What Surprises New Dog Owners The Most?
(A Free Dog Training Tip From The DogProblems.com Dog Training Forum)
“Flabandit” from our Members-Only Discussion Forum asks:
“We adopted a 9-month-old Lab who is now 17 months old. Our main problem is that since we got her she has a habit of shredding paper that she finds around the house. She gets it from waste paper baskets in the bathroom, or pieces of paper left out on the coffee & end tables.
She has also torn up pens and one T.V. remote control unit. She has plenty of bones, both flavored and unflavored to chew on. She also has nuts for knots toys and stuffed toys, which she removes the stuffing from to play with. We don’t want to leave her in her crate all the time but this has become a real problem. What can we do to stop this behavior?”
What surprises new dog owners the most? I’d say it’s how much time their new dog should be spending in the kennel-crate. The dog (or puppy) should have NO UNSUPERVISED time outside of the crate, just like a toddler or human baby cannot be left alone– until they are older.
What this means is: You cannot take your eyes off your new dog without him getting into any kind of trouble. Just assume it’s going to happen, if you do. Trust me, it will. This is tough for a lot of people to understand. Because it’s usually accompanied with, “I just left him alone for a few moments, while I went to the bathroom.” Believe me… your cute little puppy has the devil living inside of him. And he’s just waiting for his next opportunity to get into trouble. What he needs is for YOU to supervise him and teach him what is acceptable and what is unacceptable behavior.
Puppies should not be left in the house unsupervised until they’re at least one year old. Sometimes longer, if you’ve consistently made mistakes by leaving him unsupervised. Dogs that are already adults when you adopt them can sometimes be left alone after six or seven months of consistent crating and supervision. It depends on the individual dog.
What most new dog owners don’t realize is that: Dogs spend roughly 80% of any 24 hour cycle either sleeping or resting. All we’re doing with the kennel-crate is telling the dog that he needs to do all of that sleeping in one spot. So, to summarize: The only times your new dog should not be in the crate is when:
– He’s being exercised.
– During supervised play time.
– During training-time (which is the same as play time for puppies)
– When your puppy is being taken to his “elimination spot” outside.
– During meals.
“Well, what if I just want to hang out with my dog?” many owners will ask. Yes, yes… that’s fine. As long as one of your eyeballs is GLUED to your dog. If you can’t keep one eye on your dog AT ALL TIMES… then he needs to be in the crate. (Or outside, in a confined kennel-run where he cannot get into trouble!) Pay close attention to what I’m sharing with you, here. It is one of the most important secrets to raising a phenomenal companion dog who will ultimately be an absolute joy to live with. And later– you won’t even need to use the crate, although I can almost guarantee that your dog will grow attached to it, as his own little den.
Enjoy your dog,
– Adam Katz