The Pros and Cons of Crate Training Your Puppy

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Article by: Stefan Hyross

It is a debate that has been going on for decades: to crate or not to crate your dog? That is the question. ‘Crating’ simply means putting your dog in a cage usually while you are away form your home or to calm your pooch. These cages are usually made form plastic or metal cage for a certain period of time during the day or night.

Those in favor of crate training argue that a crate provides a dog with a safe haven, at place to call its own. The dog feels safe in his little home within the home as familiar smells and objects surround him. The dog can retreat to his crate from fearful noises or boisterous children.

Another advantage of crate training is that it can make potty training that much easier. Dogs will usually avoid soiling their ‘den’ and will wait until they are able to go outside to relieve themselves.

For those against the use of crates, their main argument is that locking a dog in a crate goes against a dog’s nature. As pack animal a dog will naturally want to wonder or travel through their territory. Some people are also have an issue with the size of the crate which is usually just large enough for the dog to turn around in. Having a dog in a confined space removes the dog’s ability to explore its environment and soak up stimulating sights and smells.

Another disadvantage, according to the opponents of crate training, is that some puppies may still relieve themselves in the crate and if left unattended this can be an unhealthy environment for them. They argue that crating an animal is not done for the benefit of the dog but for the convenience of the dog owner.

There are always two sides to every story and the debate on crate training in no different with each side presenting their arguments for and against it. If a few general rules of thumb are followed, there is most likely no harm, and most probably some good can come had from the use of crate training. It is widely accepted that keeping a dog in a crate for excessive periods of time can have negative effects for the dog. Dogs need plenty of exercise and being locked up in a small space is preventing them from any exercise while it may force them to “hold it” for much longer than is reasonable. Ideally, a dog should not be crated for more than two hours maximum.

On the down side some dogs have been known to injure themselves, sometimes quite badly, due to anxiety or frustration from being crated. Keep an eye for sharp edges on the crate and it is a good idea to remove the dog’s collar to avoid it becoming a choking hazard if it were to get caught on something.

One of the advantages of crate training is that it makes it easier for dog owners to take their pet on car, train or even plane trips. Pets who are used to a crate will feel comfortable in the familiar-smelling environment in what would normally be a time of stress.

Critics of crating suggest that other than short trips to the store or friend’s house, dogs tend to do better when in familiar territory. So it might be better to leave pets at home. However, if you do decide to take them on that trip, make sure that the crate is well constructed to avoid any accidents.

This debate probably will not be decide anytime soon. Try to determine how your dog feels about the crate. You may want to try leave the crate door open to if they want to go in on their own. It may be better to let your dog decide for itself.

Dog Crates – Which One Best Suits Your Dog?

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Article by: Chris Smith

Crate training has become very popular for dog owners today. Especially when you initially bring a puppy home. Using a dog crate can give you peace of mind knowing that your pet will not destroy your house while you are at work and is also an invaluable tool throughout the house training process.

However, using a crate that does not suit the dog can result in disastrous results. Choosing a properly sized and crafted crate can be the difference between a happily crate trained dog and a terrified, destructive animal. With most dogs, crate training takes some time and patience on the part of the owner.

A successfully crate trained dog is certainly worth the effort. They will calmly wait in their crate for their owners to return, and even if they are left to roam free, the crate can serve as a safe place where they can rest or retreat if they become scared while left alone.

Choosing the Right Dog Crate

If you are new to crate training or dog ownership in general, you may be surprised at the number of crate types available. The local pet supply shop will most likely have a few options in stock, but you will probably find a better selection and lower prices if you look online. Here are some tips on choosing the crate that is best for your dog.

Sizing – The most important thing to consider is the size of your dog. The dog crate should be sized according to the dog’s expected fully grown height and weight. This can be hard to judge if you are buying the crate for a puppy or a young dog, which is when most people initiate crate training.

Err on the larger size, since a crate that becomes too small as your dog grows can reverse any progress you have made so far in their training. Even if you do not plan on using crate training forever, a crate that can accommodate your dog throughout their lifespan can be helpful in case you have guests, if they become sick and need to be confined for a period of time, or when your dog simply needs a place to retreat that is entirely their own.

Your dog should be able to stand up in their crate with their head held high, as well as have an ability to turn around easily. If at any time it appears that your dog is hitting their head on the crate ceiling or cannot turn around, it is important to buy a new and larger crate immediately. A dog crate that is too small can cause a safety hazard if your dog becomes upset while in the crate.

Material – Most people think of a dog crate and envision a large plastic box with wire slats in the front and sides. This type of crate, known as a flight kennel, can be used for crate training. However, some dogs find it claustrophobic and it may not be comfortable for extended periods of time due to their rectangular shape.

