Congratulations to You and Your New Dog !
First Pack / Second Pack
Your “fur-baby” was born into its first pack and is now joining your pack. Momma dog proves her true love by taking her responsibility VERY seriously. She communicates clearly (in dog) what the rules are. She teaches her puppy behavioral boundaries such as do not bully your siblings and no it’s not OK to chew on my nose.
Geographical boundaries are also instilled by keeping her pups close to her, preventing them from wandering too far, and when on the move, ALWAYS following close behind.
So now what? How can a human welcome this new canine member into our human pack? How could we possibly help this amazing animal feel the safety, security and love comparable to that it felt from its mother?
1. As the owner and the head of the dog’s new “pack” you are the provider; you are the teacher/leader and you have the “ big brain”. It is so very hard to remember sometimes when they are giving you those eyes. REMEMBER, as wonderful as they make us feel, it is OUR responsibility to make them confident and safe. What makes US feel good may not be in THEIR best interest. Set geographical, physical and behavioral boundaries. Be PROACTIVE ! It is better to show them what to do than what not to do. Love to a dog is a calm, patient, decisive leader. Expect the behavior you will want from the start, whatever the age. This is especially important if you have adopted a dog from a shelter or rescue organization. If you have a young puppy, take more breaks due to their tiny attention spans.
2. Gather, borrow and purchase all things needed for a happy, safe existence for ALL pack members.
THINGS I WILL NEED
1. Stainless steel or ceramic bowls for food and water. (Try to avoid plastic; they are porous and tend to give bacteria a great home.) Additionally I like a metal bird cup that can be bolted to the side of the crate for water.
2. Leash and Collar You can start with a flat adjustable nylon collar and a 6ft leash.
3. Chew and play toys are a must! These items not only kill boredom and relieve stress but are necessary in building confidence,trust and healthy relationships with people as well as their fellow canines. If you have a teething puppy, rope toys can be soaked in water and frozen.
4. Fluffy bed? I use nothing or an old towel (not very absorbant) in the crate to gauge their chewing tendencies before I invest in a fluffy bed. To some dogs, a bed is a giant toy to be destroyed, and when housebreaking, the more absorbent the material the more they will eliminate on it!
5. A crate is your most important asset !!! I have several. When introducing a new dog to your home/pack, and during training, NOTHING WORKS AS WELL. I prefer the wire, metal crate because sights and sounds are not obstructed from the dog. You want a crate (placed in a common area) large enough so the ADULT size dog can stand, sit, lie down and stretch out a little. If you’re housebreaking, use a crate divider that can be moved as the puppy grows. Some people like a second crate for an upstairs or bedroom. I also use a crate for a puppy in my car. I secure it with the seatbelt in the back seat or with ties for the back of an SUV etc. For the car crate I find scrap carpet and cut 2 pieces exactly to fit the crate tray. This prevents sliding around and makes puppy feel safe and ensures a good experience in the car. Treat the carpet with a pet safe protectant for easy clean up of mishaps.
How to Get the Most from Crate Training
Introducing the Crate
Treat the crate as the wonderful tool it is. It gives your dog (as well as you) a break. There is no substitute for the feeling of SAFETY for both you and your dog. Use special toys and treats specifically for crate time.
1. Place the dog in the crate.
2. Leave the door open but do not allow them to leave. (I sit on the floor for this exercise.)
3. When the dog settles down ( relaxed body, sometimes a sigh ) then and ONLY then invite them out.
4. Do this exercise twice.
1. Place the dog in the crate (as in exercise one).
2. Leave the door open but do not allow them to leave (as in exercise one).
3. Dangle a treat through the top of the crate and drop treat.
4. Repeat this exercise with crate door closed.
Have some fun with a game! Show your dog a treat or a toy they really love wiggle and wave it around to make it irresistable and place it in the back of the crate with door open and encourage them to go get it. Stay a few feet away from the crate so your dog can explore and enter and exit crate on its own.
During training your dog should be in the crate when you are not “actively watching” your dog. When the dog is out of the crate they should be on a leash. This will ensure safety as well as proactive guidance, showing them what to do more than what not to do.
Crate traing should be followed through the first 2 stages of dog growth. Puppy stage for safety and housebreaking.
Late puppy stage ( 6-9mos.) because they are “teenagers” and even though they have a great foundation of the rules,well, they are teenagers !
CONSISTANCY ! CONSISTANCY ! CONSISTANCY !
Common Pitfalls of Crate Training
1. Do not put the dog in after it has done something wrong or when you’ve become frustrated. This makes them associate the crate with punishment.
2. Do not take them out of the crate because they’re whining or crying. This encourages them to whine and cry to get what they want.
You are off to a great start ! Have fun !