crate training

Posted by gregthecard
Feb 19, 2008
Hello, I am having a problem with my 5 month old German Shepherd. I have to leave him in the crate for 12 hours when I go to work. He has had a couple of accidents and I was wondering if I should make a pen for him in the basement with papers on the floor, put papers in the kennel or just continue leaving him in the kennel without anything. Thanks, Greg.
Posted by Todd
Feb 22, 2008
Hi there and thanks for your question.

In my opinion and i am sure others will think differently, i would be more happy with the basement idea. This will give him more room to move and to go toilet in a particular area and not feel bad about messing in his kennel.

Posted by 247VA
Feb 22, 2008
Hi, mY name is Jay and I just got a pitbull pup when he was 3months old and now he is going on 5months but still has accidents in the house sometimes, what can I do to help him, help us get over this hump? I need as many suggetions as I can get.
Posted by Todd
Feb 22, 2008
Hi there and thanks for your question.

As a first step (if you haven't already) please read the bonus book on house breaking. It has several valuable pointers that may be of real use in this situation.

The KEY to correcting this behavior is catching your dog in the act. Not 5 seconds later but actually while your dog is relieving itself. The best way that I have found to correct this type of behavior is to startle your dog by loudly saying “AAHHH”, squirting it with a water pistol or shaking a pebble filled can, when you catch your dog in the act. Wait for 4-5 minutes then redirect it to the area that your dog is meant to go. As the last drop is coming out, reward your dog with praise.

Leaving Water

The problem with leaving your dog water inside of the house is that it may possibly reward your dogs poor behavior, by that I mean your dog drinks the water, has a full bladder, relieves itself inside, feels better and doesn't get reprimanded as you aren't there to catch it in the act. It is vitally important that you do not let the aforementioned scenario happen, as the more times that your dog is allowed to relieve itself, the more your dog thinks that it is ok to go where it isn't supposed to.

Works Long Hours

If you are working long hours and cannot adequately supervise your dog for extended periods of time then house breaking will become extremely difficult if not impossible. As previously mentioned it is vital that you are present when your dog relieves itself so that you can show it the difference between right and wrong. You will need to get a relative, neighbor or friend to regularly check up on your dog and take on the house breaking responsibilities during the day if you cannot do it yourself.

A good idea in your situation would be to take a week or two off to make a routine for your dog while you are at work. If you were to stay home, you could train your dog to use the crate as its bathroom, and have your dog in the living room to run around in. You would have to be present though, because you would want to avoid having your dog going inside anywhere but its crate, not just for your homes sake but also because once they have been on the carpet/floor/couch, they will be likely to think that it is their bathroom as they have been there before. (Dogs work by scent, not by inside/outside association).

If you can stay home, make sure you do not spend the whole day with your dog, just the time to house train him, as your dog may become accustomed to having you there to play with all the time, which would be unfair as when you go back to work, or whatever you do when you leave the house, your dog will have to become readjusted to being on its own (and this could cause separation anxiety).

You will have to buy a quality DOG ODOR neutralizer, which you should be able to find at most good pet stores. Clean your carpets, with the odor neutralizer, in all the known places that you can find where your dog has been .

This will help disguise the scent and you will find it easier to catch your dog preparing to go potty before it has the chance to do so inside. No product can take away the scent 100%, however the weaker the scent is made the better, so buying an odor neutralizer will still be worthwhile.

The next time your dog has an accident inside:

Growl as your dog is doing it. You must reprimand your dog as it is performing the undesirable behavior, because dogs only ever associate your punishment or reward with the very last action they have performed.

Soak up the puddle or pick up the waste with a sheet of newspaper.

Then clean the spot with your odor neutralizer.

Keep the soiled newspaper, place any solid wastes or the soaked paper outside, or wherever you want their bathroom spot to be. This will give your dog a place it can return to that is marked with its own scent and therefore safe to use as a bathroom. (keep in mind that dogs mark their territory and therefore claim their dominance as they eliminate, if another dog has been where you want your dog to go, your dog will only go there if it is of a dominant disposition and wish to challenge the opposing 'dog'.)

Take your dog out every hour on the hour (when possible) to that place where you have placed its waste. Introduce the command "Be quick!....Good Dog" as your dog goes and reward it with treats if you wish. This command is handy, as your dog quickly associates your voice command with the act of eliminating. My dog's will even try and go anytime, anywhere if I give this command, knowing the treats that usually accompany being obedient! (even if they have no juice, I still reward them for their efforts!)

You may want to get him checked over by a vet to rule out the possibility of a bladder infection.

Good luck and please let me know hoe things go.