Yup, its Christmas in March! Just got a new package from my favorite vendor, XDream Dogs.  Figured I’d do like everybody else on YouTube and video the “unboxing” .  Check it out!  Be sure to click HERE to visit XDream Dogs and get some great gear for a great price.  It’s also important to mention I am 100% NOT affiliated with this company, zero solicitation from them, zero compensation, I share with you all because I genuinely want you all to get great products at a great price.

 

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This is not a training post.

This article will will teach you nothing about how to train your dog to do anything specific or to stop doing anything.

This is not an instructional on how to set up and execute a training program for your dog.

This is not like any other “dog training” post you have read previously.

 

This article might make you uncomfortable.

This will be about your life, your mindset, and how they relate with being a dog owner.

This will make you ask yourself, even if for a moment, if you even deserve to have a dog.

This will pressure you to grow in a very positive way.

 

 

You deserve some respect for continuing past this introduction.  Many have already clicked out as a result of their well conditioned and habitualized, almost involuntary response to anything that might evoke even the slightest amount of introspective thought and self evaluation.

Even if you fail to hold yourself accountable, your dog will most certainly not.

Origins

I am not going to spend any more time on explaining the origin of the domestic dog than is absolutely necessary.  There does however, need to be a solid and concrete foundation of knowledge and history in order for the decadent house of much more complex understanding to be built upon.

While exact dates or even years elude science, one thing we can say with certainty is that dogs became a domesticated animal at least 15,000 years ago.  We don’t know how it exactly happened or what the process even looked like.  Theories exist, most of which are very romantic in their nature and imagery.  Who can blame folks for such creations of lore.  Given the contemporary magnificence of the dog, it is a sign of respect to honor them in a way befitting of such a damn fine animal.

What we do know is there is a reason they were successful at becoming a part of our lives.  Dogs are masters at several crafts.  They posses skill sets that not only allowed them to infiltrate the ancestral tribes of men, but then allowed them to demonstrate great value to those men.  As I read the work of author Jack Donovan who writes masterfully of the tribal nature of mankind and how groups function upon the basis of how individuals contribute to the survival of the tribe, all I could think about was dogs.

Dogs earned their place among warriors in battle one day, while earning a place at the foot of a child’s sleeping mat keeping vermin away the next.  As you look around the globe, dogs serve as diverse an assortment of purposes as they have diversity in appearance and function.

One thing that made it all work though, was a symbiotic relationship based on trust, with a common goal, survival of the group.

A Modern Mess

Fast forward thousands of years.  Conflicts seem to exist behind the cowardice of keyboards and the battlefield has little room for anything of tangible reality, let alone the warrior dog.  Mouse traps and men dressed in white suits with red hats show up to take care of your vermin.  Delusional denial of the existence of real violence has left many to overlook the potential uses of the dog to protect them, as they see nothing to be protected from in a world without villains.

What is a dog to do?

The new champion of the contemporary fixation upon all things soft and devoid of accountability has identified a new purpose for our dogs, cuddling.

Let me be clear about something, I greatly enjoy showing and receiving affection with the dogs I am privileged to spend my time with.  It is one of the most amazing things about them.  Nothing compares to the unconditional attention they provide us with.  However, while enjoyable for me, and in the moment, enjoyable for the dog, there must be more to this relationship.

There is a difference between being good at a thing, and having that one thing being the only thing you do.

Your Failure

If your dog’s sole purpose in life is to cuddle with you, then you have failed at your part of the bargain. What’s the evidence of your failure?

When your dog destroys your house, you have failed.

When your dog barks incessantly, you have failed.

When your dog hurts themselves to break out of their crate, you have failed.

When your dog licks and bites themselves raw, you have failed.

When your dog does not listen to you, you have failed.

When your dog does anything other than that which you want,

YOU, have FAILED.

What exactly have you failed at?  I’m sure it is unclear because if you understood, it wouldn’t have happened in the first place.  To an extent though, it’s not your fault.  Dogs don’t come with instruction books.

