Training Tips

Crate Training

Nikko in Crate

Dogs are “den animals” which is the reason they like small protected places to sleep.  Crate training your dog will give you an effective tool to help with housebreaking.  It will also give you a safe place to keep your dog when you cannot watch him.  When traveling with your dog, many hotels and motels will accept your dog if it is crate trained.  Having your dog sleep in the crate in your bedroom is bonding time.  If your dog every has to spend anytime at the vet, the dog that has been trained to crate will be much less stressed. Here's some hints that will help.  

1.  Choose a crate that will be the correct size for your dog when it is full grown.   It should be just big enough for your dog to turn around in.  You can make a crate smaller for a new puppy by putting a box in it.  If the puppy can eliminate in one end and sleep in the other the crate is too big.

2.  Leave the door open and throw a tasty treat just inside.  Repeat this, throwing the treat in further as the dog becomes more comfortable going inside.

3.  Once the dog will go all the way in for the treat close the door with the dog inside for a few seconds.  Praise the dog for being so brave.

4.  Extend the time the dog is in the crate with the door closed, making sure the dog is comfortable with it and not stressing.

5.  Put the crate where you will be for a while ie., office, kitchen, den and ask the dog to go in with a favorite chew toy.   Close the door and leave the dog in the crate for a short time while you go about your business.

6. Gradually increase the time your dog is spending in the crate.   Remember your dog will be ready to exercise after spending time in the crate.  Be sensible about how much time you leave your dog in their crate.  Remember it is a tool to use while you work on your goal of a housebroken, trained dog that you can leave unattended safely.

For dogs that have extreme problems with going in a crate seek help from a qualified professional.

Problem Behaviors

When a dog develops a problem behavior such as chewing, barking, digging, jumping etc. there is usually a reason for it. Here are some of the causes of problem behaviors.


How to Deal with Problem Barking

1. Make sure the dog is getting plenty of attention and exercise. Check their dliet. Unhappy dogs are usually the ones wIth barking problems.

2. When the dog barks always look to see what it is barking at. If it is not a threat to the household, ask the dog to stop. If the dog does not comply, interrupt the behavior with a command like sit, come etc.

3. If the dog Is still barking, use a squirt bottle- a blast of water from the hose or a rattle can STOP the barking.

4. Never leave a barker outside unattended. When you are not home or unable to work vvith the dog, remove the dog from the stimulus that causes unnecessary barking. This gives you a chance to work on the problem when you are there. For example, you may need to move the dog to a dlfferent location such as a garage or into the house until the problem is corrected.

5. Once you have curbed the problem you can gradually re-introduce the dog back to
the original location. Be careful to check periodically and make sure the barking is not starting again.

6. Bark collars and other ultra-sound devices sometimes can be used to correct the problem, however the dog should be monitored to make sure that the devices are working and not causing the dog any stress. I do not recommend shock collars.

Dogs that bark constantly are a neighborhood nuisance. They are no protection to you or your property because everyone learns to ignore them or complain about them. If Animal Control gets involved It can mean a fine. Dogs that run fences and bark very often turn aggressive. Don't let this happen to you. Control your dog's barking!

Housebreaking Help

1. Be sure your puppy is healthy.

2. Pick a quiet area for elimination.  If there are lots of distractions in the “potty spot” puppies tend to forget what they are supposed to do and remember when they are back in the house.  A small fenced area or exercise pen that you can safely leave the puppy in for a short time works well.

3. Do not allow the puppy unsupervised access to the house.  Know where your puppy is at all times.  A bell on the collar will help you keep track of your puppy.

4. Monitor your puppy’s food and water intake.  I recommend using a feeding schedule, as you will have a better idea of when the puppy should be outside in the “potty spot”.  You may want to pick up and put down the water bowl as to give you a better grasp of when the puppy has just had water and should be in the potty spot.   Make sure to give your puppy plenty of opportunity to drink.

5. Puppies will usually need to eliminate after sleeping, playing, eating, drinking or any exciting activity.

6. Use a word or phrase when your puppy is eliminating and reward with a treat when it is finished and your puppy will learn to go on command.

7. If you catch your puppy in the act of going in the wrong place make a loud noise to stop the process and put the puppy outside in the potty spot.  Never hit or rub a puppy nose in the accident.  This will cause the puppy to become fearful and hide when it has to eliminate

 8. If an accident does occur, use a deodorizer made for pet clean up to take the smell out of carpets.  Other wise that spot will attract the puppy to use it again.

 Remember housebreaking a puppy takes time and patience.