Interview with Dr. Lara Sypniewski
House training a new dog can be a challenge, and poor house training is a leading cause of pets being surrendered to shelters. Dogs have a natural desire to keep their den clean, and will typically not eliminate in their sleeping area, when given the chance. This is the concept behind crate training.
Giving your dog a crate to stay in while unsupervised inside the home can keep them out of trouble, and facilitate house training. It should be a happy place for the dog with comfy bedding and toys. It should feel like the dog’s sanctuary when things are hectic in the house.
Dogs need plenty of exercise outdoors, and the crate should be used only to provide rest times. Care must be taken to insure that the dog gets walked every few hours to allow for healthy restroom habits. Young dogs need more frequent walks as their bladders and habits are still developing. Dogs should always be walked when they first wake up, as soon as they come out of the crate, after they eat, and before bedtime.
Crate training can be wonderful for dogs and people, but it can easily be abused if treated as a containment device without understanding the exercise and health needs of the dog. Your veterinarian can be a great resource with training issues, helping your dog be a cherished family member.