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Crate Training

There are many advantages of crate training.  A dog that is crate trained can be comfortably and safely left in the crate while traveling or when it is necessary that the dog be safely confined.

HOUSEBREAKING.    Crate training is one of the most effective ways to potty train a dog. The more time you spend with your Vizsla pup, the quicker and easier it will be to train him.  It is of  utmost importance that an adult be present in the home during the housebreaking period.  This process can take anywhere from 3 days to several months depending on each individual pup and the consistency, experience and knowledge of the new owner.

Establishing a routine is key to house breaking.  For example, within 1 minute after eating a meal the pup should immediately be taken outside to go potty.  Make him walk to the door so it will imprint upon him.  He should be immediately praised and rewarded for going  potty outside.   Not giving the puppy the opportunity to mess in the house will greatly decreases the chances that your dog will eliminate in the wrong place and develop bad habits.  It is important that you be proactive and make provisions for your dog when you are not home.  Until your pup is housebroken, he should NOT be allowed to roam free and unsupervised in the house.  Otherwise, he will develop a habit of pooping and peeing everywhere, much to your frustration.  Confine him to a small area you can keep tabs on him and try to not be distracted by other things.  Soon you’ll learn to “read” him.  If he starts to look nervous or goes to the door and looks nervous, don’t wait, it is time to take him out NOW!

Crate training is an efficient and effective way to house train a dog.  Dogs, by nature dislike to soil their sleeping quarters (den) and given adequate opportunity to go elsewhere, will do so. Confining your dog to a small area strongly inhibits the tendency to pee and poop at will.  But, there is still a far more important aspect of crate training.  If your dog does not mess while he is in his crate, then he will need to go straight to the potty area when he is taken out of the crate giving the owner the perfect opportunity to show him the place he is expected to go potty at and to receive immediate praise for doing so.  Be sure not to confine your pup to a crate for long periods of time beyond his capacity to “hold it”.   As he gets older his capacity for holding it will also increase.  Never put a pup in a crate until he has has eliminated after a meal as you would be setting him up for failure.  Crate training  will help teach your puppy to have bladder and bowel control.  Instead of going whenever he feels like it, he will learn to hold it and go at convenient scheduled times.  Crate training should not be abused.  The crate is not intended as a place to lock up the dog and forget him for extended periods of time.  Do not leave him there all day while you are at work.  If your dog soils his crate because you left him there too long, the house training process will be set back and you will have to “start over” from square one!  You should give your dog an opportunity to relieve himself every hour or less during the day, especially if he is drinking water and playing.   Each time you let him out of his crate, take him outside.  Once outside, give him about three to five minutes to do his duty.  If he does not eliminate within that time period,  return him to his crate.  If he does go, then immediately reward him with praise, food treats, affection, play and time out of the crate .  Very young pups should be taken to their potty area every 30-45 minutes.  Never give your dog free run of your home unless you know beyond the shadow of a doubt, that his bowels and bladder are empty.




Crate Training Is the most talked about new method of training dogs.   More and more dog owners and their pets are learning the benefits of starting puppies on crate training as soon as they arrive in their new home.   Crate training is the use of a plastic airline crate or a wire cage to confine a puppy when the family is not home or is unable to supervise the puppy’s activities.    The crate in effect, becomes the puppy’s bed.   Other terms used interchangeably with crate training are den and kennel.

You may feel that it is cruel to confine a dog to a crate.   It would be cruel to just close him in the crate and leave.   But if you introduce him to the crate properly, you will find that your puppy will quickly come to prefer it for sleeping and quiet time.   Too many dogs are surrendered to animal shelters because of the damage done while they are unattended.  Since over 85% of these puppies are euthanized, it is kind, NOT cruel, to crate train a puppy to prevent behavioural and housebreaking problems.

Why Crate Train?

Dogs in the wild live in dens.   The den provides wild dogs protection from predators as well as the elements, and it allows for a feeling of security.   That’s why you often find dogs curling up under a table, chair, or bed. By giving dogs a secure place that is all their own, pet owners can take advantage of a dogs’ natural instincts to help the dog feel safe, thus reducing isolation-induced stress.   Crate training, if done properly, is a wonderful training tool with many benefits. Apart from the obvious uses for transporting dogs, a crate can be used for short-term confinement — to keep your puppy out of mischief so he does not develop bad habits when you cannot give him your undivided attention.  A crate can also be used to develop good habits –to house train your puppy, to establish a chew-toy habit, and to reduce inappropriate barking and digging.   Also, if your dog ever injures himself or becomes ill, the crate will be
invaluable during recovery.   If you move, your dog’s adjustment to a new home will be quicker and less stressful if he is crate trained.   If you stay in motels or visit relatives, your dog will be “damage-proof” if he travels with his crate.   If you travel by car, placing the dog in the crate will keep him out from under your feet, away from the driver, and more safe in case of an accident.

Where Do You Put The Crate?

Dogs are pack animals and prefer to be with their pack/family, so keep the crate in a lived-in part of the house.   A kitchen or family room is good — never a garage or shed.  When the puppy is young it is recommended to have the crate near the door he will be going out to use the bathroom.  Having the crate close to the door will help prevent any elimination accidents as the puppy leaves his crate and heads for the door to go out.

How Do You Crate Train?

