How To House Train Your Puppy Without A Crate

Crate training seems to be all the rage these days although it's relatively new. Possibly because more people are spending more time away from home. Both spouses working and so on. It's trendy, I suppose.

But in the not too distant past, people house trained their dogs successfully without a crate. Crates are useful for transporting and to keep your pet safe in certain instances. But in my estimation, not such a good way to house train an animal who will likely be spending his entire life with you.

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Yes, this may be just opinion, but I have house trained all my dogs successfully and they have never been in a crate.

It is such a sweet and wonderful time having a new puppy in the house. But please, before you get him, do research, inform yourself on what his needs are. Do some research even to find what kind of dog will fit best in your home and lifestyle; high energy, low energy, loyalty to small children, and so on.

The more time you spend picking out a dog makes it better for all concerned. Of course if he is a rescue and needs you right away, just be sure you are prepared to make a few sacrifices and to be very understanding.

For those of us who rescue dogs it doesn't feel like a sacrifice, but there are families who are not so prepared to deal with soiled carpets, chewed things, including people, inappropriate barking, and all the other things that can come along with a dog whose needs haven't been met. It is between you and your family to honestly decide if you are willing to embrace a new animal and do what is needed to meet his needs and your own.

Make an active effort to have a responsible person around the home for at least a week or two at all times when your puppy first comes to your house. The more time you can spend with him when he is little ensures that he can be a safe, happy and well adjusted adult dog.

Puppies don't have very big bladders and can pee a lot of times in a day. Which is great for training. If you notice him circling and sniffing the floor you can be relatively certain he is thinking about going for a pee.

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Gently pick him up and take him outside. He may lose interest in peeing once he gets outside, but be patient. If and when he does let him know how pleased you are, lots of praise and lots of love.

Sometimes he will totally forget about peeing and you can let him back inside, but watch him closely and repeat going outside when he starts to sniff and circle.

If you take him to the same place outside he will quickly learn from the puddles he has already made that this is a good place to pee. That's what he is looking for when he is sniffing the floor.

Accidents do happen though with puppies. If you catch him in the act, gently pick him up, don't say "good dog/bad dog", just suggest that we should go outside. Likely he's done, but give him 5 minutes outside and don't play with him at those times. Play time is for after he pees. Poops.

Right after meal time is poopie time. And you will see him doing the poop squat. Of course take him outside right after eating if you can; give love and praise for a job well done. He might go poopie other times too, just watch him. It's like having a toddler around the house.

If he does have an accident, don't make a big deal about it. I find that SpotBot is great for such things. But any spot cleaner will be useful. Take the dog outside, don't reprimand. And deal with the mess later.

Ignore bad behavior and reward good behavior.

Your puppy is motivated by wanting to please you. And he really is just a little kid--so be understanding. Watch the look on his face and the waggle in his tail when you tell him what a good dog he is. He loves it! And will do almost anything to get it. Teach him what behaviors will get the "good dog" approval.

If you must be away from home when he is new to your house, well I feel sorry for him. He has just lost his mother and his siblings if he had any and now he has to spend the day alone? And to add insult to this still is it fair to stick him in a crate? People often fail to realize what a big deal it is for the puppy.

You could confine him to a puppy safe room and do what you can to paper train him in the same way you would for outside, then move the papers outside as he gets bigger.

A dog will suffer and bear a lot of things because he loves you. But he has needs and as a responsible and loving dog companion, you can make the commitment to give him the love and patience he needs when he is little so that you can be assured that you warrant the abundance of love he gives you.

A lot of dogs end up in shelters with behavior problems because people failed to educate themselves on the needs of these beautiful animals before they got them. Animal shelters are sad places.

And good heavens, dogs are such loyal, responsive, smart, and loving animals. Dogs are not born with behavior problems. And since it is us humans who are bringing dogs into our homes, it is up to us to teach them responsibly and with respect and love for the wonderful creatures that they are.

By Sheraone from Ontario

July 17, 20070 found this helpful

i actually disagree about the crate whether it is a good idea. yes my current dog doesnt go in there to sleep on her own. but my 1st dog would often just go in there when the house was noisey etc. she felt safe there. yes when i leave the house the dog goes in the crate.

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July 18, 20070 found this helpful

This is one of the best ways to housetrain your puppy. I would also add doing this at a time when someone is home most often, like take your vacation time to introduce and train a new puppy, or if a partner or spouse does not work, that person could do the training. I would still have a crate but only for emergencies or just a quiet place for your dog or pup to get away from the noise of the family, never for punishment.

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July 27, 20070 found this helpful

We got our a half german pointer/ half German Shephard mix a week ago when she was 8 weeks old (both my wife and I are lifetime dog owners who have never used a crate) She's never been in a crate, and she's had a few accidents, but after one week she already let's us know when she wants to poop outside. She hasn't pooped in the house for 5 days now (occasional pee accidents). I researched crate training a bit since it seems to fit an easy puppy lifestyle for people who want a dog, but don't have much time. Understood, dogs do require a lot of time and todays work schedules rarely coincide. But seriously now, why can't people just watch their puppies for a few weeks. It's really not that big of a deal to housebreak a dog, just requires patience, and a bit of research. I am from Czech Republic, and dog crates are almost impossible to purchase here, and if they were. No one would buy them anyway. For those who have visited this country you will notice that most of the dogs here don't even have leashes on the streets, and will wait outside of grocery stores (with no leash) while their owner does the shopping. I'm not trying to be mean, but when I was in the US I saw the worst behaved dogs in my life. I'm sure there are tons of well behaved, well integrated dogs there, but I just didn't encounter them. Most were either completely secluded from the family in a kennel all day, or rarely saw another dog for weeks. Seriously, even when you are home, and the dog is at home, is there really any need to lock them in a box at night? Sure it may speed things up, but in the end I believe you will lose a lot of mutual respect, and understanding (not creating the hierarchy of the pack in a positive way). If you just got a puppy, read about the "monks of new skete" http://www.newsketemonks.com/dogs.htm

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February 18, 20090 found this helpful

I never placed my toddler in a crate, we buy toddlers "pull Ups'. We can get puppies "puppy pads " and they work great and the thought of a crate breaks my heart.

