How to Crate Train a Shih Tzu Puppy at Night

How to Crate Train a Shih Tzu Puppy at Night
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Time icon1-3 Months
General training category iconGeneral

Introduction

Your spunky little Shih Tzu puppy is going to have lots of playful energy and be incredibly affectionate towards you and your family. A Shih Tzu is a great companion devoted to pleasing you. He will want to feel secure and comfortable, so crate training him for nighttime sleep is the perfect way to build his security as well as keep your house safe from the adventures of a bored puppy. 

Night time crate training gives your Shih Tzu puppy a comfortable, safe place to sleep all night long for the years to come. When you crate train your puppy for nighttime sleep, you are teaching him to go into his personal bedroom space when it's time to go to bed. Your Shih Tzu will begin to see his little crate as his personal space and might even start going into his crate during the day when he's tired and nap.

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Defining Tasks

Your Shih Tzu puppy will need a little extra time learning to sleep in the crate all night because, as a puppy, he's going to need to visit outside a few times during the night. Try to remember when your training your Shih Tzu puppy to sleep in the crate at night, he can hold his bladder for just about an hour for every month of his age. So if you are training your three-month-old Shih Tzu puppy, he might need to go potty every three to four hours, even in the middle of the night. Crate training a Shih Tzu puppy takes time and patience, but by the time your Shih Tzu puppy is potty trained, he will also have the understanding that his crate is a place for him to sleep with comfortable bedding every night when it's time to go to bed.

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Getting Started

To prepare for crate training a Shih Tzu puppy at night you're going to need a small crate. Your puppy’s crate should be large enough for your adult Shih Tzu dog to stand up and turn around. Don't make it too large of a crate, as it will give him room to go potty. Be sure to fill the crate with lots of soft, comfortable bedding, a dog bed or blankets work just fine, and some safe chew toys for your Shih Tzu to chew on while he waits patiently awake for you to let him out of his crate. While your Shih Tzu is potty training, be prepared to let him out for those moments. Also, be sure to have lots of tasty treats on hand for night training your Shih Tzu puppy.

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The Night Commands Method

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1

Tire out

Where your Shih Tzu puppy out before bedtime. This might mean extra play time so he is nice and tired once it's time for him to go into his crate to go to bed.

2

Potty command

Teach your Shih Tzu puppy a potty command such as 'let's go potty' and take him outside to go potty just before you take him into his crate to go to bed.

3

Bedtime command

Give you Shih Tzu puppy a bedtime command such as 'let's go to bed' and place him in his crate

4

Treat

Condition your Shih Tzu puppy to go to bed by using the command and offering him a treat as you place himin his crate. Once he is in his crate with his treat, give him some time with the door closed to settle down.

5

Whining

Your Shih Tzu puppy wants to be with you, so he will probably whine a bit. Leave him alone and let it go. He will eventually settle down and go to sleep.

6

Night waking

Your Shih Tzu puppy is still potty training, so he will probably wake up at least once or twice during the night to go potty. When he wakes to go potty take him outside and give him a reward once he goes potty.

7

Back in crate

Immediately place him back in the crate and give him the good night command again.

8

Sleep

Your puppy should sleep for the rest of the night. Ignore his whines as he's falling back asleep.

9

Morning

As soon as your Shih Tzu puppy wakes up for the morning, give him a reward and take him outside to go potty.

10

Practice

Practice this every single night with your Shih Tzu puppy. It will take some time, but eventually, when you use the command, he will go into his crate to go to sleep. With growth and practice, he will also stay there all night without having to go potty in the middle of the night.

The Day Start Method

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Crate placement

Place your Shih Tzu's crate in a busy part of the house during the day. This should be a small crate, so if you want to move it for night time sleep, it shouldn't be very difficult to do.

2

Naps

Start placing your Shih Tzu In his crate during the day when he is sleeping. Anytime your pup looks tired or falls asleep somewhere, lift him up and place him in his crate.

3

After exercise

Anytime your Shih Tzu plays with you indoors or outdoors, take him out to go potty and then place him in his crate. You can leave the door open for afternoon naps, especially if your puppy is still awake when you put him in the crate. If he's worn out he will settle down in his nice, soft bedding and go to sleep.

4

After meals

Schedule your Shih Tzu puppy’s meals, and after each meal take him outside to go potty and then place him in the crate for a nap. Again, you can leave the door open during this time. But if your Shih Tzu leaves the crate to go sleep somewhere else, be sure to pick him up and put him back in the crate for any naps.

5

Nighttime Introduction

After spending even one day taking all naps in his crate, your Shih Tzu should be fairly used to the crate as a soft, warm, comfortable, safe, and secure place to sleep. When it is time for your Shih Tzu to go to bed, place him in the crate, close the door, and head to bed yourself.

6

Not sleeping

If your Shih Tzu is not sleeping during the day, open the crate and let him out during the day as he wishes. If your Shih Tzu is not sleeping at night, ignore him and let him take the time he needs to settle down and fall asleep. Don't forget while your puppy is potty training, he will need to go out during the night to go potty until he's old enough to hold it all night.

