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Crate & potty training

We've had Lucky about 2 months and he is almost 8 months old. He seemed fairly well house-trained when we got him - he has accidents if he isn't walked regularly but we've mostly blamed our daughter for those - she has some attention issues we are working on. We bought a crate the day we got him, as we had a 6-hour drive home. But we haven't been using it for crate training. He sleeps with our daughter at night (is this a bad habit? It does make things difficult when she has a sleepover or isn't around...) and we shut him in her bedroom during the 4 hours he is alone every afternoon, in-between my husband going to work and me getting home from work. But he's been getting in the habit of having "accidents" in her room - not every day but increasingly lately - and also several times in the living room lately, so we're thinking we may need to use the crate before this gets out of hand?

My first concern is I think the one we bought may be too small? It's Petco's Classic 1-door, size small - 24L x 18"W x 19"H. The box said it was good for dogs up to 30lbs but it just seems rather tight - he can lay in it but not stretch - when we had him neutered last week, he didn't fit with the cone around his head at all. No room for a water bowl and he can't really sit upright in it either. The Petco Classic doesn't have a medium option so our next choice up is a large 36L x 23"W x 25"H or try a different type crate - maybe a 30L x 19"W x 21.5"H.
Should we try exchanging up a size or two or is the crate we have supposed to be this small? I'm planning to run into town tonight (in about 3 hours) to see if they'll let us return the one for something larger...

He's also ripped the carpet to shreds right along the door so that's another reason to start putting him in a crate. We never let him roam the house alone - for one, he and the cat aren't best buds yet. He likes to chase her and then she stalks and chases him and then she's mad cause he won't leave her alone and we're not sure if any of it is fun for her though he sure thinks it's a great game. Plus he's already chewed up 2 cell-phone cords, an audio cable, and the plug off of the vacuum cleaner. (On the plus side, I learned how to replace a plug!)

Any advice on the crate and anything else? Should we start crating him at night, too?
I would definitely start crating him when he is alone in a room. Guinness sleeps in my bed, and I try to find babysitters who will let him sleep in their bed (and, yes, those are easy to find). I think it would just be mean if you crated him at night.

I tend to prefer larger crates for slightly older dogs, they usually won't try to use a corner as a toilet and then sleep on the other side.

At his age, you might want to consider a water bottle for the crate, puppies can tip a water bowl over (depending on design) or just end up throwing blankets into the bowl, or splashing water everywhere which can be damaging to floors and messy, and can mean the dog being without for extended periods of time. It's also a useful skill for him to know in case you ever end up traveling with him.
I hadn't thought about a water bottle - that's a good idea. He definitely tends to throw blankets around when he's trying to get comfy!
I have 3 dogs and all are crated at night. The crates are in my bedroom, and I know if anything should ever happen (eg..fire) during the night, I know exactly where my dogs are and how to get them to safety. In addition, I know there will be no accidents waiting for me in the morning. The dogs go willing each night into their individual crates, and are always happy to find the little treats that I hide in there each night. I've been doing this since they were pups, and find it a good routine to get into.

During the day, they have free reign of my house. If you have a pup that is getting into trouble or having accidents, I would invest in an x-pen to keep the dog contained when you can't keep an eye on him/her. Letting the dog roam free will only result in more accidents. It sounds like their have been multiple accidents, and those accidents will continue unless you takes steps to prevent them. I would go back to square 1 with potty training. There are alot of great posts on this board as to how to do this. Find the one that works for you and stick with it. Patience and consistency will go a along way towards housebreaking a dog.

It took me almost one year to fully train Bosco, and I will readily admit that quite a few of his accidents were due to me not watching him diligently or giving him his freedom too soon.

You also need to fully clean the areas where the accidents have been occuring, otherwise the scent will linger and more accidents occur. There are some good cleaning products in your local pet store.

As far as crate size goes, the dog should be able to stand up and turn around in it easily.

Hope this helps a little. Potty training requires a lot of effort on your part, but spend the time now, so you and pup can have a happy relationship for years to come.

