Is Crate Training A Puppy Cruel

One of the best things you can do for your puppy early in life is crate training. Many people are under the misconception that crate training a puppy is cruel but this is far from the truth.

Dogs actually get a lot of benefit from having been crate trained and they generally come to like the fact that they have been crate trained. Many people also assume that crate training is difficult, but this is also far from the truth. Dogs, naturally avoid soiling the area where they will eat and sleep and this is one of the reasons why crate training is important.

It is essential to take notes of the times when your puppy likes to eat, sleep, and ‘go to the toilet’ because this will help determine the best times for the crate training. Crate training is not about keeping your dog locked up for extended lengths of time. Crate training needs to be handled with the care that one would expect from a family member.

You should remember that, done correctly, crate training will enhance the lives of both you and your dog. There are bound to be mishaps along the way when your puppy might ‘mess’ in the crate but he/she should not be punished for this, as it is highly unlikely that it would have been intentional.

Crate training is the best method of potty training a puppy by far, so it is well worth doing when they are young to eliminate one area that can be a problem with dogs, as they grow older. While it might seem that your dog doesn’t like crate training initially, (many dogs will fuss, whine and bark when they first start crate training) most crate trained dogs learn to love their crate as their own place, much like children have their favorite blanket for security that they will carry around. Crate training usually starts with short periods of 10 to 15 minutes slowly building up to two hours as they become more accustomed to their crate.

Please note: This article is part of a collection of dog-related content that we purchased the rights to. Opinions expressed may or may not agree with those espoused by Master Dog Trainer Adam G. Katz. When in doubt, please refer to the advice given in Adam’s dog training book.  This article is provided for your enjoyment, only. It’s relevance to real world working dog training may be limited.

Dogs Who Love Their Crates And The Owners Who Love Them

Many people are under the false impression that you can only crate train puppies and they refrain from crate training older dogs as they think it is too difficult.

There are also many people who think crate training is inhumane but done correctly this couldn’t be further from the truth. The dogs crate should never be used as a place to be sent when punished.

When dogs have been crate trained correctly they actually enjoy the security of having their own place to stay. Even at times when they are not expected to stay in the crate the dog will find comfort in it’s own area of the home. Provided the crate is in a sheltered place and there is fresh water available they will be completely happy to have their own home.

Dogs often get possessive of their crate and other members of the family, children in particular, need to understand that this is the dogs special area that they must respect. The crate should always be kept clean and where possible the dog should have a favorite rug or blanket to sleep on in the crate.

The crate should always be made accessible for the dog with the door open when they aren’t required to stay in the crate so they can feel free to come and go as they like and stay in the crate if they feel like resting at times other than those destined for the crate door to be closed.

Older dogs can find the crate a very secure place as they become less confident with themselves when getting older. If an older dog does have a mishap and urinate or soil their crate it is very important that it is cleaned immediately so they will continue to enjoy their space.   

Please note: This article is part of a collection of dog-related content that we purchased the rights to. Opinions expressed may or may not agree with those espoused by Master Dog Trainer Adam G. Katz. When in doubt, please refer to the advice given in Adam’s dog training book.  This article is provided for your enjoyment, only. It’s relevance to real world working dog training may be limited.

Doggie Escape Artists

No owner likes to get a call from the pound telling them that their dog has been picked up for roaming the streets, but even the best trained dog can escape and end up in places where it shouldn’t be.

In many towns you can find yourself in legal trouble if your dog is found to be wandering the streets. And quite rightly so as a dog on the loose can do quite a lot of damage to other people’s property, pets, children and elderly folk.

Dogs that generally try to escape from their property are usually those that have not been trained or are bored. Boredom is most often the case, and giving your dog suitable stimulation to ensure that he/she remains contented on the property can prevent this.

This can be as simple as leaving toys for your dog to play with, fresh water and a suitable place to sleep, shelter from the weather, and anything else that the dog might need while you aren’t in attendance. Obviously a big fence and a locked gate will go a long way to deter your dog from escaping.

Consider the alternative of trying to catch your dog once it has escaped, and the damage that can be done, should it run out in front of a cyclist or a car. Prevention is always best. Giving your dog regular exercise will also reduce the likelihood of it wanting to escape.

Even the fact that the dog knows it will be getting exercise when you arrive home will eliminate much of the possibility of having it escape during the time when you’re away. If your dog gets this exercise before you go out you are less likely to have problems because it is more likely to sleep after having exercised.   

