One of the best things you can do for a new puppy is provide him with as many social opportunities as possible. Even if you have a very quiet lifestyle the act of showing your dog the world in a positive way will help to prevent any fear behaviors developing if his life changes later on.
A puppy will be learning about the world constantly within the first few months of his life. This learning will shape him into the dog that he is going to become so by making his experiences varied and fun you will be doing him a huge favor.
Any dog that isn’t well socialized can develop fear issues towards other dogs, people, children and even cars. These issues take a lot of working through and can even stay with the dog forever. So as a good and responsible puppy owner it’s your job to get socializing.
A dog is generally a social creature with other canines. They gravitate towards each other and a puppy learns much of his canine manners, play and interaction lessons from other older dogs. Therefore it is extremely unfair to keep a puppy away from other dogs and can result in substantial behavior problems including aggression.
Puppy classes are a great idea and many veterinary surgeries run these and puppy playgroups in order to get young dogs social time and play with others of their species. It’s also great for you as an owner to share your worries with others new puppy parents. Otherwise get down to your local dog park and meet as many friendly dogs as possible, as often as you can.
Other experiences that your young dog will benefit from are car travel, meeting people of all ages, time spent with animals other than dogs and, in fact, everything you can think of which will introduce puppy to something new in a positive manner.
Reward based and motivational dog training is one of the biggest breakthroughs of modern times. For too long dog owners and trainers have underestimated the power of reward in the learning process. Now though, with the success of clicker training and positive reinforcement based activities, we are gradually learning the importance of motivation.
It is unsurprising that dogs need motivation isn’t it? After all we would be far less likely work hard on anything if it contained little incentive therefore why would our dogs?
To get the very best from your dog during training sessions you will benefit from learning what motivates him the most. You might actually be surprised by what you discover. Dogs will learn and work better when they can see a worthwhile reward at the end, for this reward will sharpen their concentration and enthusiasm. Your job as dog trainer is to work out which reward, or combination of rewards, will work best for your own dog. This is pretty easy to find out by testing a variety of rewards and observing your dog’s reaction towards them.
If you are using treats in order to motivate your dog then you will benefit from beginning with the least tasty variety and only increasing the temptation to give your dog a motivation boost. Use the smallest amount of food as possible for each reward, so that your dog just gets a taste, to spur him on in order to earn more of the same. By using the blandest reward possible you have plenty of room to move through the scale of taste towards further motivation.
Interestingly although food rewards work well for many dogs not all are motivated by treats. Some dogs prefer a ball or squeaky toy and others will happily perform for a hug and a rub behind the ears. Some canines in training like noisy toys such as a squeaky ball or even a quacking duck or honking pig.
When your dog likes toys you don’t have to spend a fortune to keep them motivated. Charity and thrift shops often have a wonderful array of soft and plush toys for sale. Many are baby orientated with rattles and all sorts of sounds in them at far less expense than pet store supplies. It’s important to watch out for chewing.
When you have sorted out the best way to motivate your pet, and are employing the techniques effectively, you will almost instantly see an improvement in his performance.
Do you ever wonder why your dog continues to carry out the most annoying of actions even when you are trying to teach him something far more useful? Well I am going to let you into a little secret, something that all positive and professional dog trainers already know, your dog is repeating the action because he is somehow being rewarded for it.
When I say that your dog is being rewarded I don’t necessarily mean by the type of reward which you would expect. A canine friend can find an incentive in many actions and does not even need a treat or cuddle to see an action as something worth repeating.
An example of this is the canine that jumps up on greeting. This is quite a common act which many dog owners can struggle with. No matter how many times they push the enthusiastic dog off with their hands, and scold vocally, he still jumps up. The owner cannot understand why the dog is being disobedient and the dog, very simply, adores the attention. In this instance the attention is the reward and therefore reinforcing the dog’s unhelpful behavior.
Dogs, as a general rule, love attention and it does not matter whether the focus on him is positive, such as praise and cuddle, or negative for example pushing him off and telling him how naughty he is. To most dogs all attention is rewarding because they love to interact with their owners. The only exception to this is a dog that has fear issues and cannot cope with direct interaction as it may seem like confrontation to him.
When you look at the interaction between your dog and you as his owner, as he is doing something unhelpful, you can actually see whether you are keeping the bad habit alive by reinforcing it with attention. If you find that this is the case then changing your response will most certainly change the behavior of your dog. For instance if he is jumping up and you completely ignore him you are taking away the reward. Then if you offer positive attention whilst all four of his paws are on the ground he will soon learn that this position is far more worthwhile to him.
The idea of reinforcement can be difficult to grasp initially but with some effort and understanding it will most certainly improve your relationship with, and understanding of, your dog.
Sometimes during training your pet can become confused and worried because he does not realize what you are asking of him. This can be a problem particularly if you have a new dog and you are still learning about each other. We do after all speak a completely different language to our canine friends despite being able to communicate perfectly in so many ways.
So, I am going to give you an idea of behaviors to look out for and what they mean in your dog’s language. If your pet is displaying any of these behaviors during training then it is time to go back to something he can manage easily for a while before building up to the command you are currently teaching him.
A dog will yawn when he is becoming stressed. It is easy to interpret this yawn as tiredness but it is actually a calming signal for your dog. When interacting with each other dogs will yawn to show that they would prefer to keep clear of any direct confrontation. The yawn displayed during training is similar; it means that your pet is feeling insecure, confused or starting to get stressed.
If your dog is learning something new yet suddenly stops what he is doing and takes a long scratch at himself then he could be confused. If this behavior is displayed then examine whether you have moved onto something more difficult which he could be having trouble learning. Scratching in this way is a delaying tactic because he doesn’t know what to do next. If scratching behavior is excessive, however, it may be worth seeing your veterinarian because it could be caused by a medical problem.
Another delay tactic, the dog that sniffs the ground to excess during a training session may be showing signs of confusion. He does not know what to do next so chooses another tactic altogether. This is called displacement behavior and if displayed then your dog needs a confidence boost to be able to continue learning.
If the three signs above are not recognized the next stage for your dog is more obvious stress based behavior. He may begin to pant, refuse treats which he would normally enjoy or even attempt to remove himself from the situation altogether. When this stage has been reached a dog is unable to learn very much at all. So during training keep the mood light vary the difficulty levels and, most important of all, observe your dog at all times to get the best results.
A new puppy is a lovely experience but on which we can easily get wrong in many ways. If you have or are thinking of having a puppy then it is vital to remember that everything he learns, from this point on, will shape him into the adult dog that he is going to become.
It is always easy to tell an adult dog that wasn’t taught to be relaxed during handling as a puppy. The poor dog becomes stressed and his muscles become tense. Panting and yawning will follow and the dog may even growl or threaten a bite. All of this behavior is a fear reaction to something that the dog is not used to happening to him. Luckily it can be easily avoided if the dog learns not to be afraid of your touch right from puppyhood.
Handling is something that seems easy and obvious with a puppy. Everyone wants to pick the bundle of fluff up and pass him around. Puppy cuddles are always in demand. It is easy to incorporate necessary handling into this routine and then later on when your puppy has grown he will be relaxed when he needs veterinary treatment, his nails clipped or even ear drops.
So every day, in fact as often as possible, from day one try to make a habit of touching each of his paws in turn, feel between his pads and even tap on his nails with something to imitate nail clipping time. You can do this both whilst he is in your arms and whilst he is standing on the ground or a surface.
Check in his mouth regularly, right up to his back teeth and always reward relaxed behavior. Look in his eyes on a daily basis and also check his ears. Another good thing to make a habit of is looking at his anus area because at some point he might need his anal glands emptying and it is best to be prepared.
Groom him every day, even if he doesn’t need it you can rub a soft brush over him, this will both enhance your relationship and teach him to be relaxed in your care.
Your puppy will benefit greatly when you take just a few minutes a day doing this routine. Veterinary treatment will prove less stressful for him, the vet and you as his owner because such type of handling will be normal.
If you have an older dog and are under the illusion that teaching him new tricks is impossible then think again. In many ways it is more important to keep an older dog’s mind active because it can help to prevent canine dementia and even depression in his later years.
Stiffening joints and other health conditions can prevent the possibility of strenuous physical exercise in an elderly pet. Our long distance walk becomes more of an amble with an old friend and ball chasing a thing of the past.
In many ways, because of the loss of physical stimulation, mental exercise becomes more important than ever. There are things you can do to use your dog’s mind without having to put pressure on him physically.
Clicker training is fabulous to teach anything at all. When your dog is tuned into the clicker you can teach all sorts of clever acts. Teaching your dog to look left, right, up and down is a great filler of training time and he doesn’t even need to stand up. You can even teach your dog to yawn and sneeze on command with a clicker.
A filled Kong or similar toy will encourage your older do to think about how he can get the treats from within. Something tasty in an old sock or piece of knotted material will keep a food loving pet busy for a while as he tries to release the treat.
Hiding items around the house and garden then encouraging your pet to find them can also fill many happy minutes. Older dogs love to sniff every blade of grass and leaf available and if you show them that there are also goodies to find this will certainly put a spring in their step. If he has never searched with his nose before then it may be easier to begin in the house as there is less distraction. Why not hide your pets treat filled Kong, then he can find it before starting the second round of emptying it.
Keep in mind that, although they benefit greatly from learning, elderly dogs can tire easily and may need shorter training sessions than their younger canine friends. If your dog can’t manage too much learning then regular grooming will also enhance your relationship with him and let him know that he is cherished.
Clicker training has been around for a while now and is utilized in many circumstances. Pet dog training classes, professional assistance dog trainers and even some search dog trainers use the clicker to get the best results from their training sessions.
There really is only one purpose to using a clicker during dog training but this purpose is certainly not to be underestimated and is split into three equally useful benefits. The objective of clicker training is to mark, with a sharp sound, the exact behavior which you would like your dog to repeat.
This works by, first of all, teaching the dog to expect a small food reward every time he hears a click. This is called “tuning in” and when he expects the treat a dog will automatically associate the sound with a reward. This is called positive reinforcement. When he has learned that the click is always followed by a reward any dog will quickly begin to realize that it was his own behavior which triggered the sound. He will then repeat the behavior in order to trigger the sound again. Therefore the clicker is a reinforcement tool.
It is actually possible to use anything as a reinforcement tool. Some trainers prefer to use their voice by saying “good dog” or something similar. The beauty of the clicker though is that the sound is very precise and when timed well it can pinpoint a behavior to the fraction of a second. Such timing can take some learning and practice by the trainer to perfect.
So, to go back to the original question the purpose of training a dog by using a clicker is split into three benefits. The first is that it will be a positive experience because the canine is working towards a reward. Secondly the dog will learn quicker because he needs to be thinking thoroughly whilst trying to trigger a click. The third benefit of clicker training is that the trainer can time their reaction, reward and therefore reinforcement to within a fraction of a second by clicking at the right time and therefore make a great job of every dog training session.
I often think that a dog should be taught this before any other command. For the dog that will focus on his owner and trainer is far less likely to become distracted when being asked to do something else.
For example how often do you see an unfortunate owner demanding that a dog sit to be met with the back of an excited canine head, the head of a dog that is looking completely the other way? By teaching the dog to focus on you first many other things will fall into place.
The command, “watch me” is a perfect lesson to teach whilst using treats and the clicker. So here is how to do it;
Have a good stash of tiny treats and your clicker to hand. If you don’t use a clicker to train then that is fine as long as you time your reward word perfectly to match the focus which you are trying to teach. Ensure initially that you are in an area with as few distractions as possible. You can build distraction as your dog learns to focus on you but at the beginning it is fairer to make it easy for him, and you.
Show your dog a treat, put it right on the end of his nose if you need to, and then bring the treat towards you until your dog looks right in your face. The moment he focuses on your face is the time to either use your clicker or reinforce in another way and reward him.
Practice this a few times and soon your dog will be looking directly into your face to try and get the reinforcing click or word and reward. Now simply introduce the command of “watch me”. Bring your command forwards until your dog looks directly at you when asked to.
If you have difficulty getting your dog to look directly into your face you can bring the treat, as he is watching it, up above you and then down behind the back of your head. Your dog’s eyes will automatically follow so that you can quickly reinforce the look.
The other thing an enthusiastic dog may do is jump up for the treat. If this happens you can simply move the reward high over your head and only bring it down again when he settles back down. This way he is learning that if he tries to take the treat without permission he just sends it further away.
When your dog can focus on you as you ask you will find the act useful in so many ways. This includes training sessions, when meeting people and other dogs and even to combat problem behaviors such as car and wildlife chasing.