The All Night Method

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Crate

Set up a crate in a place you would like your Shih Tzu puppy to sleep at night. The crate should have soft, comfortable bedding and should be only large enough for your Shih Tzu to stand up and turn around.

2

Potty outside

Take your Shih Tzu puppy outside to go potty before bedtime.

3

Playtime

Spend a few extra minutes every night playing with your Shih Tzu puppy to wear him out of any excess energy he may have.

4

Good night, puppy

Put your Shih Tzu puppy inside his crate and close the door. With the door closed, you can give him a small treat and wait for him to settle down.

5

Walk away

Walk away from your Shih Tzu puppy giving him a chance to go to sleep on his own. Ignore any whining you may hear. Your pup will be pretty adamant he does not want to be in the crate, but in order to crate train him to stay in the crate all night, you will need to give him time to settle on his own.

6

Sleep

Once your Shih Tzu puppy is asleep, it might be a good time for you to get some nighttime sleep as well.

7

Waking

While your Shih Tzu puppy is still house training, he will need to go outside and go potty every few hours. This will mean for the first several months at least one to two times a night your pup may need to visit outside to go potty. These are the only times he should be waking at night.

8

Rewards

Be sure to give your Shih Tzu puppy rewards for staying in the crate each time he is successful. Over time, he will stay in the crate longer and longer without whining and without waking until morning.

9

Morning

When your Shih Tzu puppy wakes up for morning take him outside right away to go potty. Be sure you are also giving him a reward each morning once he wakes.

By Stephanie Plummer

Published: 02/13/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Florence

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ShiChi

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10 Months

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My 10 month pup is toilet trained all day but has accidents at night, she goes to bed at 9 when I put her out she then goes out again at about 10.30 to 11 and is left until 7. I don't feed her after 6 but leave her water how often do I need to put her out until she is trained at night?.

March 27, 2022

Florence's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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Hello Sam, It sounds like pup needs to be crate trained and crated at night for a few months to build the habit of holding it overnight and prevent accidents along the way. As long as the accidents continue due to pup's unsupervised freedom at night, pup isn't likely to make any progress with potty training at night. The confined space of a properly set up crate utilizes pup's natural instinct to keep a confined space clean, to motivate pup to hold it. At this age I would expect pup to be able to hold it 8 hours. Remove all food and water two hours before bed though. No water overnight. Make sure pup has access to water often during the day instead. In another month or two pup will probably be able to hold it up to 10 hours overnight in the crate. If pup whines to be taken outside after having been outside at least 7 hours earlier, then I would take pup outside to go potty on leash since pup may genuinely need to go after that long, and you don't want accidents in the crate. Keep these potty trips super boring; with pup on leash, little talking, no feeding, and no play, then straight back to the crate to go back to bed if it's not the time you want pup to learn to sleep until in the morning. When you set up the crate, until pup is fully potty trained at night also, don't put anything absorbent in the crate. Instead, you can use something like www.primopads.com or k9ballistics non absorbent crate mats for padding. Size the crate so that its big enough pup can stand up, turn around, and lie down, but not so big pup could go potty in one end and stand in the opposite end to avoid the accident. It needs to be sized to encourage that desire to keep a confined space clean. Have the crate either somewhere where you can hear pup if they ask to go out to go potty in the early morning, or use an audio baby monitor to listen out for pup, to avoid pup having an accident in the crate. In another month or two and once pup is crate trained, pup likely won't need to be let out at all during the night or early morning. You might find that when you remove food and water two hours before bed and pup gets used to holding it for long in the crate, pup might be able to make it through the whole night right now - but that depends on the specific dog. The general rule is pup's age in months plus one, with eight hours being the maximum once pup is awake, and ten if they stay asleep and don't wake early. If she is not already used to a crate expect crying at first. When she cries and you know she doesn't need to go potty yet, ignore the crying. Most dogs will adjust if you are consistent. You can give her a food stuffed hollow chew toy to help her adjust and sprinkle treats into the crate during times of quietness to further encourage quietness. If she continues protesting for long periods of time past three days, you can use a Pet Convincer. Work on teaching "Quiet" but using the Quiet method from the article linked below. Tell her "Quiet" when she barks and cries. If she gets quiet and stays quiet, you can sprinkle a few pieces of dog food into the crate through the wires calmly, then leave again. If she disobeys your command and keep crying or stops but starts again, spray a small puff of air from the Pet convincer at her side through the crate while saying "Ah Ah" calmly, then leave again. If she stays quiet after you leave you can periodically sprinkle treats into the crate to reward her quietness. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Only use the unscented air from the Pet Convincers - don't use citronella, it's too harsh and lingers for too long so can be confusing. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

March 28, 2022

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Betty

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Shih Tzu

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3 Months

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Help with potty training inside at night and during the day.

Nov. 23, 2021

Betty's Owner

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Alisha Smith - Alisha S., Dog Trainer

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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.

Nov. 23, 2021


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