So you approached crate training with patience and persistence and it is still not working for you and your dog. Crate training is not for everyone and is definitely not for every dog. This does not mean that you have a “bad dog” or that there is something wrong with your dog. Like humans, dogs have past experiences and traumas and alternative methods are required for these animals. There are three main alternatives used:
1. Exercise Pens
They are wire enclosures typically with no flooring or ceilings, but you can find some with ceilings. It is similar to the crate training idea except it offers a larger space for the dog to roam while you are gone.The lack of floors and ceilings decrease the feelings and anxiety associated with being enclosed in a small space. It allows the dog to feel that they are not caged but instead just restricted.
It does not seem like a big difference but it is. In a cage they are not allowed to move around at all, if they can turn around that is the most that they can do. This alone leads to panic in many dogs. In an exercise pen they will be able to get up and walk around. Downsides to these pens however, they can be tipped over and they have no floors so they do not aid in house training. You really have to know your dog well before you put your dog in an exercise pen. They can be used both inside and outside.
2. Dog Safe Part Of Your Home
Before you try this method, you need to make sure your dog is house trained. If they are not you will have a mess to clean up when you get home, and you need to expect this and not get mad at your puppy. If you are still house training, a smaller confined space helps speed up the process immensely. If your puppy is in a smaller space where they cannot leave once they go to the bathroom, they will hold it until you get home.
If they are in a larger area then they can do their business and then go to another area. In this situation they see nothing wrong with going to the bathroom. Other people find it effective to lock their dogs in the bathroom while they were out. In this situation you need to be aware of what chemicals are stored in your bathroom. It is a good idea to latch all cabinets and pull up all rugs in case of an accident.
3. Dog Safe Area Outside
Obviously a fenced in yard would be best, but there are other ways if you do not have one. If you do have a fenced in yard make sure there is no way for your dog to dig or climb his or her way out while you are gone. It is a good idea to check for rocks on the bottom of the fence or loose dirt.
Anything that can be moved, needs to be fixed. If you do not have a fenced in yard, you can always get a kennel or another wire enclosed space outside. You need to make sure that it has some shade and always has water. You must remember the dog will be outside in any type of weather. There needs to be a spot for them to go if it rains, if it is to sunny, and if it is cold.
You need to be cautious with this method, it is not always safe to leave you dog outside, depending on neighbors, weather, and what type of area you live in. Make sure that your dogs barking will not disturb or affect neighbors, you do not want them to call and complain about the noise. Be aware if you live in an area with a lot of children, make sure they understand that they cannot come up to the fence.
This could be hazardous for both them and your dog. And lastly make sure you live in a neighborhood where it is safe to leave your beloved pet outside. It is a sad fact but more and more pets are getting stolen out of their backyards every year and hit by cars from escaping and running into the road.
One of these three methods should prove effective for you, your family, and your dog.