Thanks so much for all the advice. We got a medium sized crate over the weekend and have had it in the living room. Lucky likes hopping in and out of it and taking toys in there so he's got a positive association with it. :) I also got some good cleaning products and we shampooed the carpets to really get a fresh start on things. And a water bottle - love that idea!

While my daughter loves sleeping with him, I really like the idea of training him to sleep in it at night. It'll make things easier when we visit relatives who don't like dogs in the house and when we need a sitter. Any advice? I'm thinking that maybe it would be best to hold off on that until he is fully used to being crated in the afternoons. But maybe we should do it all at once?
Sounds like you are off to a great start in getting him used to being in the crate. What happens if you put him in there for the night? Does he cry? You might lose a few nights sleep (UGH!), but I'm sure he will get used to it.

My dogs have the whole bedtime routine down pat. I go upstairs around 10pm and throw some treats in their crates. Dogs follow me up and go right into crate, eat snacks, and then go to sleep. Works like a charm!

One of my dogs likes the crate so much that I leave a spare one downstairs with the door removed. She goes in and out during the day as she pleases. I find that sometimes she just needs some time out and she can be found sleeping in her crate.

When Bosco was a pup until about a year, I kept him in a x-pen. I threw in some toys, water, and wee-wee pad just in case. It gave him a little more room to move around and for whatever reason he never climbed out. Once I knew he was fully housebroken, I put the x pen away.
He has a good bedtime routine so the only change will be hoping in the crate instead of onto her bed. He liked burying himself under her blankets (probably making himself a den) and I worry about him suffocating so the crate will help with that, too. ;) We'll try crating him tonight and see how it goes. Today is his first day being crated when Hubby leaves for work and Hubby says he hopped right in and settled right down with his bully stick - no whining at all. That's already such a positive change from when we were shutting him in daughter's room! :) What a relief!!
I completely agree with crate training. I have one crate in the family room that I use when we are away from the house. They will also use this on their own just to relax or take a nap. I have 2 more crates in our bedroom where they sleep. At this point, they know our routine and just run into the crate when needed.

If you are going to use a crate in your daughter's room tonight, make sure she understands that if he whines, she cannot let him out of the crate. It may take a few days, but be will get it. I trained my 2 with small treats, one when they went into the crate and another when I closed the crate door. Now all I have to say is "go to bed" and they race to the bedroom!

It also sounds like you are giving him too much freedom if he is chewing carpets and cell phone wires! If you aren't able to keep an eye on him at 100% of the time, he needs to be in his crate or in an area, like an xpen, where he is safe and can't get into trouble. Slowly, as he gets older and more reliable, you can give him more and more freedom. Most dogs aren't fully reliable until at least a year old.
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I lectured her before bed and apparently he whined a little but she left him in there and didn't fish him out till early morning when she got cold and wanted him for snuggles. I'm really liking the crate and wishing we had done this sooner. He seems to really like it, too!

The freedom problem has been 1) daughter not keeping an eye on him & 2) Hubby not thinking and letting the dog run around the house while he's in the shower. On my watch, Lucky is hemmed into the living room. We have an xpen but he literally throws himself at it until he manages to scramble over the side. I'm afraid he's going to break a leg so I've quit using it. The carpet was because we were shutting him in a bedroom when he had to be alone (at first it was in an xpen in the bedroom but when he kept getting over it, we just cleaned the room really good and left him loose in there). Now that we've got the crate, the carpet situation should get much better.
It took me a year to get Bosco 100% trustworthy for the same reasons you mention -- failing (or family member failing!) to watch like a hawk when he is out of the crate/x-pen! You have to catch him right before he is set to go and rush him outside and praise, praise, praise. He will catch on as to what you want him to do and where.

Sounds like the crate is working out very well for you. Keep up the good work!
Glad the crate worked out OK. Bella and Milo really love theirs and I feel better knowing their safe when I'm out.
I am never really good on training my dogs so I always hire a professional trainer and it's better for me since I am a busy person.