Dog Training: Crate Training & Potty Training

Today’s question was from Kellyann and she says:

What are some tricks of the trade for getting a puppy to sleep quietly all night. We received a ~10 week old puppy (we think may be mostly if not all Australian Shepherd) on Valentines. He’s had no real training. Since then he has been trained to sit, lie down, stay (mostly), come. I’d also like to hear your tips on successful potty training and how to transition from 3 times a day feeding to 1 time a day and over how long a period.

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So again, first I think of what kind of breed we are talking about: Aussie. VERY SMART, VERY ACTIVE, QUICK TO MATURE. Amazing dogs. BUT herding dogs…can have some different issues, depending on temperament. (But mostly – GREAT dogs as a breed in general.) Often high strung.

Age: Young!

Male, not yet neutered.

Crate training will normally take some time (like a several weeks) but can take even longer depending on the dog. “Sleeping quietly at night” – I ASSUME this means the puppy makes noise unrelated to needing to go to the bathroom. But that would be my first suggestion…let him out to go potty. He could need to do this MULTIPLE times a night until he gets a little older (some do better with this than others). Then put him back away – do not play with him, do not get him wound up – potty, then back to bed. If he continues to make noise – say “No” in a firm voice. If he continues to make noise, tap the top of his crate and firmly say “No”. DO NOT LET HIM OUT of the crate (assuming he has already been let out to go potty). Make sure you are feeding him supper AT LEAST an hour before bed.

As a side note: putting him in his crate periodically throughout the day for 10 – 15 minutes can help him become more comfortable in his crate as well. And his crate should be somewhere more quiet – not in all the hustle and bustle of the house, if possible.

Another side note for quietly sleeping in a crate during the night is to make sure they’ve gotten enough exercise (both physical and mental) throughout the day and a good “burst” of playtime a bit before bed to wear him out is good too.

Successful potty training? Owners HATE ME when they talk to me about this…but then THEY LOVE ME when it works. *grin* First, from my experience, males are easier than females to potty train. Second, take them out every ten minutes – yes, every ten minutes – at first. The goal is to have them NEVER go to the bathroom in the house. Will that realistically happen? Probably not, but we want to keep it to as few as possible. So, by taking them out every 10 minutes – YOU figure out their potty schedule. How long after eating is it before he needs to go to the bathroom? How long after drinking? After playing? etc. ALWAYS take him directly outside when taking him out of his crate (and at a very young age when they really have a hard time holding it, carry him outside – this reduces the chance of him having the chance to go inside the house). So, as you learn his potty habits – you can change the amount of time between when you take him outside. Works every time (unless there is a medical issue).

Feeding: I always feed my dogs twice a day – morning and night. I do not suggest feeding once a day, it is just too long between feedings. You could start feeding twice a day now – simply increase the two feedings to accommodate what he is currently getting for his third feeding.

Kellyann, I pray these help you and your family with your new little bundle!

Do you have a training question? Please leave a comment and I’ll answer it in another post.

I currently have two pending topics that will be coming soon:

Dana: training “come”
Sam: training “stay”

Have a wonderfully blessed day!

Disclaimer: although there are “general rules” that can often apply / help a dog, sometimes more information is needed or there is a “special situation” that is unknown by the trainer. Therefore this answer may not work for all dogs at all times. With that said, please do not bash me if you have tried what I have suggested and it did not work for you. (You are more than welcome to leave a comment telling me so and asking for additional advice, if you’d like.) My training philosophy is “positive motivational” and starts with the least “harsh” option and works up as necessary. Additionally, all my advice is intended for dogs that live INSIDE the home. Although the training would basically be the same, I’ve found it takes much longer to train a dog that lives outside the house.

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One thought on “Dog Training: Crate Training & Potty Training

  1. Kellyann February 26, 2012 at 8:49 pm Reply

    Thank you very much for posting. I was doing most of what you had suggested, but it’s been … twelve years since we had a puppy so I wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing something. I have another eating question. For his 3 time a day feeding he isn’t finishing it all in one sitting so if I change him to 2 times a day for eating will that help? Also how late should the last feeding be? We usually go to bed after midnight and have had him being fed no later then 8p so he can get his pottying all out. We get up and going in the am around 8:30. However, we put him in his crate at least a half an hour before we go to bed in our master bathroom in his crate (only place available right now) so that he can yip and yelp without waking the kids or us up. However, in the morning he’s been getting up at 6 or earlier and then when we try and put him back in the crate he yips and yelps. I’m wondering if feeding him a “snack” of his meal in the crate would help? What do you suggest?

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