Whether you are housebreaking a puppy or retraining an older dog, it is both surprising and frustrating to find he is using his crate as a bathroom. Since your beloved Fido is not doing this to spite you, apply patience, persistence and lots of love to get him back on track.
Tip #1 - Look at the size of the crate in comparison to the dog. Is it too big? Dogs should have just enough room to stand, turn and lie down. Any bigger and they may think they have enough room to create a sleeping area and a potty area. If necessary, get your dog a smaller crate.
Tip #2 - Remove any soft bedding in the crate that can be used as a potty until the dog is completely housebroken.
Tip #3 - Clean the crate completely with a pet odor neutralizer before allowing your dog back in it. Otherwise, the smell will encourage him to repeat the behavior.
Tip #4 - Focus on your dog's potty-break routine. Take him out every two hours, and within a short period of time after eating. Praise him lavishly when he uses the proper spot for elimination, and even provide a treat to emphasize the desired behavior.
Tip #5 - Slap on the side of the crate once with your palm when you catch him in the act, adding a sharp "no." Take him outside immediately to his bathroom spot, without scolding, and then praise him if he finishes his task there.
Tip #6 - Provide interaction and play time with your dog after he has gone to the bathroom outside. In addition to praise and an occasional treat, this extra time with you will reinforce that he wants to go outside to eliminate so he can play.
Warning: Do not yell at or scold your dog for going in his crate. He may refuse to use the bathroom outdoors in front of you, thinking that this normal behavior is "bad." Instead, use praise to encourage good behavior.
By Lori Lapierre
About the Author
Lori Lapierre holds a Bachelor of Arts and Science in public relations/communications. For 17 years, she worked for a Fortune 500 company before purchasing a business and starting a family. She is a regular freelancer for "Living Light News," an award-winning national publication. Her past writing experience includes school news reporting, church drama, in-house business articles and a self-published mystery, "Duty Free Murder."