In the wild, dogs are territorial animals. They live in dens and eliminate in selected areas away from their homes. This natural canine inclination assists in house-training dogs using the crating method. Teach your dog to view its crate as its den and establish designated restroom areas, and after a few weeks of having the appropriate territories reinforced, your dog will learn when and where it should potty, and it can gain more freedom inside your home.
Choose an appropriate crate for your dog. Dog crates come in a variety of materials, including wood and wire. Crates are available in multiple sizes, but they should always be large enough for your dog to stand comfortably.
Select the area where you want your dog to potty. This can be outside of your home or inside on a puppy pad or papers. Since dogs respond to visual cues, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals suggests using fencing or items as a barrier to indicate the appropriate space so your dog will have a visual indication of its potty area.
Decide on a schedule for your dog's restroom use. Routines are important to dogs, so establish and adhere to a set potty schedule. Expect your dog to need a restroom trip after napping or sleeping overnight, and within half an hour of eating.
Crate your dog for half an hour to an hour before a scheduled potty break.
Take your dog directly from its crate to the designated potty area at the specified times.
Wait for your dog to eliminate, and be ready with praise and a treat when it has finished using the appropriate potty area.
Watch your dog carefully during house-training. If you catch the dog eliminating in an inappropriate place, respond immediately with a firm "no" and take the dog to its designated potty area.
Remove old stool from your dog's potty area regularly. Keeping this area clean ensures that your dog will continue to eliminate there.
Clean any messes inside the house thoroughly. Dogs' sensitive noses can pick up trace amounts of urine smell that humans can't detect, so even after a thorough cleaning, monitor the spot where the accident occurred and watch your dog to make sure it doesn't try to reuse that area. The Partnership for Animal Welfare warns that if your dog sees you cleaning up its mess, it may view this as a game, so make sure your dog is out of sight when dealing with its accidents in the house.
Don't scold your dog for eliminating inappropriately unless you catch it in the act. Otherwise it may not remember the act and won't understand the reason for the punishment.
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- the dog image by hupper from Fotolia.com