Please note: This article is part of a collection of dog-related content that we purchased the rights to. Opinions expressed may or may not agree with those espoused by Master Dog Trainer Adam G. Katz. When in doubt, please refer to the advice given in Adam’s dog training book.  This article is provided for your enjoyment, only. It’s relevance to real world working dog training may be limited.

Stop My Dog From Whining

So you have a problem with a whining dog? It is not unusual for people to have problems, particularly with puppies whining all day long. Most puppies will outgrow this behavior.

They generally whine for two reasons: For attention and when they are anxious. If they want attention, they will continue to whine if that attention attracts a reward. It is better just to give your dog attention in the form of eye contact rather than a reward to stop it from whining, as a reward will only encourage it to whine all the more.

Often the best solution is to ignore the dog completely until the whining stops no matter how long it might take. When the dog realizes that it is not getting the reward it expects from whining it will tend to stop. An alternative method is to blow a whistle when your dog is whining and when it stops you stop.

Often this method works faster than simply ignoring it. Another reason why dogs whine is because they are anxious. Particularly when nobody is around and they have separation anxiety. This can be more difficult, if you are unable to find somebody to mind the dog when you’re away. Leaving your dog with suitable toys to play with, fresh food and water can assist, and also getting it used to you being away by starting off with shorter periods apart as discussed in a previous newsletter.

Another method to stop your dog from whining is to buy a clicker from a pet store and ignore the whining until it stops. Once the dog stops whining, wait for a few seconds and then click the clicker, and then reward it in some manner. The dog will soon learn that the reward comes from its silence. 

Please note: This article is part of a collection of dog-related content that we purchased the rights to. Opinions expressed may or may not agree with those espoused by Master Dog Trainer Adam G. Katz. When in doubt, please refer to the advice given in Adam’s dog training book.  This article is provided for your enjoyment, only. It’s relevance to real world working dog training may be limited.

Crate Training Your Golden Retriever


By about five weeks of age, most puppies are beginning to wander away from their mom and siblings to relieve themselves.

Puppies like to curl up in small, close places. That’s why you will often find them sleeping under a coffee table or under a chair.

Because your Golden puppy has an instinct to keep his bed clean, being confined in a crate will help him develop bowel and bladder control. When he is gradually confined for extended periods of time, he will hold his wastes to prevent messing in his bed. It is your responsibility, though, to make sure he is never left for too long.

You can use this instinct to keep their bed clean and housetrain your puppy with the help of a crate. A crate is a plastic or wire travel cage that you can use as your Golden puppy’s bed. Many new Golden owners hate the thought of putting their puppy in a cage. They often equate the idea to putting their children in jail. A puppy is not a child, however, and has different needs and instincts. Having your puppy close at night will also save you some energy. If he needs to go outside, you will hear him and can let him out before he has an accident. If he is restless or bored, you can tap the top of his crate and tell him to be quiet.

Introducing the Crate

Introduce your puppy to the crate by propping the door open and tossing a treat inside. As you do this, tell your puppy, “Go to bed!” and let him go in to get the treat. Let him investigate the crate and go in and out freely. When your puppy will go in after the treat and has sniffed the crate thoroughly, offer a meal in the crate with the door propped open. The next meal can be offered in the crate, but this time, close the door behind him and let him out as soon as he has finished eating. Offer several meals in the same way. This is to show your puppy that the crate is a good place.

After your puppy is calmly eating in the crate, start feeding his meals back in the normal location and go back to offering him a treat or toy for going into the crate. Continue teaching him the phrase, “Go to bed.” Don’t let your puppy out of the crate if he starts crying, screaming, barking, or scratching at the door. Correct him verbally by saying, “No! Quiet!” or simply close the door and walk away. If you let him out when he is throwing a doggy tantrum, you will just teach him that this behavior works. Instead let him out when you are ready to let him out and when he is quiet.

Crate location 

The ideal place for the crate is in your bedroom within an arm’s reach of the bed. This will give him eight uninterrupted hours with you while you do nothing but sleep. Having your puppy nearby will also give your puppy a feeling of security. If you send him to the backyard or garage, he will be more likely to cry, whine, howl, pace, or get into trouble because of loneliness and fear.

Please note: This article is part of a collection of dog-related content that we purchased the rights to. Opinions expressed may or may not agree with those espoused by Master Dog Trainer Adam G. Katz. When in doubt, please refer to the advice given in Adam’s dog training book.  This article is provided for your enjoyment, only. It’s relevance to real world working dog training may be limited.