Do you have a dog that you would like to do more with? Maybe your dog is perfectly trained and has no behavior problems at all but you think he may be bored and you would like to help him to occupy his mind?
The happiest dogs are ones that, alongside physical exercise, also have the opportunity to use their mental potential. A bored dog will feel less satisfied and fulfilled just as an unoccupied human can.This need for mental stimulation is even more important with breeds that were originally working dogs. This need includes Border collies, terriers, spaniels and so many other types of dog.
So here are some ideas to stimulate your canine friend which will build the rapport between you and simultaneously use up any excess mental energy that he may have lurking around waiting to get him into trouble.
Clicker training is a wonderful activity and is literally perfect for dogs of all ages and physical ability. Dogs that are physically injured or in rehabilitation can be entertained with a clicker and associated game, it’s simply a case of teaching something that doesn’t require too much physical movement. There is a lot of information on Clicker training from any positive dog training source including this website.
Agility is a great hobby for an active dog and owner. Most areas have an agility club and trainer which offer classes for learning the skills or personal one to one training. The main requirement for agility training is that your dog has healthy joints and can concentrate around other dogs. This activity is a fantastic canine confidence builder.
Flyball is another highly energetic activity. It is also nicely addictive for both you and your dog and opens up a whole new social scene. The training and competing is based around a fast paced relay race between two teams of keen dogs cheered on by their excited owners.
Finally for the owner and canine with rhythm there is heelwork to music which has become increasingly popular over the last few years. You learn to teach your dog twists and turns, to weave through your legs and many other impressive acts in order to put together a routine where you actively dance with your dog. This is great fun and a lovely party trick.
These are just a handful of options but will give you some ideas. All of them are great for both you and your pet mentally, physically and socially. So why not find a class and get out there to have some fun?
Guest Author Sally Gutteridge is back. Sally is a professional dog trainer with much experience and extensive knowledge in our canine friends. She has valuable experience in positive dog training techniques and had trained dogs for many years, including disabled assistance dogs, military working dogs, veterinary nursing and countless rescue dog rehabilitation.
By using positive reinforcement and clear communication you can easily show your dog some great tricks which will also come in handy around your home.
You can easily teach your dog to pick something up and bring it to you by rewarding and channeling his interest in it. Then you can progress to rewarding his attempts to pick the object up and finally by withholding the reward in order to get him to bring the object to you then swapping the object for his reward. Here are the stages, we will teach your dog to pick up your TV remote control;
Stage one; Put the remote control on the ground and draw your dog’s attention to it. When he looks at it simply reinforce the look by saying good dog and giving him a tiny treat. Repeat this a few times until your dog knows that by looking at the remote control he prompts you to give him a small treat.
Stage two; now withhold the treat which will convince your dog to try harder to get the reward and he will soon begin to nudge the remote control to provoke your good boy response and his treat. Now each time he touches the remote control offer the word “remote” then always use it when training your dog to fetch the item. He will soon learn what the word means
If he does not nudge the remote and looks confused or at all worried then you have moved on too quickly so simply go back to rewarding his action of looking at the item until his confidence is restored and he knows what you want from him.
Signs of worry are sniffing the ground, yawning or excessive scratching.
Stage three; withhold the reward further, and gradually, until your dog is picking up the item then encourage him to hold the item and allow you to take it from his mouth by swapping for his treat.
When the third stage is established you can strengthen the response to the word remote by steadily increasing the distance that he brings it to you and teaching him to bring the item from many different surfaces.
This method can be used to teach your dog to fetch any suitable household object and even to find lost keys. The important thing to remember is keep things fun, keep your dog’s confidence high and set him up to succeed every time you are teaching him something new.
The dog park can be a wonderful place for you and your dog to have fun, socialize, and release pent up energy. However, there this is a public space so you must know the proper etiquette so that you show your respect to the fellow dog owners. Off leash dog parks allow your dog to run and play and, very importantly, socialize with other dogs. This can help improve your dogs behavior and demeanor when encountering new people and dogs. However, you do not want to show poor dog park etiquette and make enemies of the other pet owners, or even worse, get yourself banned from the dog park.
In order to make sure everyone has a safe and happy time at the dog park, there are a few simple guidelines that you can keep in mind:
- Always make sure your dog is completely healthy and vaccinated before taking him or her to the dog park. Your dog should have regular check ups with a veterinarian anyway, but you should certainly get the all clear from the vet before introducing the dog to other dogs. Dogs can spread viruses to one another very easily and quickly; just as you do not want other dogs causing your pup to be ill, other pet owners wish the same. This is also why many dog parks will not permit puppies under the age of 4 months, as this is the period in the pup’s life when they are still getting vaccinations.
- You should also avoid bringing a dog that has not been spayed or neutered. If you do bring one, you should be certain that the dog is not in heat at the time. This is an extremely bad idea and you will most likely have a very big problem on your hands if you take a female in heat to a dog park where there could be many unneutered male dogs.
- It might sound fun to bring the whole family to the dog park, but it is not wise to bring a bunch of young children. There are some dogs that can be much too aggressive with a young child and could mean well, but still cause an injury. Many young children also do not understand how to appropriately approach a strange dog safely. Keep the children at the parks designed for them, and the dogs at the dog parks.
- Keep a pooper-scooper handy. The easiest way to make an enemy at a dog park is by not picking up after your dog. It is incredibly rude to not clean up after your dog, and you can even be fined and/or asked to not return to the park.
The most important thing to remember at the dog park is that you are responsible for your dog’s actions. This means that you should be watching your dog at all times and not talking on your phone or reading a magazine. If your dog is behaving badly, you should be ready to solve the problem immediately. Do not make other dog owners babysit your dog. You are there to have fun and bond with your dog, so you should be out there prepared to devote your time and a
Whether you are bringing a new dog home to meet the rest of your family, or if you are taking your dog out for a walk, you need to know how to safely introduce anyone to your dog. When you are out in a public place with your dog, it is only natural that children or any other passerby might want to stop and say hi to your pup because he or she is so cute. In the end, you are responsible for your dog’s actions, so you must be ready to instruct the newcomer how to meet the dog in a safe way.
No matter how friendly your dog seems, he or she can feel threatened if approached by a stranger in the wrong way. You must take into consideration the dog’s perspective during a meeting with a stranger or child. The dog may not understand that this person has friendly intent. When a child is extremely excited about touching the dog, what is actually eagerness may be interpreted as aggression from your dog.
When your dog is meeting a child, or any other person, for the first time, instruct that person not to approach the dog. Instead, have the person stand where they are and allow the dog to approach them. Of course, only allow this to happen if the dog does not seem startled or anxious in anyway. By allowing the dog to approach the new person, the dog can feel in control and first sniff and investigate this new friend and become acquainted. Once the dog has shown that he or she is comfortable with the person, it is now safe to pet and interact gently with the dog.
What you must realize is that young children may not ask for your permission before approaching your dog. They may be too excited and run right for the dog, and if your dog is sensitive to new people, this can be a very stressful experience. This is why it is your responsibility as the pet owner to be aware of any children around your dog when you have the dog out in a public space. Until you know how your dog is going to react to new people, any meetings should be kept under control with the help of a leash. Do not let anyone get too close to the dog until you have a good idea of how the dog will react.
If you want to be able to safely take your dog into public without worrying about how they will react to strangers, you can have friends and family members help you with the training process. Ask your friends if they would be willing to help you socialize your dog. If they are happy to help, have them offer your dog a treat from their open hand. On your cue, instruct the dog to approach them and take the treat. Continue this activity with new people until your dog begins to associate meeting strangers with positive rewards. This will help make the experience of meeting strangers less stressful and frightening for your dog in the future.
Adopting a second or third dog can be a great idea. Dogs need a lot of stimulation and companionship, and having another dog around can be a great outlet for their excess energy and provide some much needed companionship. However, the initial meeting between the two dogs is extremely important. You want a great relationship to blossom between the two, but if they are not introduced correctly what you could end up with is a territorial rivalry. There are a few ways that you can make the initial meeting between your two pups go as smoothly as possible so that the two can become fast friends.
You need to see the situation from your current dog’s perspective. He or she might be worried that this new dog is going to be taking over the house, taking all of the food, dog toys and attention, much like a young child might feel towards a sibling. Dogs can be very territorial creatures. This is why it is best to introduce the two dogs on neutral ground. Have a friend help you take the two dogs on a walk around the neighborhood or a nearby park.
Do not force the dogs to interact with each other right away. Simply give them the opportunity to greet each other when they are ready. The dogs will eventually sniff each other over in the form of a greeting. Watch the dog’s body language and keep an eye out for any signs of anxiety or aggression. Try to notice if either dog seems tense, is growling, or baring teeth. Once the dogs have greeted each other, separate them and give them each a treat. Walk them separately for a bit, and then return to let them interact again, each time giving them a treat. Once the dogs seem to be comfortable with one another, you can take them to your home.
When the two dogs are home together, for the first few weeks try to eliminate any opportunities for rivalries. Feed the dogs in completely separate areas, and have separate toys, beds, and chews for each dog. Make sure that your new dog does not have access to the current dog’s favorite toys. If you do give either dog a treat or a toy, only do so when the dogs are separate. If the dogs do show any signs of growling or fighting, separate them assertively until they are calm and then reintroduce them to one another.
The key is to make the introductory phase as stress and tension free as possible so that the dogs will quickly learn to tolerate one another. Hopefully, they will soon learn to enjoy one another’s company and time with you. When you do see positive interactions between the dogs, reward both of them with treats and encouraging words and affection. The dogs will then think of each other in a positive way. If after the first couple of weeks, the two dogs do not seem to be tolerating each other, you should not hesitate to seek the help of an animal behaviorist. These problems are more easily addressed sooner than later.
Have you ever met a dog that is just incredibly well behaved no matter what is going on around him or her? You start to think that the owners must be incredible at dog training, or that the dog is a genius. You wish that your own dog would act so calmly and politely when in public. Well, you can help your dog learn good basic manners that will make them polite in public and obedient while at home if you enroll the pup in American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen Program.
This program aims to help strengthen the bond between dog guardian and dog through training exercises that will improve the dog’s behaviors both at home and in public. Is your dog the type to get overly excited and jump all over any new person that they come in contact with? Well, this behavior probably embarrasses you, and it can also frighten or annoy the people in your community. The Canine Good Citizen Program will teach your dog how to approach strangers calmly and politely.
The program focuses on the following behavioral areas:
- Approaching strangers or other dogs calmly and politely. As mentioned before, the dog will learn to interact in social situations without jumping on people or their dogs.
- Walking through crowded areas. The dog will learn to walk with the owner even in the presence of several or more people without becoming frightened or over-excited. There are probably many public parks or events that are dog friendly that you do not currently attend because you think your dog couldn’t “handle” it. The training course would help teach your dog how to enjoy these outings while showing good behaviors.
- Walking on a lead. You should be able to walk your dog and have complete control over the experience. The dog should not be leading you. The course helps you teach your dog to walk with you without running, lunging, or fighting the lead.
- Behaving well during grooming or veterinarian trips. The dog will learn to sit calmly as someone other than the dog owner grooms it. The dog will learn to feel comfortable being handled and examined by others.
- Dealing with separation anxiety. It can be very bad for your neighbors, or even your furniture if your dog cannot be left alone without whining, barking, or becoming destructive. The dog will be able to be left alone, or with a supervisor, without showing any bad behaviors.
These are just a few examples of how the Good Citizen Program teaches your dog good basic manners. This training program is an excellent way for you to take your dog into public confidently, but it will also improve your relationship with your dog at home. The training works by having the owners continually giving the dog encouragement. This experience can really help form a trusting bond between dog owner and dog. The Good Citizen Program provides the training foundation to give you the well-behaved dog that you have always wanted.
In many families, both adults work which often means their dog is left alone for some time. This is a recipe for disaster as their pet is bored, lonely and look for their own entertainment. This entertainment can include digging, barking and escaping.
There are a few options if you find yourself in this situation.
Some people add a second dog to their family to give their dog some companionship. If you decide to try this, make sure you can afford the expense of a second dog. Also, have a backup plan in place should the two dogs not get along. It’s also possible that the second dog doesn’t solve your problem, and you end up with double trouble.
If your family budget allows it, you could book your dog into a doggie day care facility, where he’ll have attention and company while you’re out. Alternatively, hire a dog walker, or arrange to trade dog-minding services with a friend who also works.
If none of these options will work for you, look into purchasing some interactive dog toys or puzzles. These toys encourage your dog to push buttons or slide levers to get a treat, and will keep them occupied for quite some time.
Part of caring for your dog is looking after his mental health. It does take time and effort and often a few dollars, but the payoff is a happier dog and fewer behavioral problems.
