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

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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

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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

ribbon-method-2
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

Question
Pickles
Jack Russell Terrier
14 Weeks
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Question
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Pickles
Jack Russell Terrier
14 Weeks

We have potty trained him to use a pee mat now we want to move him to using the backyard I have moved the mat to the back door as to bring him closer to this but he still uses the area where the mat was before we always cleaned down the area with wipes after all mat changes do you have any advice that could help

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
943 Dog owners recommended

Hello, First, know that pee pad training is based on a dog learning to go on a certain type of surface (the pee pad fabric) AND in a certain location. The location part of the pee pad training is why pup is still struggling despite moving the pee pad. For pups who have previously used a pee pad, I recommend using a crate to potty train to ensure accidents are prevented for a long enough period of time for habits to change and pup to start to want to keep the home clean due to a track record of keeping it clean due to a schedule and confinement in the crate when their bladder isn't empty. Check out the Crate Training method from the article I have linked below. Since pup is a little older, you can add thirty minutes to all the times listen, and the maximum amount of time pup will be able to hold their bladder in the crate during the day when you are home will be four hours at this age - any longer and pup will be forced to have an accident. Be sure to set up the crate without anything absorbent in it, including a soft bed or towel. You can use something like www.primopads.com or k9ballistics non-absorbent crate mats in the crate if you want to give padding. Not giving anything absorbent in the crate is especially important for a pup who was used to pottying on pee pads though - you do not want to encourage pottying in the crate with something absorbent in there. Crate training method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside I would also put something over the area where pup's pad used to be, like a piece of furniture, or physically block off pup's access to that area for the next three months at least. If pup is still struggling with accidents despite doing all the above, then you will need to tether pup to yourself with a hands free leash, when pup isn't in the crate also, to prevent pup from sneaking off to pee. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Sid
Jack Russell Terrier
3 Months
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Question
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Sid
Jack Russell Terrier
3 Months

Sid, would do his business on paper and I would give him lots of praise. For the last couple of weeks he has started to use the kitchen floor 😲
Nothing has changed in his diet and I fed him at the same time each day. He has also started to pee on his toys! He knows exactly where to go but chooses to go indoors, I can't understand why this has happened. He is confident happy go lucky we have lots of play time fantastic on the lead. I teach him a word a week, he knows his name, sit, leave, drop, ball, garden and car . Can you throw some light on the situation please.
Many thanks
Carol

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
943 Dog owners recommended

Hello Carol, At this age I recommend moving away from the paper and to something else. Paper often works well for nursing/little puppies but many puppies struggle with it once they get past two months. I recommend either doing outside potty training at this age, or setting up an exercise pen and using a disposable real grass pad to help pup differentiate the grass pad from the floor and the rest of your house. Exercise pen method for indoor potty training: https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Outside potty training - crate training method or tethering method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Disposable real grass pad brands: www.freshpatch.com www.doggielawn.com www.porchpotty.com Also on Amazon Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Bauley
Jack Russell Terrier
2 Years
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Question
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Bauley
Jack Russell Terrier
2 Years

We take Bailey out to go potty and when he has went potty we clap for him and give him a treat however he still goes potty in the house at he stills goes potty at the same spot and in the same place. We do open the door for him to access the yard we do have have a doggy door.
I have sat outside and when he goes I do reward him. We do have a dog that 15 years old that we leave potty pads for her to go if she has to during the night? How can we resolve this problem

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
943 Dog owners recommended

Hello Susan, I suggest going back to the basics with him for a couple of months and act as if he isn't potty trained at all to stop all accidents from happening so that he will develop a habit of holding it consistently while in the house and wanting to keep your home clean. After a couple of months if he has been completely accident free, very gradually give him more freedom. I highly recommend crate training pup and temporarily pup should always be either tethered to you with a hands free leash or in the crate while learning, unless you know he has just peed AND pooped and you have eyes on him 100%.. Check out the Crate Training method from the article linked below. 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 below 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 2.5- 3 hours when you are home. After 1.5 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 his 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. If he hasn't gone poop yet during that half of the day, he needs to be tethered to you or returned to the crate, then taken back outside again in 30-45 minutes if you know he likely needs to go, less frequently if he likely doesn't need to poop. Pooping outside equals more freedom. Less freedom now means more freedom later in life. Crate Training method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside If he is not already used to a crate, expect crying at first. When he cries and you know he doesn't need to go potty yet, ignore the crying. Most dogs will adjust if you are consistent. You can give him a food stuffed hollow chew toy to help him adjust and sprinkle treats into the crate during times of quietness to further encourage quietness. Work on teaching "Quiet" by using the Quiet method from the article linked below. Tell him "Quiet" when he barks and cries. If he gets quiet and stays quiet, you can sprinkle a few pieces of dog food into the crate through the wires calmly, then leave again. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Once he is ready for more freedom again, I would physically block off the area he is having accidents in for at least six months though. Place a piece of furniture, an exercise pen, remove the rug, ect...Depending on what that area is, to ensure he doesn't regress again. Clean any old of new accidents with a cleaner than contains enzymes to thoroughly remove the smell. Only enzymes will remove it well enough for pup not to smell it still. If this area is a rug, you may need to replace that rug completely. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Willow
Jack Russell Terrier
5 Weeks
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Question
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Willow
Jack Russell Terrier
5 Weeks

She doesn’t like to go in the same spot. I’m currently trying to train her on pads and she runs off them and urinates elsewhere.