Leaving a Puppy Loose in the House

Dear Adam:  Kava is a good dog, very smart, and basically obedient. Thank you for the wonderful puppy training information. Kava will soon be a good doggie citizen. In the last two weeks, he has displayed behavior that relates to “Separation Anxiety”.

He is chewing on books, pulling covers off the bed, digging, and taking items off counters, etc. while I’m away at work. He does not display these behaviors when I am home with him, so I haven’t been able to catch him in the act and correct. He has been loose in the house for about two months, and only started this behavior recently.

Do you have any ideas on how to deal with this problem? I can crate him if necessary, but I work 8+ hours a day, and I think it would be inhumane to crate him for that long when I go to work. Unfortunately I can’t afford a dog walker, or I would consider that option. I do attempt to “puppy proof” the house. Please let me know if you have any idease. Thank you in advance and best regards,

Trisha Dear Trisha: Thank you for your question. My book says that you must keep the dog confined until he’s a year to a year and a half. Get a kennel run, or keep him in the crate. Hire a neighborhood kid to stop by in the afternoon, if you have to. But if you leave him out, he’ll destroy your house and possibly hurt himself. You wouldn’t go out for the evening and leave a 7 year old child alone. You’d get him a sitter or put him in day care, right? It’s no different with your dog.

When is Your Dog Old Enough to be Left Unsupervised in the House

My dog is seven months-old. He hasn’t destroyed anything in the house in several months. Is he old enough to be left alone, unsupervised? Thanks, Kay Dear Kay: It’s an issue of maturity.

At seven months, he’s still too immature. And he’s still got his second teething phase to go through, which can be from 7 to 9 months of age. I recommend waiting until the dog is between 1 and 1.5 years of age. If he’s still a perfect gentleman, then start leaving him for short periods of time and gradually walk your way up to leaving him for longer periods.

My philosophy is: If you want the perfect dog, why take unnecessary risks? Because if you let him learn he can destroy something in the house and get away with it, then you’ve undone months of work. But if you do it right the first time, he’ll be a joy for the next 15 years. Which is not to say that he won’t if he makes a mistake, but what’s the point in rushing the process? The dog is still young. In this case, it’s a lot like a child.

At 13 years old, a child MAY be mature enough to be left home alone for a weekend. But more than likely, you’re asking for parties, sex, alcohol, poor decisions… you name it. So, you instinctively know to wait until the child is a little older and a little more mature. It’s the same with dogs.

Some Advanced Dog Training Points You Should Know About Conditioning Your Dog

Akeisha wrote to me with some very good questions. I’ve included her letter (and my responses) below:

[Akeisha] Hi its Akeisha again. I do see what you mean if it is on all the time the dog will soon forget it is on and then will behave regardless. Ok, so the dog never wears a buckle collar again? This is what irks me. I want to be able to control the dog regardless of what collar is on not just the pinch or it could be no collar at all and the dog still behaves. What if the owner for some reason takes off the collar then they put the buckle collar on for ID but then forget the pinch collar? Then there is no control.

[Adam, Owner of ] WRONG! The dog gets conditioned. Take off the collar for awhile. Doesn’t matter.

[Akeisha] Do you ever in the training go back to the buckle collar after months of what you recommend with a dog that is happy with doing the commands?

[ Adam: ] Yes, the dog does the command because he is happy and he likes it. But eventually, there will be something that tempts him. This is where conditioning comes in.

Think of it like this: You’ve lived in the same house for 10 years, right? You get up in the middle of the night and you reach for the light switch that is to the LEFT of the door. Pretty soon, you get conditioned to reach out to the LEFT of the door.

One day you travel and stay in a hotel. You wake up in the middle of the night and reach out to the LEFT of the door for the switch… even though you cognitively saw that the switch is on the RIGHT.

In fact, you may wake up for several nights– perhaps even weeks or months– and still reach out to the LEFT, even though the switch is now on the right. Some people will continue reaching to the LEFT for the rest of their lives. Some will begin reaching to the right.

[Akeisha] Motivational corrections if on the right dog won’t frighten them or make them hate you I know but aren’t there other ways except using the collar that will eventually be established thought training that will allow you to take the collar off and have control?