Your dog requires far more from you than the side of your face for an hour a day resting on its fat laden belly. One thing dogs were not domesticated to do was to be a pillow.  They make pillows for that.  And while it is absolutely enjoyable to lay together on the couch or even better, in front of a warm fire, after a long day of work, you must first indeed first have had, a long day of work.

The Bargain

Does your dog know what it’s job is?  How do you explain to the dog the only reason you got it was because you thought it would be cool to have a dog?  Can you effectively tell the dog that they simply need to be a warm pillow for you when its convenient?  What should the dog do for the REST of its day?

The gifts a dog gives us are of the most primal and noble virtues known to man.  This is why they became part of human society in ways unlike any other member of the animal kingdom.  There is honor in a dog as they never lie and they communicate their intentions masterfully to us, regardless of our frequent inability to understand due to our own lack of diligence and respect to take the time to learn how they speak.

The loyalty and commitment they have to us should only be repaid by a gift at least as valuable.  This is the bargain we make, most often times unknowingly.  We owe it to the dog to challenge them, to give them purpose beyond warming our feet for a moment when the internet is down or Netflix won’t load on our Kindle Fire.

There must be more to your dog’s life than cuddling.  To suggest that is all they need might be one of the most dysfunctional selfish things you could say in the context of a conversation about dogs.  It shows an unwillingness to learn about the real needs of the very creature you claim to love so much.  Loving something, or somebody, the way you want to love them as opposed to the way they need to be loved, is nothing to seek admiration for.

 

Your Education

Whether your failure was willful ignorance, or an honest case of “you didn’t know that you didn’t know”, if I am going to have a positive impact on your dog’s life, I must now help you.  Helping you, is the only way I can help your dog.  It is time you understand how to fulfill your end of the bargain.

The title suggested another reason for training your dog besides the obvious obligation you have to the community of other people who you chose to live among.  There is also the obvious obligation you have to your dog to protect it, from the world that it does not understand.  Highways, cars, other ignorant humans, are all threats to your dog’s existence, and it is your job, as their pack leader, to protect them.  Often times a good guaranteed “come” command will save a dog’s life.

Those aren’t the main reasons however.  They are far too obvious, even if still missed by many.  You need to be training your dog daily because that’s the kind of stimulation your dog needs from you to be mentally healthy and happy.  You need to be training them daily because you OWE them.

Like humans, dogs are incredibly social creatures.  Most dogs enjoy the company of their humans hence them slipping into the solitary and dysfunctional role of being a pillow.  What they need though is a job.  As I explained earlier though, for many people the obvious jobs of a dog are simply not necessary.  This is where you must get creative.  This is also where simply participating in a daily routine of training exercises based in positive reinforcement can make that creativity a lot easier, as well as more fun.

The interaction involved in training your dog to simply lay down when you say to, or to go to their dog bed upon command, is priceless in its value to your bond.  The social nature of the dog means it thrives upon being part of your family, your pack, your tribe.  This bond is unique in the animal world in that dogs are better than any other animal on the planet at reading our moods, energy, and emotions.  Why wouldn’t you want to foster this bond?  There is nothing like the feeling when you see your dog learning.

I am writing a series here on the blog that breaks down how to get started in marker training using a clicker.  The second article teaches you how to teach your dog to go stand on a bucket.  Even though I explain that the purpose is so that you, the human, can learn how to reinforce and shape a behavior without any consequences if you mess it up, I still get messages asking me what the point is.

If you have never used a marker to train your dog, then how can you expect to walk up and start doing it right away without learning?  The value of teaching the dog to step on a bucket lid, is that it has no practical real world value at all.  So, by that logic, if you screw it up, its no big deal.  From there we can work on fixing your technique long before we get you working on IMPORTANT behaviors like “come” and “down”.

However, there is something else that happens when you do this.  In order to be successful you have to watch your dog in a way you have never done before.  You must study every movement the dog makes no matter how subtle.  In your anticipation of them successfully demonstrating a desired behavior so you can “click” and reinforce it, you become an expert on your dog.  Are you starting to see where I am going with this?

The more you know and understand your dog’s actions, movements, habits, signals, and overall way of being, the closer you can become with the dog.  Your bond begins to strengthen.  As you watch them learn you will get excited which will only feed back into the dog as reinforcement for spending quality and engaging time with you.  This folks, is what being with a dog is all about.  This is how the two species are supposed to interact and thrive together.

