How to Potty Train a Jack Russell Terrier

Medium
1-4 Weeks
General

Introduction

You’ve barely had a minute to stop and take a breath since you brought your Jack Russel Terrier home. He’s certainly lived up to their reputation for being energetic, fearless and intelligent. It’s fair to say he loves charging around the house and playing with you all. In fact, he loves it so much he doesn’t even want to leave to go to the toilet. Now you knew toilet training him was going to have to take place, but you didn’t realise quite how many accidents you would have to clean up in the meantime. 

Potty training your Jack Russel Terrier is essential. Firstly, you don’t want to have gingerly take your first few steps into the kitchen each morning in case you’re going to step in an accident. You also don’t want your young children or other pets coming into contact with any harmful bacteria.

Defining Tasks

Fortunately, potty training your Jack Russel is relatively straightforward, it just takes persistence. The first thing you need to do is get him into a consistent routine. Once you have done that, you just need to reinforce training with incentives. Like most dogs, Jack Russel Terriers have a soft spot for anything they can eat. So food will play an important role in training.

If he’s a puppy he should be a fast learner and eager to please. As a result, you could see progress in just a few days to a week. However, if he’s older and had years of going to the toilet wherever he wants, then you may have your work cut out for you. It could be several weeks until training is complete. Get this training right, however, and you won’t have to worry about taking him to friends' and families' houses again.

Getting Started

Before you can start training, you will need to collect a few bits. The first thing to do is find a close-by potty spot. You need to be able to get there easily throughout the day.

Then you will need to stock up on tasty treats or break his favorite food into small pieces. A clicker will also be required for one of the methods below.

Once you have all that, just bring patience and some antibacterial spray, then work can begin!

The Routine Method

Most Recommended
1 Vote
Step
1
Meal times
You need to feed him his meals at the same times each day. This will get his body clock into a regular routine. You can then predict when he is likely to need the toilet and take him out accordingly.
Step
2
Keep his water topped up
It is also important you keep his water bowl topped up. Just like the step above, this will help get him into a regular routine of going for a pee. If he’s dehydrated his toilet habits will be unpredictable.
Step
3
Morning toilet
As soon as he's up in the morning, head outside to the potty location with your Jack Russel. Then, once you have fed him his breakfast, secure him to a leash and take him out again. If he is always outside when he needs to go, he will naturally get into the habit of going to the toilet outside. If he knows he will get to go each morning, he will also find it easier to hold it at night.
Step
4
Lunch time potty visit
When lunch time comes, secure him to a leash and take him back to the potty. If he knows he will get to go each lunch time, holding it in the morning will be much easier.
Step
5
Evening potty time
Once he has had dinner, wait 15 to 20 minutes or so and then take him out to the toilet again. You may also want to take him out again before bed. In fact, if he’s a puppy he may need to go out at several other points throughout the day. The logic to this technique is straightforward, if he’s always at the potty when he needs to go, he will quickly get into a habit of only going there.
Recommend training method?

The Verbal Cue Method

Effective
1 Vote
Step
1
‘Potty time’
Take him out to the potty regularly each day. Wait until he’s just about to go or going and then give a ‘potty time’ command. Jack Russel Terriers can learn hundreds of different commands, so you can use any word or phrase you like. Give the instruction in a playful, upbeat tone.
Step
2
Turn around
When he’s going about his business, try not to stare. This will only make him feel uncomfortable, so turn away and try to give him some privacy.
Step
3
Reward
As soon as he’s finished his business, go over and give him a generous reward. You can give him treats, verbal praise and even play with a toy. The happier he feels, the more likely he is to repeat the behavior again.
Step
4
Click
A clicker is a fantastic way to communicate with your Jack Russel Terrier. Simply click whenever he behaves correctly or performs a trick as you would like, then offer him a treat. Used correctly, this can speed up the learning process. So click and treat once he’s been to the potty.
Step
5
Consistency
Now practice using your command every time you take him out to the potty. After a while, your instruction will be a trigger that automatically makes him need the toilet. You can then use it whenever you want to take him out or need him to go. Then once he’s fully got the hang of it, you can gradually phase out the treats.
Recommend training method?

