he's had a chance to soil indoors.) Be prepared to stay outdoors with him
until he eliminates. (This could take from a few minutes to as much as several hours!) As
soon as your puppy eliminates outdoors, offer him lavish praise and a treat. If you take
your puppy back inside the house before he's fully eliminated, he will surely have an
housesoiling accident indoors!
[Note: If you absolutely have to return home before your puppy does his "business", crate
him, then try taking him outside again every 15-30 minutes until he "goes".]
Early Interactive Socialization With People Is Important
Early and ongoing interactive socialization with lots of friendly new people (including calm
friendly children) is very important. If your puppy is not immunized sufficiently to taken for
a walk, make sure to have lots of new people visit your puppy in your home. You can also
carry your puppy outdoors to public places to properly acclimate him to the sights, sounds
and activities of the outdoors (especially crowds of people and traffic noises) soon after he
has received at least two series of shots, provided he is not placed on the sidewalk or
streets, and he is not brought near other dogs (or anywhere other dogs might have been).
Praise & Reward Your Puppy For "Going" Outdoors
Lavish paise, a trigger word (ie: "potty", "get busy", "business", "bombs away", etc.) and a
treat reward immediately following his eliminating in the right place (newspapers, backyard,
or outdoors) will help you to communicate to your puppy that you are pleased with his
behavior. Delayed praise is not effective, so witnessing him going in the right spot is
No Access To Inappropriate Areas To Eliminate
Many puppies and dogs prefer certain areas or surfaces to eliminate on, such as rugs,
carpeting, etc. Keep your puppy away from risky areas or surfaces whenever possible. If
your puppy suddenly runs out of sight (ei: out of the room), he may be looking for a secret
spot to eliminate, so close doors to rooms where he may sneak a quick pee or poop.
Neutralize Urine Odors With Enzyme-Based Deodorizer
Should your puppy have a few housesoiling accidents despite your best efforts to prevent
them, neutralize any soiled areas (carpet or floor surface) with an pet odor neutralizer such
as Nature's Miracle, Nilodor, Fresh 'n' Clean, or Outright Pet Odor Eliminator. Avoid
using ammonia-based cleaners to clean up after your puppy's urine, as ammonia breaks
down to urea, which is a component of urine.
No Water After 9PM
Generally speaking, it is advisable to take up your puppy's water bowl after 9 PM, unless
he seems very thirsty or weather conditions are exceedingly hot. (But a couple of ice cubes
Eliminate Worms and Parasites
Contact your veterinarian if you suspect that your puppy has worms, coccidia, fleas, ticks,
or other internal or external parasites.
Diarrhea Will Prevent Housetraining Success
Your puppy or dog cannot be expected to be reliable if he has diarrhea. Loose, liquidy or
mucousy stools will hinder any housetraining success.
After-The-Fact Discipline Does NOT Work!
Never ever discipline (verbally or otherwise) your puppy or dog after-the-fact for
housesoiling accidents that you did not actually witness. (Even if you should see your puppy
eliminate on the floor or carpet, harsh physical punishment is never recommended.)
Never Discipline A Dog For Submissive Urination!
Submissive and excitement urination are completely involuntary, so never discipline your
puppy for this. Eye contact, verbal scoldings, hovering over, reaching out to pet your
puppy's head, animated movements, talking in an exciting or loud voice, as well as
strangers/ visitors approaching your puppy, may all potentially trigger your puppy to piddle.
Disciplining your puppy for involuntary piddling must be avoided or the problem will simply
Providing your puppy or dog with an indoor kennel crate can satisfy many dogs' need for a
den-like enclosure. Besides being an effective housebreaking tool (because it takes
advantage of the dog's natural reluctance to soil its sleeping place), it can also help to
reduce separation anxiety, to prevent destructive behavior (such as chewing furniture), to
keep a puppy away from potentially dangerous household items (i.e., poisons, electrical
wires, etc.), and to serve as a mobile indoor dog house which can be moved from room to
room whenever necessary.
A kennel crate also serves as a travel cabin for you dog when travelling by car or plane.
Additionally, most hotels which accept dogs on their premises require them to be crated
while in the room to prevent damage to hotel furniture and rugs.
Most dogs which have been introduced to the kennel crate while still young grow up to
prefer their crate to rest in or "hang-out" in. Therefore a crate (or any other area of
confinement) should NEVER be used for the purpose of punishment.
We recommend that you provide a kennel crate throughout your dog's lifetime. Some
crates allow for the removal of the door once it is no longer necessary for the purpose of
training. The crate can be placed under a table, or a table top can be put on top of it to
make it both unobtrusive and useful.
Preparing the Crate
Vari-Kennel type: Take the crate apart, removing the screws, the top and the door.
Allow your pup to go in and out of the bottom half of the crate before attaching the top
half. This stage can require anywhere from several hours to a few days. This step can be
omitted in the case of a young puppy who accepts crating right away.