A traditional dog crate that can be used in the home is a metal pen. These are generally collapsible, making them ideal for dog owners living in tight spaces or who prefer to only use the crate for a short period of time. Metal crates have intertwined wires, like a fence.

It is important to choose a pen that will be able to withstand your dog’s strength. Thin wire is likely to hold a smaller canine. Larger dogs can push through, bend or even bite through thinner wire crates. Just because a crate is large enough for your dog does not mean that it is made from a very strong material. Test it before use, and if your dog does break any of the wire, clip them off cleanly or replace the crate to ensure your dog can not get scratched or otherwise injured.

Today’s Designer Crates

Metal and plastic were traditionally the only options for dog crates. However, crates are now available in other materials, such as wood, that makes the crate look more like a piece of furniture than a cage.

If the dog crate will be in plain view, consider a wood crate (or wicker crate) that fits in with your home. Since these are most likely handcrafted, ensure that the slats are close enough together that the dog cannot slip a paw through and get stuck. Also, if you have a large or extremely rambunctious dog, they may be able to break or gnaw through the wood; therefore, this may be a purchase better left until you are sure that your dog is comfortable with crate training. Until then, stick with a metal or plastic crate that can stand up to any escape attempts.

An appropriately sized dog crate can be an excellent tool for training, and when your puppy grows older, the crate will become his den where he can retreat and enjoy his own space in the home.

Dog Agility Guide

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Dog are a fantastic edition to any family but like all youngsters they need training. If you do not train your puppy now it will take a serious amount of help from a training school to get him to be obedient later on. Puppies just like babies learn mostly in their early years and unfortunately will also pick up the bad habits also. Early attention will save you heartache later on and give you more quality time.

House Training:

Dogs has to go to the toilet, everybody has experienced a new puppy making a mess on the tiles or carpet, not a pleasant experience but one that allows you begin training. You should allow your dog out on regular intervals; he will learn that this is the time to go to the toilet. If he happens to go in the house let him know that this is wrong by using a familiar word such as “No” and put him in the yard for a few minutes. Do not hit your dog, by doing so you will only break his spirit and make him nervous of you and others. It can by very frustrating at times but words work better long term and hitting. Never ever put the dogs nose into his urine, so many people do this thinking it is a good way for the dog to learn his lesson but in actual fact all you are doing is burning the animals nose, this is equally as bad as hitting.

Furniture and your puppy:

Teething can be a bit of a nightmare but you can eliminate the damage caused by puppies to furniture in a number of different ways. Boredom is a common cause for dogs to get up to mischief. Make yourself available for about 20 minutes playtime per day (excluding walking). Playing ball in the yard is a great exercise for the dog and apart from exercise it bonds you and him together. Toys are ideal in the house and will occupy the dog, if there are no toys such as a chewy bone the dog will find other ways especially if you pop down for some shopping and leave him alone – the furniture will get it. Different types of sprays are available to spray on the furniture and can be very effective. Remember to change the toys around from time to time as the dog will become bored with the same toys month in month out.


Starting your puppy on a lead can be comical. It will take some time for them to get used to being on the leash but once they do it will be no problem. A dog will try to pull you along as this is in their nature. Do not run with the dog as this is giving in and they will expect this all the time. Put the dog on a short leash (not to short) and it will discourage them from trying to dictate the pace. After a week or so both you and the dog will be at ease with one another on the walk. Remember to bring the doggy bag with you. Starting off expect the dog to be curious of other dogs and new surroundings. Do not drag him along on the lead as this is his time for enjoyment.


Your dog has a different intestinal setup to you. So many people feed their dogs the same type of food as they eat themselves along with the dog food. Obesity in animals is common place along with humans. Do not feed your dog chocolate or other sweet foods as this will only lead to bowl problems. Dog food is designed to give the dog all the nutrients he will need to live healthily. Dog treats are available; they do not need our junk food. Check with your local vet or seek advice online for the amount of food your dog should consume on a daily basis.

Dog Treats:

Dog treats should be used as an incentive for obedience. Training a dog can be hard work and patients are needed. Basic training such as the command to sit should be rewarded with a dog treat. The dog will begin to understand that this is a good behaviour move and will do it less reluctantly with time.

Remember dogs will obey you more lovingly if treated properly without hitting; simple words will work much better than smacking. Make time for your dog, leaving a dog out the back yard day and night is no life, do not get a dog into the house under pressure from children, it has to be a well thought out decision. Find more information in dog training supplies

Grab useful hints in the sphere of house train a dog – this is your personal guide.

Trainer: There are always warning signs before dog attack

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Article by: Sandra Haros/KTAR

A Valley dog trainer said there are warning signs before a dog attack.

