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First off, thanks everyone for contibuting to this site.This forum has a lot of good information and links. A week ago I adopted my puppy from Humane Society. He is a 4 month Collie/Shepherd mix. I have been doing a lot of research and I have seen some clashes in common training themes. The biggest one I wanted to mention and perhaps get some feedback.

I read a lot of sites which talk about crate training, they put HUGE emphasis on making the crate a positive place, it's not a punishment, slowly get them comfortable, a lot of rewards, and soon they will love the privacy and escape of the crate.

Now, thats great and all, but when you combine that with potty training, it's simply not possible, is it?

The bottom line is that we can't wait for the dog to love his crate. (We tried) He goes to the bathroom in the house at a moment's notice. We are making great steps towards getting him to wait to go outside, and keeping him in the crate is the greatest asset, because it forces him to hold his bladder. We go straight from the crate to outside and it eliminates accidents.

Right now, almost a week after I brought him home, he is going outside at regular times, doing his business, and then when hes inside he gets put in his crate if we aren't training him. He doesn't hate his crate, but he avoids it like the plague. We either trick him by putting treats in the back corner, or we pick him up and drop him inside.

Thoughts?
 

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when hes inside he gets put in his crate if we aren't training him.
How about playtime? Or just spending time with him? If he's inside his crate unless you're training him, then of course he's not going to like it. He wants to be outside the crate, with you.

And the fact is, you want a dog who's really housetrained. Six months from now, a year from now, do you really want to have a dog you can't trust out of his crate for fear of peeing accidents? Better to work on it now.

Try keeping him tethered to you. Stay right by his side, and when he shows any sign, get him out ASAP. You really have to be vigilant in the early stages of training. Boy, do I remember that with NO fondness. It's not fun, but it's necessary.

Good luck.
 

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When I watched the "Crate Games" video, I was massively impressed...with myself. I basically came up with a similar concept of my own devising. Actually, there is no huge trick to the program. You just use a puppy's natural instinct to play and seek reward in order to get him to run into the crate and stay in for progressively longer periods.

Obviously, there will be times when you have to put the pup up before he falls in love with his crate. You can work on associating the box with good things while still using it to confine him for his own safety. Older pups who've never been confined--or who've already decided that they don't like it--require more patience. Check your own attitude about the crate, too. You are teaching your pup about one of the good things in life. It helps if you believe that.

 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Thracian - I guess I didn't want to get too wordy in my original post, we do have him out to play and hangout too. But you bring up the point that we are probably too worried about the pee and we should try to have him out of the crate more often.

The next problem I see in the future is how excited he gets when we play with him. At first he is fine, fetchs, chews on his toys, plays tug of war... but then he doesn't even care about his toys anymore and he starts nipping our hands and clothes. A lot of the guides say you should yelp, and/or leave the room so he knows he loses his playmate and learns bite inhibiting. Well, If I leave the room he is going to go to the bathroom, so after a couple bites and me yelping and turning, I just end up ending playtime and puting him back in the cage. I am up for suggestions here, I always try to place the toy in his mouth, yelp and turn away when he bites us, and i also try spraying his leash with bitter apple when he starts chewing on that. (although this probably should be avoided, i noticed the best reaction I get from him is when I yell in a very angry low voice "NO!", should I avoid this? it gets him to stop and look at me)

Marsh Muppet - Thanks for the link, I guess that video is just a teaser trailer for the actual dvd. Is there any quick tips or suggest you picked up that you might want to share?
 

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Play time is fun! Of coure he get excited. Try to redirect the biting and nipping. If Pepper gets over excited and wants to bite and nip at me, I get a rope toy, her Wubba, whatever I can that she will be happy to bite at instead of my hand. We've developed a few fun game around that concept.

And I will emphasize, your pup is only 4 months old! That's still really young. Expect the crazies for at least another 8 months, maybe more. And it will get worse before it get better. (that 8 month mark is insanity!)

And it seems like you are doing OK on the crate training. There will be good days and bad days, and accidents will happen. My dog never really learned to love her crate. It is where she goes when we are not home and she goes and she is fine, but she never ever goes in there on her own free will. All dogs are different, and some are like mine. It's all good.

As I like to say: Manage your expectations. It really helps when you have setbacks.
 

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My pup is a few months older than yours (8 months). We had the opposite effect with the crate. Having spent so much time in the kennel, I guess Syrus already knew what the crate was and routinely went into it on his own at bedtime.

Since then we have allowed him to lay on an old cloth chair in our living room (and not our leather sofas). Now he uses the crate less frequently and sleeps on the chair until my wife and I are ready for bed, at which point he goes to the crate.

We purchased a big fluffy dog bed and lined the crate with it. He loves the bed, which may be one of the reasons why he doesn't mind the crate itself.

One of the things that I have a little concern with in regards to potty training is the lack of independence it seems to have instilled in Syrus. For the last three weeks (since we have had him) we call out "Syrus, what are you doing" anytime he gets out of sight. He usually comes running into the room with me to be praised.

I am getting the impression that he thinks that he has to be with my wife and I at all times when he is out of his crate. I don't mind this too much, but I'd love for him to have a little independence. For instance, if I am the only person home and need to use the restroom, Syrus will sit outside of the door and wait for me. If he is laying on the grass outside and I quickly pop into the house to grab his water dish, when I come back out I find him seated against the screen door waiting for me.

For potty-training, we have moved more towards a routine than constantly watching for signs. If we see a sign (like him sniffing the floor excessively) we take him out, but in general we watch when he eats and drinks and head outside accordingly. Since changing to this routine we have only had one accident in the house versus 2 when we weren't paying as much attention to his eating/drinking times.
 
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