A crate is a very effective housebreaking tool because dog’s are instinctively clean animals and have a natural reluctance to soiling their sleeping quarters. A crate can be your best ally with house training.
Providing your poodle with an indoor crate can satisfy a dog’s need for a den-like enclosure. Dogs like a place they can curl up in and feel secure. Most dogs who have been introduced to a crate while they are young, grow up to prefer their crate for sleeping or relaxing in.
Crates can help reduce separation anxiety, prevent destructive behavior, such as chewing, and keep your puppy away from dangerous household items like electrical wires. You can leave your puppy home alone with peace of mind. He is comfortable and not forming bad habits.
Getting Your Poodle Used To The Crate
- From the first day home your poodles new life with you should include her crate. But if your poodle isn’t thrilled with the crate you can take some steps to make her more comfortable with it.
- Leave the crate door open when she isn’t in it. Every so often toss a treat inside, so that when she walks by she’ll smell the treat, go in and get rewarded. If that’s not enough to make her feel better about the crate, feed her in the crate to change her associations with it.
- Provide safe toys and occasional treats while your puppy is confined in the crate. Your puppy should have a wide variety of toys for chewing, distraction, and comfort.
- Put the crate in a place where you spend most of your time. This will encourage your puppy to go inside the crate without feeling lonely.
If your poodle whines and cries in the crate, ignore her objections. Don’t yell at her or whack the top of the crate! You should not let her out of the crate while she’s complaining. any of these reactions will promote future complaining. Only let your poodle out of the crate when she’s being quiet.
Using The Crate
When you are gone, or when you are busy and cannot watch your puppy, you should keep him confined to his crate. Be sure your puppy has eliminated before placing him in his crate, and take him to his designated area as soon as you take him out of his crate.
Be sure to give him something to do when he’s in the crate. Give your pup a kong toy stuffed with his food or peanut butter, he’ll spend a happy hour or so cleaning it out and then will settle in for a nap. If your poodle has a favorite toy he likes to sleep with, put it in there with him.
Until your poodle is house trained, keep him in his crate in your bedroom, while you sleep. Ignore any protestations on his part. Be sure to take him out to potty right before bed and take him out again the instant you get up in the morning.
If your puppy cries at night and you think he needs to go out, respond quickly. Carry him outside to potty, praise him after he goes and bring him right back to his crate.
Nighttime breaks should be about going to the bathroom and nothing else. If he cries after you’ve just taken him out and you’re sure that’s not the reason for his crying, ignore him. He will settle back down.
How Long Is Too Long?
Don’t crate a very young puppy for more than a couple of hours. A rule of thumb is that a dog can be crated for one hour per month of age.
Between 7 and 16 weeks of age is when a puppy learns to eliminate outside his sleeping area. It’s imperative not to leave your pup in the crate so long, she’s forced to soil it. Being confined with their waste products retards the housebreaking process. That’s why puppies who have been purchased from a pet store, or were kept solely in small cages may be harder to crate train. In some cases, this problem will continue throughout the dog’s life.
If your puppy does have an accident in his crate, do not punish him. Wash it out with a pet odor neutralizer.
If you must leave your poodle for more than a few hours, you’ll need to put him in a long-term confinement area, rather than a crate.