Your dog should thoroughly enjoy spending time in his crate.   This can be accomplished by introducing him to the crate properly, making it comfortable and fun to go into the crate, and by giving him something entertaining to do in the crate.  

Below is a step-by-step outline of the recommended process:

1.  Set up the crate with the puppy out of the room, so as not to startle him.

2.  Use old blankets, towels or sheets as bedding.   Do not make the bedding material too absorbent because the puppy needs to be severely inconvenienced if he urinates in his crate.   Note:  Many puppies will chew bedding which can be very dangerous so take time to observe if he is trying to chew his bedding.

3.  DO NOT use housebreaking pads in the crate because this will attract and encourage the puppy to eliminate in his crate.

4.  DO use a bolt on water and food bowl so not to spill contents on bedding
5.  DO put one or two safe chew toys in the crate with the puppy so he has something to occupy his time — a Tuffy Kong toy is one of the best and safest toys to leave a puppy alone with.   Stuffing a Kong toy with freeze-dried liver or a biscuit can keep the puppy entertained.

6.   If you are using a wire crate, place an old blanket or sheet over the top and sides in order to create a den-like atmosphere.   Tuck the ends of the covering under the crate so that the puppy cannot pull them inside to chew on them.


Introduction and Use of the Crate

1.  When it is time for the puppy’s meal, place the food just inside of the crate so the puppy has to stick his head into the crate to eat.

2.  Between feedings, you can make going into the crate a game by tossing in treats or toys.   Allow your puppy to come and go at will –do not force your puppy into the crate.
3.  When the puppy gets in the crate on his own or because there is a treat inside, this is your cue to start associating a command with the action.   You can use statements such as “kennel up” or “go to bed.” The most important thing to remember in giving commands is to be brief and consistent.

4.  Always leave the crate door open when your puppy is out of the crate so he can get in it when he wants.

5.  When you are home, make going into the crate a game. Give your chosen command, such as “go to bed,” and throw a treat or toy into the crate.   Let your puppy walk in and out of the crate at will.   Whenever your puppy goes into the
crate on his own, lavish him with praise!

6.  Each time the puppy enters his crate for confinement, give him a tasty treat such as cheese.

7.  ALWAYS use your chosen command when calling your dog to the crate for confinement.   DO NOT simply call him to you, as he may become wary of approaching you when called.

8.  NEVER USE THE CRATE AS PUNISHMENT! Your dog will pick up “vibes” from you if you put him in the crate when you are angry.   The puppy’s crate should be his secure place.   It should not be associated with punishment, fear, or anything negative.   If you treat the crate as a wonderful, gentle, lifesaving tool to prevent accidents, destruction, and behavior problems, your puppy will feel positive about the crate too.

9.  Every time you let the puppy out of his crate, even if he has only been confined 30 minutes, take him straight outside to his “wee wee” area and give him your command such as “go potty” or “hurry up.”   Praise him when he eliminates outside.   If the puppy does not eliminate within five minutes and you know it is time for him to do so, put him back in the crate.   Wait approximately 30 minutes and then take him outside again.   In the morning, be sure to take the puppy out the minute he starts to fuss.

10. If the puppy eliminates in his crate, clean it up immediately and thoroughly. After cleaning up the urine, wipe the bottom of the crate with a pet odor eliminating product or a solution of vinegar and water.   It is necessary to clean up the odor completely so the puppy does not smell it later and urinate there again.

11.  During all unsupervised times, the puppy should be in his crate with the door closed.   Normal, healthy puppies will generally get into mischief if unattended.   The tendency of puppies to “learn” about their surroundings is too strong for them to control –learning means chewing, scratching, and digging. If the puppy is unable to get into trouble, destructive habits will not be formed.

12. as your puppy gets older (probably close to 1 year old), you can start leaving him out of the crate unattended for short periods of time.   When you first leave him unattended and out of the crate, restrict him to one or two rooms in the house.   If the puppy behaves in your absence, gradually increase his time out of the crate with the ultimate goal being never having to close him in his crate.   However, he should continue to have access to his crate whenever he wants.   If the puppy gets into mischief in your absence, begin to crate him again whenever he is unsupervised and try again.

When Problems Arise….

Elimination in the Crate could be due to a number of causes:

Was the puppy crated longer than he was able to “hold it”?

Did the puppy drink an excessive amount of water before he was crated?

Did you take him outside and give him a chance to eliminate before he was crated?

Is the crate too big, enabling the puppy to get away from his mess?

Is the bedding material too absorbing his mess so he is not severely inconvenienced when he urinates in the crate?

Never rule out medical problems when your pet’s habits seem to change.   Some dogs and breeds are easier to crate train than others, so keep trying and do not get discouraged if there are occasional mess-ups.

Barking in the Crate:  Puppies may bark when they are first put in the crate.   In most cases, if you ignore the barking, the puppy will stop because he is not getting what he wants — attention.   Do not allow family members let the puppy out of the crate when he barks.   If you do, you run the risk of training him to bark so he will be let out.  If the barking persists over days or weeks, you can try covering the entire crate with a blanket or sheet.   Try this method for a few days to see if it reduces the puppy’s barking.   You can also try leaving a radio playing to mask sounds and keep the puppy company when you are away.   Surprisingly, yelling “be quiet” at a barking dog may actually reinforce its barking behavior.  For many dogs any type of attention is rewarding –even reprimands.

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