House Training & Crate Training Your Adult Dog

It is a dog’s nature to want to please you.

If you are consistent in being firmly disappointed when your dog has an accident and extremely happy when he relieves himself appropriately, he will quickly learn to do as you wish.

Crate Training Helped Amber With House Training.

Amber was a wild 9-month-old when I got her with no training at all.  Crate training made house training easy.  Copyright/Photographer: SuzanneBennett:
Amber was a wild 9-month-old when I got her with no training at all. Crate training made house training easy. Copyright/Photographer: SuzanneBennett:

Sometimes Accommodation Is Needed!

Most dogs will house train within a week or two.

Having an adult dog that has accidents in the house can be very distressing and very wearing, but this is often the case when you adopt an adult dog. The situation could arise from lack of training or improper training from the dog's previous owner, or it could just be that the dog is confused or frightened in his new surroundings.

When determining how to go about managing this situation, there are a few things you should look at. First of all, does the dog have accidents in the same place every time, or is it random? If he is using the same spots every time, it means that he thinks that is where he is supposed to go. If it is random, it may indicate a medical problem or a dietary problem.

If you are feeding a food that is too rich, it can cause your dog to have accidents. Cheaper foods that have lots of artificial colors and filler can cause problems. Buy a good brand of dog food that is right for the age and activity level of your dog. For example, if your dog is mostly a house dog and only goes on a walk once a day, don't give him a high energy, high protein, performance food. Give your dog a food designed for mature dogs with a low to moderate level of activity.

If your dog is an unnueutered male, know that this can contribute to the problem in regards to urination. An intact male dog may want to mark his territory. Neutering may or may not help with this problem, but it is always a good idea, anyway. A neutered male dog makes a better household pet, and having your pets spayed./neutered is the responsible thing to do to avoid the currently overwhelming problem of unwanted and abandoned pets.

Once you have ruled out or dealt with medical and dietary problems, you can begin training. Crate training is a good idea if you have to leave your dog in the house when you are out. With crate training, you put the dog in a traveling crate just big enough for your dog to stand up and turn around in whenever you are gone and cannot watch your dog or let him out. Although this may seem mean, it really isn't. dogs sleep most of the time, anyway and don't move much from one spot. Using a crate helps to house train the dog because he will not want to relieve himself where he sleeps.

Having your dog crate trained is also handy when you have friends over who are afraid of dogs, or if you just need to put your dog out of the way for awhile so that you can work on your house or do some other thing where he would be in the way. Crate training is also useful in cases of destructive chewing. It is a good way to protect your belongings and keep peace in your home. My dog is crate trained, and she stays in the crate whenever I go out. It is a safe place for her, and she prefers to be in the crate during thunderstorms because she is very frightened of them.

So, to crate train you would begin with fairly short periods of time, say an hour or two. You can gradually build up to a full work day. If you need to be gone longer than that, you will want to make arrangements for someone to check on your dog and take him out to relieve himself and play a little bit.

When you begin training, take your dog out to his specified area and be sure he relieves himself before you leave. Put your dog in the crate with a good sturdy chew toy, and leave. Don't leave any food or water. This will just make a mess and may cause your dog to need to relieve himself. When you come back, let your dog out first thing and take him straight outside to his designated area. When he relieves himself, praise him mightily. He will soon learn that there is one place to relieve himself, and it is not in your house! If your dog has an accident in the crate, don't scold him. Just take him to his designated spot and go through the drill. He will be embarrassed enough, and dogs hate to make a mess where they sleep, so having an accident in the crate is something your dog will be motivated to avoid.

To avoid accidents, you will also want to be sure that you take your dog out often, to the same place and use the same words every time to encourage him to do his business. Praise your dog when he relieves himself appropriately outside. Tell your dog something like, "Good dogs poop outside!" or whatever you are comfortable with, but just be sure it is the same words said the same way every time.