If you are like me, you enjoy training your dogs. Training with your pup will strengthen the bond that forms between you. Whether you are training a new puppy or an old family friend, treats are often used for motivation. This is especially true if you elect to do clicker training or any type of positive reinforcement training. But when you look at the training treats available in stores, they are expensive, often unhealthy and in some cases, too big for training purposes. Well there is good news. You can easily make your own healthy training treats where you control the ingredients and the size of the treat.
For puppies and dogs that like fruits and vegetables, you can cut up apples, carrots, strawberries and other types of berries. My dogs even like frozen string beans. Don’t overdo it though. Too many fruits and veggies can act as a laxative. So do not feed more than a half-cup to one-cup per day.
You can also use tiny pieces of fresh cheese or fresh meats (not processed deli cheeses or meats). Meats and cheese are a high source of protein but can also be a high source of fat so measure out a portion that is appropriate to your dog’s size and calorie requirements and make sure you do not feed more than what you portioned.
But I like to bake. It is inexpensive and I generally have all the ingredients on hand without having to go to the store. Click herefor one of my favorite recipes. My pups will do just about anything for them. Give it a try. I am sure you dogs will too.
If you own a terrier breed dog, then consider Earth Dog training and trials as a form of both exercise and entertainment for you and your dog. Earth dog trials are open to various breeds of terriers, as well as Dachshunds, and Miniature Schnauzers.
These Earth dog tests help to access the natural hunting abilities of these dogs. Basically, Earth Dog trials consist of burying and scenting tunnels that are specifically built for this purpose and at the end of the tunnel a caged and protected live animal is there to attract the dog to the quarry. The test is to see if the dog is willing to go into the tunnel, find the bait and then sound off to say where it is at. If a dog successfully completes a certain number of steps that show the extent of his training and abilities, then the dog can win a title.
Participating dogs must be at least six months old and registered with the AKC; however, spayed and neutered dogs are allowed to compete.
The Earth Dog trials consist of Junior Earth Dog, which is the first level of competition and the title a dog can get if he is able to complete the test twice with different judges. In this level the dog has to run through a 30 foot long tunnel that has right angles (three or more) and then he must find the rat at the end and work it for a full minute until removed by the handler.
After Junior Earth Dog, the dog can go on to earn a Senior Earth Dog and a Master Earth Dog title. There is also a special hunting certificate given by the American Working Terrier Association. In this event the dogs do above ground style hunting and must draw the quarry from the ground. These dogs must also be regular hunters for at least one year. In order to prove the latter, there must be a report signed by at least one witness that was with the dog and owner during his hunts.
These breeds of dogs were originally bred to hunt vermin and were used to specifically hunt animals such as badgers, fox, otters, and weasels and get them out of an underground den.
Most dogs that join this sport are trained from puppyhood, but a dog doesn’t have to start that young. Since hunting is inbred into these breeds, even an older dog can start this sort of activity and become an expert in a short period of time. It all depends on the dog’s instincts and the trainer.
However, if you successfully train your dog, then you are in for hours of fun, exercise and entertainment for you and your pet, so consider Earth Dog training for your terrier dog.
Sometimes dogs will try to eat something they shouldn’t, or they try to pick up something they shouldn’t, or otherwise bother something they shouldn’t be bothering. The “leave it” command can get your dog to refrain from doing these things, and in some circumstances, it could even mean his life.
Consider the following scenario. You are walking through some area and someone you don’t know throws your dog a piece of food. You really don’t want him to eat just any food because for all you know, the food could be poisoned. You think not? I knew a dog that liked to chase cars. One day someone threw the dog some food out of a moving car. He ate it, and later died because it was poison. Sadly, no one had ever taught the dog the leave it command, or maybe he would still be alive today.
One way to teach this is in a controlled environment where you on purpose have a tasty morsel of some sort of human food lying on the floor. When you dog tries to eat it, shout, “leave it” and instead of letting him eat the food, give him a dog treat instead. Be sure to shout “leave it” before he actually manages to eat it.
Another way to teach it is to actually put a dog treat on the floor while you dog is watching, and then say “leave it” and don’t let him have it. He may whine or bark or even try to get it anyway. If your dog knows the sit command, you can make him sit for a few moments. Then, when he calms down, you can say, “ok” and let him have the treat.
Practice Makes Perfect
You need to practice this a few times a day for several days until it appears your dog understands. The real test will be if you are out in public and he sees something he wants, either food, maybe a cat, etc, and you are able to use the leave it command and he will not try to go after whatever it is.
You can train for this in a controlled way by having someone else leave a few dog treats in a specified trail so you know it’s food that he left and not some stray piece of food.
You want your dog to look at your when you say, “leave it.” This way he knows exactly when you will tell him it is ok to either get the item or then give him the praise or treat for obeying the command.
Other Than Food
The “leave it” command can be used for situations other than not wanting your dog to eat something questionable. You can also use it to get your dog to give up or drop something you don’t want him to have. For instance, if he picks up one of your socks or some other item, then you can say, “leave it” and he will.
Better than the word “no”
Teaching your dog the “leave it” command is much better than just yelling “no” for everything you don’t want your dog to do. If he hears the word” no” too many times, then all that will happen is that he will tune you out when he hears it, and that could be a bad thing in a life or death situation like the one I described earlier.
The “leave it” command is much more specific and your dog will understand exactly what you want instead of just knowing that you are yelling at him again, and then he may ignore you.
All in all, the “leave it” command is a very valuable tool for getting your dog to give up something that he shouldn’t have or to keep him from getting sick or worse by eating strange things off the street.
Dogs like to have a place to call their own to go to when they want some peace or to rest, etc. This is possibly their bed, or a rug on the floor, or even their crate. Teaching a dog to “go to your place” can work to help you get your pet to go there when you need him to be out from underfoot for some reason or another.
For instance, I had a Springer Spaniel named Sadie whose place was her crate. She was trained to go there when we went somewhere. All I had to say was, “Sadie, go to your room,” and she would run to the crate, go in and expect a dog biscuit. Yes, I used a different phrase than, “go to your place,” but it is still the same idea.
Beginning Training Steps
First, decide what is going to be your dog’s place. As stated above, it can be his bed, crate or some specific spot in the room. As long as you use the same thing consistently, that is all that matters. Now, all you need is some treats and your pet to get started.
Decide on a phrase you want to use. Like I said previously, I used “go to your room” but you can use “go to your place,” “place,” or whatever is appropriate depending on where it is you want him to go. Whatever your dog associates it with is the best words for you to train with.
Next, get your dog to go to where you want to be his place and give the command, “go to your place” or whatever you are using, and when he goes there, say “good boy!” and give him a treat. Make sure he doesn’t get the treat until he is lying on the bed, or has gone inside the crate, or whatever it is. You don’t want to confuse him.
Practice this several times for a few minutes each day until all you have to do is say the phrase and he goes to his place automatically. The next step is to lengthen the time he will stay put in his place.
Lengthen the Time He Stays
Once your dog has learned to go to his place, then it’s time to get him to learn to stay there for longer lengths of time. First, get him to go to his place, then start adding more and more time to how long you wait until you give him the treat. Eventually you should be able to get him to stay for a few minutes, even without a treat. But always give at least verbal praise.
Once your dog understands the “go to your place” command and consistently does it correctly, you can get him to do it no matter what room you are in when you issue the command. For instance, back to my dog Sadie, it didn’t matter where in the house that I was, if I told her, “go to your room” then she went to her crate. She knew exactly what I meant.
It really isn’t that hard to teach a dog to do this. As long as he understands that the bed, rug or whatever, is his place, then he can be taught to go there even if you are somewhere else. Most dogs will pick this command up in just a few days and then you will have a dog that will impress your friends because he will be able to get out of the way when you need to do something else like put things away, cook dinner, etc.
The bottom line is that the “go to your place” command is a great tool for getting your dog out from underfoot when necessary. It helps to make him a good family member and he could even grow to like his “place” because he knows it is his and his alone. One thing to note is when the dog is in his place, then no one should go bother him, because this is supposed to be his place to go and no one else’s.
I know this to be true because my dog, Sadie, loved her “room” and would go there completely on her own to sleep or just when she wanted to be left alone to relax. Dogs love dens, and this is how she saw her crate.
Dog guardians often discover that teaching their dogs to shake hands is simple and fun. The dogs easily learn the trick and love the additional attention that they get from training sessions. A dog with average intelligence should be able to learn how to shake hands in only a couple of short classes.
A dog who has been properly socialized as a puppy will look to his guardian as his leader. He will instinctively watch this person for approval and change his behavior accordingly. When teaching your dog to shake hands, the first step is to make sure that he is paying close attention to you. One way to help him focus is to run through any obedience work that he has already learned. After he warms up and is focused on the trainer, it is time to begin.
In order to shake, the dog needs to be in a seated position. If he already knows the “sit” command, put him in an extended sit-stay. If “sit” is a new command, he will need to learn to sit on command before you can continue to the “shake” cue. At this point, once he is seated and listening for further instructions, you can lift his paw and shake it while giving him the verbal command “shake”. After you release his paw, give him his reward. Dogs who are being clicker trained respond well to the sound of the click, but a tasty treat or verbal praise will also work.
Repeat this several times, giving the dog a chance to associate having his paw shaken with the verbal commands. The reward will help him to understand that this is a desired behavior. In time, he will respond to the verbal command by lifting his paw for you to shake without having to physically lift it off of the ground.
Once the dog has mastered the shake command, there are several amusing variants that you can add to his collection of skills. Often people want their dogs to shake with both front paws, so the next command to teach him would be “other side”. Learning to shake on his other hand is generally faster than the first paw, since he already has some idea of what you want. More variations on “shake” include raising his paw for a “high five” or “cover your eyes”.
All dogs enjoy training sessions with their guardians. Teaching him to “shake” on command will be enjoyable for both the dog and master and will help reinforce the leadership position for the human.
Dogs, like most animals, live life in the moment and don’t usually like to wait on anything. But when they live with us humans, there are times when it’s necessary for them to wait on something, so the “wait” command is a great tool. It could even work to save your dog’s life in some situations.
Not the Same as the “Stay” Command
You may think that it is the same as the “stay” command, but it really isn’t. The difference is that with the “stay” command, your dog isn’t allowed to move, but with the “wait” command he only has to stay put and can wiggle around if necessary as long as he doesn’t move from the spot. It tells your dog that he can’t move forwards until you say he can.
Helps Teach Manners
The “wait” command is great for teaching your dog manners. For instance, when you are getting ready to feed him, if he knows to wait, then he won’t be trying to jump all over you while you are getting it ready. Just say, “Wait” and in a few seconds, you can set it down and then say something like, “OK!” and he will know he can eat.
The “wait” command is also useful for guardians whose pet always tries to charge through the door ahead of him and nearly trips him every time. If you get him to master the “wait” command, then you won’t have to worry about falling on your face!
Patience and Persistence Wins Out
While teaching your dog to “wait” be sure to keep the training sessions between five and 15 minutes so as not to tire out your pet or get him frustrated. Dog’s attention span doesn’t last long. Just practice getting him to wait for a few minutes each day and he should catch on fairly quickly.
Basically the way you teach a dog to “wait” is to put him in a situation where you would need for him to wait, like to say hello to a visitor. If your dog tends to want to jump up on people, the “wait” command can help tremendously. Have a friend come to the door and when he comes in, make your dog sit and then tell him to “wait.” After a few seconds, say “OK!” and let him greet your friend. You can repeat this exercise a few times until he realizes that he’s not supposed to greet your friend until you release him to do so.
You need to have some patience when teaching the “wait” command because dogs are easily distracted and it can take some patience on your part to get him to master the “wait” command. You should always give lavish praise and perhaps a treat when he does the command properly.
Good As A Safety Tool
The “wait” command is somewhat like an informal version of the “stay” command. It lets your dog know he will be able to have what he wants, like his food, toy, etc, as soon as you say it’s ok. It’s great as a safety measure in situations like when your dog is getting out of the car, as you want him to wait so he won’t rush out and possibly get run over.
Making Your Dog A Good Citizen
The “wait” command also helps make your dog a good citizen of your family and makes him a better-behaved dog. Your friends will be pleasantly surprised when you tell him to “wait” and they don’t get jumped on, or you tell him to “wait” and he pauses before you go through the door.
The bottom line is that teaching your pet the “wait” command has several benefits for both you and your dog and you will be glad you taught it to him.
If you have a dog then you want him to come to you when he is called. Not only is this an important lesson so you can get him to come over to be with you, but it’s also important because you will always be able to get him to come to you if there is a dangerous situation or other reason that he can’t be running free. If a dog doesn’t reliably come when called, you can never take him off leash and expect him to come back if so desired.