Are you giving your dog everything back they have given you?  Again, giving the dog what you think they want with no honest and objective acquisition of knowledge to support that “thought” is simply lazy and irresponsible.  If not through research then how have you come to this revelation that flies in the face of those with much more experience and knowledge that “hugs” are all a dog needs to be happy?

The Bond

For humans it has been the tribe, for dogs the pack.  There is such a striking similarity between the tribal characteristics of humans and the complexities of the pack, it produces much more than simple awe.  These groups operate in very similar ways.  Members are born into the tribe, just as pups are born into the pack.  Relationships are forged through respect and honor.  Work is shared equitably and is undertaken by all for one sole purpose, survival of the group.

To a human tribe and a canine pack, there are the members of the group, then there is everyone else.  This similarity can not be overlooked.  The fierce loyalty of the group dynamic of both species originates from the exact same motivating force, survival. This should then beckon further investigation as to how we can use those similarities to find other, meaningful connections that can further our bond with the dog in our home, sharing our territory, and our resources.

By taking time everyday to communicate with each other, you are investing in the very thing you have already been receiving.  The dog gives us what many of us seek the moment it comes home with us.  Following that logic, we are thereby indebted to the dog in terms of relationship currency. That debt can not be paid back with affection.  It must be paid with interaction.  It must be paid with a commitment to communicate which can only be accomplished with activities dedicated to that very purpose.

That is what training your dog is.

The Future

Another important element of bonding is travel.  Exploring new territory with your dog is of great value to your relationship.  By demonstrating confidence in your journey, you and your dog will get closer to that relationship you’ve seen others have with their dogs and can’t seem to get for yourself.  They have invested.  They have put in the daily dedication to their tribe/pack member.  They have given the dog what the dog needs

How can you embark on journeys when you can’t even communicate in your own kingdom?  If you are not the center of your dog’s world in the doldrums of your own living room how will you be of any influence in the wild wonders of foreign lands?

Why would you send your dog to play with others in a disease infested area full of unstable entities that pose far more threat to the mental and physical well being of your 4 legged kin instead of spending quality one on one time investing in your bond? Taking your dog to a dog park certainly looks like passing them off on others instead of paying them back for what they have already given to you.

Whether you are man or woman, the message is no more or less appropriate.  The bond between human and dog must be developed, nurtured, and invested in.  Affection is a currency not to be given freely, for that which is unearned is often frivolously spent.

Teach your dog what you want.  This will require significant time, and patience.  The giving of time and patience to your dog is part of your payment on your debt.  Dog’s are grateful for things they have earned, your payment will be well received.

 

 

 

I would like to acknowledge the work of Jack Donovan, who through his creative energies, has contributed to the education of those outside his own tribe.  I do hope my own work can repay the debt.

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Hey folks…..Just a quick video update touching base with you on your progress with your new toys.

After two full weeks of clicking for a paw on the lid, then moving slightly away from the lid, it’s time to start increasing the criteria for reinforcement.  Remember, the end goal is a behavior that demonstrates the dog’s clear understanding that when you say “bucket” it has to run to wherever that lid is and stand on it with its two front paws.

Of course we don’t train for that all at once.  Instead we build up to that in small steps.  Watch the video and keep training!

If you are seeing this and haven’t any clue what its about, then you should take a look at the first article in the series that will get you started.  Click HERE to catch up!

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Remember, what the dog needs comes before what you might want to give him.

There are entire books devoted to this topic, bringing a new puppy home.  I know, I’m working on one right now.  However, my presence online has helped me to understand the needs of the masses. There are many folks out there that for whatever reason, are brining a puppy home today.

They need help.  And a book won’t help at all right now.

Mindset

Before we can talk about logistics, about techniques and methods, we have to start with you.  Your mindset in becoming a dog owner is the single most important tool you have at your disposal.

When used correctly,  you are set up for a long adventure of daily learning and satisfaction with your dog.  Fail to use it properly, and you will be a prisoner to your dog’s myriad of bad habits and problematic behaviors.