If you do find that your dog has had an accident in the house, and especially if you catch him at it, take him firmly by the collar, show him the offending item, and firmly tell him "NO!" Then take your dog outside to the place where he is supposed to relieve himself and use those key words to inform him that "Good dogs poop outside!". If you can leave him safely outside to think about it, this is a good reinforcer. Dogs hate to be separated from their best friend (you!) so a 15 minute time-out is a helpful way to seal the lesson. But only do this if your dog can be secured inside a fence or by a tether. Don't ever let your dog run loose.

In my experience, most dogs will house train within a week or two. Of course it takes longer for puppies, but the basic training principles are the same. If training takes longer than a couple of weeks for an adult dog, be sure to consult your veterinarian. Have your dog checked for any health problems that may be causing the accidents.

You have two things on your side with house training. First, it is a dog's nature to want to please you. If you are consistent in being firmly disappointed when your dog has an accident and extremely happy when he relieves himself appropriately, he will quickly learn to do as you wish. Second, dogs don't want to make messes where they live and sleep. If your dog feels firmly established in your home and has his own crate to sleep in, he will know that the house is not the right place to relieve himself. You just need to show him, firmly and consistently, where the right place is, and soon that is where he will go.

Copyright: SuzanneBennett: November 6, 2008

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Comments 47 comments

TheBigGuy 7 years ago

Thanks for the advice on my question. My dog has not had any accidents in the house in a few days. She knows where she has to go outside but sometimes it just takes her a while to go. According to your article and other articles I've read it says that dogs won't go where they sleep. My dog does when we leave. The reason we've gotten for this is because she's so nervous she can't help herself. Do you really think socialization could be the solution? Is it a confidence thing?


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justmesuzanne 7 years ago from Texas Author

Hi! I'm glad I could help you! I think socializing may help peripherally with her having accidents in her crate. I think it may be a confidence thing. Socializing will definitely help the cringing and threatening to bite that you describe in your question on Advice.com. The threatening to bite really needs to be addressed. She needs to learn not to feel so threatened. Good luck! :) Suzanne


Ilovemydog 7 years ago

Hi.My dog is 7 years old. I am in school now. I have not been at home as much lately. My dog has been messing in the house. I know this is my fault because I have not been home as much. However it is becoming a complete habit. She does not like to go to the bathroom outside now. If I put her in a crate, she hurts her self and uses the bathroom in there and rolls in it and make a complete mess out of the cage and herself. I don't know what to do. My house is beginning to stink. I willing to take the time to get her back on track...I just don't know how to do this successfully with out the crate. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Please help!


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 7 years ago from Texas Author

Set up a regular schedule to take her out and retrain her to relieve herself outside. Every hour would not be too much. Praise her lavishly when she toilets outside. Say NO firmly and be very disappointed when she toilets in the house. If you have a fenced yard or you can safely tie her out for 15 minutes or so right after saying NO, it will reinforce what you want. If you are not able to take her out every hour yourself, perhaps you could hire a dogsitter (friend, neighbor, local teenager) to help you with this. The consistency will be the most important thing. Also, be sure you are feeding a high quality food because this will reduce the number of times she needs to relieve herself.

Good luck!


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks

Suzanne, Amber is a very sweet looking dog.

What do you advise for a male adult dog who is perfectly housebroken and has no accidents, but likes to mark his territory on vertical objects-- only if nobody is looking?


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justmesuzanne 6 years ago from Texas Author

That's a tough one, Aya! Sneaky little devil! If he isn't neutered, take care of that, but if he is an adult and already has this habit ingrained, it probably won't help.

Never, ever leave him unsupervised indoors, and if you catch him at it, reprimand him and put him outside. Give him praise and treats for marking outside and reprimands and a fast escort out the door for marking inside. However, that is a really, really tough behavior! You may not be able to stop it, especially since he knows it is wrong and is sneaky about it!


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks

Thanks, Suzanne. That's what I thought. I've been following pretty much the policy you suggest.


