How to Crate Train a Brittany Dog

Easy
3-6 Weeks
General

Introduction

If you leave the house and leave your Brittany Spaniel to his own resources, you might be in for a big surprise when you come home. You may find piles of poop on the carpet, chewed shoes, trash scattered from one end to the other, and more. This is why is so important to start crate training your Brit. 

In the wild, canines make their homes in caves or "dens", giving them a place to sleep, shelter from the storms, a place to raise pups, and when needed, a place to recover from an injury or illness. Giving your pup his very own "den", is a great way to help him feel more comfortable and secure in your home. 

Defining Tasks

There is more to crate training your Brit than teaching him to stay inside a wire cage. The task at hand is far more complicated than this. Your job is to teach your pup that this wire crate is his own den or personal space. One that he can call his domain, protect, relax in, and stay in while you are gone or at night if he prefers to sleep there.

Bear in mind you cannot leave a puppy in his crate all day, he will need to get out to go potty several times. You can only expect an older dog to be able to hold himself this long. Your dog will do everything he can not to soil his home, but if you leave him in there too long, he may not be able to help himself. One last thing, never use his "den" as a form of punishment, he should always see his home as his castle, a place to relax, his "happy place." 

Getting Started

The most important part of crate training your Brittany is to make sure you get the right one for him. Since the crate is to be like a den to him, you need to get the right size. If you get one that is too small, your pup will not have enough room. On the other hand, if you buy one that is too large, it might make him feel overwhelmed and uncomfortable. Along with a crate, you need a piece of carpet cut to fit the bottom of the crate, a cushy puppy bed, a few toys, and a nice supply of treats. 

The Make a Home Method

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Effective
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Step
1
Start with his crate
Find a spot for your dog's crate that is out of traffic, but in the line of sight. Put the crate together, place the carpet, add the bed, and toss in the toys. Make it as homey as possible.
Step
2
Pup meets den
Place your pup in the center of his crate using a cue word you plan to use when it's time for him to go in. Show him the toys and then close the door. Give him time to get used to his new surroundings. Start short at five minutes and work your way up in five-minute intervals.
Step
3
Bark, bark
What if your pup starts to bark and whine? Most dogs do, it's a natural reaction to finding themselves trapped. Give him time, he will eventually settle down. When he does, praise him and give him a treat.
Step
4
Potty break
After the treat has been eaten, let your pup out and then take him out to pee right away.
Step
5
And further on
From here simply keep working with your training, extending the time between when he stops fussing and when he gets the treat. In time, he will learn to stay in his crate while you are at work or asleep. You may even find him going there on his own.
Recommend training method?

The Wander Method

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Step
1
Locate his new den carefully
Choose a location for the crate that lets both of you see each other, but is also out of the main flow of traffic. He needs a nice quiet place for his den.
Step
2
Prepare the floor
Prepare the floor of the crate with carpet and then put down a layer of pee pads. Put a nice cushy bed in the back of the crate for your pup to nap on.
Step
3
Bring his dishes
Bring your pup's food and water bowls over and put them in front of the crate and then walk away, leaving the door open. Give your pup plenty of time to wander in and out of the crate. Praise him when you see him go into the crate and give him a treat.
Step
4
Close the gate
When he has become used to the crate, let him enter and then close the gate. If he fusses, ignore him and let him say what he has to say. He will soon get tired of hearing his own voice. When he does, give him the treat.
Step
5
The potty break
Each time you take your pup out of his crate, be sure to take him outside so he can do his business and run around a bit.
Step
6
Keep it up
Keep working on this training, extending the time he stays in his den until he will stay there whenever you need him to. This may take a little time, but be patient and he will learn.
Recommend training method?

The Tiny Steps Method

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Effective
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Step
1
Build your pup's den
Place your pup's crate in a convenient spot in your home out of the main flow of traffic. Now go to town creating a comfortable den replete with wall-to-wall carpeting, a comfy bed, his own personal collection of toys, even a blanket over the top to give him some semblance of privacy.
Step
2
Enter your den
Start out by using one of your Brit's favorite treats to lure him into his new den by tossing it in the center of the crate. Give him time to explore. He might not stay in for long the first few times, but eventually, he will stay in to explore.
Step
3
Choose a command
At this time, you need to decide on your command word that you and everyone else will use.
Step
4
Start using the command
Using the above training method, start using your command word each time you toss a treat in the crate. Your pup will learn to associate the word with the action.
Step
5
Over the long haul
Continue working with your pup and using this training method. Start slowly increasing the time he stays in the crate in tiny steps at first and in ever-growing intervals until he will happily stay there as long as you need him to.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Duke
Brittany (Spaniel)
9 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Duke
Brittany (Spaniel)
9 Weeks