You need to realize there are those of us who have done this way more than you have.  Not only have we raised numerous puppies of diverse breeds in our own homes, but we have done this with many others and guided them through the process.  Understanding and embracing the idea that you can benefit from the guidance of others is a giant first step.  The fact that you are reading this article shows you are already in good shape with this.

Know Your Role, or ROLES

While you might want to be known as #1 Cuddle Buddy, what you want should take a backseat to what your puppy NEEDS.

Your puppy needs structure, consistency, guidance, and leadership.  With that said, you have the corresponding roles that go hand in hand with your puppy’s needs.  I find myself having to explain this concept over and over again to new dog owners as they get the terms “love” and “affection” confused.

Love would be giving the puppy what it needs to be happy, healthy, and balanced.  Affection is something you give your dog, most readily identified as cuddles and physical expressions of “love”.  The best way to respect and honor your puppy is to embrace its needs as a species.  From there you must take on the roles associated as the provider for each one of those needs.

Structure and consistency means you need to be a meticulous planner.  Animals thrive on routine and you must plan a routine that works with your schedule to a degree, so that you will be able to carry it out with diligence.  People say the best diet is the one you will follow.  I say the same thing when it comes to setting a schedule for your puppy.  First realize that bathroom breaks, exercise, and training will NEED to take place multiple times daily.  Then simply adapt those times into your schedule in a manner that will allow you to carry them out seven days a week.

Guidance and leadership means you will need to be a teacher and a leader. You must identify the behaviors and expectations for your dog then apply a well planned training routine to TEACH the dog.   Whenever anybody tells me their dog won’t listen or that their dog is stubborn, the first thing I think is “that poor confused dog”.  Before you EVER say your dog is stubborn and defiant, you must honestly and objectively ask yourself what you did to teach the dog the behavior you claim it is refusing to do.  Chances are, you failed miserably to communicate your desires to the dog.

Don’t feel bad, humans are notoriously horrible at communicating with other species, let alone their own.

What’s Your Plan?

You MUST have a plan.  Take out a sheet of paper and write down a list of expectations you have for your puppy.  Will he be allowed on furniture?  What rooms are off limits?  Where will the crate go? (read more about crate training HERE).  Where will the puppy go to the bathroom?

Figure out these super important things BEFORE the puppy comes home.  Your puppy will be learning from you 24/7.  Make sure the puppy is learning what you WANT him to learn, the alternative will not be pleasant.

Training

Now that you know what you want from the puppy how will you teach him these behaviors and expectations?

If you do not have any intention on taking time each day to teach and train your puppy, then you need to not get a dog.  Seriously.  I am not going to sugarcoat that for a second.  Part of owning a dog is about training and communicating with them.  Otherwise you will not have control of your animal.  This animal has teeth remember?  Training your dog is a responsibility, not an option.

With a young puppy, reward based training is the best option.  You want to build a trusting bond with your puppy.  Constantly yelling at the puppy is not a healthy way to build trust and respect.  Do some research on how animals, including dogs, learn.  I go into some important details HERE.

Learning how to use a clicker will make training your puppy easier than you could ever imagine.  Remember, we want to focus on telling the puppy all of the things we WANT him to do.  This is much easier than the alternative.  To get started with using a clicker, I have put together a super simple series you can get started on, just click HERE.

Homecoming!

Ok, time for some quick logistics.  You have your crate set up and your plan is made.  Now you are on your way home with a new puppy in the car.

One of the BIGGEST mistakes people make is “too much too soon”.  They bring the puppy in and everybody is crowded around wanting to play and cuddle.

DO NOT DO THIS.

DO NOT DO THIS.

The first day should be a very quiet, easy, and low key day.  Try and take the puppy for a walk or romp in the yard before entering into the home.  Once you go inside, take the puppy directly to his area where the crate is.  Now is the time to introduce the puppy to the crate.

This is time for the puppy to learn where in the home he is allowed and where he will go outside to the bathroom.  This is NOT the time to introduce to new pets and non-pack members.  Don’t bring the puppy home when your 12 year old is having a slumber party.  The quieter the better.