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belliott 6 years ago

I have a Bichon Frise that does exactly what Suzanne has described and I have never been able to break him of it.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 6 years ago from Texas Author

I hope this article will help with your Bichon Frise! I think little dogs are harder to train than big dogs. They have more attitude! :D


Julie 6 years ago

I have a 10 month old Boxer who is epileptic. We dont punish her for messing in her crate as we never know if she had a fit when we were out but its now everytime I leave, even if its for an hour or a full day, I do take her out right before, she is on a good quality dog food and she knows the spot she is supposed to go potty at. I have tried making the crate smaller so she has enough room just to turn around and sleep but I get home and she is covered in poop or pee. its like she doesn't care what she sleeps in. If she is out all day when I am home she doesn't mess at all and goes every 5 hours or so to the door to go potty. Is there anything more I can do, like I said she is epileptic so I know there will be messes from time to time but what can I do about the everyday occurances?


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justmesuzanne 6 years ago from Texas Author

In my opinion, having dealt with people with seizure disorders quite a bit, this disorder can indicate a whole constellation of problems and symptoms that can be very difficult to manage. Sometimes it's best to go with the flow. If she is successful staying outside, and you are able to let her stay out, do that. It is not possible to address an organic problem with a behavioral approach, but luckily, you have an organic solution in place, so do what you need to do to make this a safe, doable solution.

I hope this helps! :)


musicluvr10 6 years ago

I have a shi tzu and a pug they are fully grown but they are still going pee and poop in the house.We give them treats when they come in from outside and when they urinate in the house we say no in a toned voice. We are getting fed up with cleaning up their mess and i need help how to get them to stop. Please help!


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justmesuzanne 6 years ago from Texas Author

Go outside with them and give them the treat when they poop or pee outside. Don't wait until they come in.

Having said that, I now have a dachshund cross who is extremely challenging to train. What has worked on big dogs for me in the past just doesn't work with her because she has such an attitude! My solution has been to build a very secure yard where she can be outside, protected and safe with a bed and house, while I am sleeping because that's when she always makes a mess, even when she has just been out before bedtime!

If your dogs always make a mess at a certain time of day (like while you are sleeping) you might try just keeping them crated during that time, then taking them outside the minute you let them out of the crates.

Good luck, and thanks for your comment!


Jordan P. 6 years ago

I have a 9 month old yellow lab who is not very smart and we didn't train her because the owner was gunna get her but kept laying off and ended up not getting her,she is not very smart and doesn't even fetch, but the biggest problem is that she pees in her kennel and barks a lot at night and early in the morning and we let her out but she wont go pee and then we put her back in her kennel and she pees and it is getting really tiring and annoying. We do not let her roam around the house for various reasons, so she and my 4 year old male black lab are either outside on the porch or in the back kennel room. Can You help?


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 6 years ago from Texas Author

When you say "kennel", do you mean crate? If so, understand, that a crate is for temporary containment of your pet. She should not be spending the majority of her time in a crate. It sounds as if she thinks that her kennel is the right place to pee, and this might happen if this is where she is most of the time during her formative months.

Nine months old is not very old. She is still a puppy and still learning a lot. Being able to fetch or not is not really an indication of intelligence. Some dogs like to fetch, some don't. None of my dogs fetch, but they are all very smart!

It is important that a young dog be out learning and socializing and spending a lot of time with people. If you plan to keep this puppy, you must put a consistent amount of quality time into training her. Take her and your other dog on daily walks, spend play time with them, and don't keep her in a crate while your other dog is allowed to come into the house. This is bound to cause frustration and barking, and the inappropriate urinating may be caused by anxiety as well as lack of training. Follow the instructions in my article consistently, and you should see results.

Separately, it actually sounds as if you don't much like this puppy, and perhaps you aren't really set up to have two dogs. If this is the case, put some effort into finding her another home.

Here are a few other articles I have written about dog care:

Advice On Socializing Your Dog

http://www.advice.com/article.jsp?id=e87656478b174...

Advice On Caring For Your Dog Responsibly

http://www.advice.com/article.jsp?id=8d36928ef0164...

Advice On Quieting Your Noisy Dog

http://www.advice.com/article.jsp?id=ba0c4f9ef4144...

Take a Pro-Active Approach to House Training Your Dog

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2097437/t...

I hope they are helpful to you!