Wire Mesh type:Tie the crate door back so that it stays open without moving or shutting
closed. If the crate comes with a floor pan, place a piece of cardboard or a towel between
the floor (or crate bottom) and the floor pan in order to keep it from rattling.
Furnishing Your Puppy's Crate
Toys and Treats: Place your puppy's favorite toys and dog treats at the far end opposite
the door opening. These toys may include the "Tuffy", "Billy", "Kong", or a ball.
Toys and bails should always be inedible and large enough to prevent their being
swallowed. Any fragmented toys should be removed to prevent choking and internal
obstruction. You may also place a sterilized marrow bone filled with cheese or dog treats in
Water: A small hamster-type water dispenser with ice water should be attached to the
crate if your puppy is to be confined for more than two hours in the crate.
Bedding: Place a towel or blanket inside the crate to create a soft, comfortable bed for
the puppy. If the puppy chews the towel, remove it to prevent the pup from swallowing or
choking on the pieces. Although most puppies prefer lying on soft bedding, some may
prefer to rest on a hard, flat surface, and may push the towel to one end of the crate to
avoid it. If the puppy urinates on the towel, remove bedding until the pup no longer
eliminates in the crate.
Location of Crate
Whenever possible, place the crate near or next to you when you are home. This will
encourage the pup to go inside it without his feeling lonely or isolated when you go out. A
central room in the apartment (i.e.: living room or kitchen) or a large hallway near the
entrance is a good place to crate your puppy.
Introducing the Crate to Your Puppy
In order that your puppy associate his/her kennel crate with comfort, security and
enjoyment, please follow these guidelines:
Occasionally throughout the day, drop small pieces of kibble or dog biscuits in the
crate. While investigating his new crate, the pup will discover edible treasures,
thereby reinforcing his positive associations with the crate. You may also feed him in
the crate to create the same effect. If the dog hesitates, it often works to feed him in
front of the crate, then right inside the doorway and then, finally, in the back of the
In the beginning, praise and pet your pup when he enters. Do not try to push, pull or
force the puppy into the crate. At this early stage of introduction only inducive
methods are suggested. Overnight exception: You may need to place your pup in his
crate and shut the door upon retiring. (In most cases, the crate should be placed
next to your bed overnight. If this is not possible, the crate can be placed in the
kitchen, bathroom or living room.)
You may also play this enjoyable and educational game with your pup or dog: without alerting your puppy, drop a small dog biscuit into the crate. Then call your
puppy and say to him, "Where's the biscuit? It's in your room." Using only a friendly,
encouraging voice, direct your pup toward his crate. When the puppy discovers the
treat, give enthusiastic praise. The biscuit will automatically serve as a primary
reward. Your pup should be free to leave its crate at all times during this game.
Later on, your puppy's toy or ball can be substituted for the treat.
It is advisable first to crate your pup for short periods of time while you are home
with him. In fact, crate training is best accomplished while you are in the room with
your dog. Getting him used to your absence from the room in which he is crated is a
good first step. This prevents an association being made with the crate and your
leaving him/her alone.
A Note About Crating Puppies
Puppies under 4 months of age have little bladder or sphincter control. Puppies under 3
months have even less. Very young puppies under 9 weeks should not be crated for
long periods of time, as they need to eliminate very frequently (usually 8-12 times or more daily).
Collars: Always remove your puppy or dog's collar before confining in the crate.
Even flat buckle collars can occasionally get struck on the bars or wire mesh of a
crate. If you must leave a collar on the pup when you crate him (e.g.: for his identification tag), use a safety "break
Warm Weather: Do not crate a puppy or dog when temperatures reach an uncomfortable level. This is especially true for the short-muzzled (Pugs,
Pekes, Bulldogs, etc.) and the Arctic or thick- coated breeds (Malamutes, Huskies,
Akitas, Newfoundlands, etc.). Cold water should always be available to puppies, especially
during warm weather. [Never leave an unsupervised dog on a terrace, roof or inside
a car during warm weather. Also, keep outdoor exercise periods brief until the hot
Be certain that your puppy has fully eliminated shortly before being crated. Be sure
that the crate you are using is not too large to discourage your pup from eliminating
in it. Rarely does a pup or dog eliminate in the crate if it is properly sized and the
dog is an appropriate age to be crated a given amount of time. If your pup/dog continues to eliminate in the crate, the following may be the causes:
The pup is too young to have much control.
The pup has a poor or rich diet, or very large meals.
The pup did not eliminate prior to being confined.
The pup has worms.
The pup has gaseous or loose stools.
The pup drank large amounts of water prior to being crated.
The pup has been forced to eliminate in small confined areas prior to crate training.
The pup/dog is suffering from a health condition or illness (i.e., bladder infection,
prostate problem, etc.)
The puppy or dog is experiencing severe separation anxiety when left alone.