If you have other dogs, hold off on the first meetings.  Let everybody get used to the smells associated with the new puppy.  When you do venture into the introduction please make sure the older dog(s) are first exercised INTENSELY.  We always want calm and tired dogs when we plan on making any introductions.

Affection & Bond Building

Hold off on all the cuddles.  I know, you got a dog simply for the purpose of cuddling.  That was your mistake, not your puppy’s.  Building a bond of trust and leadership has very little to do with cuddles.  You actually want to be very neutral in the beginning.  Affection should ONLY come as a reward for good behavior.  If you feel the need to give your dog some belly rubs make sure you walk away from him and then make some type of indication that you want him to come to you.  When he does, its belly rub time!

Affection is a reward and shot NOT be given freely.

Freedom

Another huge mistake folks make is giving the puppy way too much freedom.  Your puppy should be confined to a crate or playpen at all times unless you are paying 100% attention to him during play or traning.

No exceptions.

By limiting the puppy’s freedom you are preventing the puppy from getting into trouble.  You must TEACH the puppy the expectations of each and every room in your house.  This can’t be done unless you are focused and intentional.  The alternative is a puppy who roams around getting into trouble and you constantly frustrated yelling “NO NO NO NO”.  That is horrible for your bond.  Instead, control the puppy’s environment so you can set him up for success and instead say “YES YES YES”!

Moving Forward

This is a quiskstart guide.  Entire books and videos exist on the subject as well as more detailed articles on this very blog.

Commit yourself to doing what is best for your puppy, not you.

Your puppy has needs, recognize and respect them.  Then provide for them.

Cuddles and affection matter more to you than your puppy. Be sure to make them valuable by using them as rewards for desirable behavior.

As more articles are posted, I will update this article with all the appropriate links.

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Photo from their website of one helluva nice tug for a GREAT price!

*** This is a 100% UN-sponsored review.  I was not asked to do this nor was I compensated in any way for this review***

 

With that little disclaimer out of the way, let me tell you about a product that has both my thumbs extended to the sky.

A year ago I realized I needed to re-up a bunch of my supplies.  My first order of business was to get a bunch of new tugs.  I did my usual run through of Amazon, (which I still love) and picked up a few tugs of various sizes, materials, and dimensions.

I also took a shot on a tug from a company I had never heard of but found on Instagram.

XDream Dogs is the name of the company.  I’ve never done a product review before.  However after my experience with this company, I felt compelled to.

The Test

I work a variety of dogs in a variety of situations.  Currently with a typical tug hungry malinois at home as well as my clients.  My clients range from shelter rescued mixed breeds, to pit bulls of various breeding, to some of the finest working dutch shepherds and malinois out there.  I need a tug for ALL of them.

The tugs are used as reward items as well as engagement tools during rather intense bouts of tug.  Any tug in my hands is going to get used and abused.  The dogs are never  allowed to chew on them however, which for the folks new to “tug”, is a big no-no with this type of tool.

The items I received from Amazon came from three different vendors.  I am not going to name any of them because this is a positive review about a product and a company that I am impressed with.  It’s too easy to bash or talk smack about a company or a product. I don’t want to take anything away from the point of this article, which is to say something positive about a company and a product that deserves it.

Nothing Risked, Nothing Gained

I decided to take a shot on a random company I saw on Instagram.  Honestly, I don’t know exactly what first caught my eye about them.  Needless to say it was enough to get me to “click”.  The products they advertised appeared to be well built enough for me to give them more of my attention.

After browsing through their site I realized this is a company run by real dog people.  That means something to me.  Quickly I noticed that the owners are experienced with a respectably diverse assortment of dog breeds.  Not as clients, but hands on experience.  That impressed me.

After examining all that they offered, I decided to start on something small.  Purchasing a 12” two handled, firehose tug seemed like a safe first purchase to me.  What had me skeptical was the price.

It was CHEAP! lol

You Don’t Always Get What You Paid For

A year later, that tug has held up longer than any tug I’ve ever had.  After a few friendly chats on social media I can say this is more than just an awesome tug for an INCREDIBLE price, but it’s made by solid dog people, and it’s made in the United States.