Good luck! :)


mohalavt 6 years ago

I've had it! Our long hair daschound will be a year old on the 19th. Our daughter (13) has always put him in his kennel at night (on her bed) from day one but now that he is getting older she wants him to sleep with her. Last night she had a friend sleep over. They put Charlie inbetween them, were going to sleep and he peed, RIGHT ON THE BED. She said she had taken him out before bed too. What can I do? I'm tired of his retaliatory behaviors.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 6 years ago from Texas Author

Dachshunds are so challenging! My adult dachshund mix is very stubborn about being house trained, and I have a friend who nick-named her dachshund "The Masked Pooper"!

With my adult dachshund, I let her out into the fenced yard for at least 15 minutes at a time every 3-4 hours. This seems to do the trick for her. If you don't have a fenced yard where your dachshund can take his time doing his business, maybe your daughter could be sure to take him on at least two good, long walks a day and then, in between walks, make sure he never has to wait too long to go out.

It doesn't sound like he is ready to sleep outside of his crate if you can't trust him to sleep on the bed without wetting it. He may have been upset at having a different person in the bed, or he may have been excited. Whatever the reason, it's not something you want to happen again!

Keep crating him at night and be very consistent about keeping him on a regular potty schedule. Test him every few months to see if he is ready to sleep outside the crate, but it is possible that he never will be. If that's the way he has been raised, he may actually prefer to sleep in his crate.

If he isn't already neutered, have him neutered. This sometimes helps when male dogs have a problem with inappropriate urination; however, if you wait too long, it will become an ingrained habit and neutering won't help much.

Of course, follow the potty training advice in my article to reinforce his training.

Good luck! :)


AskAshlie3433 profile image

AskAshlie3433 5 years ago from WEST VIRGINIA

Very awesome hub. This is very useful information. Thanks for sharing.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 5 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks, I'm glad it was useful! :)


Frustrated Husband.... 5 years ago

Hello Suzanne (or should I say HHHHHEEEEEEELLLLLPPPPPPPPPP!!!!!)

We have 3 small dogs, 2 Jack Russel Terriers (a mother 7 yrs and her son 5 yrs) and the youngest, a 4 yrs old male Chi-Chon (1/2 Bichon Frise and 1/2 Chihuahua). I'll send the family portrait later...

Both males are not fixed. The female is fixed.

Anyways, here is the challenge, the youngest has always been the trouble maker and ever since we got him, we've had random "attacks" of peeing in the house - primarily in the kitchen and living room area.

I've caught him, in the act, several times! We keep the door open to the patio (we live in a Condo) and we do walk the dogs several times a day.

Recently the peeing incidents have gone up, and over the years we have tried just about every technique of stopping the dog from peeing in the house. I'm especially frustrated since the door to the patio is always open. He will even pee just inches from the door, inside the house!

Now, before you say, well, just donate the dog to a local rescue, here is the real problem....

My wife does not have her own children, and has a very strong "maternal" bond with this dog, he is "her" dog - more so than any other dog in the house.

So, wringing its neck (as my Dad would say), or dropping it off at the local shelter - is clearly out of the question! Arghhh....

Anyways, If you have any suggestions for a Frustrated Husband, who both values his marriage, and all three dogs, I need to find a suitable solution so I don't have to put my foot down and have all three dogs removed! This would break my heart!

I sure hope you can find a solution that can help. :-)


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 5 years ago from Texas Author

1/ Have all of your dogs spayed/neutered. There is no reason to have intact pet dogs.

2/ Have your carpets thoroughly cleaned by a professional with a pet odor solution.

3/ Before the dogs ever step foot on the clean carpet, have comfortable crates in place for each one. For little dogs like this, it would probably be OK to let each one have a larger crate with food & water dishes in place and a little bed. My 2 little dogs have private retreats like this.

4/ Keep them crated when not supervised.

This means, you must be very stringent about daily walks. You must do good walks at least 2x daily. You must be sure they do their business on their walks.

You must also have set socializing times when they sit with you, play with you, etc. If you are not able to supervise them, crate them.

When you take them out to your patio to do their business, take them directly there. Don't let them wander through the house.Don't leave the patio door open.