The Attractive Potty Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Same spot
Make sure you take him to the same spot each day. If he’s been there before he will feel more relaxed and likely to go there again. Also, try and choose somewhere that is relatively close and not too busy.
Step
2
Yesterday’s potty
If he seems nervous and unsure about going, wipe some of yesterday’s toilet visit down in your chosen potty spot. If he can smell he’s already been there, he’s much more likely to go there again.
Step
3
Privacy
Make sure you look away and give him some privacy when he is going about his business. Jack Russell Terriers may seem confident, but just like humans they like having some privacy during such moments.
Step
4
Reward
Make sure he always gets a generous reward when he’s gone to the toilet where you want him to. Do this consistently and he will begin to associate going to the potty outside with positive consequences. This is precisely the incentive he needs to make it habit.
Step
5
Clean up accidents
It is important you clean up any accidents thoroughly. In fact, use antibacterial spray. If he can smell he’s used that spot as a toilet before he’s more likely to have another accident there again.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
Thor
Jack Russell Terrier
6 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Thor
Jack Russell Terrier
6 Months

Hi, we have had Thor since he was 8weeks old. Since day dot we have taken him outside to go to the toilet when home. In the first few weeks of having him we got him to use puppy pads in our ensuite as I didn't want him roaming the house yet.

When I wake up at 6am I take him outside to go to the toilet. When I do I always say 'go to the toilet' then before I leave for work at 8:20 I take him out again as he will usually have something to eat. When my husband or I get home we take him outside straight away and tell him to 'go to the toilet'

We have used treats, take him out after meals, take him out after playing and he still manages to do his business inside.

In the last couple of months he has started to pre infront of the back door but always seems to poo Infront of the guest toilet (we have a male house mate that uses that toilet) I think he is kind of getting it but not quite so we started to teach him to ring a bell as he doesn't let us know when he needs to go.

I know he is only 6 months but is this normal or is there more that we have to do?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
709 Dog owners recommended

Hello, After this amount of time, accidents that frequently are not normal. Which means it's time to try something new training wise. Although it's not normal as far as how the training is working, know that you certainly aren't alone in this struggle! I suggest getting very strict with tethering pup to yourself with a hands-free leash or placing pup back into the crate whenever they go outside but don't go potty while there - this also means that you need to go with them to watch whether they go even if you have a fenced in yard, right now. After you put them back into the crate, take them potty again in an hour. Repeat this every hour until they do go potty outside. Reward with several pieces of kibble, one piece at a time, after they go potty. Continue using your go to the toilet command. Pup should be given no more than 3 hours of freedom between potty trips - after 3 hours, either take pup potty or return them to the crate or tether them to yourself for another 1-2 hours, until the next potty trip. Know that at six months, even under ideal circumstances pup won't be able to hold his bladder for longer than 6-7 hours during the day. Pup will only be motivated to hold it that long while in a crate also. When you are home, pup should be taken outside every 3-4 hours - or sooner if he indicates he needs to go sooner. At six months of age, pup should be crated whenever you are not home to encourage them to keep the home to clean and prevent destructive chewing. You can give pup a dog food stuffed hollow chew toy, like a Kong in the crate for entertainment. Clean up all new and previous accident spots (that you know of), with a cleaner that contains enzymes, to fully remove the pee and poop smell. Only enzymes will completely remove the smell. Even bleach will not. Look on a pet cleaner bottle for the word enzyme or enzymatic - not all cleaners or pet cleaners-even contain it - and it's a must. Also, avoid using ammonia containing products in those areas - because ammonia smells like urine to a dog. Since the toilet and door are spots where pup seems to go often, don't give pup freedom in those areas - use baby gates as needed right now. Pup may be marking the toilet opposed to needing to pee there, because of the cat. The accidents need to stop as best as possible for forward progress with potty training to happen. Know that potty training is defined as a dog holding it between scheduled potty trips. It takes most dogs several more months to learn to tell you when they need to go - opposed to them just holding it until you initiate the potty trip. Teaching pup to ring a bell to go outside can help speed that process up, but do not depend on pup to tell you yet - that's not to be expected at this age with most dogs. Pup needs to be accident free for at least 3 months (due to your careful management, schedule and training) before he will probably begin to start telling you when he needs to go out. If pup does begin to squat, circle, or sniff to go potty and you see him doing it, clap loudly three times, then quickly rush pup outside without saying anything. As soon as pup goes potty outside, all is forgiven though. Don't punish pup after the fact or rub their nose in it. Preventing accidents to begin with is by far the most effective thing to do, but if it happens anyways clapping can surprise pup to stop it so that you can get them outside. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Max
Jack Russel n doxin
8 Months
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Max
Jack Russel n doxin
8 Months