“There are always warning signs of some kind. With some breeds, it’s far more difficult to read or to see. And in some cases the warning signs are just basically downplayed as the dog is just being a dog,” said Leighton Oosthuisen, training director at Partners Dog Training in Cave Creek.

He said he’s horrified over the case of the Mesa newborn that was attacked and killed by a Chow, the family pet.

A chow is actually a fighting breed, like Rottweilers and Dobermans, Oosthuisen said. He said there are better-suited breeds for homes with babies, but, “The most important thing to look at is how does the dog behave. If they’re calm and relaxed around the child, then they should be okay. If they are displaying much higher drive or excitable behavior or territorial behavior, then that is a high-risk situation that needs to be addressed.”

Oosthuisen said parents often ignore warning signs when it comes to pets and babies. “Unfortunately, as parents we have to address these things. And a lot of times people don’t like to give up the family pet because they don’t think it may get to this. Certain breeds have a very high risk of this type of behavior.”

Oosthuisen added, “The more domesticated a dog, the better they are around children. Breeds such as Siberian Huskies, the chows, the Akitas, dogs of that nature — all of which I happen to love, so it’s not a personal opinion — but those dogs are just generally a little bit wilder, a little bit aloof and more independent, and so therefore they’re just not as responsive toward a child.”

The Mesa attack may be leaving parents of small children uneasy, but Oosthuisen said he’s certain the parents didn’t pick up on the red flags.

“There are signs where might have been growling before, might have been displaying territorial behavior. Or may just have been way too excited or excitable around the baby.”

He urged all parents to get a professional to evaluate the family pet and Oosthuisen said you should never leave a baby alone with any animal.

Have a healthy New Year with a dog in your life

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Article by: Emily Randolph

Matthew McConaughey has the right idea. Dogs are great for our health. If you haven’t already added a furry four-footed friend to your family, add one as part of your New Year’s resolutions to becoming healthier! And please rescue a dog from one of our local shelters, swollen past capacity due to our economic climate. You will save a life and give yourself a big boost, too.

According to the American Pet Products Association, dogs (and cats, too) help with the following:

* Lower Blood Pressure – A recent study at the State University of New York at Buffalo found that people with hypertension who adopted a pet had lower blood pressure readings in stressful situations than did those who did not own one.

* Reduce Stress – Walking with a pet helps to sooth nerves and offers instant relaxation. The impact of a stressful situation is lesser on pet owners, especially males, than on those who do not own a pet.

* Prevent Heart Disease – Because pets provide people with faithful companionship, research shows they may also provide their owners with greater psychological stability, thus a measure of protection from heart disease.

* Lower Health Care Costs – People with pets actually make fewer doctor visits, especially for non-serious medical conditions.

* Fight Depression and Loneliness, promoting an interest in life.

A new study by researchers from Stanford University and the University of California also indicate that pets boost the immune system, even reducing one’s chance of developing non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Exposure to allergens – from pets – could boost the immune system as well, particularly in children born into households with pets.

Proper training should come with holiday pups

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It happens every year.

Parents want to teach their children responsibility and have fun at the same time, so they get a puppy for Christmas.

Unfortunately after the initial excitement wears off, the parents end up shouldering the burden of the new family member, who often does not want to play by the rules.

According to Dani Edgerton, owner and operator of Columbiana’s A Place for Paws, which offers both doggy day care and dog training, a lot of people bring puppies to be trained shortly after Christmas, seeking to have those unruly Christmas gifts taught to behave.

Properly training a dog is important if the owner and pet are to maintain a happy relationship over the course of the dog’s life, Edgerton said.

“Generally any type of training helps in the next step, so proper training is essential to a happy relationship with a well-behaved dog,” she said. “If

you never develop leadership over the dog, then it is less likely to work for you

in other aspects.”

For those who are considering purchasing a puppy for Christmas, or have already done so, Edgerton offers some advice that she thinks will make life much easier for both the humans and the canine.

Appropriateness: “Make sure the dog is appropriate for the household,” she said. Some dogs are naturally more active than others, so homes with small children or older pets should be aware of the dog’s breed. Do your research before the purchase.

Training: “Start training basic behaviors at the very beginning,” she said. Behaviors such as sitting, lying down, waiting and coming when called can be taught early to avoid any future problems with more difficult issues.

Rewarding: “Understand what is rewarding to your dog and reward the desired behavior,” she said. Dogs react differently to certain actions than humans, so sometimes an action like pushing a jumping puppy away is the reward, not the punishment.

Classes: “A dog’s actions can be misunderstood, so getting them in training classes not only helps the puppy, but the owners, as well, because they can ask questions and learn what things mean,” she said. New owners can also read training books to learn why dogs act a certain way.

