Thursday, June 9, 2016

How to Get Your Puppy to Enter and Remain in His Crate

There are a number of basic skills and commands that all puppies and owners should know. These include “come”, “sit”, “down”, and “stay”. Another highly useful skill for any puppy is going into the crate on cue and staying in there quietly.

Going into the crate on cue is easy and usually pretty strong within a couple of weeks. Here are a few tips and reminders.

  1. Don't have a discussion with the puppy about going in the crate. Just pick him up and put him in.
  1. As soon as the dog is put in the crate, throw kibble in from behind him so it lands in front of him. Reward him EVERY time.  Very quickly, your dog will run into the crate and wait for a reward whenever you move towards the crate. The more you repeat this pattern, the stronger the behaviour becomes. You can also feed meals in the crate as another way to build value.

Staying in the crate is much more challenging to teach. Be patient as it may take a number of years before the dog can sit quietly in their crate regardless of what’s going on outside the crate. Here are a few things to try.

  1. Use a large portion of your puppy’s meal as a reward for sitting quietly in the crate.
  1. Exercise your puppy. A tired puppy is much more likely to play quietly or sleep in his crate
  1. Keep your puppy occupied while he’s in the crate. Ideas include: baby carrots, chewies (I prefer not to use rawhide), frozen Kongs (go to for great ideas), raw bones, roll a treat, egg cartons, etc.
  1. Be patient. Unfortunately, you will probably have to let your puppy bark it out. He needs to learn how to settle himself down.

Training a puppy isn’t an exact science. It takes time and repetition.

What kind of cue do you give your puppy to get him to go into his crate? Share your command by commenting below!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

How to Get Your Puppy to Respond to His Name

Training begins from the moment you pick up your new best friend. Along with house training, teaching your puppy his name is one of the first skills to be taught.

  1. Begin training after your puppy has gone to the bathroom. This will help him focus.

  1. Create an incentive for your puppy to come to you. Food is a great reward, so try doing this exercise before meal time using some of their kibble. Sit on the floor with a bowl of kibble. Give your puppy a treat when he comes to you. If your puppy wanders around the room and ignores you, try the exercise in a smaller room or with a different higher value reward. However, if he is happily in front of you waiting for more, then it is time to move on.

  1. Stand right in front of your dog say his/her name and offer the reward in such a way that they have to move towards you to get it.  Not far about an inch.  Repeat this exercise until the dog is happily and confidently moving towards you.

  1. The final step is saying your puppy’s name and take a step backwards. As your puppy moves toward you, give him the reward.

Conduct this exercise multiple times a day. Limit the rewards to about 10 per session. Remember, repetition is habit forming. No matter how old your dog gets, name calling exercises reinforces your dog to come when he’s called. Mix it up with easy and more challenging scenarios.

What other name calling scenarios have you tried? Share your tricks by commenting below