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

Hello! I am going to give you some training information on how to work with your dog to use a potty pad. Choose Your Spot Pick a space in your house where you want your dog to go. Obviously, you’ll want this spot to be a low-traffic area. Make sure this spot is easily accessible to your dog, and make sure the floor surface is linoleum or tile, as opposed to carpet. If your dog “misses,” it will be easier to clean up. If the only spot you can put the pee pad is a carpet, you might consider getting a small tarp to put underneath the puppy pee pad to guard against spillage. Choose a spot that is outside of your “smell zone.” An important tip to remember is to make sure not to let your dog decide the spot he likes. Not only might he pick an area you won’t like, but he’ll learn that he is in charge – not you – which can cause a host of problems down the line. Monitor Your Dog When you are potty training your dog, full-time monitoring is an absolute necessity. It’s impossible to correct bad behaviors if you don’t see them happen. Dogs have very short memories. It is important to catch your dog in the act. If your dog goes on the floor, and you try to correct him hours after the fact, he will be confused and upset, not knowing what he did wrong. This can hinder training and your relationship with your dog. Puppies, in particular, must be watched constantly. They have less control over their bowels and will go when they have to go. If you miss these moments, you lose precious training opportunities. Of course, it’s nearly impossible to be with your dog 24 hours a day, but try to spend more time at home during the weeks you are potty training – it will pay off in the long run. Learn Your Dog’s Schedule Dogs, for the most part, are predictable. They will go to the bathroom at predictable times. You should be able to learn when your dog has to go based on timing as much as on his signals. Take some time to study your dog’s bathroom habits. You’ll learn the amount of time after he eats or drinks that he has to go, and you’ll get in rhythm with his daily bathroom schedule. This will help you reduce accidents and speed up the potty training process. Studying your dog’s habits can also help you identify his bathroom “triggers” – like having to go after a certain amount of playtime. Once you learn your dog’s schedule, use it to your advantage in potty training. Bring him to the pee pad a few minutes before he normally goes, and encourage him. This will help him get used to going in the right spot, and help you establish repetition in your training. Choose a Command Word Dogs have keen senses – they respond to sight, smell, and sound. When you begin pee pad training, choose a command word and use it every time you take your dog to the pad. Just about any word will work. The tone of your voice is more important than the actual word. Try phrases like “go on” or “go potty” in a slightly elevated, encouraging tone. Make sure to repeat this same command, in the same tone, every time you take your dog to the pee pad. Avoid Punishment When your dog has an accident, it’s just that – an accident. When you punish your dog during potty training, he will become confused and scared. He doesn’t know what he’s done wrong, and can’t understand why the person he loves most is mad at him. Most importantly, it will not help his potty training. Positive Reinforcement Both human and dog behavior is largely based on incentives. Dogs’ incentives are very simple – they want to eat when they are hungry, play when they are excited, and sleep when they are tired. But the most important thing your dog wants in life is to please you. Use this to your advantage. Whenever your dog goes on his potty training pad, shower him with lots of praise. If he sees that he gets praise for doing his business on the pad, he will be incentivized to keep going on the pad – and he’ll be excited to do it! Potty training – whether it’s a pee pad or going outside – will take time, but if you do it right, can take less time. Many dogs are potty trained in less than two weeks. Just remember that you and your dog are partners. Do everything you can to help him learn the proper etiquette, and you will enjoy a long, quality relationship together. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. Thank you for writing in.

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Question
Lilly
Jack Chi
1 Year
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Question
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Lilly
Jack Chi
1 Year

She was pad trained at my condo but when I moved in with my boyfriend, she started going everywhere. She is out in the yard several times a day but poops and pees when you let her in. She is also walked each day and pees 3-4 times during the walk. It seems like she is marking.

She occasionally pees on the pad. She always poops on the pad. But will pee near the bathroom or anywhere else on the house. She has good days and bad days.
I lost my hob due to Covid ( I work in the dental field). My bf is getting really sick of the issue. I am too. Please help

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

Hi! Dogs often lose all sense of that they once knew when you go through a transition. So this can happen when you move, have a baby, bring in a new dog, etc. They don't learn like we do. When we learn to read at school, we can read everywhere. They are not always like that! So your best bet is to spend a week or so re-potty training her and being pretty stringent about it. No free roaming the house at all (even if she has just gone) until you know she is consistent with the potty behaviors. I am going to include a pretty detailed step by step potty training regimine. It is geared towards young puppies, but the process is exactly the same because she has basically lost her potty training skills. 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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