I am now directing all my clients to get anything they need from Xdream dogs, a family run business with exceptional products for awesome prices.

 

I’m A Repeat Customer Now

After my first proofread of this, I laughed a bit because it sounded like a commercial.

Well, isn’t that what an un-solicited review really is?  With so many crappy products in the dog world being sold at every corner, I won’t apologize for being enthusiastic when I find a product I like.

It also helps knowing it didn’t get assembled in southeast-asia by an 8 year old with no shoes only to be re-packaged for a 300% mark-up.

If you end up buying some stuff from Xdream Dogs, don’t bother telling them I sent you. I didn’t write this review for me or them, I wrote it for you.

You’re welcome.

 

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This is intended to be exactly as it’s titled, a crash course in crate training. I’m sparing you any and all the anecdotal evidence, science, and in depth behavioral explanations. All that junk will find its way into a separate article when I get bored, which never happens because Im far too busy putting together content you can actually use.

You Have Problems

Dogs and especially puppies, need to be taught how to exist in our homes and in our lives. Almost every post I make or video I record, has a moment, or two, or three, where I explain the importance of teaching. So many folks are either in a rush to get to the end result or they simply don’t know there are steps they need to go through.

When I get a question about a dog destroying things in the house, or pooping and peeing in all sorts of creative and inconvenient places, I end up writing about crates and crate training.  One of the BIGGEST mistakes folks make is giving their puppy too much freedom.  Listen, it takes time to learn the rules of the house.  No puppy under a year can be expected to have all those rules down.  Those rules must be taught to the puppy.  Having a puppy loose, unsupervised, is one of the worst things you can do for their development.

You can’t have your stuff torn up, and you certainly don’t want your home smelling like dog toilet.

The Solution

Get a crate. Get a GOOD crate. This is not something to skimp on as it is going to be your dog’s very special place. I really like solid, heavy duty, plastic crates. There is a wide variety of them on the market and you get what you pay for.

Ms. Ebony relaxing in her crate

There are some really cheap ones out there that a determined dog with some separation anxiety will just eat right through. If you have a dog who you already know has issues, click HERE for the best crate on the market. I have zero affiliation with them and get nothing back from endorsing them. Feel free to mention my name and they will have no clue who you are talking about.

The wire crates are just too easy to get destroyed. Another added negative about wire crates is the damage the dog can do to itself trying to get out. I have seen some nasty wounds on dogs ripping through wire crates, and I have heard some even worse horror stories. Plus, if the dog has any type of poop accident in there, and it gets on the bars, good luck cleaning each and every little wire. Been there, done that, never again.

You can always start to teach your dog any behavior you want, including being comfortable in a crate. The key is, as with any other behavior, that it is “taught”. I mentioned this earlier, and I’ll pound it into you repeatedly. If we do not teach the dog using clear communication methods, you will have problems getting the dog to understand and become comfortable with the behavior.

Crate Training

Crate training is best started on a weekend as you have the opportunity for more time to prepare them for the first workday. Start by letting the dog know the crate is a great place. Just like we do with all other new behaviors, we will use the dog’s undeniable desire to eat to help us with this process.

Cut off all food from a food bowl. We want to use the food to teach the dog to love the crate, so we need to be in control of the food at this point. Take the dog’s daily food amount and put it aside in a container or in a bag where you have access to it.

Go over to the crate and toss a few pieces of kibble into the back of the crate. As you do this say a word or phrase you will use to tell the dog in the future to go in the crate. I have always said “kennel up” but feel free to be creative..

At this point you are going to leave the door open so the dog can go in and out. Do about 5-7 repetitions of tossing a couple pieces of kibble into the crate. Then go outside for some water and let them go to the bathroom followed by some play time.

Go back inside and now you are going to get them used to the door being closed. Start closing the door behind them for a moment while they snack on the kibble. Then progress to closing the door and leaving it closed for a small period of time.

The Biggest Challenge of All

One of the single most important parts of crate training is ensuring you are not positively reinforcing any barking or whining that will inevitably take place.

