how to crate train our 8 week old rat terrier/jack russell/toy poodle puppy?

Question- My family and I are currently having a mild conflict over how to crate train our 8-week old rat terrier/Jack Russell/toy poodle puppy, Bernie.

 We've had him for two days and my family has been intent on following the crate training schedule put forth by the Monks of New Skete in The Art of Raising a Puppy. I personally believe it is way too restrictive (ten hours of crate time during the day!) But the monks are so highly regarded in the dog raising community and seem so adept at all other aspects of raising dogs that 

I can't think of a reason they would give poor advice. I believe they wrote the book with more urban, single-person households in mind where the new owner couldn't devote as much time to the puppy as our family can. Are the monks and my family right and I'm being irrational or am I right and this is an unnecessary amount of time spent confined to a crate?

Answer- A crate can help with house-training, in so much as a dog will prefer not to toilet where he sleeps and eats, but it isn't a solution in and of itself. If your puppy has to toilet, he has to toilet - puppies are like babies, they simply don't have the sphincter control to hold for several weeks, so if they need to toilet they have to do it where they are, crate or not. In fact, you could argue that it is unkind to confine him because he will have no choice but to lie in his mess.

Toilet training happens when two things come together - the ABILITY to hold the toilet, along with the DESIRE to hold it in order to earn the reward for doing so.

Ideally you want him to not be in a position where he needs to toilet before you have him outdoors, so that every toilet is outside - as far as possible, there will be accidents! So set him up to succeed by taking him out even more than he needs; for example every 45 minutes to an hour and always after sleeping, eating, playing. The time between a puppy realising they need to toilet, and being unable to hold that toilet, is zero. So your aim is to have him outside before he can't help himself. When he toilets outdoors make a huge fuss (never mind the neighbours, act like outdoor toileting is the best thing you have ever seen) and reward him with a high value treat. Do that immediately, don't make him come to you for the treat so he is clear that it's for toileting and not for coming to you. The idea is that he eventually wants to earn the treat enough to hold the toilet until he is outside - once he is physically able to control his toileting obviously. As he is actually performing the toilet you can introduce words he can associate with it (like 'do weewee' and 'busy busy') that later when he is reliably trained you can use these to tell him when you want him to the toilet.

If you take him out and he doesn't toilet after five minutes, bring him in but don't take your eyes off him. Any hint of a toilet inside, scoop him up and get him out fast. If he doesn't try to toilet indoors (great!) take him out a second time and repeat until you do get outside toilets. You need the outside toilet to happen SO that you can reward SO that he learns.

If he has an accident inside don't react at all. If you get annoyed he may learn to fear your reaction and avoid you if he needs to toilet (by going off and toileting out of sight) - the opposite of what you want. 
Dogs cant make the distinction between you being annoyed at him TOILETING, as opposed to toileting INDOORS. Take a rolled-up newspaper and hit yourself over the head for not having taken him outside in time. Not when he is there though in case you scare him. Then clean the area with an enzymatic cleaner to remove any trace of smell that might attract him back to the spot.

Indoors if you see him circling or scratching the floor, that can sometimes precede toileting so get him out fast.

Overnight he is unlikely to be able to control his toilet as his little bladder and bowel are underdeveloped and not strong enough to hold all night so set your alarm to take him out at least once if not twice during the night.


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