Puppy Crate Training

David wanted to know about puppy crate training in anticipation of his new Bouvier puppy arriving: “I will be getting a Bouvier puppy in September.  He will be my second Bouvier. Great dog.  My first one was very easy to train, but I was a little lax with him. This one will be different.  Do you recommend crate training for every puppy?

Puppy Crate Training For Every Dog?

Do you notice differences between puppies that are crate trained and those that are not?  I have many training books, since I trained a little many years ago, and I assume that methods and techniques have changed with time.  – David.

Hi, David:  Yes, puppy crate training — or even crate training an adult dog— is absolutely necessary. But specifically in the case of puppy crate training, your puppy requires oonsistency so that every time he tries to chew something he shouldn’t, he gets corrected. Every time he thinks about urinating on the rug, he gets rushed outside. Every time he thinks about investigating what’s inside the trash can, he gets corrected.

Puppy Crate Training Is Timeless

puppy crate trainingThere’s no way to keep the dog safe in the house and prevent him from learning bad habits without the crate. Even locking the dog in the laundry room is not a good substitute, as the puppy will learn to chew on base boards and learns that it’s fine to defecate on the tile floor. Whereas the crate brings out the puppy’s den instincts and they do not typically want to defile the crate (if your breeder did his job!)

The other benefit of the crate is that it gives your dog a “safe place” to go when he is insecure and knows he is where he should be, for example: During a thunderstorm.

If you look at all of the top dog trainers both here in America and around the world, they all crate train their puppies.  Why? Because puppy crate training is the only way to keep your puppy safe and prevent him from learning bad habits.

Puppy Training Diary Episode #11 – Keeping Your Puppy Entertained

I found this in the garage, from a dog we had years ago– it’s called a boomer ball. It’s hard on the outside– virtually indestructible. It has a twist off cap, where you can open it and fill the inside with sand. The more sand you put in it, the more difficult it is for your dog to push– giving him a better workout.

This toy is fantastic if you have a new puppy. Especially one like this, where there is no limit to the number of things you’ll need to keep her mind stimulated.

You can find these boomer balls at most of your big box pet stores or online.

Puppy Training Diary Episode #10 – This Would Screw Up My Puppy If… –

This would screw up my puppy, if… I was a rank amateur. Fortunately, I know what I’m doing and the results will show it. In this video, I’m teaching “Gidget” the 10 week old Belgian Malinois puppy, the place command. In the beginning of this video, you’ll notice that I should have pulled the chair with the bowl of food on it, closer to the place board. It would have made things a lot easier and allowed me to grip the leash shorter. Or I could have used a painters apron (which you can buy at Home Depot) to keep the treats in a front pocket.

I’d like to point out a few things regarding what I’m doing with this puppy, as they are exceptions to what I would normally recommend the average pet owner do with their puppy:

First– I normally recommend that you wait until your puppy is four months old– when you see the adult teeth start to come in– before teaching obedience exercises with a training collar. Until then, you should just be using food to build associations to commands. I don’t typically use food for obedience training– but for puppies (under four months old) I like to keep everything positive because they normally don’t have the maturity to understand what an older dog would.

Here’s an exception to the rule: I am using the remote collar with this puppy, and here’s why: This breed matures extremely fast. And second: I want to point out that I am not doing this to “get a jump” on teaching the exercises. These behaviors are so easy to teach, you can literally teach your dog in under an hour, once your dog is four months. I’m using food with the remote collar so that the puppy’s first introduction to the collar stimulation is a positive one.

I am starting to teach this puppy these exercises because she is an extreme dog that is from an extreme breed– and if I don’t do something to exercise her mind, she’s going to go insane, and I’m gonna go insane. Teaching obedience exercises and restraint are the best way to exercise a young dog’s mind. However– at this age, I will not be taking her for walks, as there is still the risk of parvo.

Note that I am occasionally repeating the command, “Place! Place! Place!” I am doing this because: 1. The puppy is in the learning phase, not the reinforcement or proofing phase (which I explain in more detail in my book, at DogProblems.com). 2. I am using the remote collar, and the correction is not always directional. So, the repeating of the command here gets the puppy to focus on what I want, rather than simply getting reactive.

I’d also like to point out that you should not try this at home if you are not a professional or have years of experience reading dogs. With a puppy under four months of age, it is simply too easy to over-correct (especially with a remote collar) if you don’t already know what you’re doing.

But if you do have experience, this Puppy Training Video Diary will work as PROOF that you can use corrections in the right context and still raise a happy, well-adjusted dog… as the outcome of the later videos in this series will show. Just remember: This dog is being trained as a professional level demo dog, so we’re doing things differently than if it was a happy labrador puppy going to a pet home.

Watch Adam Get Punked By This Belgian Malinois Puppy – Puppy Training Diary Episode #6

It would be easy to merely post videos when everthing goes right and the puppy behaves perfectly. Other trainers might be tempted to re-shoot this video when the puppy was calmer and more mellow. But this is a puppy training diary, not a propaganda film. Watch Adam get punked by this Belgian Malinois puppy and see what it’s like to deal with a high drive, high energy breed when they’re in a rambunctious state of mind.