[ Adam: ] Yeah, this way you can take the collar off and have control, ONCE THE DOG IS CONDITIONED. But eventually you’ll have to go back and reinforce, for most dogs. And definitely if you start expecting to work the dog around new distractions that it’s never been proofed around, such as chickens if the dog has never seen chickens.

Look, I don’t make the rules. The dog is not a robot that you can suddenly say, “He’s done” and expect him to act consistently for the rest of his life. Like any relationship you have with another person, boundaries need to be established and maintained. The dog is like your wife or husband& they will eventually test you.

[Akeisha] Last question, how can the dog not realize the don’t have it on since it feels a lot different than the buckle? Its like my id around my neck at school I have gotten used to it but I do realize when it is off? Just for the record I have no problem with pinches, many members in my 4-H club use them and they work great on the right dog.

[ Adam: ] Because the way you should be using the pinch collar is that the dog (since he has limited reason and logic) does not KNOW that it is the pinch collar that allows you to give him good corrections. But it’s more than the pinch collar. If I put the dog in a number of small yards, with no collar on … and I’m able to chase him down and make him come back to me, if he doesn’t come when I call… then the dog will learn THE UNDERLYING PREMISE that I can make him do it, if he doesn’t. So, the pinch collar and the long line make my job easier, but ultimately, the dog knows (or he thinks at least) that I am a man of my word and when I tell him to do something: If he doesn’t do it, I’m going to make him do it. And his life will be a lot more fun if he does it willingly. So the dog starts to extrapolate this principle to other commands, too.

[Akeisha] Hope I am not being irritating I just like to know why certain trainers value certain methods over others since I love competing in obedience with my dog.

[Adam:] Keep training. -Adam

Crate Training Issues – Urinating in Crate

I am a veterinarian that takes my dog, Dodger, a Husky-Shep.1 yr. old to work, everyday. When I got him as a puppy, it took a while to housebreak him and he was a submissive urinator.

The submissive stuff is gone, but he has an annoying habit of urinating a little spot on the cage wall if we take our kennel dogs out to urinate first before him. Unfortunately I can’t discipline him unless I catch him in the act. He has done it only one or two times at home, luckily.

I do have kennel dogs that are paper-trained so he can smell the other dogs’ urine. Any suggestions? Thank you. Grace Chang, DVM Dear Grace: Thanks for the e-mail. It’s hard to say. But I can tell you this:

1.) I wouldn’t correct the dog for this behavior. Obviously, if he didn’t have any compunction about urinating in the crate, he’d simply let loose and make a real mess.

But the fact that he is only urinating a tiny amount suggests to me that he’s just getting excited and accidentally letting a little come out. And it’s more than likely that he is NOT even aware that this is happening. In which case, you cannot correct him for it.

2.) Since the culprit is more than likely the combination of the dog’s excitability AND having the urge to urinate, you can work to eliminate his manic state when he sees the other dogs get taken out by walking past his kennel run with other dogs at various random times. (Basically, a process of desensitization.)

Crate Training Puppies – Puppy Defecates in Crate

We recently purchased a 9 week-old puppy and are having some difficulty keeping her crate clean due to her defecating inside of it. According to your input and so many others, they are not supposed to have accidents inside their dwelling place.

What am I doing wrong? I have been diligent about training her by taking her outside as much as possible and also using your command, “Get busy.” She does a great job outdoors, but this crate problem has got me stumped. Is she stupid? Please help.

Thank you, Tina Nunes Dear Tina: No, it has to do with the way your breeder kept the puppies confined. It’s likely that they were kept on cement or some other solid surface where they were allowed to play and sleep alongside there feces for hours at a time.

More experienced breeders construct kennel enclosures that allow the waste to drop through slats in the floor. Or the pups are at least kept within enclosures where the waste drains outside of the kennel set-up, so that the little guys don’t get trained to feel comfortable laying and walking through their feces. This makes all the difference in the world, when it comes to housebreaking. Pups who’ve come from experienced breeders can be pretty much housebroken in three days.

Pups that come from less experienced breeders can take longer. (And usually do.) The best way to fix this is to set up an enclosure in your yard, on the grass. Let the dog spend a lot of time in the enclosure (use common sense regarding water, shade, heat exposure, etc…) and the dog will become conditioned to WANT TO ELIMINATE on the grass rather than in the crate.

Also, make sure that you get the dog out of the crate ASAP after she messes in it. Hang on. You’re going through the toughest part of the game right now.