If you have a good relationship with your dog, then you shouldn’t have a hard time teaching your dog to come to you when called. Even so, training sessions shouldn’t last more than a few minutes at a time so you won’t lose the attention span of your pet or tire him out.
Training should be inside of a fenced in area so your dog won’t get distracted and run off if he gets bored. You also need some tasty treats or your dog’s favorite toy, whatever will be the best motivation for him to do what you want during the training sessions.
If you dog already knows the “sit” and “stay” commands, your job will be easier when teaching him how to come when called. That’s why those two commands should be mastered by your pet before beginning the training for the “come” command.
Steps to Training
Tell your dog to sit, then to stay. Praise him and give him a treat or give him a favorite toy, whichever way you use to give praise for doing something you want him to do. Then back up a few feet, get your dog’s attention, and cheerfully shout in a sing-song, high pitched voice, “Venkat, Come!” You can add kissy noises if that helps get his attention. It’s important to always use the same words. Don’t change it up. If you start off by just saying “come” then don’t later say “come here” or your dog may not understand.
More than likely your dog will happily run up to you and then you give him a treat and praise him profusely. The object is to make it a happy experience for him to come over to you.
Now, gradually move further and further back from your dog and practice the “come” command for a few more minutes, always praising him when he does it. It shouldn’t take long for him to figure out that when you say “come” he should stop what he is doing and get over to your side.
Once your dog starts to comprehend the “come” command in a training situation, you can start practicing it in places when she is likely to be more distracted, like at a dog park or other place where there are distractions. If she will come to you even when she was engaged in some other activity, then you know you are well on the way to an obedient dog that understand what you want and is happy to do it.
Never use the “come” command for making your dog come over to your to be scolded or punished for something she did. If she associates the command with bad things happening to her, she will never learn the “come” command because who wants to be asked to come when all that is going to happen is you are going to be yelled at? If you are faced with that situation, it’s best to go get your dog yourself. Besides, dog’s have a short memory and unless you catch them in the act of chewing up your shoes or some other misdeed, you can’t punish after the fact and expect them to understand anything except that you are mad at them.
What if Your Dog Doesn’t Catch On?
If for some reason you dog isn’t comprehending the “come” command, don’t get frustrated, and especially don’t yell at or punish your dog. And don’t just start yelling, come! Come! Come! That will just confuse him and he will pay no attention at all. That’s another reason why you have to use a motivation that your dog won’t ignore, so be sure to bring his favorite treat or even a few bites of something special like bits of cooked liver or chicken.
Just keep up the training sessions and be consistent and patient and your dog should eventually understand the “come” command and come when you call.
Once you are absolutely sure that your dog has mastered the “come” command, then there are times when you can let him off leash if appropriate like at a dog park, etc.
Having a well-behaved and obedient dog that understands and obeys the basic commands like “sit,” “stay,” or “come,” then you will have a faithful companion that will be a happier and more confident pet that you can be proud of.
One of the first things a new dog owner does after falling in love with their new pet is picking out a name. Of course that name is not going to do either of you any good unless your new friend understands that “Venkat” or “Spot” whatever name you have chosen means that you are talking to him.
Names Have Power
When a dog hears his name, he should immediately stop what he is doing and look up to see who is calling him and then give the owner eye contact to acknowledge that he knows you are talking to him. A name is a very powerful thing and when a dog knows his name, it means you have the ability to get him to pay attention to you and come to you when you call him.
It also means that once he understands that name he has bonded to you and know that if he responds to his name he is going to get to do something fun with his new best friend.
Choosing a Name
When getting a dog to learn its own name, you don’t want to pick something complicated or hard to understand. You also don’t want it to be something that will be embarrassing to call out if you are yelling for him. It’s also a good idea to pick a two-syllable name because it is easier to call out in a sing-song fashion if you need to get you dog to hear you better over a distance or even across a noisy dog park! So be sure not to pick out some complicated or hard to pronounce name. Make it something easy for both you and your dog.
You may also not want to name your dog some everyday common name that every other dog may have. It could turn out a little strange if in the middle of the dog park you yell out, “Come Spot!” and 10 dogs show up at your feet.
Tone of Voice
It’s also important to call you dog’s name in a happy, high pitched sounding tone so he takes notice and wants to come to you. Never use your dog’s name to make him come to you for something unpleasant or he will just associate his name with bad things and may not always come to you. Just like the funny cartoon dog said to his friend, “Hi, my name’s Nonobaddog, what’s yours?”
You don’t want that cartoon dog to be how your pet sees his name. Instead, you want your pup to know that if he hears his name, then something good is about to happen. That way he will be sure to not only figure out what his name is faster and easier, he will also come to you more reliably and often.
Getting your new pet to understand his or her name is very important too for using in the case of danger. If your dog will always come when you call out his name then you can get his attention quickly if you need him to react immediately when second could mean the difference between an obedient dog and a dead dog. As morbid as that may sound, it’s serious business and an important fact.
Repetition is the Key
You will probably need to use your dog’s name many times a day for the first few days or so in order to ensure he knows that special word means you are talking to him.
So, call out your dog’s name and if he comes over to you, praise him and give him a treat. Do this several times over the course of the first few days of bringing your pet home and he should start to understand his name and look up when he hears it and come to you.
You can also make kissy sounds to get your dog’s attention and happily call out his name and wave a treat. He’s bound to run over to see what the tasty morsel is and when he does, praise him and use his name. Say the name first, then the praise, then the name. For instance, it should go something like, “Venkat! Good Boy, Venkat!”
Try these methods for a few minutes every day in both a quiet setting and a noisier one. You want to be sure your dog understands his name if he is engaged in doing something else like playing or some other engrossing activity. That way you know that he truly understands that unique word you are calling out is meant for him alone.
So, use these methods to teach your new friend his name and the two of you will be more bonded and have a happy friendship for years to come.
A well-behaved dog makes for a happy owner as well as a happy and well-adjusted pet. Basic obedience training makes your dog a good neighbor and a better companion.
One of the basic commands is the “down” command. This command should be taught after your dog has mastered the “sit” command; you can start to teach the “down” command, as you need to use it to get started.
Down Command Techniques
When you teach a dog to go “down” you will be using both a verbal command and a hand signal command in combination. First, have your dog get into a sit position. Praise him for sitting and then show him another treat you have in your hand.
Make sure that he is watching and say the word “down” at the same time as you lower the hand with the treat in it in one smooth movement towards the ground. The idea is that he will go down into a lying down position because he is following the treat and your hand.
Speed Of Learning The Command
Depending on how smart your dog is will determine the speed in which he learns the “down” command. You need to practice the move for training it for about 15 minutes a day until your pet gets the idea and will go down in one smooth move when you say “down” and make the downward hand signal.
Be sure to give him lots of praise and a treat every time he does it correctly. Eventually you should be able to have him go down just with a hand signal and the word “down” and no treat, but you should always give verbal praise when he does it correctly.
If for some reason your dog doesn’t seem to be catching on to the “down” command, then take a deep breath and stop for a while. You can always try again the next day. You don’t want to confuse your furry companion or he will just be as frustrated as you are and may refuse to try at all.
Just take it slowly, as some dogs may take just a bit longer to get the idea and by much praise and patience and practice, he is bound to catch on eventually. As always in any training situation, patience and consistency is the key to success in training your dog to follow the “down” command.
Ways Not To Train
One of the things you should not do when teaching your pet to go “down” is to yank or pull him into the down position. Not only will this confuse or frighten him, he may even react aggressively and bite if you try to force him into doing something he doesn’t understand or want to do.
As the saying goes, you can catch a lot more flies with honey than with vinegar, and if you train a dog to respond to any sort of command, it’s much easier to use treats and praise, than frighten your pet by trying to do it with force.
Remember, patience and commitment to regular sessions is key to training any behavior.
Advantages of the “Down” position
Having a dog that is reliable in going down on command can be very practical in certain situations. For instance, if you want him to lay down so he won’t be in the way of guests or so that he calms down and doesn’t try to jump up on anyone, then being able to go down on command can come in handy and make your guests happy too.
It is also a good “stepping stone” toward teaching fun tricks like roll over, crawl, or similar feats.
The “down” command could also end up saving your dog’s life if he is in a potentially dangerous situation and you are able to get him to go down on command and stop him from getting hurt. A dog that reliably goes down each and every time he is asked will be sure to do it by reflex even if he is in a stressful and potentially dangerous situation.
When all’s said and done, having a dog that obeys the “down” command means having a well-behaved pet that is a joy to behold for everyone around you, plus, it can be a potential lifesaver if your dog is put into a stressful or dangerous situation.
You and your dog are enjoying a beautiful sunny day throwing around a Frisbee when right after you throw it; the wind catches the toy and it sales into the street. Your dog starts for the toy when at the same time a car comes barreling around the corner. You shout out, “Venkat Stay!” and your pet stops on a dime and you breathe a sigh of relief. Had she not known the “stay” command, she would have possibly been hit by the speeding car and killed.
When it comes to obedience training for dogs, the command most often taught after “sit” is “stay.” As in the above scenario, the “stay” command is more than just a novel trick; it can save your dog’s life.
The main objective of the “stay” command is to teach your dog to maintain her position no matter if she is sitting, standing, lying down or whatever, until you release her. She is to freeze in position and await a further command from you.
Teaching the Stay Command
When you are ready to teach your dog how to stay, you have to be consistent and patient, just like for any other sort of training session. If your dog already knows how to sit, you can place her in a seated position and then get ready to show her how to stay.
After she sits, stand in front of her and put your hand in front of her face and say, “stay.” Delay her movement by a few seconds, then if she doesn’t move, praise her and give her a treat or a pat on the head. Be sure to be eye to eye with your dog and if she moves, she doesn’t get the treat.
Practice this a few times for about 15 minutes so she doesn’t lose total interest. In time, you can lengthen the timeframe from a few seconds to up to a minute, but that is going to take several days to get to that point.
Be Firm and Consistent
When teaching your dog to stay, or for any other command you are teaching, be sure to use a firm, loud authoritative tone when asking your dog to “stay.” Don’t yell at the dog; just use a firm sounding stead voice. If you use accompanying hand signals, such as an open hand in front of her face, then make sure you always use the exact same hand signal when you say the word, “stay.”
Dogs are creatures of habit and unless you are consistent, it’s likely she won’t understand that you are asking her to do something she did before.
Reinforcing the Stay Command
Once your dog has mastered being able to stay put when you are standing right in front of her, start to gradually get further and further away from your pet and then give the “stay” command. In time, you should be able to get your dog to reliably stay no matter how far away he is from you at the time you shout it out, just like the car scenario in the beginning of this article.
You also need to do some training with the “stay” command that is in an area where the dog could be subjected to distractions like people walking around, children playing, other dogs, etc. This type of training is important so your dog will obey the “stay” command no matter if he is in a quiet situation or a noisy one.
As stated earlier, the ability of your dog to do this could be a life or death situation. You never know when something could happen that would require your pet to stay put at the sound of your command.
Age Dogs Can Learn Stay Command
Dogs of all ages can be taught the “stay” or any other basic obedience command. It’s best to begin training your pet as soon as you bring him or her into your life. Both you and your dog will be the happier for that decision.
The “stay” command could be one of the most important of all obedience commands that your dog can ever learn. Do you and your dog a favor and make sure that he masters it as soon as possible and do practice sessions from time to time to reinforce that training. You will be helping your pet have a longer and happier life and a less frustrating one for you and your friends as well.
Teaching a dog to sit is one of the very first exercises most dog owners start with when beginning obedience training with their pet. The “sit” exercise is also a very good one since you can use it to position your dog and uses it to help him learn other commands like “sit-stay.” It’s also a good starting position if you want to later on teach your dog to shake hands, as he would have to be in a sitting position to do that.
You can even start training a young puppy that is about two or three months old if you have enough patience, but a lot of people wait until the dog is about six months old. And don’t think just because perhaps you adopted an older dog that he can’t learn basic obedience commands. Any dog can learn to sit, you just need to be patient, consistent and give him a chance.
Finding Your Dog’s Motivation
First, what’s your dog’s motivation? Food is a great learning aid for most dogs. You can use bits of a tasty treat like chicken or perhaps those little puppy-sized doggie treats, whatever your dog likes that will get him to do what you want.
Beginning the Lesson
Once you find your dog’s motivation, it’s time to begin. Bring your dog to the area you want to use for training purposes. It should be fairly quiet so he won’t be distracted. After you get his attention, show him the treat or toy that you are using for motivation and hold it up in the air. The idea is to get him to follow his nose to find the treat. Then, while he is watching the treat, lift it backwards and somewhat over his head so he naturally sits down on his haunches.