With consistent attention and habits and lowered testosterone levels, your little dogs may eventually stop their peeing in the house habits. The main thing to remember is that you and your wife are in charge and must establish rules and boundaries.

Hope this helps! :)


Frustrated Husband.... 5 years ago

Hello again Suzanne,

Thanks for the advice. I will see what I can do. :-)

We do currently walk them at a minimum of 3 times per day, and usually 4 or even 5 times per day.

My wife is pretty against the neutering of the male dogs. I wanted to do this when they were pups.

I could not help notice that you mentioned in earlier posts that once a male is an adult, neutering is not very helpful, yet now you say it will help.

Sorry, I'm a bit confused - I need to be sure if I'm going to go toe-to-toe with my wife on that issue.

Thanks however for all the other advice.

;-)


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 5 years ago from Texas Author

It may not be very helpful as far as the habit of peeing is concerned, which is why I am advising you have your carpets thoroughly, professionally cleaned and then supervise your dogs stringently. It will take a lot of work to train the habit/behavior out of them, and you may not be successful.

It will help as far as lowering their testosterone levels and reducing their innate need to compete with each other and with you. It will give you the upper hand in becoming top dog.

Additionally, spayed/neutered pets are calmer, healthier, and happier. Your wife is doing them a disservice by not having them spayed/neutered.


Frustrated Husband.... 5 years ago

Hi Suzanne,

Thanks for your help... I'll keep you updated as to my progress with my wife.... Maybe giving her a week's vacation overseas (while I fix the boys) will be a possible compromise??? LOL

Frustrated Husband....


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 5 years ago from Texas Author

That sounds like a good idea, and have your carpets cleaned and get the crates in place at the same time. Understand that it could take a month or so for the dogs to get used to the new routine, and this will take commitment to vigilant supervision from now on. However, once they are used to knowing who's in charge and what the program is, the dogs will be happier. They want to know that someone is "driving the bus", and it's really better if it's you rather than them!


MeredithC 4 years ago

Hi Suzanne,

I just started having a problem with my 3-year-old lab mix/border collie mix and it sounds like you may be able to help. She has been crate trained from the time we got her (10 wks old) and has always loved it. She has only been crated at night for the last year or so. We take her out at night, come in, give her a treat and say "Time for beddy" and she always runs right in. This has always worked at my family home and my apartment (we spend a lot of time at both). However, the last couple of weeks while we're home for the holidays, there have been a few times that she absolutely refuses to go in her bed at night. She hides behind the Christmas tree, which is in the corner she likes to go in during the rest of the year (usually behind a chair) but sometimes will wait an hour and then run upstairs, try to jump on the bed, or end up sleeping on the couch. Bottom line, it has been a battle to get her in the bed, involving putting her leash on her and walking her into it, and one time picking her up and putting her in. She still gets treats, praise, etc. but I'm sure it's not a 100% positive thing. The worst time of it just happened, when she pulled out of her collar when I was trying to walk her toward it, and after I put it on her, growled when I tried to get her to move. I don't like hearing her growl! I know she was trying to let me know that she was NOT pleased with the situation, but I didn't want to let her behavior win either. If she could sleep calmly downstairs by herself it'd be one thing, but I can't have her running around in the middle of the night either. My apartment is one big open space (two floors) so there is no way to close the door either if she isn't sleeping in her crate.

Is this a sign that she just shouldn't be crated at night anymore? What do you suggest that I do? The one thing I've thought of is to practice with her going in there on command during the day for even a second (command, response, reward) but if she still won't go in or continues to refuse by lying down, pulling out of her collar, running away or the growling, I don't know what to do.

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated!!


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 4 years ago from Texas Author

Hmmm... That is strange. It sounds like something may have happened to change her feelings about being crated. Was she allowed to sleep with you or to be loose in the apartment at night once, or did she perhaps have a sitter who allowed her to sleep out of the crate? Did she have an accident in the crate? Has she outgrown that crate? Maybe she needs a larger one.

Do you have objections to her sleeping in your room? Perhaps moving the crate (or a new crate or special bed) to your room would solve the problem.