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January 7, 20110 found this helpful

The advice by "Sheraone" from Ontario is the best i have ever read great one from canada never crated a dog in my life except to transport my german shepherds to shows in steel "see through" cages bolted to wagon floor. If people don't have the time to give life-time commitment to their animals don't have them congratulations land of the "maple leaf" from the "land down under".

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January 7, 20110 found this helpful

Dear Sheraone

This is the best article about training a puppy I have seen. Every sentence was filled with sound advice and helpful insight. Very few people understand what it takes to handle a puppy in its first few months (actually in its first year) in their home. I don't have a dog in my life after the heartbreak of the last dog I owned. She was a Pembroke Corgi who became crippled as so many of them do. From one year on she suffered with bone pain. The pain itself made her vomit and cry, the drugs to treat it made her vomit, cry and have bloody diarrhea. It became evident by the time she was four and barely able to walk that I needed to love her enough to stop her pain. I swore I would not have another dog after that. Your article melted my cold, sealed heart and for a moment I thought about rescuing a puppy from the RSPCA. That's how good your advice - and your writing - was. Please consider blogging. There a lot of well-meaning but ignorant dog owners who could use your well said, plain-spoken advice and direction. I won't be rescuing a dog but its pretty amazing that I was 'amost persuaded'. All the best to you.

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January 7, 20110 found this helpful

I agree, this is a very good article about how to train a puppy with kindness,compassion & patience - thing it seem a lot of people don't have nowadaysToo many people are either ignorant to how much time a dog takes, or just plain selfish, that they want one but leave it home alone ALL day alone while they work & all weekend while they play-then wonder why their dog has behavior problems!

I grew up with dogs, my parents raised Samoyed Huskies when I was little, we have always had dogs & this is how we trained them-never with meanness, and we never had crates.However, I think crates DO have their place.

We got a dog about 4 years ago. She was a 3 month old rescue pup. We knew when we got her that she would have to travel with us because: our family all live 1000 miles away, she would be staying with my adult daughter sometimes, & at the time we got Lightning,I was working 3 hours a day. So we incorporated the crate in her training from the beginning. She knows her crate as a safe place, not a place to be sent when she's punished. The door is open for her & she sleeps in it at night,naps in it & knows when she gets in it,she is off-limits to the grandkids - my boys call it her "Happy Place"! It goes with us when we travel & we set it up wherever we end up (motel, parents' homes,etc),put her bed in it & she know it is a safe familiar place no matter where she is.

It's a good thing we did this with her too. She is 1/2 Queensland and 1/2 Corgi. She can be very nervous & neurotic, seeming to get worse as she gets older. She gets so upset sometimes when we leave her home that she will tear things up. So, when we all leave home for even 10 minutes, she is now put in her crate with a chew bone & the tv left on. I don't know if it eases her anxiety or not, but if we don't put her in her crate & she tears something up while we're gone, she nearly turns herself inside out in shame when we get home, so at least it eases that pain for her.

I think for someone to use a crate to contain their dog for hours on end, day after day, it is very unfair to the dog & obvious they don't have time for it. But a crate can be used very effectively if done in the right way, for the right reason!

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January 8, 20110 found this helpful

Very nice Sheraone! I'm sick of the crate hype. There is far more abuse than good being done with them. The dog-wolf-den-crate has so much missed logic, I can't believe it's stuck around.

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January 10, 20110 found this helpful

Just had to tell you about the last dog I got. She's 2 yrs old now. I found her when she was about 6 or 8 weeks old wandering around in a parking lot. I brought her home,put down a puppy pad,put her on it and she's never had an accident on the floor. She goes outside now,but if it's raining,sleeting or we're gone,etc. she still uses the pad. I've had dogs all my life and have never seen one that didn't have to be trained. But she didn't. It was like she just knew from the beginning. Lucky me!

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September 20, 20120 found this helpful

I also disagree about the crate. My dogs have all loved their "sanctuary" crate! I have 2 cocker spaniels and they often go in their crates on their own to relax in their own space. They go right to the crates when they know I am leaving. I turn the radio on for them and give them some treats and they are happy to be there secure while I am gone. When I am home, we play a lot. So either way, crate or not, the best thing is make sure your dog is safe and secure in their environment.

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March 19, 20150 found this helpful

Hello! I just recently adopted a labrador puppy and it's his 2nd night tonight. So far he's doing great with sleeping and not chewing stuff and following of you say no and pooping as well. But he pees everywhere. I've read your post re: how to train him about peeing outside. I want to reward him right away by treats but he seemed confused with the treat. I have the treat in my hand but he won't eat it not unless it's on the floor or I put it in his mouth. I feel like he is not excited about the treat.

Like example, if I put him in a crate and give him a treat, he would ignore it. Not unless I take him out of the crate even if we're on the same room. He follows me everywhere and he whines if he don't see me. Even if he knows I'm just there. By the way he's only 2 mos and 12 days. What to do? Main problem is too much pee.

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