As soon as his butt hits the floor, praise him and give him the treat or toy. Be sure to be consistent and not too wordy. All you need to do is hold up the treat, say “sit” in a commanding tone, and when he does, praise him with a “good boy!” and give him the treat. It’s that simple.
Short Lessons Are Best
The first lesson should only last about 15 minutes, as that’s about all your dog’s attention span probably is, especially if it is a young puppy. He’s going to get tired fast. So, once that timeframe is over, stop the lesson and then you can go for it again the next day. It shouldn’t take long for him to get the hint and all you will have to do is say “sit” and hold your hand up and he will sit, and then later on, just say the word and he should sit. In time, you can phase out the treat or toy and just be able to do it either empty handed or by voice command alone.
The above method is far better and easier for both you and your dog than some methods which say you should pull or push your dog into the sit position. That method just frustrates your pet and could even scare him and isn’t good to be used on any dog, especially puppies.
Using the Sit Command
Once your pet has mastered the sit command, you can use it in situation such as when someone comes to the door and you don’t want your dog to jump up on them. Just make sure you have them sit before they get overly excited and can’t control themselves. Your visitors will thank you and will give you praise for having a well behaved pet.
The bottom line is to find a dog’s motivation, have patience and be consistent in your training method, teach only a few minutes at a time every day, and give lots of praise. Soon your dog will be sitting like a champ.
Winter often forces even the most active dogs and owners indoors. Skijoring can be a wonderful way to make the most of the snowy landscape and beat the winter blues. Skijoring is great for those who already love cross country skiing. If you have never tried it, you should. It is the ultimate “mush”…I mean rush…on a cold winter’s day. Skijoring conjures images of sleds racing across the frozen tundra delivering supplies to frozen villagers. Well, maybe that is a little romantic, but skijoring is a great sport and great fun for both skier and dog. What is skijoring, you ask? Skijoring is canine powered cross country skiing for fun, or for competition for those who want a little challenge.
Is my dog right for this sport?
The first question that any potential skijorer must ask is if their dog is right for this sport. This is not a sport for all dogs, bur for the right dog, skijoring can provide hours and miles of tail wagging fun. Certain types of dogs are the obvious choice for this type or sport. Any dog that is bred for sleddogging is right for skijoring. These include malamutes, Alaskan sleddogs, Siberian huskies and other related breeds. If you have one of these breeds, this is definitely a sport for you to try. These dogs were bred to go long distances without tiring and have the double coat to make them impervious to the elements. However, other dogs can also make good skijoring companions. Any dog designed for pulling such as a Newfoundland, rottweilers, akitas, anatolian shepherds, and bernese mountain dogs will love this sport. However, if you happen to have a boxer, german shepherd, giant schnauzer, labrador, or border collie don’t count them out. The most important thing is to make certain that the dog is sound, has had a recent physical and received clearance from the veterinarian, regardless of the breed.
This sport is not for every breed. Obviously, small dogs are not suitable. They need to be able to pull your weight with ease. Another requirement is that they have thick enough fur to not be concerned about the cold and weather conditions. Double coated breeds are wonderful for this reason. Some dogs, such as labradors, rottties, german shepherds can do the sport, but they might need a jacket. Dogs with extremely short fur or sensitive skin should not be used.
What do I need?
Skijoring equipment can range from under $100 to a couple thousand dollars. The most expensive equipment is for the human, not the dog. The human will need a standard set of cross country ski equipment including proper clothing, skis, boots, and poles. New boots, skis, and poles can be pricey and are available in any outdoor sporting store. The expense of cross country ski equipment can make this sport seem restrictive for the beginner. Who wants to spend money for a sport to try it out? Never fear, there are alternatives. I found my equipment on eBay. I paid $34 for a pair of used three pin boots, $19 for a pair of not-so-bad Rossignol Skis and $12 for poles. This equipment was used, but still in good enough shape to see if I liked the sport or not. I would suggest going the cheap route for the first few times out. If you find that you and your dog love the sport you can always buy better equipment later. The same goes for winter clothes and gear.
That takes care of the human gear, but what about the dog? The most basic equipment includes a skijoring belt. This same belt is used in canicross (dog powered jogging). The belt is adjustable and retails for around $50. Next you need a tow line. This can be found for under $10. This is the part that hooks you to the dog. A quick-disconnect release is suggested for those times when you end up with your skis up in a snow bank and your dog is still going! It might be noted that there are some people who hook more than one dog for faster, more exciting skijoring adventures. These brave souls use the same Y-connect that is used in sleddogging. Skijorers can use the same equipment for their dogs as is used in sled racing.
The most important part of your dog’s equipment is the harness system. Most people prefer the X-back harness because of the ergonomics of the design. However, there are also other styles available, such as weight pulling harnesses, heel harnesses, and other styles. The most important thing about harnesses is that they are designed for pulling and that they fit properly. If the harness is not designed for pulling, the dog can be seriously injured. Improperly fitting harnesses can result in sores, muscle problems and will not make the experience a positive one for the dog. Padding on the harness is also good to prevent sores. Harnesses are from $30-$600, depending on what you want. Price is not always a good indicator of quality. Fit and design are the most important factors. Jackets and booties are also available for short haired dogs. If you use jackets make certain that they do not interfere with the fit of the harness system.
How do I begin?
If you are this far, you are probably wondering how to begin. The first step is to see if your dog likes pulling. If your dog does not enjoy pulling, they will not be motivated in this sport. If this is the case, it will result in frustration and lots of wasted money for you and your dog. If you still think that skijoring is for you, there are many resources available to get you started. There are several books written about the subject that include information on training. In addition, several websites have information on skijoring and point the reader to even more information. Some of the best sites include Arrowhead Trading company, Sleddogcentral.com, and Skijornow.com. Another site you might want to visit is Canadog Supply.
Agility has grown to become one of the biggest sports in dog world. In an agility event, the handler (that’s you), directs the dog through an obstacle course. Dogs must run off leash and no food treats or lures can be used. This sport requires a lot of work and training on the part of the handler and the dog…but that is all of the fun…right?
Agility is usually done with competition in mind. Very few attempt agility with the intention of never competing. Courses can be simple or complex. The course is a race and the dog and handler with the best time wins. There are faults along the way that can add time to the team’s finish time. These include missing obstacles, or other faults, such as missing a weave pole or the end of an A-frame. Alright, interested, here’s how to get involved.
The first question that every dog owner must ask is, can my dog do agility? The best part about agility is that any dog, as long as they are physically sound, can do agility. Classes at a competition are divided into toy, small, medium, and large dogs. For each of these classes, the obstacles such as jumps, are adjusted so that class of dog can successfully complete the course. Yes, I have even seen a Chihuahua compete in agility.
The most important quality for an agility dog is that they have a lot of energy to burn. If your dog is hyper after a long day without you, agility can be a great way to burn off steam for the both of you. Border collies with their explosive energy are common agility competitors. Bur I have seen almost any breed in the competition ring, so the possibilities are wide open. If your dog is a couch potato, get them off the couch and get them out. You might be surprised at the energy and desire that your couch potato might have. Most dogs love agility. It stimulates their mind and lets them do what they love to do best, run.
Equipment for agility can be expensive or nonexistent. The only thing that an owner really needs for the sport is a dog that is willing. There are many training centers available around the country that have courses and experienced trainers who can help the novice learn to train their dog for this sport.
Some people get so into agility that they decide to build their own course. This route can be expensive, especially if the person decides to purchase standard equipment from a supplier. Standard equipment includes jumps, the pause table, pause box, weave poles, A-frames, and chutes. Purchasing this equipment can be expensive. For instance a chute typically runs $125. A set of weave poles can cost $400. However, there are also plans available on the internet to build a set of practice poles out of cheap PVC pipe at a considerably lower cost.
For those who do not have the space or the desire to set up their own backyard training course, training centers are beginning to spring up in most areas of the country. Many of these training centers have courses and equipment that can be used. They also have people there who are often happy to help the beginner. These centers are great resources for classes and getting clues to help improve the team’s performance. Training centers are much less expensive than purchasing your own equipment. These centers are a great resource for preparing for competition as well.
As with any advanced training, agility begins with a good foundation in the basic five commands. Many training centers will not even talk to a handler whose dogs do not know the basics already. The dog absolutely must be able to do a long down and then be directed from a down to the first obstacle. They must listen very well off lead and must have good ring manners. Dogs who eliminate on or mark the obstacles are frowned upon and could be disqualified. There is a lot of ground work on manners and basic commands that must be done before the dog is even remotely ready to train in the agility ring. There is a lot of work that must be done to get ready for the intensity of agility training, but in the end, it is worth it.
Agility is a tremendous amount of fun for dogs, handlers, and spectators. The dogs always have a few surprises for their handlers that were not expected. The most important thing about agility training is to expect the unexpected. The one thing that you can count on is that you and your dog will have fun!
Everyone knows that in order to have a dog that is considered to be a good citizen and family member they should teach their dog the basic five commands: sit, stay, heel, down, and come. These five commands are the key to a well-behaved dog and the beginning of a wonderful relationship with our canine friends. A well-behaved dog is a joy to be around, but an ill-mannered dog that doesn’t listen can be…well…not so much of a joy. Training everyday manners such as not snarfing food, potty training, not jumping up and the basic five are the beginning of a lasting, positive relationship with your dog.
Ok, so your dog is a well-mannered pooch, what now? Did you have fun training and enjoy the bond that formed between the two of you as a result? I think that most dog owners would agree that training the basic five and everyday manners is a great way to experience the bond between you and your dog, but it doesn’t have to end here. Dogs are one of the most versatile creatures on the face of the earth. Man has been intentionally breeding dogs for specific purposes that go beyond companionship for thousands of years. The result is that today we have over 150 recognized dog breeds that were originally bred for a specific purpose. Understanding this begins to open up new avenues for training fun and continuing to develop that special relationship.
If you have a pure breed dog it is easy to look up their history and what job they were originally bred to do. For instance the border collie was bred to independently go up into the highlands and bring back a herd of sheep with little help from the shepherd. If you have a border collie, you know that makes most of them hyper, intelligent to a fault, and independent. A beagle was bred to tirelessly track small prey, beagling loudly all the way. Beagle owners know that when the nose is to the ground and the tail goes up, the rest of the world ceases to exist for the dog. These are only a few examples of dogs that have been bred for a certain job at a specific point in man’s co-mingled history with them.
If you have a pure breed, you also know that the very traits for which they were bred can also be the source of great frustration. The border collie’s intelligence makes them creative in getting into mischief. The beagles’ bugling at the cat that walks by the fence at 4:00 AM might not be start of good neighborhood relations. Every dog owner has stories of instinctive behaviors turned catastrophe.
The problem arises because dogs have internal desires and drives for which they no longer have an outlet in our modern world. Fortunately, there are many new activities for dog owners that can be the solution to giving your dog a more appropriate outlet for their drives. Finding one of these activities that is right for you and your dog can have many benefits. First, they provide an outlet for behaviors that might otherwise become undesirable. Secondly, they provide a way to challenge your mind by taking training to a new level and they challenge your dog’s mind by learning new activities. The third reason to pursue new activities with your dog is that they provide exercise for the dog and the owner. All of this time training and doing a fun activity with your dog helps to strengthen the bond between you.
Many of the same principles that apply to human health also apply to dogs. For instance, a dog that is active is able to maintain a healthy weight. Staying in shape is good for both of you. Dogs live to please us, doing sports with them provides many opportunities for them to enjoy this favorite activity. Doing sports with your dog relieves stress. Who can be stressed when they are having so much fun? A walk is good, but there is much more to life than walking around the same block and sniffing the same trees again and again. Let’s explore some of these options and how to become more involved. These sports are taking the dog world by storm and it is never too late to get started.
There are many options to explore in new dog sports. Many of these sports have official competitions and meets where you and your dog can compete with and meet other dog owners who share the same interests. Many of these can be done either competitively or just for fun to get our and have some fun with your dog. New potential activities for you and you dog might include skijoring, agility, rally, herding, dock diving, flyball, freestyle dancing, tracking, and hiking. There are many more, but this list should get you on your way to joining in on the fun. This series of articles will get you started on what you need to know to choose the sport that is right for you and where to begin.
You just came home from work and instead of a joyful reunion with your dog, your eyes behold the horrible sight of shredded couch cushions and pieces of foam layered all over the living room. The culprit is your six month old puppy who is staring at you with those big brown soulful eyes and his head on his paws like he knows he was a bad dog.