He is doing great with his crate training. He is in and out all day long since my husband and I are retired. I take him out and he goes potty and sits for his treat. I let him run around and play but when we come back in he will pee on the floor within 10 minutes. A while ago he just peed laying by his toy. Not sure if I’m expecting too much too soon.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
240 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Here is detailed information on potty training, as well as crate training if you decide to use a crate to help with potty training. Potty training: Know Your Pup. As you spend time with your puppy, learn your puppy’s love language. Just as some people prefer gifts, touch, or time spent together, puppies can be the same way. Some puppies love praise or pets, while others prefer treats. As you get to know your puppy, consider what reward your puppy loves the most. Create a Daily Schedule. It is best to have a routine for your puppy. A schedule helps them understand when to eat, play, and “go to the bathroom.” Your puppy should go out frequently and the routine should be the same every time. When? Start the day by taking your puppy outside, and repeating based on age and ability. They should also go out after napping, chewing, playing, and within 10 to 15 minutes of eating. Although some puppies can sleep for seven hours, it is important to set an alarm and take your pup out during the night. When you do, don’t make a fuss about it. Quietly take them outside with minimal stimulation and light. Praise them if they go to the bathroom and gently return them to their bed or crate. You don’t want them to get stimulated and ready to play in the middle of the night! As you get to know your puppy, you will become aware of their individual habits. Click here to learn more about house training schedules for puppies. Where? Take your puppy to a specific area to urinate or defecate. Be consistent. You can create an area by using urine-soaked paper or bowel movements to help create an aroma to stimulate your puppy. How? Take your puppy out on a leash so they can focus on the desired activity. This will help prevent them from wandering off to play. Once your puppy is in the selected area, use your verbal cue, such as “Hurry Up,” “Poopies,” “Go tinkle,” or any phrase your puppy responds to. What? Know the signs that your puppy has to go to the bathroom. Every animal may have a different “I gotta go” gesture, which often include restlessness, sniffing around, circling, scratching at the door, barking, and, eventually, squatting. At the first sign that your pup has to go, calmly and quickly take them outside to their bathroom spot. Deal with Accidents. Accidents are a normal part of house training a puppy. What to Do If you see your puppy in the process of urinating or defecating inappropriately, calmly and quickly interrupt them in the act. Tell them to stop (either by a jarring sound or command), and immediately take them to an appropriate location for elimination. After your puppy goes to the bathroom, lavishly praise them and offer a treat. Thoroughly clean up accidents, so your puppy is not attracted to this area again. Create a consistent feeding and watering schedule. Depending on the age of your puppy, they will eat three to four times a day. A consistent feeding routine can create a regular bathroom schedule. Take away water about 2 hours before bedtime. Learn more about ideal dog schedules here. What NOT to Do Don’t punish your puppy when they have an accident. At that point, it is too late. When a puppy has an accident in the house and they walk away, within seconds they have already forgotten about what they did. Taking them to the scene of the crime and yelling and/or rubbing their nose in it does not help and, in fact, can harm your puppy! Supervise. The best thing you can do is to prevent accidents and the best way to do this is to supervise your puppy at all times. You can tether your puppy to your waist with a five or six-foot leash and carefully observe them for signs that they need to go to the bathroom. If you can’t supervise, then crate or confine your puppy. The more accidents your puppy has in the house, the more confusing it will be for them and this can delay house training. Reward, Reward, Reward. It is important to give your puppy a reward for their good behavior. This can be for commands such as sitting and coming to you, or for appropriately eliminating outside. In a puppy, a reward can be a couple kibbles of puppy food or a treat, such as a small piece of meat. The treat should be exciting for them and only available as a result of good behavior. Crate training can take days or weeks, depending on your dog's age, temperament and past experiences. It's important to keep two things in mind while crate training: The crate should always be associated with something pleasant and training should take place in a series of small steps. Don't go too fast. Step 1: Introduce your dog to the crate Place the crate in an area of your house where the family spends a lot of time, such as the family room. Put a soft blanket or towel in the crate. Take the door off and let the dog explore the crate at their leisure. Some dogs will be naturally curious and start sleeping in the crate right away. If yours isn't one of them: Bring them over to the crate and talk to them in a happy tone of voice. Make sure the crate door is open and secured so that it won't hit your dog and frighten them. Encourage your dog to enter the crate by dropping some small food treats nearby, then just inside the door, and finally, all the way inside the crate. If they refuse to go all the way in at first, that's OK; don't force them to enter. Continue tossing treats into the crate until your dog will walk calmly all the way into the crate to get the food. If they aren’t interested in treats, try tossing a favorite toy in the crate. This step may take a few minutes or as long as several days. Step 2: Feed your dog meals in the crate After introducing your dog to the crate, begin feeding them their regular meals near the crate. This will create a pleasant association with the crate. If your dog is readily entering the crate when you begin Step 2, place the food dish all the way at the back of the crate. If they remain reluctant to enter, put the dish only as far inside as they will readily go without becoming fearful or anxious. Each time you feed them, place the dish a little