Note: Puppies purchased in pet stores, or puppies which were kept solely in small cages or
other similar enclosures at a young age (between approximately 7 and 16 weeks of age),
may be considerably harder to housebreak using the crate training method due to their
having been forced to eliminate in their sleeping area during this formative stage of
development. This is the time when most puppies are learning to eliminate outside their
sleeping area. Confining them with their waste products retards the housebreaking process,
and this problem can continue throughout a dog's adult life.
Accidents In The Crate
If your puppy messes in his crate while you are out, do not punish him upon your return.
Simply wash out the crate using a pet odor neutralizer (such as Nature's Miracle, Nilodor,
or Outright). Do not use ammonia-based products, as their odor resembles urine and may
draw your dog back to urinate in the same spot again.
Crating Duration Guidelines
9-10 Weeks Approx. 30-60 minutes
11-14 Weeks Approx. 1-3 hours
15-16 Weeks Approx. 3-4 hours
17 + Weeks Approx. 4+ (6 hours maximum)
*NOTE: Except for overnight, neither puppies nor dogs should be crated for more than 5
hours at a time. (6 hours maximum!)
The Crate As Punishment
NEVER use the crate as a form of punishment or reprimand for your puppy or dog. This
simply causes the dog to fear and resent the crate. If correctly introduced to his crate, your
puppy should be happy to go into his crate at any time. You may however use the crate as
a brief time-out for your puppy as a way of discouraging nipping or excessive rowdiness.
[NOTE: Sufficient daily exercize is important for healthy puppies and dogs. Regular daily
walks should be offered as soon as a puppy is fully immunized. Backyard exercize is not
Children And The Crate
Do not allow children to play in your dog's crate or to handle your dog while he/she is in
the crate. The crate is your dog's private sanctuary. His/her rights to privacy should always
Barking In The Crate
In most cases a pup who cries incessantly in his crate has either been crated too soon
(without taking the proper steps as outlined above) or is suffering from separation anxiety
and is anxious about being left alone. Some pups may simply under exercised. Others may
not have enough attention paid them. Some breeds of dog may be particularly vocal (e.g.,
Miniature Pinchers, Mini Schnauzers, and other frisky terrier types). These dogs may need
the "Alternate Method of Confining Your Dog", along with increasing the amount of
exercise and play your dog receives daily.
When Not To Use A Crate
Do not crate your puppy or dog if:
S/he is too young to have sufficient bladder or sphincter control.
S/he has diarrhea. Diarrhea can be caused by: worms, illness, intestinal upsets such
as colitis, too much and/or the wrong kinds of food, quick changes in the dogs diet,
or stress, fear or anxiety.
S/he is vomiting.
You must leave him/her crated for more than the Crating Duration Guidelines suggest.
S/he has not eliminated shortly before being placed inside the crate. (See Housetraining Guidelines for exceptions.)
The temperature is excessively high.
S/he has not had sufficient exercise, companionship and socialization.
Buying a Crate
Where to buy a crate: Crates can be purchased through most pet supply outlets, through
pet mail order catalogs and through most professional breeders. Some examples are:
Crate Size and Manufacturers:
Small: (Vari-Kennel #100 or General Cage #201)
Toy Poodles, the Maltese, etc., with average
weight of 6-10 lbs.
Medium Small: (Vari-Kennel #200 or General Cage #202/212)
Mini Schnauzers, Jack Russells, etc., with
average weight of 11-20 lbs.
Medium: (Vari-Kennel #300 or General Cage #203/213)
Cocker Spaniels, Field Spaniels, small Shelties, etc., with average weight of 21-40
Large: (Vari-Kennel #400 or General Cage #204/214)
Huskies, large Samoyeds, small Golden Retrievers, etc., with average weight of 41-65
Very Large: (Vari-Kennel #500 or General Cage #205/215)
German Shepherds, Alaskan Malamutes, Rottweilers, etc., with average weight of
Extra Large: (General Cage #206 or
Mid-West #89-Z, 89-E or 99)
Newfoundlands, Great Danes, etc, with average weight of 110 lbs. plus.
The Cost of A Crate
Crates can cost between $35 and $350 depending on the size and the type of crate and
The Cost of Not Buying a Crate
- your shoes
- table legs
- chairs and sofas
- throw rugs and carpet, and
- electric, telephone and computer wires.
The real cost, however, is your dog's safety and your peace of mind.
Alternative Method Of Confining Your Puppy
There are alternative methods to crating very young puppies and puppies who must be left
alone in the house for lengths of time exceeding the recommended maximum duration of
confinement (see Crating Duration Guidelines). We suggest the following:
Use a small to medium-sized room space such as a kitchen, large bathroom or hallway with
non- porous floor. Set up the crate on one end, the food and water a few feet away, and
some newspaper (approx. 2'x3' to 3'x3') using a 3 to 4 layer thickness, several feet away.
Confine your puppy to this room or area using a 3 ft. high, safety-approved child's gate
rather than shutting off the opening by a solid door. Your pup will feel less isolated if it can
see out beyond its immediate place of confinement. Puppy proof the area by removing any
dangerous objects or substances.