It could be that your dog isn’t really bad; he could be suffering from a form of doggie separation anxiety syndrome. Dogs that suffer from separation anxiety go from a fun companion to a whole different kind of animal when owners leave the house – sometimes even if it’s just for a few minutes.
Separation anxiety is a serious issue and one of the top reasons dogs are turned over to the humane society.
Dogs with separation anxiety can do things like dig or scratch at the door to try to get to the owners, chew up things (like your couch cushions), howl, bark or whine, and even go to the bathroom all over your house.
But, how can you tell if this is separation anxiety or the dog really is just an untrained dog? If it’s signs of separation anxiety, then the problem usually happens right after you shut the door. Plus, even while you are home, your dog may seem extra clingy and follow you from room to room, going crazy if you, for instance, shut the bathroom door and he can’t see you. Or he may start to get frantic when he knows you are getting ready to leave the house.
Why Do Dogs Do This?
Dogs are pack animals and therefore it isn’t really natural for them to be totally alone. Some dogs can’t handle the stress of being separated from their new human pack members.
Maybe he is a former shelter dog and he fears he is being left behind again, or maybe there has been a big change in his life such as you moved to a new town or had a new baby. He may even just be bored and have no outlet for stimulation when you aren’t there.
Treating Separation Anxiety
If you have an overly sensitive pup that is showing these signs of separation anxiety, then you need to figure out ways to give him the confidence to realize that you aren’t leaving him forever, and that it isn’t so bad to have some alone time. Remember, your dog relies on you for his every need and in that sense, from his point of view it’s a scary thing when his guardian leaves the house.
Sometimes all you need to do are a few simple things to ease a dog who gets upset when you are gone. You can try something like leaving an old shirt you have recently worn that has your scent on it. You can also leave toys for your dog in case he is just bored, like a plastic ball that fills with treats and to get the treats, the dog has to push it around and shake them out. This could keep his attention for hours if you are lucky.
Try taking your dog for a walk or having a play session before you have to leave the house. This should get him all tired out and he may in turn be more relaxed and even sleep while you are gone.
One way to cure separation anxiety is through a program of desensitizing him to the things that spark the problem, like you putting on your coat or taking out your car keys.
First, you can start doing these things and then not leaving the house. You may have to do this multiple times over the course of a few weeks, but the times that you do it, you should praise your dog profusely.
Once these actions don’t cause him to panic, then leave for short periods of time, maybe even just a few seconds at first, and come right back. Again, when he doesn’t go crazy, reward him. With a little luck and lots of practice, in time, you should be able to actually leave and he will not think it is such as big deal.
Don’t Do This!
Punishing your dog won’t help, and can sometimes make it worse. Your dog isn’t doing all of this to spite you, it’s just a frightened reaction to a situation that he can’t control – your absence.
And don’t think all you have to do is get him a friend; this may just get you two hyper dogs causing problems instead of just one. He misses you, not another dog.
Medication for Anxious Dogs
In severe cases, veterinarians have been known to give dogs anxiety medications, but before you resort to that, you should make very sure you have no other options. Unless there is an actual medical reason, all this does is sedate your dog and you are only masking the issue, not stopping it.
All in all, one of the main causes guardians get rid of their dogs is when dogs have separation anxiety and exhibit behavior problems while they are at work or even just gone for a few minutes. As guardians, we have a responsibility to our pets, as they are living beings and not toys to play with when we desire, and then just left alone when we don’t.
Take the time to train your dog and give him the proper stimulation, things to give him something to do while you are out, and the attention he needs when you are home.
You just sat down to dinner and just as you are about to take a bite of that nice, juicy steak you notice your dog staring at you like he’s dying of starvation and you never feed him. Do you slip him just one little piece or do you ignore those big brown eyes?
Begging is a habit that most, if not all, dog owners are going to see their dog do at one point or another. Whether or not it continues or you put a stop to it is up to you, but if you don’t, the problem isn’t going to go away by itself. In fact, it’s only going to get worse and could progress from just begging to trying to get the wanted item himself whether you want him to have it or not.
What makes dogs beg?
Would you believe that begging is actually something dogs learn how to do? Puppies learn to beg from the beginning when they do it in order to get their parents to feed them. He who begs and pushes his way to the front gets the majority of the food. The dog that sits back patiently and waits in the wild will probably starve.
You aren’t going to let your pet starve, but when he sees you eating, it makes him want to eat. He will first stare and perhaps whine, and if you ignore him, he may progress to pawing and barking. And since your steak looks a lot tastier than his kibble, you still will probably have to do a bit more training than just trying to ignore him.
Plus, many people teach their dogs to beg so they can get a treat. Your dog may see that is the same thing, except the treat he wants is whatever you are eating. That doesn’t mean you can’t give your dog a treat, just teach him something else to do to earn it besides begging.
For instance, if you want to give your dog a treat, then try this method instead of begging. Hold out your hands in front of your dog with closed fists and a treat in one and the other empty. Don’t give your dog the treat until he is calm and can sit quietly in front of you without begging. Once he has calmed down, open the hand with the treat, give it to him and praise him for waiting. He should quickly learn that he gets the treat if he shows his manners, but if he begs, no treat appears.
Dogs don’t beg just for food. They may also beg for a toy or your attention. It really doesn’t matter; it’s just a behavior he has to show he wants something.
Ways to stop begging
First, don’t give in even that one time or just that one bite will show your dog that he will get what he wants with just a little persistence. This is what happens to most owners. They do it once or twice and then try to ignore the dog, only to give in a few minutes later. The dog learns that if he waits the situation out long enough, then he is going to get what he wants.
One option is to feed your dog at the same time you sit down to eat dinner. That way he will learn that everyone gets to eat at the same time and he may not be so anxious. As long as you don’t show him that your food tastes better, he should be content to be eating at the same time as his “pack members” eat. Dogs like a routine and as long as you feed him at the same time every day, he will learn to expect it and that makes things easier for both of you.
In fact, if from day one you always feed dog food at set times and never give your dog people food or feed him from the table, then you may never even have to worry about begging.
But if you give in even one time in a hundred, then your dog will know that you may do it again, so it’s worth it to him to keep on trying.
Another option is to teach him to go lay down when you eat, then all you have to do is tell him, “Go to your room,” or some similar command he understands. In time, he should realize that you aren’t going to give in and he will automatically go lay down and you can eat in peace. This is a good command in other situations too, like when you want him to wait while you answer the door or some other thing.
It’s very important that your dog understand the meaning of the word, “no.” It’s good not only in this situation, but for many other reasons that could even mean life or death for you, your dog or someone else.
If you have taught your dog basic obedience command like “sit” and “stay.” You can use these to make your pet sit peacefully until you are done eating. Then if you wish, you can give him a treat for his patience. But don’t feed him from your plate. If you choose to give him a small piece of something, be sure to place it in his kibble bowl instead. Better yet, make the treat a dog biscuit so he doesn’t get used to the taste of people food at all.
Other reasons to stop begging
There are other reasons not to give in to your dog’s begging. There are people foods that just plain are harmful to dogs like chocolate or grapes. Both of these can poison a dog if eaten in high enough quantities. Plus, nowadays veterinarians are seeing far more obese pets than ever before as we humans encourage our own bad eating habits onto our dogs. Table scraps are high in fat and calories and just aren’t a good choice for our dogs to eat.
When all is said and done, the main thing is for you to be consistent and to have patience. Make sure the whole family is doing things the same way and not giving in to begging tactics. No matter how hard it is, just ignore those sad, soulful eyes. You know better that your dog isn’t really starving. He just wants you to think he is.
All of us want our dogs to be good members of our family and to do that, he must learn manners just like everyone else. Part of learning those manners is being taught that begging is not polite and that it won’t be tolerated.
Once he has mastered that knowledge, both you and your pet will be much happier.
Why Do Dogs Bark?
As speech is with humans, so barking is with dogs; it is a form of communication. When a dog barks, it is trying to convey some thought or emotion. Probably the greatest reason why dogs bark is because they are giving warning of an intruder or other danger. Dogs have given their families warnings about fires, gas leaks, even carbon monoxide before any harm has been done. Of course, dogs will also bark for a number of other reasons, and sometimes for no reason at all.
Dogs will often bark when they are bored, or have been left alone. Almost everyone is acquainted with the nuisance barker who is chained outside day in and day out. It is no wonder that the dog is working out some frustration by barking. Even a normally quiet dog can become a barking problem if left alone while the owners are out. Many dogs will exhibit separation anxiety when their family is away, and will indulge in destructive or negative behavior, like barking continuously.
A puppy, or even an adult dog, will sometimes bark simply to get the attention of the nearest human. As the barks of puppies are not really loud, most people will respond to the barking by going to the pup. The trouble is, this reinforces the barking behavior and tells the puppy that when he barks, you will pay attention to him.
And, sometimes, I think dogs will just bark for fun. One of our French Bulldogs, Pip, likes to stack on the arm of the couch once a day and just bark for several minutes. He does not bark very much at other times, but he just likes to let loose in the afternoon. He is totally joyous, and frisky while doing so, and as it only happens one time a day (and no one else is around to be bothered by it), we let him get it out of his system.
Start Your Puppy Off Right
Problem barking often starts when your dog is still a puppy. The first few days of the puppy’s life in his new home will lay the basis of his future behavior. While many dog trainers recommend that a new puppy be placed in a basket, crate, or box in the kitchen or family room for the night, I totally disagree. Your new puppy is a member of the family and is coming from a situation where he was sleeping with his mother and siblings. To expect a pup to meekly accept sleeping alone, away from the ‘pack’ is just unrealistic. Your new puppy should be in the same bedroom with you right from the beginning. If you do not want the pup actually on your bed, his bed should be placed next to yours, where you can reach down to pet and reassure him during the night. The ultimate size of the dog, as well as your preferences, will decide whether the pup joins you in bed or sleeps next to you on the floor.
A puppy that feels isolated, alone, and afraid is going to bark to try to get someone to help him. This is absolutely natural behavior, and if you isolate your pup at bedtime, expect to establish a barking behavior pattern. Keeping a new puppy close to you, so that he does feel as much need to bark will help to keep the house quieter in the long run.
Puppies will also bark when playing, lonely, when excited, or when they hear a noise. To curb unwanted barking, the first thing to remember is not to pay attention to it. Even yelling at a barking puppy is giving it input. Wait until the barking has stopped, then reward the pup with a treat and a pet. While positive reinforcement takes some time to produce results, it will make the training more enduring.
Problem Barking In Adult Dogs
Whether you puppy started excessively barking when young, or whether you acquire an adult dog that barks, there are ways that you can curb this behavior and make the dog a happier and more valued companion.
It is fitting that a dog bark to let you know when someone has approached the house – one or two barks are generally enough to alert you. Unfortunately, many dogs will begin to bark as a warning, but then continue without end. You can train your dog to give a warning bark or two, then stop – it will take some time and effort on your part, but it can be done. When someone comes to the door, allow the dog to bark a few times, then say, “Quiet down” or “Hush” or any phrase with which you are comfortable. Do not shout at the dog, speak quietly yourself, but firmly. Lead the dog to a suitable spot, and have him sit. If the dog has been quiet, give him a treat. A dog that will not stop barking after the quiet command can sometimes be startled into stopping barking by shaking a can with pennies in it.
Another way to condition a dog to stop excessive warning barking is to let him bark several times, then stick a treat under his nose. Most dogs will stop barking as soon as they smell the treat, and this is when you should give him the treat and praise him.
If you dog is barking continuously because he has been left outside on a chain or in the yard, the solution is simple – bring the dog inside. A dog that is lonely will bark, as will one that is bored. Try to imagine how you would like to be confined to small area for hours on end, sometimes when the weather was bad; your dog will like it as little as you would.
Be Patient And Positive
Listening to a dog bark can be frustrating, and most people will find that screaming at the dog will do little good. The dog may even think you are joining him! When you start to train your puppy or dog not to bark, you have to be patient. Dogs are intelligent animals, but they simply do not have the level of mental acuity as do humans. Hitting a dog that is barking will only make the dog fearful of you, and can lead to worse problems than barking. Remember too, that dogs are very sensitive to our moods, and if you become excited and angry, there is a good chance that your dog will, too.
Praising your dog and giving him a treat when he is quiet is a good way to positively reinforce his behavior. Many of us tend to ignore the dog when he is not making a fuss, but let him know that you appreciate him when he is quiet. If you dog has been barking, then stops for several seconds, use those seconds to give him a treat and a pat. He will eventually come to understand than when he is not barking, he will get something good to eat.
