Not many people believe this, but our first lab didn't need crate training. She just naturally took to the crate perfectly. But we only used it during the night. And she was also super easy to housebreak. We got her at 7 weeks old, and within 2 - 3 weeeks, she was completely housebroken. Honestly....that's the truth. So I've never actually been through real crate training and housebreaking issues.
We are getting our new puppy (can't wait to post some pics!) in about 3 weeks, and I realize the new little gal might not be so accommodating as our first lab. I've been reading and reading about the relationship between being crate trained and housebreaking. But I still don't understand the basics. Do you put the puppy in the crate during the day, even if you're home? And if so, won't she cry and fuss? I work out of my home, so most days I'm home all day.
Would I put the puppy in the crate right there near me? (The front part of our home is almost like one big room....kitchen, living room, dining room, my studio....no doors, just large, open doorways connecting it all.)
And if I do put her in the crate during the day, how long do I leave her in it before taking her out to potty, play, etc?
Thanks to everyone for all your great help on this site.
You don't have to keep your puppy in her crate if you are home as long as you keep an eye on her.
The idea of crates are to assist with house training and keep the pup safe while you leave. A crate is a dogs "den" and most dogs won't mess in their den unless they really have to.
Mine was pretty much like yours with the crate...he went into it the first day, and we never had a problem with him going in.
People use different ways with the crate, I think. This is what I did, but others do/did it differently.
I had the crate in the kitchen the first week. We stayed in the kitchen to play with him (confined him); the crate door was open, lured him in with a treat, but kept the door open unless he was sleeping, so he could go in/out as he liked, and he did that. When he fell asleep, I'd put him in the crate if he hadn't fallen asleep in it, closed it, then when he woke, took him outside to potty first thing. First few weeks, I'd sometimes carry him outside, when I thought he had to go NOW, instead of him walking out the door. Carrying him out didn't affect his housetraining; he learned quickly to go to the door to let us know he had to go.
At night, crate was beside the bed, so he could be near us, and I heard him whimper and took him out during the night. After the 1st week, he slept all night, so the crate went into the living room. He was only crated when we went to work...I didn't crate him when I was home. He was always with me, and I could watch and take him out frequently (every 15 min/1/2 hr). After the first week, we gave him free roam of the house...first living room/hallway, then bedrooms.
I said 'kennel up' when luring him into the crate with a treat, and later without a treat saying 'kennel up' he went in on his own.
I got the big crate (42"?) with a door on the side and middle...and a wire divider. Using the divider, keep it small enough so pup has enough room to turn around, but not much bigger....idea is they won't dirty where they sleep/stay, so they'll hold it in the crate. As they get bigger, move the divider for more room...or remove the divider when they're housebroken.
For housetraining, as I said, we were always with him, watching him, taking him out after eating, sleeping, playing, 1st thing in the a.m., last thing at night, etc. Yes, there were some accidents, but Nature's Miracle took care of any stains and smells. If he had an accident in the crate when we were at work or away somewhere, I never scolded for that...never. Just took the blankets out, washed and cleaned everything.
When I took him out, it was to the same spot, near a field by the yard. After a few days he just started going into the field to potty, so we don't ever have to clean up the yard (that's where he still goes). I'd say 'potty, potty', or 'potty, poop' for pee or pooping. After he went, made a big deal...GOOD BOY..GOOD POTTY! Lots of praise and happy talk. Took him out for potty, stood or walked around just a bit, so business got done. If we were gonna play, I'd bring him back in after potty, then go back out for play (to keep them separate). Using the words helped too, 'cause he'll potty on command..that's nice when going somewhere in the car, and you want them to go potty first.
Some give food and water in the crate. I didn't do that. I'd give him a treat when he went in, usually, for quite some time. Some crate them when they're home and busy...you could do that when you're working at home, if that's what you prefer and works for you. I just never did that. If home and busy doing things, I just kept him with me (he pretty much followed me, so was with me anyway).
Sorry about your girl you lost, and looking forward to pics of the new one
Thanks for the responses. I've read a lot of posts and responses on this topic, so I think I know what I'm doing. (notice I said think!)
We're going to see our puppy either today or tomorrow. I'll definitely post pics of her. I can't WAIT!!!!!!! ;D
Good luck! My Louie was housebroken fast, also. Got him in mid august and by mid september he had no more accidents. We kept his crate in my daughter's room for awhile but eventually moved him into to the living area (my husband has an issue with dog hair in the bedrooms :
I don't get it. You DID crate train your first pup...but since it didn't take much training, it was easy. You may have it easy again this time too...remember, your new pup will (for better or worse) mimmick your older dog. My dog only took 3 days to house break. Good luck.
Dani, Rider & Rookie
SHR Watson's Safari Rider, JH, WC, CL1-R, RA, CGC, TDI
SHR Endeavor Put Me In Coach, RN, WC, CGC
Member Since 6/2003
Just to add my 2 cents - remember that the crate is a great place to put your puppy when you are at home but busy (i.e. in the shower, cooking dinner, watching your favorite tv show). When they are really young they should only be out of the crate when you are really paying 100% attention to them. They sleep a lot too so during most crate breaks they will just fall right asleep and are good for at least 1 hour of sleep at any time. So, when dakota was little we used to put him in the crate for "naps" on and off during the day. He'd snoooze away and we'd be able to run errands or get stuff done around the house. Even now he's 10 months old but still goes into the crate if we can't devote our full attention to him.
And, previous posters are right - most labs will really take to the crate very easily. dakota voluntarily goes into his crate when he's tired and spends most of the night sleeping in there even though we no longer close the door.
good luck with your new puppy!
Snowflake, if it's OK to ask....what happened with Annie?
If what you did before worked, by all means, do it again. We crate trained, and the pups were only crated at night and if we weren't at home. During the day, if we couldn't supervise, they were in an xpen in a puppy-safe area.
Usually the 2nd (3rd...) pups are easier because they pick up the schedule and habits set by you and your first dog. Do all you can to incorporate the pup into the household schedule. My 2nd and 3rd were potty trained very quick, and they were fully trustworthy at 4 months.
It's okay to ask. Annie had severe hip dysplasia in both hips and by 10 months old, arthritis was already setting in one of her hips. She was starting to show signs of weakness in her hips. So at 11 months old, we had to have major reconstructive surgery on both hips. It was her ONLY chance to have a normal, active life. It was horrible surgery. She was on the table for 9 hours!!!
Unfortunately, she also had an immune problem.....her immune system wasn't 100%. And after the surgery an infection set in and other complications (won't go into details). But she just couldn't recover. She got weaker and weaker and worse and worse. After 3 weeks, she was losing her will to fight to live. She never even was able to stand up. I couldn't watch her suffer any longer. And I knew she would NEVER be the same Annie at all.....a good chance she would never even walk again.
So we had her put down....at 11 months old. It was awful. We've been devastated....especially me. She was closer to me than anyone. Annie was truly my best friend. I miss my Annie so much.
But the good news is that we are getting another lab....a chocolate this time. Here's a pic of the new puppy. We went to see her a few days ago. The breeder wouldn't let us pick her up because the litter had not had their vaccination yet. But she held up our puppy so we could take this cut picture. Her name is Sally! ;D