further back in the crate. Once your dog is standing comfortably in the crate to eat their meal, you can close the door while they’re eating. The first time you do this, open the door as soon as they finish their meal. With each successive feeding, leave the door closed a few minutes longer, until they’re staying in the crate for 10 minutes or so after eating. If they begin to whine to be let out, you may have increased the length of time too quickly. Next time, try leaving them in the crate for a shorter time period. If they do whine or cry in the crate, don’t let them out until they stop. Otherwise, they'll learn that the way to get out of the crate is to whine, so they'll keep doing it. Step 3: Practice with longer crating periods After your dog is eating their regular meals in the crate with no sign of fear or anxiety, you can confine them there for short time periods while you're home. Call them over to the crate and give them a treat. Give them a command to enter, such as "crate." Encourage them by pointing to the inside of the crate with a treat in your hand. After your dog enters the crate, praise them, give them the treat and close the door. Sit quietly near the crate for five to 10 minutes and then go into another room for a few minutes. Return, sit quietly again for a short time and then let them out. Repeat this process several times a day, gradually increasing the length of time you leave them in the crate and the length of time you're out of sight. Once your dog will stay quietly in the crate for about 30 minutes with you mostly out of sight, you can begin leaving them crated when you're gone for short time periods and/or letting them sleep there at night. This may take several days or weeks. Step 4, Part A: Crate your dog when you leave After your dog can spend about 30 minutes in the crate without becoming anxious or afraid, you can begin leaving them crated for short periods when you leave the house. Put them in the crate using your regular command and a treat. You might also want to leave them with a few safe toys in the crate. Vary the moment during your "getting ready to leave" routine that you put your dog in the crate. Although they shouldn't be crated for a long time before you leave, you can crate them anywhere from five to 20 minutes prior to leaving. Don't make your departures emotional and prolonged—they should be matter-of-fact. Praise your dog briefly, give them a treat for entering the crate and then leave quietly. When you return home, don't reward your dog for excited behavior by responding to them in an enthusiastic way. Keep arrivals low-key to avoid increasing their anxiety over when you will return. Continue to crate your dog for short periods from time to time when you're home so they don't associate crating with being left alone. Step 4, Part B: Crate your dog at night Put your dog in the crate using your regular command and a treat. Initially, it may be a good idea to put the crate in your bedroom or nearby in a hallway, especially if you have a puppy. Puppies often need to go outside to eliminate during the night and you'll want to be able to hear your puppy when they whine to be let outside. Older dogs should also initially be kept nearby so they don't associate the crate with social isolation. Once your dog is sleeping comfortably through the night with the crate near you, you can begin to gradually move it to the location you prefer, although time spent with your dog—even sleep time—is a chance to strengthen the bond between you and your pet. Potential problems Whining: If your dog whines or cries while in the crate at night, it may be difficult to decide whether they’re whining to be let out of the crate, or whether they need to be let outside to eliminate. If you've followed the training procedures outlined above, then your dog hasn't been rewarded for whining in the past by being released from their crate. If that is the case, try to ignore the whining. If your dog is just testing you, they'll probably stop whining soon. Yelling at them or pounding on the crate will only make things worse. If the whining continues after you've ignored them for several minutes, use the phrase they associate with going outside to eliminate. If they respond and become excited, take them outside. This should be a trip with a purpose, not play time. If you're convinced that your dog doesn't need to eliminate, the best response is to ignore them until they stop whining. Don't give in; if you do, you'll teach your dog to whine loud and long to get what they want. If you've progressed gradually through the training steps and haven't done too much too fast, you'll be less likely to encounter this problem. If the problem becomes unmanageable, you may need to start the crate training process over again. Separation anxiety: Attempting to use the crate as a remedy for separation anxiety won't solve the problem. A crate may prevent your dog from being destructive, but they may get injured in an attempt to escape. Separation anxiety problems can only be resolved with counterconditioning and desensitization procedures.

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Question
Rocco
Brittany (Spaniel)
7 Weeks
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Question
0 found helpful
Rocco
Brittany (Spaniel)
7 Weeks

I bought a crate for my puppy 7 weeks old but when he stops playing with his toys or wake up and find the gate closed he start crying a lot and when I leave him inside he will poop and pee a lot. Now I am leaving it open and he is preferring sleeping on floor and not in crate but sometimes he will go on his own. Do you think it is early to train him as he will cry a lot In crate? At what age I can start potty train him?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
946 Dog owners recommended

Hello Nigel, You can start potty training, but expect puppy to need to be taken outside every hour at this age. Also, crying in the crate during the adjustment period for the first couple of weeks - especially first 3 days, is normal for all puppies. Check out the article linked below for more details on how to time things, set up the crate to discourage pottying in it, and help pup adjust sooner. Crate Training method - potty training with the crate: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Introducing a crate - tips for helping pup adjust to the crate also. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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