Remember, too, that some breeds of dogs just tend to bark more than others, and if you are very concerned about barking, look for a breed that will be quieter when shopping for a puppy. In most cases, your dog wants to please you, it is up to you to let him know what you want.
Every time your kids play with the new puppy it turns into a chase game with the puppy nipping at their heels. The kids squeal, the puppy gets excited and next thing you know one of the kids is crying because the puppy nipped too hard.
It may seem cute when dogs display this kind of behavior when they are pups, but it isn’t so cute after they get older and are still doing it. Nipping, while not an abnormal activity for dogs, it is not an accepted behavior when we bring dogs into the human world.
Too many dogs end up in animal shelters because no one took the time to teach them acceptable behavior. Don’t let this happen to your dog, as there are ways to make him a good citizen you will love to have around for a long time.
Our dogs don’t have hands like we do, so the only way they can pick up things or investigate new things is with their mouths. Puppies are very curious and it’s not uncommon for them to playfully nip or bite a person’s hands or clothes. At this point in their lives, this nipping is not an aggressive behavior; it’s just how they explore their world. It is also likely the only world they have known so far.
From the beginning, puppies interact with their litter mates by playfully chewing and nipping each other. This is actually very important because the pups learn just how hard they can bite before the other pup yips and stops playing. The pup that nipped too had now knows that if he bites that way again, he won’t have anyone to play with. Soon, he learns other ways to play that don’t involve nipping or chewing.
One reason why a new puppy may nip or bite his new human family so hard is that he was taken from the litter before he learned this valuable lesson. Usually a puppy should be at least eight weeks old before he can be removed from mom and siblings so he won’t miss out on learning not to bite. With some breeds, it is even better to wait until they are closer to 12 weeks of age.
Sometimes, even if a dog did learn not to bite from his siblings, he needs just a little bit of reconditioning when he moves in with us humans. And this lesson is important for a dog to learn before it becomes an adult, as while some people may think puppy nipping is cute, adult dogs can really hurt someone and that’s not cute at all.
Why Adult Dogs Nip
Once a dog gets older, it may be nipping for other reasons too. It could be scared, nervous, excited or otherwise overly stimulated. It may never have been taught not to bite and doesn’t know any other way to handle the situation. This is another reason why it’s very important to literally nip nipping in the bud in young puppies before it becomes a habit no one can control and the dog comes to a bad end. It isn’t impossible to teach an older dog not to nip or bite, but it takes a lot more patience and training than if it is a puppy and you might need help from a professional trainer if the dog’s problem is serious.
Breeds that tend to nip
Some breeds of dogs are more inclined to nip due to the fact they were born and bred to herd livestock and that’s how they controlled them. Some of these are border collies, Australian cattle dogs, and Welch Corgis to name a few. With these dogs, it may take a bit longer to teach them to go against their natural instincts. However, it is possible with a little persistence.
Ways to Stop Nipping
So, now that you know some of the reasons dogs nip, here are some possible methods to try to get your dog to stop:
When your dog nips, stop playing that very second. Give a loud “Yip!” just as if you were another puppy. It will startle him into stopping just like it did with his brothers and sisters. Soon, he will figure out that nipping will just get him ignored and no one will play with him or pay attention to him. And no puppy wants that to happen! After about 10-30 seconds, return to playing with him and give him lots of praise if he plays without nipping.
Teach your dog that people’s fingers, and shirt sleeves are not toys. If he starts to gnaw on your hand or bite at you, then trade him for an appropriate toy he is allowed to chew on, such as a rawhide bone. Puppies sometimes nip or chew because they are teething, so you can also offer him a hard rubber toy or a Nylabone to chew on instead. He will learn that the toy is much tastier than you are.
Or, you can raise your finger up and say “No! Be Nice” in a stern voice. Say it loud to startle the puppy. The tone of your reprimand is as important as the finger raised. It’s a human version of when his mother would growl at him if he did something wrong. Eventually, you will just have to raise your finger up and say “No! Be Nice!” and he will stop before he even starts since he has learned it isn’t fun to nip.
If all else fails, if you pups continues to bite, just turn your back on him, leave the room and shut the door so that he cannot follow you. Once they learn that they will lose their playmate, they tend to stop the biting.
Remember to be patient. Unlike TV shows which depict a perfectly trained pup in 30 minutes, inhibiting you pup from biting could take weeks. But most of all, be consistent. Don’t reprimand him for nipping one time and then ignore it another time. Always do the same thing and he will soon learn what acceptable behavior in his new human world is. If however you pup is still nipping after 6-months of age, consider seeking the help of a professional trainer.
You just found your new leather wallet in little bitty pieces strewn all over the room. The culprit is lying there with his head on his paws giving you that big eyed look all dogs know how to give. Just what do you do to stop this crazy chewing habit?First, your dog isn’t chewing to spite you. Dogs have an instinct to chew and that can lead to them chewing things you would prefer they didn’t, like your wallet.
There are several reasons that could be causing a dog to chew. Once you figure out which one fits your dog’s situation, you are on the road to getting him to stop.
Chewing is Natural Behavior
Chewing is part of a dog’s lifestyle. Dogs weren’t born with hands like we are, so they have to use their mouths to figure out what something is. It’s just a natural behavior built right into your furry friend.
When they are young puppies, it’s a form of teething, just like with human babies. Between about three and 10 month of age, they feel the urge to chew because they are losing their puppy teeth and getting in adult teeth. And just like babies, they also like to put things in their mouth to see what they are, if they taste good or if they can eat it.
Because of this, you need to puppy proof your home and keep inappropriate or dangerous items out of your dog’s reach.
Destructive Chewing Issues
One drastic example of a destructive chewing issue is when dogs chew because they have separation anxiety. In a worst case scenario, owners have come home to find their whole living room torn to shreds by their overly anxious pet. If your dog seems extremely attached to you and follows you from room to room, these are signs of a dog that is overly attached to his owner and can’t bear to be separated.
Getting a dog over separation anxiety is not a simple task. You have to gradually get him used to you being gone by leaving for short periods of time and then praising him if you return and all is well. Then, slowly increase the time until it’s safe to leave for longer periods of time. Granted, if you work, this may not be possible, so you may have to get a friend or neighbor to dog sit and help you to complete your dog’s training.
A Bored Dog is a Naughty Dog
It’s possible your dog is just plain bored. You’d be bored too if you had to stay alone in the house all day with no entertainment. If you suspect this is the case, then you can leave him some appropriate things to chew like rawhide bones, Nylabones, or sturdy chew toys.
You can also get your dog used to knowing that when you come home he gets to go for a long walk and gets to run around and play and get rid of some of that excess energy he worked up while you were gone. Give him lots of love and attention when you are together. One thing for certain, if your dog gets enough play and attention, he will be too tired to chew anything inappropriate.
If necessary, you can try crating or putting your dog somewhere in the house where there isn’t anything off limits to chew. Just don’t leave a dog in a situation like this for hours on end. It just isn’t fair to the dog.
Do this, not that
It’s worthless to yell at your dog if you come home to chewed up socks or mangled shoes. Unless you actually catch him with the off limits item in his mouth, he won’t know what you are yelling at him for.
Plus, you have to take on some of the responsibility too. Don’t leave off limits items around for your dog to find. Keep them out of his reach at all times. Don’t offer him toys that look like your shoes and expect him to not think your real shoes are ok to chew.
You need to teach him to chew appropriate things or he could not only tear up your things, but he could also hurt or kill himself by chewing dangerous things like electric cords or poisonous plants.
You should also keep an eye on a new pet until he understands the rules of the house. Be sure to dog proof your home, just like you would baby proof your home for a curious child. You can use anti-chew sprays like Bitter Apple and spray them on things he might try to chew like table legs or leather shoes. These are non-toxic and bad tasting liquids that can help some dogs learn what isn’t good to chew.
Medical causes for chewing
There are also physical reasons a dog chews things. If for some reason he isn’t getting the proper vitamins or minerals in his diet, he may be instinctively trying to find those nutrients. Have your pet checked at the veterinarian and make sure you are feeding him a high quality dog food and not the cheapest one at the supermarket.
Is your dog chewing himself and not items around the house? If he is chewing himself raw he could have an allergy or some other sort of skin condition. Check him for fleas or other pests for starters. Your veterinarian can help you determine what the reason is for a self-chewing pet.
If he is chewing on odd objects that are hard, like rocks, he could have a tooth or gum problem and for some reason this feels good to him. Again, have him checked out at the vet. Plus, to avoid this sort of scenario, start brushing your dog’s teeth with doggie toothpaste when he’s a puppy and be sure to offer teeth cleaning treats like dog biscuits and special dental chews.
The bottom line is that dogs chew. It’s just something that they do that humans need to learn to handle. Owners need to be observant and try to understand the dog’s reasons and find the appropriate way to solve it.
So, you just filled up yet another hole that your dog dug in your yard and you are wondering what to do to make him stop digging. Some studies have been done that show that 83 percent of dog owners admitted that their dogs dug holes in the yard, with digging being one of the top 10 most common dog behavior issues.
Just why do dogs seem to like to dig so much?
Reasons Dogs Dig and Solutions
Dog trainers and veterinarians alike agree that digging is a natural and normal dog behavior. There are many reasons why dogs feel the need to dig. Your dog could be anything from too hot to just plain bored, or anything in-between. Even in the wild, some types of wild dogs bury their prey to protect it from being stolen, or they have to dig into rodent’s dens to catch their prey. Even though our domesticated dogs no longer have to hunt their own food, they still retain that natural instinct.
Other reasons dogs dig that are related to instinct include the urge to dig a den. If a dog is left outside all the time, it may dig a hole for shelter from either the rain or the sun. If that is the case, providing a good dog house could help alleviate the problem. You could even provide a small wading pool in the summer to cool your pet off or one of the special heating pads that go inside of dog houses to keep him warm in the winter. Or better yet, keep your pet indoors.
Some dogs dig if they are bored or frustrated. They could even be digging to escape to go find adventure elsewhere. If your dog is doing it for attention or just because he doesn’t like to be left alone, then you need to provide some stimulation for him during the times you aren’t there.
One of the great toys that tend to keep a dog occupied for several hours are the rubber Kong toys that can be filled with treats or peanut butter. Of course there is no substitution for spending time with your pet. If you leave your dog alone in the yard for long periods of time provide him with something to do.
There are also other types of food dispensing toys that you can fill with treats that your dog has to roll around to make the treats fall out the tiny holes. You can even hide them around the yard for your dog to find as part of the stimulation.
If a dog gets enough attention, he may stop digging those endless holes. You can also hire a dog walker or have someone walk your dog or otherwise pay attention to them periodically throughout the day. Anything you can think of that gives your dog mental and physical stimulation can help keep him occupied and your yard hole free.
But sometimes, dogs just like to dig because it feels good. My old lab Cooper liked to dig a hole because the cool dirt felt good. He had plenty of shade, access to the house, a companion dog playmate and me close by, but lying in a freshly dug hole was pure bliss for him. So I redirected his digging to a less obvious spot behind a bush.
Breeds that Dig
Of course, there are types of dogs that are more inclined to dig holes than others, such as the terriers, dachshunds and beagle breeds. These dogs were originally bred to dig out small animals, so it’s part of their nature.
If you own one of these or other breeds of dogs that just can’t seem to help themselves, then you can provide them their own special area they are allowed to dig. This can be a child’s sandbox you encourage them to dig in by hiding toys, treats, and other special surprises. With a little bit of training and encouragement, he will soon happily dig in that area and hopefully leave the rest of the yard alone.
Unfortunately there are some reasons that dogs may dig that require a veterinarian’s help. If a dog’s digging habit is somehow related to an accident or other trauma, it may take the help of a veterinarian to stop it. Some dogs need to take anti-anxiety medication until they can be reconditioned.
Other Ways to Stop Digging
If you have tried the above tips and your dog just doesn’t seem to fit any of those categories, don’t give up yet, as there are other things you can try.
If you think perhaps he is digging to escape to go find a mate, neutering could help get rid of the problem. Neutering is also a good way to alleviate other dog behavior problems and help keep your dog healthier.
Is there a neighbor that could be encouraging your pet to stray? Maybe you need a better fence, such as one that goes under the ground for a few feet that discourages your dog from digging. You could also consider putting large rocks around your fence or otherwise changing the texture or makeup of the ground.
Even a short course in basic obedience is sometimes useful in stopping a dog from digging because it conditions him to look to you for direction and guidance.
Any of these things could make things just enough different that your dog will stop digging those annoying holes!