I have had him since mid November. He has an in door potty area he accesses via a doggy door. Not sure if prior owner ever trained him.
He will use the potty room 90% of the time but also will randomly go in other areas of the house including on my bed.
Not sure how to prevent it. When I show him if I don't catch him in the act and say naughty he goes to his kennel.
Very frustrating

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
709 Dog owners recommended

Hello Peggy, First, know that disciplining with potty training is only effective if you catch pup mid-squat. Pup will know you are upset about something but won't learning anything from discipline after he has already peed - he will associate the discipline with whatever he is doing right at that second. Potty training is all about encouraging a dog's natural desire to keep a space clean so preventing accidents has to be a huge part of the picture to help pup create a long-term cleanliness habit he will want to maintain eventually. This means that pup needs to be crate trained. Whenever you cannot supervise or he hasn't gone potty within the last 1.5-2 hours (ensuring his bladder is empty), he either needs to be attached to you with a hands free leash (a carabiner can make any 6-8 foot leash hands free), or in his crate. Some dogs have pee accidents because they are marking to spread scent. If you have reason to believe that's a cause, purchase a belly band - which is like a dog dog diaper that just covers that area like a sling, and have him wear that around the house as well. Anytime you see him marking, mid-leg lift, clap loudly three times then rush him outside. As soon as he potties outside, all is forgiven. Check out the crate training and tethering methods from the article linked below. Since pup is mostly potty trained, I suggest going back to the basics with pup for 2-3 months to encourage that cleanliness habit. When you are gone, also confine pup close to where the doggie door is instead of giving him the entire house to roam or crate pup while away if you aren't gone for more than 8 hours. Crate Training method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Make sure that the crate doesn't have anything absorbent in it - including a soft bed or towel. Check out www.primopads.com if you need a non-absorbent bed for him. Make sure the crate is only big enough for him to turn around, lie down and stand up, and not so big that he can potty in one end and stand in the opposite end to avoid it. Dogs have a natural desire to keep a confined space clean so it needs to be the right size to encourage that natural desire. Use a cleaner that contains enzymes to clean any previous or current accidents - only enzymes will remove the smell and remaining smells encourage the dog to potty in the same location again later. The method I have linked from the article above was written for younger puppies, since your dog is older you can adjust the times and take him potty less frequently. I suggest taking him potty every 3 hours when you are home. After 1.5-2 hours (or less if he has an accident sooner) of freedom out of the crate, return him to the crate while his bladder is filling back up again until it has been 3 hours since his last potty trip. When you have to go off he should be able to hold her bladder in the crate for 5-8 hours - less at first while he is getting used to it and longer once he is accustomed to the crate. Only have him wait that long when you are not home though, take him out about every 3 hours while home. After pup has had the initial refresher course, you may also need to limit his access to the rest of the house for a while at times other than right after he pottied outside, confining him to the section of the house that is close to the doggie door to help him remember to use that to go potty. Go with him outside at first when you are home and reward with a treat after he goes so that he is more motivated to potty outside also. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Bruno
Jack Russell Terrier
3 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Bruno
Jack Russell Terrier
3 Months

He keeps peeing inside the house

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
709 Dog owners recommended

Hello Paola, Check out the article linked below. I highly suggest following the Crate Training method. Once pup is doing well, you can use the Tethering method and crate training method both if you want. That method if followed, will only give pup freedom when their bladder is empty to help them develop a habit of pottying outside and keeping the home clean. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Victor
Jack Russel
13 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Victor
Jack Russel
13 Weeks

Top floor flat so can’t get him down to the garden fast enough , he has done potty pee and poo outside but still having lots of accidents in house due to too flat .

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

I am sending you information on potty training as well as crate training. There is a lot of information, but it should help you with this process. 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
Tony
Jack Russell Terrier
5 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Tony
Jack Russell Terrier
5 Weeks

When we wake up in the morning, Tony has wet his bed and made lots of poops all over it. how do I get him to stop?

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

Hello! Here is information on potty training, as well as crate training just in case 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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