You must realize, if the dog makes any noise while in the crate, and you so much as walk over to the crate, let alone open the door, then what you are doing is TRAINING THE DOG TO BARK!  You opening the gate or even walking UP to the gate while they are making noise will reinforce their behavior.  If you are unfamiliar with that concept you need to click HERE to learn more.

When they start barking you MUST ignore them. Once they quiet down, THEN open the door. This will teach the dog that the door is only opened if they are silent.

Moving Forward

Once you have the puppy or adult dog comfortable going in and out as well as staying in there quietly, you MUST set a schedule.  Consistency is KEY here folks and I can’t stress that enough.  You have to pick times of day where you know for a fact you will be able to take the puppy out no matter what.

The idea is that we are using the dog’s natural instinct to NOT go the bathroom where it sleeps.  The only reason the dog will hold it though is if it TRUSTS that you will be opening that door at a certain time that it can look forward to.  They might not be able to read a watch but they have an internal clock that puts Swiss Time to shame.

Another MAJOR rule here is ALWAYS exercise the puppy before putting them in the crate for an extended period of time.  We want to drain as much energy as possible before expecting them to chill out in their little cave.  Please leave a sturdy and tasty chew toy in there to occupy them if they start to feel froggy.  A kong with some peanut butter or homemade chicken liver pate’ smeared on the inside, then tossed in the freezer overnight is a GREAT idea.  Also big beef shank bones with the marrow from the butcher work well here also.

Take the puppy outside before putting it in the crate, and when taking the puppy OUT of the crate, go straight outside.  No play, no fooling around, just silence until they go to the bathroom.  THEN praise and play.  We want the puppy to understand that nothing fun happens until AFTER they go to the bathroom.

You will appreciate this concept greatly when its -20 degrees F outside in January and they think its time to play.

Lifetime Value

Well into your dog’s life they will benefit from still having the crate around.  Even long after they are housebroken, if the crate was introduced properly the dog will see it as a safe and comfortable place.  There are certain times when I do feed in the crate.  If for some reason we don’t finish the day’s rations during training, I will use the crate for the rest.

Bottom line, the crate is a great tool to use when living with a dog in your home.  This is one of those few things out there that there is not much debate about.  Imagine that!

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stop bad behavior NOW!!!You’re Not Alone

I talk to folks daily, in person and online,  about their concerns and questions relating to life with their dogs.  There are some common elements to the majority of issues that people face.  Many of their questions relate to bad behavior.   Nobody wants to have to constantly deal with the same issue on a daily basis.

The Problem – Bad Behavior

Jumping, barking, whining in the crate, nipping, rough play, and begging for food are all behaviors that many pet dog owners are plagued with.

You have tried everything you can think of.  The rolled up newspaper didn’t work nor did the spray bottle.  After all of your efforts  you still have a dog that does the bad behavior with the added issue of them being terrified of newspapers and spraybottles!

In many consultations I have provided to address doggie bad behavior, it became immediately clear that the owner themselves was directly reinforcing the bad behavior they wanted to stop!  This is why I am constantly directing folks to my article on operant conditioning (click HERE to read it). Understanding behavior and how to influence and control it the key.

The Solution

The good news is that there is ONE thing you can do that will have a dramatic effect on ANY bad behavior your dog exhibits.

Just one thing.  That’s it.

You understand what positive reinforcement means, it is the addition of a consequence that will increase the frequency of the behavior in question.  Before you worry about discipline or giving “corrections”, how about you simply stop positively reinforcing the behavior?

Take some time to watch the video.  Then reflect on the message.  Determine what things will reinforce your dog’s jumping, or nipping, or barking.  From that point all you have to do is stop reinforcing the behavior!

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whytrain1

 

I’ve been seeing a lot of people struggling with issues with their dog, yet they still won’t start a daily training habit.  I’m really not sure why.

If it’s that you feel you aren’t good enough, you are WRONG.

ANYBODY CAN TRAIN THEIR DOG!!

You are perfectly capable of achieving success, you just have to start!

If it’s that you don’t have the time, well……you shouldn’t have a dog.

When you are done watching the video, be sure to click HERE to learn how to get started TODAY with your training.  I have put together step by step instructions to take out all of the thinking.  You have no excuses!

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