I have a 14 week old Pitbull puppy that we are trying to crate train. He has made some progress, but he is still messing in his crate. My husband and I work all day and do not have someone to take him out in the afternoon. Is it still possible for the crate training to work even if he is in it for 8 hours at a time? Also, he gets let out every 3 hours at night, and still messes in his crate then. Please help!
You wont be able to crate "train" your puppy unless you can let him out at least every 3 hours. You are not "training" you are confining the dog. He is growing up confined to a crate. I agree with Jilson that confining him to a room with a potty area may be your best bet. As for training him to go outside that will require you to take him out every couple of hours. Don't forget he needs toys and things (music, radio) to occupy him when he is alone all day.
Everyone here is assuming you have someone to come in and take the dog out periodically. Not everyone is that lucky! And no, you aren't a bad puppy mommy because you have a job. Dogs do get accustomed to being alone through the day. I have 2 small dogs and periodically through their lives I have had full time jobs too. They are used to it. They know that they will go out last thing just before I leave, and first thing as soon as I get home. I would suggest though that you or your husband come home at lunch time and take the dog out. 8 hours is an awfully long time. Also those puppy pads are a good idea, and now is a great time to start training your dog to use them (believe me it's not so easy once they are grown and completely house trained).
Also, the idea of a pet sitter coming in every day is a really bad idea. If for no other reason than they are sooo expensive! It would cost less to board her than it would to hire a sitter! I know, I've checked into it extensively!
With the exception of overnight, a puppy should not be crated so long without good breaks. The rule of thumb is no more hours at a time than the puppy is months old. So for a 14 week old puppy, no more than 3 hours at a time. See if you can arrange for someone to come in and let him out during the day.
(This is the reason we won't be able to get a puppy next time around with an empty nest and both of us working full time, it would not be fair to a puppy.)
If you cannot make arrangements; maybe you can find a room in your home with a very washable floor, and confine him there during the day. You might try a litter box with those blue puppy pads inside; and see if you can get him to "go" in there. I don't think he is deliberately messing; but can't hold it all day.
It's inhuman to put a puppy in a crate for 8 hours or more. They don't enjoy sitting in their mess anymore than you would! Our dog has never been in a crate and has the run of the house at all times. He has never messed up anything even when we are out. We have regular times that we go out with him for walks and play and he knows when that time rolls around, he's as reliable as a clock. If you don't have time for a pet, you should give him to someone that does who will take care of him properly.
This is way too long for a dog to be confined to a crate; get a pet sitter to let him out once or twice during the day.
How big is your crate? For training purposes, it should be just big enough for the puppy (at his current size) to stand up and turn around, and take just a couple of steps in. It's important not to have the crate large enough that he is able to get away from the mess he just made. The whole idea is that he won't mess where he sleeps. So if he takes up the whole cage when he sleeps, he's not as apt to mess in it.
I wouldn't allow for more than 3 months worth of growth when you buy the crate. I realize this means replacing it every few months till she's full grown which is not cheap by any means (check yard sales and thrift shops), but you'll have much more success with the training. Once she's trained, then you can give her a large crate so she has room to really move around.
Thank you all for the comments. I finally got someone to take him out every day except one day. I did try keeping him in a room with toys and a puppy pad, but he just started chewing everything! We have to replace the frame on our door and a few cabinets. (which is why we started with the crate training) We could not go home on lunch since we work 45 minutes from home.
He is doing much better now. He has not made a mess in his crate all week!
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