Things That Don’t Work to Stop Digging
Of course there are some things dog owners should never do that definitely do nothing to help train your dog to stop digging, and in some cases could injure or traumatize you pet. For instance, it’s worthless to drag your poor dog over to where he dug the hole and punish him. Dogs live in the moment and they won’t understand why you are punishing them. It’s just not possible to correct something that occurred hours beforehand. This will only scare your dog and hurt your relationship.
How Your Dog Fits In
The main point is that if your dog has a digging problem, you can’t fix the problem until you know the reason why your dog digs. While that could take a few tries, it’s worth it so you can find a way to stop the behavior. So, if your dog is driving your insane by digging hole after hole, then take a good look at the possible reasons and then try whichever of the previous suggestions that fit the situation.
Happy dog training!
Find the right person to help you train your best friend.
It’s not hard to get hold of information on how to train your dog, but it can be difficult to find advice on how to select a dog trainer. The person you choose will have a big impact on the relationship you will have with your dog, so you need to find someone who will treat your dog with the same amount of respect that you do.
There are many ways in which you can train your dog. Some techniques use correction and punishment when your dog does the wrong thing. Other training methods use rewards and praise when your dog gets it right. It’s not difficult to see that reward based training not only gives your dog more information about what is expected of him, but also makes training fun. He will look forward to his training sessions and be more willing to please you.
Here are some suggestions on how to select a dog trainer.
- Ask for referrals. Your veterinarian can often recommend a dog trainer in your area. Similarly, your family, friends and neighbors may have trained their dogs and can give you the name of their trainer. Make sure that you let them know that you are looking for someone who uses positive dog training methods.
- When you have the names of some trainers, phone each one of them and ask them about their background, dog training methods and experience. Find out how they handle dogs that are a little more difficult to train. You are looking for someone who not only loves working with dogs, but is knowledgeable and able to adapt their dog training techniques to meet the needs of individual animals.
- If possible, visit one of their training classes and watch them in action. They should never become angry at a dog in their class, and certainly should never handle them roughly. A good dog trainer is calm and consistent when teaching a dog and his handler. Both dogs and owners should be relaxed, and look like they are enjoying the class.
- The final step in selecting a dog trainer is to take you dog into one of their classes. Keep in mind that you are ultimately in charge of training your dog; the trainer is only there to guide and support you. Feel free to ask for more information about what they are asking you to do. If you are not comfortable at any time, ask them if there is an alternative way to teach your dog that particular behavior.
It may take you a little while to find the right person to help you train your dog. With the help of a good dog trainer, your dog will learn to behave nicely, and you’ll develop a close connection with your four legged family member. The time it takes you to work out how to select a dog trainer is time very well spent.
January is National Train Your Dog Month and if you are like me, you may have dogs that aren’t perfectly trained in every one of the 10 American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen requirements. OK stop laughing. Anyone who knows me is probably thinking of phone calls where you are sure to hear “oh Chester, not my shoe” or “Sophy that was my dinner”. So I have decided that in honor of Train Your Dog Month, I will pick one area for each of my dogs and work on getting better results.
But maybe you already have a well-trained dog well then, why not teach them a new trick. And despite that old expression that you can’t teach and old dog new tricks, you really can, it just may take a bit longer.
One trick you may want to try, that way’ or “this way”. This command basically directs the dog to go to a particular direction. To teach this trick to your dog, use bait which could be a toy or a food item. Place the bait in three different places and then ask the dog to go to any of the three locations and point to the desired location. If they are successful, praise and reward them with a game if it is their favorite toy or let them eat the treat. If you are using exciting bait like a favorite toy or a tasty morsel, you may have to practice this one with your pup on a long line. I find this trick particularly useful when hiking my dogs off leash. When I am hiking in one particular field and they are romping ahead of me, when they reach a bend they can either go right or left. If I do not want them swimming, I say “this way” and point to the right.
Don’t think that trick is fun enough? How about training your dog to wave, or balance a book on her head, or a cookie on his nose? Other tricks might be training your dog to say prayers, speak, play dead, crawl, bow or cover themselves with a blanket.
So whether you decide to do some basic training with your pup or teach some tricks to a senior, spend some time this month training your loyal pal.
Housebreaking is among the first lessons a new puppy learns and should start immediately after you bring your puppy home. But housebreaking a puppy is easy since they are in the learning stages of their life and can be done in a short period of time. Housebreaking does require patience and may take as long as three months to have your pup completely trained so don’t be alarmed if there are intermittent accidents along the way.
Consistency is one of the more important aspects in the housebreaking process. You need to develop a plan and a schedule for how your will tackle the housebreaking process. There are three situations you need to train for: inside and highly supervised, when your puppy is contained in a crate or a “puppy-proof” room and; outside. Yes outside! You can’t assume a puppy will be housetrained just by opening the door and letting them out to eliminate.
Each person’s schedule may vary depending on the number of times you feed the pup each day and of course your schedule. A general guideline for setting your schedule would be: Immediately upon waking, the pup should be let out to eliminate. Then puppy should be fed and time permitting, played with. After play, take the puppy out again and if he is being crate trained, put them in their crate. Dogs do not like to soil their own dens so if you find the crate when you take them out, it may be that they were left in there too long. If you have to leave the pup alone for more than three to four hours consider asking a neighbor to let them out or hire a dog walker, at least during the housebreaking process. Repeat the same process as above each time you take the puppy from the crate. Outside, play, outside, crate.
If you are not crate training your pup, make sure they are in a small puppy proof room. When playing with the puppy inside, make sure they are highly supervised. If your puppy starts circling, sniffing or darts off to another room, these are clear signs that itis the time to take the puppy outside.
Once outside, pick a designated spot for puppy to go. Choose your spot carefully! I thought it would be a great idea to teach my pup to go as far away from my house as possible. While it sounded like a good idea at the time, in two feet of snow or blinding rain it seems less so.
Try to use a word like ” outside” or potty or some other word to make the puppy familiar with what is expected. I have two words, Outside and Finish-up. I use finish-up if they have only peed and nothing else. Once your puppy eliminates where you want them to, praise them. This way they know what is expected. Make sure to watch your puppy while outside to make sure they really do go. Puppies would much prefer to eliminate in the house if they had a choice because when they are little the outdoors can be a very exciting and/or scary place. In some cases, you may take your puppy outside and they get excited, nervous, or distracted and just forget to go then come back inside and immediately remember and an accident will happen.
By having a consistent schedule for feeding, play and outside to go time, your pup should be housebroken in short order.
Introducing a new puppy or dog into your home can definitely be an exciting time. But having a well trained dog does not happen overnight and it does not end after the initial puppy classes. Many dog guardians will get a puppy or a dog and take it to the obligatory set of training classes then never think to train the dog beyond those classes. But training is forever and can be incorporated into daily life. Not only does it provide a consistent framework of behavior for your pup but it will also strengthen the bond between you, making for a more rewarding experience.
Here are Five Simple Exercises to Incorporate in Daily Life
First pick a release word that lets your dog know when he is allowed to do what he wants to do. I use the word okay but whatever word you use or pick is just fine.
- Have your dog sit as you place their food bowl down. Once they are properly sitting, then say okay to cue them to eat their food.
- Before playing with your dog, ask them to perform so behavior. For example, when my dog Chester wiggles over to me with a toy in his mouth, I ask him to sit or down before i take the toy from him to play.
- Before going outside, ask your dog to sit or wait while you open the door. Once they have successfully performed the task, say OK and let them go outside.
- Ask your dog to wait before bounding out of the car (this is also a good safety practice). When yo say okay, your pup will know it is safe to leave the car.
- When your dog is out of sight in the house or outside, ask him to come. When they come, reward your dog with a treat or play or just lots of praise.
Having a well trained dog is an ongoing process. By incorporating training everyday, you will have a happier dog and will strengthen the bond between you and your furry companion.
Clicker training is growing in popularity as the preferred method of training of dogs no matter the age or the breed.
It is easy to do, often without the expense of a professional trainer. But what is Clicker training? Clicker training is a way to train your dog using positive reinforcement. Clicker training has grown in popularity because it is an effective and very simple way to train your dog.
The clicker itself is a device that can be purchased at any pet supply store in your area and is also available online. The clicker is usually made of plastic that has a metal strip inside of it. When the button is pressed it makes a sharp clicking sound. What’s great about the clicker is that it is consistent. When I say “sit” it can sound harsh, SIT, or weak “sit”, or indecisive “please sit?”. The clicker is consistent. A click is just a click. Your pups will come to love the sound of the click. Clicking a behavior means they “did good”.
When beginning clicker training you will want to make sure that you and your dog are in a quiet area that is free of distractions. All you need is your clicker, your dog and a handful of your fur baby’s favorite treats.
The first step in clicker training is commonly known as “loading” the clicker. Press the clicker and then immediately give your dog a treat. What this does is makes your dog associate the sound of the clicker with a treat. You will want to do this at least ten times. You can test your dog after the tenth time by pressing the clicker when he is not paying attention to you. If he looks to you for a treat then he is ready for the next phase of training. This conditioning step is most effective when performed while your dog is hungry.
The second phase if training is speaking simple commands. The easiest command to start with is the “sit” command. The way that you will execute this stage of training is by giving your dog the command and as soon as he performs the command press the clicker and give the treat. Do not forget to praise your beloved pet with plenty of praise for a job well done.
The end result is having a well trained and well behaved dog that will behave with minimal instruction. Be consistent in the training and enforcement of the positive behavior.
This training may take a little time but it is by far the most accurate and mutually rewarding training for many dog owners everywhere.
For additional information on clicker training for dogs see: Reaching the Animal Mind: Clicker Training and What It Teaches Us About All Animals and Karen Pryor i Click Training Clickers – 4 Pack
So this is a topic I have gone back and forth on over the years but today and I am sure, forever more, I am an advocate of crate training and generally crates for dogs. Let me explain why.
My Crate Story:
When I got my first pet ever, the breeder told me to get a crate to train him more quickly. They were right. He (Cooper) was house broken within a few days. Also, because he was crated, he did not get into as much mischief as he could have being a very inquisitive Labrador Retriever. One year later, I decided to get another pup to keep Cooper company. I made a big mistake. Instead of buying a second crate for the new pup (Molly) I gave her Cooper’s crate. Two bad things happened as a result. Cooper no longer had a “safe place” and Molly thought “heck if he does not need to be crated, why should I?” So I stopped crating both dogs and for three years, my home became a “dog house”. Shoes were eaten, couches were destroyed, table legs were chewed and all sorts of various mayhem occurred. Since Cooper no longer had his crate, he adopted the bathtub as his new “safe place”.
Fast forward to my current set of dogs; Chester and Sophy. If I had it to do all over again, they would be crate trained, period end of story! Eighteen months ago, my Sophy tore her ACL and required surgery. Keeping a 3-year old lab quiet was difficult at best. But after a few days, she took to the crate and it became her friend. Three months ago, my other pup Chester tore his ACL. He wanted nothing to do with the crate but when I set it up, Sophy went right in and settled down for a nice nap.
Advantages of Crating
Simply put, dogs like crates when they are used appropriately. Here are some reasons why:
- they keep a puppy safe
- they keep your house safe from damage
- house breaking is often done faster because pups do not like to soil their “home”
- taking the crate with you while traveling with gives the dog or pup a sense of security because he has his home with him
- they give your dog a place of his own where he can come and go when the door is left open
Disadvantages of crating.
The reason why crates get a bad rap is that people use them as a form of punishment or banishment. I will never forget reading a book on training that said “lock ‘em up for 4-5 hours and they will be so grateful to be out that they will do anything you want”. Well I don’t know about you, but to me, that is just wrong. The main disadvantages of crates:
- Used for punishment.
- Used to “get away from the dog”. Not really as punishment but because the dog is “in the way”. When this happens too much the dog is deprived of the companionship needed to form a good bond with his or her guardian
Proper Use of a Crate
Puppies will generally take to a crate quite well. They may cry at first but that is not necessarily a reaction to the crate but more likely the result of being in a new environment. Introduce the puppy to the crate and let him sniff if. Put a blanket or crate pad at the bottom and place a toy inside. Once the pup gets familiar with the crate, close the door and walk away. If the pup cries just ignore him (I know it is hard to do). Come back in a few minutes and let the puppy out. Do this a few times before you leave the the puppy in the crate for any extended period of time. Puppies (and dogs) should never been locked in the crate for more than 4 hours except at night when everyone is sleeping.
Once your dog is house broken and getting more mature and less destructive, consider leaving the crate door open for longer periods of time. You will find that your dog will seek out the safety and familiarity of the crate as a routine part of life
If you have to leave a puppy or dog home alone all day while at work, do not use a crate unless someone can come in to let them out. Instead, confine them to a small room, again to keep them safe and protect your home from destructive behavior.