MeredithC 4 years ago

She's never had an accident in her crate, but she definitely has been allowed to sleep outside of it a handful of times sporadically in the last year. For example, like one of the above comments, she is scared of thunderstorms so if she is already hiding at bedtime, I let her stay in the spot she's in to feel "safe." With this new attitude about her crate, my parents have let her roam free a couple times overnight while we've been home over the holidays rather than battling with her about it. What's funny is that her "crate" at my parent's house is actually a big dog bed in the same spot her crate was when both she and I lived here, just blocked off with a doggie gate instead of the actual crate. So it's definitely big enough, and it's not a new arrangement - that's been her set-up while we're here for any visits in the last year.

I will have to see if she still does this once we get to my apartment and then I will definitely try to move her crate to see if she'd sleep with it in my room. I'm going to try to practice going in there with her today but otherwise, do you think letting her sleep outside of it for the next couple nights that we're at my parents' house would be a bad idea?

Thank you so much for your help!!


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 4 years ago from Texas Author

I think if you're set on continuing to crate her at night, letting her sleep outside the crate is a bad idea, but if you are open to exploring other options, it doesn't matter. It sounds like she has gotten the idea that she has a choice in the matter, and she prefers to sleep outside the crate. Since she's more mature now and probably won't have an accident or destroy things (and may not run around) that might be OK. Another option would be to tether her in your room if you don't want her wandering around the house while you're asleep. I used to do that with one of my dogs when I first got her because she needed some TLC, and she wasn't reliably house trained, so I kept her on a 6 foot leash next to my bed at night and let her sleep with me (but she was a dachshund not a lab! :) Maybe it's time for you and your dog to explore other options if you are open to that!


odiesdaddy 4 years ago

I have a 3 year old male Vizsla who I obtained as a rescue at 10 weeks. He had kennel cough,worms, and was severely malnutritioned. The breeder and her husband died in the same car accident. I spoon fed him the first 5 weeks we had him, so he's my baby but he has defeated 3 different crates by learning how to open or in 1 case dismantling (and by that I mean destroyed beyond repair) the only plastic one we ever had. he NEVER urinates in the house but consistently leaves land mines in front of the fireplace. the oddity is that this only occurs between 1 am when I go to sleep and give him a final outside potty and 6 am when I get up with the kids for school. Am I wrong in believing a bed for him in our bedroom might be a valid solutionor would that be rewarding bad behavior. additionally he has a 6x daily potty schedule because he' an active breed and even constant play with 4 kids just keeps him occupied. Can you offer any advice?


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 4 years ago from Texas Author

A bed in your room might help in that he would be able to wake you up and let you know he needs out! Clearly, he just needs to go out once in the wee small hours of the morning! You won't be able to "train" that out of him. It's apparently a biological need.

As far as having him sleep in your room being a "reward for bad behavior" goes - no, he wouldn't make the connection. Needing to go out at 3 a.m. and getting a nice bed have no obvious or logical connection in the mind of a dog!

If you don't want to get up early in the morning and let him out, put down paper in front of the fireplace or get one of those fancy indoor dog potty arrangements with artificial grass!

It sounds like you have a good dog who is not misbehaving, so he just needs to be accommodated in this.


dellbodden 4 years ago

Hey Suzanne. I have a two year old male yorkie who has been peeing and pooping on the pad for the last two years. When I first got him I settled for this option because of my busy work and school schedule. Now I am ready for him to go outside. Any suggestions?


dellbodden 4 years ago

Any advice on house training a 2 year old male yorkie that has been using training pads for the last two years?


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 4 years ago from Texas Author

If your work schedule has lightened up, start taking him for more walks! It will be hard to untrain him from the pad since he is apparently well-trained on it; however, if you observe his schedule and take him out at about the time he usually uses the pad, it will help. Set up a second pad in the area you want him to use as his new toilet area, and take him to it to do his business. Start with a soiled pad so that he will get the idea that it's OK to potty in that area. Follow the instructions in the article to let him know it is time to potty.

