Dog Training Archives

Do Not Use a Dog Crate as Punishment

Here is a scenario to think about. I am sure a lot of dog trainers have had this asked to them.

Dog owner: “My puppy doesn’t want to go into his crate any more. I don’t know what happened. He used to like his dog crate. I used it to potty train him, and I even fed him inside the crate, and he would sleep in it at night. I knew that he loved his crate, so when he acted up and misbehaved, I would put him in there to give him a time out.”

I would already know the answer, but I would then ask them this question.

Me: “So, describe to me the situation exactly when he misbehaves and you put him in the crate.”

Dog Owner: “Well, you know puppies can get crazy, and annoying, and get in your way. Sometimes, he just drives me nuts, running around grabbing stuff he shouldn’t, chewing on things he shouldn’t. When I catch him, I scold him and then put him in his crate.”

“Then, of course, he is all worked up and doesn’t want to go in, so I have to gently force him into his crate. Each time this happens, it gets harder and harder to get him in his crate.”

“Now, he doesn’t want to eat in his crate, he doesn’t want to sleep in it, or anything. What is going on?”

Of course, this is what I expected to hear from the dog owner. I would reply like this.

Me: “No need to say anymore. You began using the crate as a punishment. Simple as that. Your dog’s crate should never be used as a punishment. By doing that, you have created the situation that you have. Your dog has begun to view his crate as something bad, not something good, like it used to be.”

Bottom line, you should never use the crate as a punishment. You always want your puppy to view his dog crate as a safe haven, as his own place that he enjoys being in and where he will willingly go into. When you begin to use the crate as a punishment, he begins to learn that his dog crate is linked to punishment, and will want to avoid it.

Keep your puppy’s crate an enjoyable home for your puppy.

Obedience Dog Training and Choosing a Good Dog Trainer

Obedience dog training is a great way to teach your puppy how to listen to you, how to behave, and generally how to grow up and mature into a well-mannered adult dog.

The easiest and cheapest way to start obedience training is to take your puppy to group training. The advantage of going to an organized puppy obedience class is that your puppy can interact with other dogs and learn critical social skills. The disadvantage is that you and your puppy may not get the individual attention that your puppy may need.

I have talked to many people, and heard many other stories, about pet owners taking their dogs to group dog training classes and they either didn’t get much out of it, or they were even asked to leave. This is because the dog trainer couldn’t help, or handle, the dog. These dogs really need one-on-one obedience training.

Some of the trainers that teach group classes don’t have much real world experience in training. But, you can find very good dog trainers at some of these classes though. No matter if you choose to go to group dog training classes, or if you prefer to have a trainer work one-on-one with you and your dog, you will follow the same steps in looking for and choosing a trainer.

  1. It is up to you to find out who is teaching the class, and to research this dog trainer. Look for a dog trainer that has many years experience, and find out what associations they belong to, and what certifications they have.
  2. You also want to ask for references. The more the better, and FOLLOW UP! Don’t just look at the list. Call people on the list and ask them questions. Were they satisfied? Why or why not? This is your dog, so you want a trainer who has very satisfied clients.
  3. Have a budget in mind, but don’t go by price alone. You get what you pay for. Find out what kinds of services they offer, and find out what training techniques they use. Are they humane, and are you comfortable with the technique they use?
  4. Ask to sit in on a training and watch them. If they won’t let you watch them in action, what are they trying to hide? If you can watch them, how do they interact with the dog? Are they successful with training the dog? Do they act comfortably and in control, or do they seem ill at ease, or do they get upset easily? You want a dog trainer that is ALWAYS calm, comfortable, and in control, no matter what the dog does. And believe me, dogs can really act crazy at times.

If you follow these simple steps, you should find a great trainer for your dog, whether you choose to take your puppy to a class training, or if you choose to use a dog trainer for one-on-one training. Good luck and good dog training.