Crate Training Tips

The crate needs to be big enough to allow the pup/dog to stand, turn, & lay down comfortably. The crates need to be small enough so they don't allow for both a living area and a potty area, this would compromise the housebreaking process. A GOOD SIZE FOR A WESTIE IS 30 LONG X 21 WIDE X 24 HIGH. MAKE SURE IT COMES WITH A DIVIDER PANEL. That way you can adjust the crate size as your puppy grows.The length of time the dogs are crated should be reasonable and coupled with lots of daily opportunities for exercise and play (indoor and outdoor). Puppies do not want to soil the area where they sleep and eat. They may have a few accidents, but they will quickly realize this is not a good plan. Puppies like to have their own den The crating, if handled properly, provides this to them. The crating will greatly benefit the housetraining process. Puppies and Dogs should not be crated as punishment. We want them to like their crate and this would make the crate a bad place for the dogs. If you do not follow the regimen of ensuring they have pottied, before being crated, this is wrong. They will have to go and they will try hard not to mess their crate, but a puppy can't hold it for long. Here are some tips that will help with crate training:

1. Make sure you have the correct size crate, for a westie 30 long x 21 wide x24 high and make sure it comes with a divider panel (this size crate will work for a westie puppy and westie adult).

2. Be reasonable in the length of time your westie puppy is crated.

3. Make sure your westie puppy has ample exercise and play sessions.

4. Make sure the puppy potties just before being crated.

5. Feed the dog while keeping in mind they need time to potty before being placed in their crate. For pups this may be 15-30 minutes. For older dogs, this could be 30 minutes to one hour. If you feed your dog and then crate them immediately, they will not have a chance to eliminate fully. It takes a while for the food and water to work through their system. If you crate them before this process has completed they will need to go after being crated and this may cause them to go in the crate.

INTRODUCING YOUR WESTIE PUPPY TO THE CRATE: Start slow. Take a treat (piece of puppy food) and toss it into the crate, say kennel or a command word of choice. The puppy will go in after it. When they get the treat, praise them. You want to make certain you praise them quickly, when they get any part of their body into the crate. If you are delayed on the praise, you will be praising them for leaving the crate. They must be praised for being inside the crate not leaving the crate. Do this several times. Then when they go in for the treat, praise and push the door of the crate closed, but do not latch the door. You will then immediately open the door. Repeat this process several times, always being careful to praise while they are inside the crate. Do not praise as they exit the crate. Decide on a command word, kennel or whatever word you choose. Use this each time you want the puppy to go into their crate.

Increase the length of time you keep the door pushed closed. As this time increases, praise the dog while they are in the crate and give them another treat (piece of puppy food) while they are inside the crate. The next step is to actually latch the door. Praise and offer a treat (piece of puppy food) while they are inside the crate with the door latched. Build the time that you keep the door latched very slowly. This is teaching the puppy that the crate is a good place where they are praised and get treats (puppy food). Do not praise when they exit the crate. They are also learning that the crate is not a trap and that the door always opens. Now, the amount of time before the door opens varies and might ultimately be lengthy, but they will have learned that they will always get out of the crate.

The next step will have you doing the previous steps and then while the door is closed, you will walk across the room with your back to the puppy. Pick up and look at something that shows you are involved in something other than them. Initially, you can praise with your back turned. Eventually you will walk away, back turned, look at something, say nothing and then nonchalantly return to the puppy. At this point, give them a treat and praise them. Only after you have given them a treat and praised them, do you open the crate door.

*NOTE: I DO NOT RECOMMEND USING PUPPY TREATS, THIS WILL/CAN CAUSE LOOSE STOOLS/UPSET STOMACH.  IT IS FINE TO USE THEIR PUPPY FOOD AS TREATS.*