Simultaneously, move the indoor pad closer and closer to the door until you eventually have it outside in the area you want him to use. This could take quite a while (several weeks) since he associates the area where the pad has been kept with being the right place to do business. If you suddenly move it outside, he may just continue going to the area where it has been rather than seeking out the pad in its new position.

Eventually, he should get the idea that it's OK to simply do his business on the grass in the new spot, and you may be able to do without pads altogether. Alternately, you may want to simply set him up a regular outdoor potty schedule but also keep a pad set up inside for times when you must be out or just in case he needs it.

Hope that helps! :)


MGoeller 4 years ago

Hi Suzanne,

I have a 9 month old Jug (Jack Russel & Pug mix). I rescued her a little over a month ago. When I leave for work I have been crating her. She was making a mess, so I started having someone come over during lunch to take her out. This is the first week with someone coming over, but she is still have accidents before they come even though I take her out twice before leaving for work in the morning and then when I get home from work she has had another accident. She has also started having accidents in the crate at night as well. She is typically good about not having accidents in the house outside of the crate, although they do occur sometimes. I am consistent with praising her when she goes outside. She seems to know it is what she needs to do. I spoke with the vet and they said she is tiny so she probably just cannot hold it. Hence why I started having someone take her out, but it just doesn't even seem to be helping.

My thoughts were maybe I am putting her in too large a crate, however when I put up a divider to make it smaller she still had accidents and it was a lot messier because she couldn't help but step in it. Any recommendations? I am getting extremely frustrated!!!


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 4 years ago from Texas Author

*Adjust her feeding schedule so that you are feeding her after you arrive home and have taken her out to potty.

*Don't leave food or water in the crate.

*Be sure that the type of food you are feeding is appropriate.

If you are still feeding puppy chow, it may be too rich. Try changing to a good quality adult dry food (in my experience plain, Purina Dog Chow is best) and leave off canned food.

Since she is so young, if the crate is large enough for her to move around quite a bit, you might simply accommodate her by putting a shallow tray (such as a cat litter pan) equipped with a puppy pad in the back of the crate. At least then she would have a place to go that is appropriate, and it would be easier to clean up.

As she matures, she will probably naturally gain more control.

Hope this helps!


Bloupe27 4 years ago

Hi, we have a year old boxer who does really well in his kennel. However, we just hate to leave him in there all day. We don't trust him out in the house because he has a tendency to destroy things so we keep him locked in our master bathroom so he has plenty of room to run and play. The problem is he potties in the bathroom and I end up having to mop his very large messes every afternoon (and I just made 9 months pregnant, so this is getting difficult!). I try to tell him "no" when I get home and take him straight outside, but after several days of doing this, there has been no change. He normally doesn't go in the house AT ALL. Any help in getting him to stop going in the bathroom???


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 4 years ago from Texas Author

He may have chosen the bathroom because he rightly believes that it is the correct place for that sort of activity - just not for his species! If he does well in his kennel, crate him while you are gone! He'll be fine for the entire time while you are at work. You don't need to feel guilty about it. If you will be gone for more than 8-10 hours, have someone come in and take him out for a walk, but keep him in his crate while you are out to protect your belongings and prevent accidents.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

Hi Suzanne,

We finally got smart and bought a crate for the last dog that we adopted. It was mostly to stop her from chewing and ruining our kitchen when we left the house and it worked. She learned to love her crate and even after we removed it after the need for it was gone, she would go to that same spot in the kitchen if she even thought that we were leaving the house. Crate training works! Up and useful votes and will pin.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 3 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks! Yes, crate training is not at all cruel or punitive if properly done. It is a valuable tool in dog training! :)


Indian Chef profile image

Indian Chef 3 years ago from New Delhi India

Suzanne, I had a female Alsation and she was very easy to train. I could train her in most things like not to climb the bed or go in kitchen or sleep in her bed and also potty train that she is not to do it in house but that was it, I could not train her to shake hands, she would fetch the ball but thats it. I thought this was what a dog would learn without professional help.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 3 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks IC! Some dogs are just not interested in doing things that have no practical purpose. My father's dog was like that. She just would not play tricks, shake hands or do anything like that, but she was smart enough to follow my father's instructions to swim to the middle of a lake and save a little boy from drowning. Then she generalized those instructions and saved a kitten from a flooded creek on her own! You can read about her here:

McTavish: A Real-Life Dog Hero

A True Story of a Great Dog

http://voices.yahoo.com/mctavish-real-life-dog-her...

