Toileting in the Crate

QUESTION:

I have purchased your Perfect Dog system and watched the DVDs many times. I understand and enjoy your methods. My one issue is the potty training. My dog is in her crate and I take her out hourly to her bathroom spot. She doesn’t go potty even if I stand there for 45 minutes. I put her back in the crate and she potties in the crate, never giving me any warnings that she needs to go to the bathroom (and she will happily lay in it). I do not let her see me clean it up and I do show it to her along with a correction, but she still potties in her crate. What should I do now?

 

ANSWER:

Try vigorously playing with/exercising your dog whenever you take her out to go to the bathroom. Feed and/or water her just before taking her out (better still, feed and water her outside so there’s no chance of a “mistake” happening in the house) and then, while you’re outside, get her body moving and get her distracted from her stubborn attitude with lots of play and cardiovascular activity.

Increasing your dog’s heart rate will help get her bowels moving, and getting her mind off of what you want will probably trick her into naturally going to the bathroom in the middle of the fun time she’s having. Make sure you don’t give your dog any more food or water until just before her next playtime/bathroom break outside.

It also helps to “word train” a dog. That is, as soon as you see your dog peeing, say “Go pee, go pee…” over and over quite a few times using a happy tone, and praise her up well once she’s done. Do this every time she pees for a week or two and you’ll soon find that saying these words will stimulate her bodily functions to “go” on command. The same for #2 (although, you would choose separate words to distinguish between peeing and pooping – I usually use “Go to the bathroom” for #2).

Also, just a reminder that crate training is mainly used for the purpose of housebreaking. Once your dog can be trusted to roam the house freely without toileting or getting into any other mischief, the crate is no longer needed and should only be used in limited circumstances. The goal of my Perfect Dog system is to maximize a dog’s freedom and overall quality of life, and this should always be kept in mind whenever working with various training equipment.

– Don Sullivan, “The DogFather”

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