Crate Training Your Boston Terrier

We have used crate training to quickly and successfully "potty train" our Boston Terriers. This method can be used for all breeds. Our personal experience is that BTs are usually eager to please their owners, so as a breed Bostons take to this method fairly well (though there are always exceptions! Boston Terrier crate training).

Most dogs feel safe in a crate and think of it as their home. The crate becomes "a place of his own" and a retreat for him. Using a crate reduces the time required for housetraining and keeps the puppy (and you) from becoming stressed about accidents in the house.

The crate you pick out for crate training your puppy should be large enough for him to stand up, turn around, and stretch out in. Pet stores have crates available in a variety of sizes and materials - some even fold for storage.

Getting Started with Crate Training:

boston terrier crate training

When it is time for your puppy to eat, feed him in the crate. Put the food and the puppy in and latch the door. When he is finished eating, take him outside immediately. Tell the puppy that you are going "potty" or to "go out" as you take him outside.

Whatever term you use for taking him out, use it consistently for reinforcement. This way, he will associate the words with the act as well as the location where he is supposed to relieve himself.

Puppies need to eliminate right after eating or drinking, so don't let him loose in the house during that time. They will also need to "go" right after playing and upon waking up. Keep an eye on your puppy and you'll recognize his signs, which include sniffing and circling the floor. If you can't be there to watch the puppy, keep him in his crate with the door latched. Otherwise, he may develop a habit of having accidents in the house.

When you put the puppy in his crate, give him a small treat. Put the treat in the back of the crate and try to get him to walk into the crate on his own. When he does, give him another bite of the treat through the cage.

Your puppy may whine to get you to let him out of the crate. It's hard sometimes, but don't give in. He needs to learn to stay in his crate when necessary and that whining doesn't get him out. You may need to gently tap the crate and tell him "no" so he will learn this.

Frequency:

Puppies between 8 and 12 weeks old need to relieve themselves every few hours, except at night. So, you may need to adjust your schedule to take him out. Make sure your puppy empties his bladder and bowels before going to bed. And, take him out first thing in the morning - he will probably need to go! You'll soon learn when he needs to go out from his cues. These cues show that he is learning his housetraining lesson.

"Modified" Crate Training:

If you don't have outdoor access or if you will be away for a long period of time, you can housetrain by putting newspapers or piddle pads in a corner that is out of the way, but easy for the puppy to reach. Take your puppy to that spot consistently and he will learn that he is to go there for that purpose. Make sure this area is in a small room or is partitioned off so that he can't roam freely. Make sure the area is large enough that he won't be eliminating next to his food or water bowls, or near his bed. The puppy will quickly learn to go in this spot. Make sure you take him there consistently when you are home.

Our Experience:

We have used both the crate training and piddle pad methods. The problem we had the few times we used the piddle pads was that our puppy was more interested in playing with (shredding to bits) the pads while we were gone (even with chew toys to play with). So, we adjusted our schedules until she was bigger so that we could keep her in the crate and let her out as she needed.

Special tips for training adult dogs to use a crate

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Photo "Roxy" courtesy of Steve & Jeeta
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