Don't worry if your dog doesn't want to learn tricks. It sounds like she has learned all the important stuff! :)

Thanks for commenting!


mydogsadork 3 years ago

We have a 9 month old chocolate lab that we got at 8 weeks. He has always been kenneled during the day (7:30 am to 4p.m) it only took him a few weeks before he was completely trained and was able to stay dry all day .

He was doing quite well and not having any accidents for a long time and then a couple of months ago he started wetting in the kennel we figured he was just in their too long on the days my husband had to take daughter to p/t after work and the dog was in the kennel til 5:30 so ,I had husband stop at home to let the dog out to go potty and then put him back in the kennel before he left again which was fine for awhile but then he started peeing in the kennel regularly on those days even though he had been let out. I think that he is doing it because he is mad that he has to get back in the kennel after being cooped up for 8 hrs. The kennel is not wet when husband lets him out but when I get home 1 1/2 hrs later it is wet.

He never pees in the house any other time . He always goes to the door and lets us know when he has to go out otherwise.

A couple of months ago we got him an xl wire kennel because the med one we had was so small he had to curl up in a little ball and he had to hunch over when he sat up and he would whine when you made him get in...the one we have now might be a little large but we wanted one that would last since they are so expensive and it appears he is going to be a big dog. Should we put the divider in the kennel ? He does sleep in our bed at night (he has only been sleeping w/us the last couple of months also). Is that contributing to the problem? Should he go back to sleeping at night in the kennel? He starts whining after being in there a couple hours and we let him out and let him come into the bed.

I have also wondered if he just has separation anxiety? He is by our side constantly when we are at home and at times when i put him in the kennel he just sits or lies there and shakes uncontrollably like he is scared ,which seems silly to me since he has always been kenneled during the day..you would think he'd be used to it by now.

Please help I am tired of constantly washing his blankets and scrubbing the floor and giving him a bath....


mydogsadork 3 years ago

also he has been fixed in the last month or so.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 3 years ago from Texas Author

It sounds to me as if the replacement kennel is too large and also perhaps he doesn't feel secure in it. If there is enough room for him to pee without having to sit in pee, he will do it. Also, with the wire structure, he may feel exposed and unsafe.

If it were me, I would get rid of it and get an airline kennel that is more secure, but I know these things are not cheap! If the divider can be put in securely, try that. He should just have enough room to enter, turn around and lie down. You might also try putting a blanket or comforter over the kennel so he will feel more safe; however, he might begin pulling it in through the bars and destroying it!

I have one wire kennel that was given to me, and I have it right next to my airline kennel of the same size. The wall is behind it, and I cut a piece of paneling to go on top. Then I put a set of shelves with a solid back on the exposed side. With this setup, the kennel is enclosed on all sides but the front so it's more cozy, yet there is no fabric that can be pulled in and chewed up!

I don't think having him neutered would have made any difference, and I think it's fine to let him sleep with you. It's also a good idea to give him a break from the kennel midday. Try limiting his space and making it more secure. Leave a radio playing to keep him company and give him a sturdy chew toy to keep busy.

Thanks for reading and asking! Good luck! :)


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

Coming back to share this hub as the information can certainly help owners keep their pets from doing damage while they are being house trained or even after that point if the dog still has some growing up to do.

Some dogs have separation anxiety and take their frustrations out with being left alone by chewing. We had a sofa ruined by one of our dogs. We always credited him with our living room make-over. Ha!


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 3 years ago from Texas Author

Yes, my Freckles completely destroyed a 3 piece sectional sofa when he was a puppy. He took it right down to the frame. This was before I knew about crate training.

Amber never uses her crate any more. When I go out, I just put up a baby gate to keep her and my other big dog, Sophie, in one room. They could jump over it easily, but they don't because they know I don't want them to. :)

Thanks for sharing! :)

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