One of the biggest mistakes new puppy owners make is not crate training. Teaching your puppy to sleep happily in a crate while you're in bed or while you're away for the day can make or break your house-training journey and save your favorite couch from sharp little puppy teeth!

Training Your Pup - Kennels and Crates

Choose the Right "Den"

Dogs are den animals, holding onto this evolutionary instinct from their wild predecessors. To your domesticated dog, his den is the place he will go when he's tired, frightened, or just wants to escape to "his" place. With a puppy, don't give him a huge crate. He needs something that's big enough to stand up, sit down, and turn around in. Any bigger will encourage him to potty in his kennel. You need to choose immediately if you want your dog to be an inside or an outside dog. Building a chain link kennel outside would provide ease in this process and will teach your puppy more self dependence.

Introduce the Crate

Leave the crate in the most frequented room of your house. If the family congregates mostly in the kitchen, then leave his crate there with the door open. Add a comfortable bed or even an old t-shirt that smells like his favorite family member. Leave the door off at first so he can go in and out unencumbered. Some dogs will immediately go in and get comfortable; if yours isn't one of them, entice him in by dropping tasty food treats in front of the crate and gradually just inside the door.

Let Him Eat in the Crate

Dogs won't soil where they eat so by feeding his meals inside the kennel, you're teaching him two things: this isn't where he's supposed to relieve himself and this is a safe, happy place. If he's willingly going in and out of the kennel, put the food bowl at the back. If he's still showing some reluctance, put it in just enough to keep him from being anxious. After a few days, he should be eating comfortably in the crate. This is when you begin shutting the door. The first time, open it as soon as he finishes his meal. Gradually, leave the door closed for a longer period of time after he's done eating.

Crate Him While You're at Home

It's important to not just shut him in the kennel and leave for your 8 hour work day. Instead, leave him kenneled for short periods of time while you're at home. When you let him out, give him praise but don't make it a big deal. His crate should be a daily part of his routine, not something that's out of the ordinary.

Leave for Short Periods of Time

When you finally leave him alone, make your trips short. Leave him in the crate just to run to the post office or to the grocery store for some bread and milk. Don't make a big fuss when you leave; urge him into the kennel, shut the door, and leave. Prolonged goodbyes can make a dog feel more anxious. Make sure that every time you put him in the kennel, you're putting him in at different times as you're getting ready to leave. Some days put him in while you're putting your shoes on, other times put him in right as you get out of the shower. If you develop a predictable pattern, a more anxious puppy will begin to fret when you hit the point in your routine where he'll be kenneled. When you get home, don't get excited to see him. Keep your arrivals low-key to prevent any anxiety.

Don't let a puppy's sad eyes make you feel bad for kennel training. Older dogs who have been properly introduced to the kennel seek their crate out as a safe haven and genuinely enjoy being there. Train your puppy gently and consistently and his crate will become a happy hideaway for the rest of his life.

 

Erika RemmingtonThis article was written by Erika Remmington. Erika is a recent graduate from the University of California, Berkeley. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her husband and 18 month old daughter. Click here to contact Erika.

 

 

Informational credit to Lynx Brand Fence Products Ltd., An Edmonton Dog Kennel Chain Link Fence Company

By Natalie Gomez on May 31, 2014 at 10:00 am 0 Comments
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Properly socializing shy, timid dogs eliminates fear-based aggression. It also allows you and your furry friend to enjoy trips and activities together that are impossible with (and terrifying for) a fearful dog. Use these tips to design positive, productive training experiences that transform your bashful pup into a confident companion.

Six Tips for Training and Socializing a Shy Dog

Set the Place, Not the Pace

Introduce new people in a place where your dog feels safe, allowing the dog to make the first move, rather than letting strangers approach the animal. Visit with guests as usual and let your dog decide when and if introductions are necessary. Pushing too hard can cause the dog to react aggressively, so provide opportunities for your dog to socialize but don't force unwanted interactions with strangers.

Avoid Coddling

Resist the urge to calm a puppy that is showing fearful behavior, such as whimpering or whining. A soothing voice, gentle stroking and being picked up all unintentionally reward the dog for showing fear. Instead, ignore fearful behaviors that occur at inappropriate and unnecessary times.

Positive Reinforcement

Avoid rewarding unwanted behavior, but always praise shy dogs when they display confidence and bravery. Reward a timid dog with treats, attention and praise immediately after positive behaviors. Positive reinforcement is more effective than attempting to punish unwanted actions.

Treat After

When training a dog with treat or food rewards, always give a treat in clear response to appropriate behavior rather than using the treat in attempt to prompt the behavior. Tasty treats and real pet food can be effective for luring a dog into a situation outside their comfort level, but when the food distraction is gone, the dog may suddenly feel exposed and lash out or hide in fear.

One-on-One Training

Ironically, socialization training is best begun in private sessions rather than group classes. Learning and practicing basic obedience skills strengthens the bond between dog and owner, giving both the confidence to stay calm and trust each other later in more stressful and distracting socialization exercises.

Keep It Simple

Socializing dogs involves new experiences, as well as new people and animals. Exploring new sounds, sights, smells, textures, weather and tastes all build confidence. Things as simple as ice cubes, paper bags and opening umbrellas are interesting to puppies or under-socialized pets.

Proper training helps meek dogs face the world with excitement rather than fear. To set your pet up for success, allow your dog to set the pace during socialization activities and provide an escape route in case things get too intense. Curiosity will overcome trepidation with time and patience.

 

Emma Sturgis

Emma Sturgis is a freelance writer currently living in Boston. When not writing, she enjoys baking and indoor rock climbing. Find her on Google +

 

 

By Natalie Gomez on May 28, 2014 at 12:00 am 0 Comments
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Pets are often considered man's best friend and a great addition to any household. Besides the comfort and love they offer, they're a fun part of any family and are often easy to care for. Although pets need a minimal amount of resources to survive, there are still a few necessities that can often be overlooked.

What Does Your Family Pet Need? 5 Things to Look at Right Away

A Microchip Implant

Name tags can work well on collars for pets when they become lost, but there's a larger problem when they escape the property without a tag. A microchip implant will work to identify their name and home address by being placed in their shoulder for an easy way for shelters to contact the owners if they're ever lost.

A Pet Hotel

There will always be times when you have to head out of town whether for a business trip or a much-needed vacation. Instead of leaving your pet alone and without any company for several days, it's important to keep them both mentally and physically stimulated by placing them in a local pet hotel. It will help to prevent depression and anxiety in the pet without making them fear the next time you leave home.

Pet Insurance

In every pet's life, there are often times when they need to visit a pet hospital for injuries or illnesses that can quickly add up to thousands of dollars. It's important to obtain dog or cat insurance to save more money in the long run and ensure that your pet is well cared for.

Pet Door

A pet door that leads to the backyard is a great investment and tool that will allow your pet to maintain a bit of independence. It will prevent having to get up and open the door for your pet each time they want to go in or out even while you're away.

Training

A trained pet is an obedient one that will be easier to control, especially when guests are visiting. Having a trained pet will also make the animal easier to care for with fewer messes and an easier way of communicating effectively as both pet and owner.

Besides food, water and exercise, there is much more involved to caring for a pet to have a happy and healthy animal. Although it may require a bit of time and energy to invest in, it will ensure you maintain a great relationship with the animal for an incredible bond and friendship.

 

hannah Whittenly

Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer from Sacramento, California. A mother of two, Hannah enjoys writing on blogs of all niches. Follow her on Twitter. 

By Natalie Gomez on Jan 30, 2014 at 2:50 pm 0 Comments
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