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Care and Training Tips
Benefits to Crate Training
By Mark Ruark
Crate training has many benefits. For the new puppy, it helps with housebreaking, destructive chewing and security. Housebreaking is the first hurdle we need to overcome. The more accidents we have in the house, the longer until we are house broken. Anytime you cannot spend 100% of your attention on the puppy, we need to have him confined some way, and the crate is the safest and surest way.
With too much freedom, we can have a puppy that chews on everything. For a puppy, chewing is experimentation. What can I chew on and what can I not chew on? If puppy is loose and spent 10 minutes chewing on your shoe, then in his mind this must be a good toy. If, however, we confine the puppy to the crate, then we can be sure he is not chewing on the wrong things when we get distracted.
Too much freedom can cause some puppies and dogs to become overly stressed. When we change environments with the puppy or older dog, they can become stressed and nervous. By putting them into a crate or small area of confinement, we can help them relax. In time, we can start to give the pup more and more freedom.
A crate is not a babysitter. It is a tool to help control dog behavior. Some people have their pups or dogs spend too much time in the crate. This is as wrong as giving too much freedom. Use your common sense. The more they are in the crate, the more you need to give the dog or pup physical exercise. Control, confine, exercise and train. These are keys to success.
Bringing a New Dog Home
By Mark Ruark
When we bring anew dog home and we already have a dog, some problems could arise. Anytime more than one dog is present; they feel the instinctual need to have a pecking order. When a second or third dog is brought into the home, we need to already have a game plan.
Having the dogs meet in a neutral place, going for a walk, letting them sniff a little, walking allot and getting to see each other, moving together with a focus on walking rather than on each other - these are all good strategies. When we do go home, the resident dog gets things first: first food, first petting, first outside That way, the resident dog doesn't become stressed over an upset to his status in what he perceives as "his pack."
We need to be in control of all situations. Both dogs can be stressed and more reactive during this time; so don't leave them alone together until you are sure of what will happen. Dogs can be possessive of food, treats, toys, people, sleeping places, being the first up or down the stairs, and being first in and out of the door. Pay attention to the dogs stress level.
The dogs are not "equals"; so do not treat them as equals. Do not "defend" the underdog. Honor the top dog by letting him go out the door first, being petted first, etc. If you "stick up for" the underdog, you will cause more problems than you fix.
The new dog may be or become the top dog. You have to accept this. It is not up to you to set the pecking order, only honor it. However, always remember that you are the top dog and the dogs are all under you. Keep control over all situations and honor the pecking order of the dogs under you.