Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Crate Training Your Dog

Some dogs take to crate training easily.  

You show them their crate, they seem to think, 'My very own club house, hooray!' and your problems are over.

Other dogs are not so sure about being left in a crate.  They are nervous about being left alone, suspicious of confinement, and noisy.  For these dogs, slow and steady will help your dog learn that a crate is not a dangerous place.

The size of your crate.  A dog should be able to comfortably stand up, turn around and lay down in his or her crate.  If you are working on house training then the crate should not be larger than this.

Crate training your nervous or barking dog - Slow and Steady is the Way to Go!

1.    Start with the crate door open, drop small treats (cheerios are fine) into it, let him get them and leave.  Don't make a fuss, just drop in a cheerio and walk away.  When you're dog walks by 45 minutes later you want him to think, "Wow, this thing grows Cheerios!"

2.    If you are standing close by as he enters the crate say YES in a happy voice and drop another small treat into the crate, do not close the door yet.

3.    If he elects to stay in the crate, drop several cheerios through the top at intervals of about 5 to 10 second. 

Now it is time to begin to close the door ~ Don't Rush this step

4.    When he is resting in the crate comfortably and voluntarily, give him something very special, a stuffed kong, a bully stick, etc. close the door, and stay in the room.  (have a book or computer ready to occupy your time)

5.    When he is good at this start brief absences.  Begin with a really short one, go to the kitchen for a drink of water.  Gradually extend the absences.  After you can move about your home without him crying go outside for a few moments and return BEFORE he has a chance to get frantic.  Gradually extend these absences.

6.  When you return from an absence ignore him.   Don't rush into the room and give him attention.  Let him sit in his crate.  Start with one minute of ignoring him, then go to a minute and a half, then two minutes, etc.  Until you have worked it up to 10 minutes (just busy yourself with that book, computer, smartphone, etc.).

6.    Do not pay any attention to him if he barks, whines, etc.  Only a quiet dog is let out of a crate.  Be firm on this point or you will teach him to demand bark.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014



House training a puppy or dog is not magic.  It is all about keeping a schedule, managing your dog's environment, and helping your dog learn by rewarding the correct thing.  Punishing house breaking mistakes will delay your dog's learning.

1.            Keep a schedule.  How often does your dog eliminate?  How soon after meals?  Set an alarm.

2.            Make sure your supervised puppy has lots of play and exploration time, but confine your dog to a crate or other small area when you cannot watch your dog or leave your home. (Watching your dog means, like a hawk, with the same attention you would give a two year old.  If you are not watching, the mistake is on you, so don’t blame the dog.)

3.            Dog’s give signals when they have to go.  Very few walk purposefully to the door, give one articulate ‘woof’ and glance back to be sure you understand.  They whine, pace, scratch circle, or go to the edges of a room, nudge you, nip you, etc.  Learn these signals.  Watch for them.

4.            Be realistic about how long your dog can go without peeing.  Just like us they eliminate more during waking hours.  Puppies and small dogs go often, very often.

5.            Take your dog to a designated potty spot ON LEASH.  Stand there about 7 minutes or until the dog eliminates.

If Dog Goes.  Reward with a treat.                               
***Take dog for a walk or play with dog!  Dragging the dog right inside punishes going outside. Additional outside play also gives the dog time to eliminate again.  Reward all outdoor eliminations.

If Dog does NOT go. Return dog to Crate.  
Set timer for 15 – 20 minutes, try again.     

6.  Do not EVER punish your dog for peeing or pooping in your home.  Never, ever, no exceptions, period.

a.            If you punish the dog while they are going you don’t teach them it is wrong to eliminate in the house.  You teach them it is dangerous to eliminate in front of humans.  Now you have a dog who won’t eliminate on walks.  They wait until they are inside and you leave the room, then it is ‘safe’ to go.  (I've had several of these as fosters over the years, including one right now.)

b.            If you punish your dog even 4 seconds after they are done going, they don't connect the accident to your behavior.  They may have just been scratching their ear, and they think that is why you are angry.  'I was scratching and listening to the birds outside and he went nuts!"  At this point the dog believes you are unstable and possibly dangerous. 

7.            Use Nature’s Miracle, it’s an enzymatic cleaner.  If you want to use vinegar, baking soda, or your mother’s magic recipe, go ahead.  Just use the Nature’s Miracle too.  Without enzymatic cleaner the ‘spot’ smells like the Men’s Room at the Atlanta Bus Station to your dog.  Enzymatic cleaner breaks down the chemical structure of the urine and feces.   Available at pet shops and supermarkets.

8.            If your dog keeps eliminating in the same ‘spot’ block access to that spot, unless it is the front or back door.  If your dog is eliminating near an exit, you need to take them out on a more regular basis.

9.            If this does not work, bring your dog to the veterinarian to check for medical reasons you and your dog are not successful.  If the dog checks out medically then find a qualified dog trainer to help you with house training your dog.