Edgerton also offered answers to three popular questions once training has begun.

How to eliminate pulling on the leash: Never reward the dog for pulling on the leash; do not go somewhere because it pulls in that direction, say “no” and wait for the undesirable action to stop. Then reward the dog for walking loosely.

How to stop the dog from jumping: Ignore the undesirable behavior; if the dog jumps, do not acknowledge it. Wait until the dog sits calmly, and then reward it.

How to create reliable recall: Remember that “come” should mean good things, not punishment; if the dog is rewarded for answering its master’s call, it will be more likely to do so. A positive relationship can be established by playing recall games in which the dog must come when called. And always make sure to catch the dog, or the “coming” is useless.

Questions to ask before buying a puppy, according to the American Kennel Club’s Web site,

- How big will the dog get?

- How old will he be before he acts like an adult dog?

- How protective will the dog be?

- How often will the dog need to be groomed?

- How does he get along with other animals?

- How long can he be left alone at home?

- How much exercise does the dog need?

- What are the best training methods for this dog?

- What possible health problems might this dog develop?

Holiday plants toxic to dogs

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Article by: Emily Randolph

Emily is in the kitchen making Happy and me some holiday cookies (recipes to follow) so I’m taking over the keyboard. I’m no spring pup, and I’ve learned some hard lessons in my life, including eating things that I shouldn’t have. I want to warn you young things out there that not everything you want to chew on is good for you. Tell your owners to be hyper vigilant. Expect a very large stomachache or something far worse should you get into the below holiday items. Trust me; it’s not worth it. You will cause your owner a great deal of worry, and on top of that, there will be a very large vet bill!

The following holiday plants are poisonous to us dogs if ingested. If you become ill with seizures, vomiting, losing consciousness, or breathing difficulty, have your owner telephone ahead and bring you immediately to your local veterinarian or emergency veterinary clinic.:

•    Poinsettia

•    Mistletoe

•    Holly

•    Amaryllis, Narcissus, Daffodil

•    The Christmas tree!

Other holiday no-nos – chocolate: Because it is the holidays, there’s likely to be lots of lovely chocolate lying around. Cocoa / chocolate contains theobromine, a compound that is a cardiac stimulant and a diuretic, and can cause death in us dogs. If gluttony gets the best of you, and you do consume chocolate (or cocoa mulch in the garden), your owner will need to take you immediately to the emergency room or your vet. You might not have an immediate reaction but by the time you do, it could be too late. My cousin, Mackie, in fact, has suffered extensively from his lust for chocolate. His owners didn’t realize the extent of his Olympic jumping prowess, and he hopped up on a bar-high counter and pigged out on a bowl of chocolate. He had to have his stomach pumped. The nurse said it was an experience that even put her off chocolate!

New dog for Christmas

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Article by: Emily Randolph

If you have decided to get a puppy or adult dog for Christmas, do consider the animal’s welfare above all else. The holidays are a chaotic time, and your new companion will be nervous in his new home.

Boundaries – we all need them!: To help your dog settle in, make sure he does not have the run of the house (for example, keep bedroom doors closed; partition off the dining room; gate off the second floor at the bottom of the stairs, etc.) If he’s a puppy, consider a play pen so you don’t have to watch him while you are doing things that need your full attention, like cooking. It isn’t uncommon for a new dog to be destructive in the house. Help him and you by minimizing his opportunities.

Toys, exercise, & games:  Give him lots of exercise and plenty of safe toys to play with both on his own and with you. There are so many fun games to play inside the house and out. My personal favorite with a new puppy or young dog is hide and seek. You hide and call for him, “Buddy, COME!’ letting him find you. Reward him with a treat and a big happy YEAH! Wait to you see the wag of his tail when he finds you! This little game is also helpful in teaching him the ‘come’ command.

Kennel / crate training. Furthermore, to help with his transition, make sure he gets plenty of quiet time. To achieve this, crate training your new dog is ideal. A proper sized kennel with comfortable padding will be a great solace to an animal feeling anxious or unsure. And it will serve him well his whole life. Consider it his hideaway. Everyone needs one.

When introducing a crate to a dog, you want to make it as attractive to him as possible. Make it a HAPPY place! You may need to do it in stages:

Stage 1: Throw a couple of treats into the kennel while he’s watching, saying happily ‘Cookies!’ or something similarly upbeat and wonderful, then walk away. Let him go in and get them and come out again. Do this several times through the course of the day (or several days) until he gets the hang of going in and out on his own.

Stage 2: Next, throw in some treats, say ‘Cookies!’, let him go in and then gently close the door – not locking it, just closing it so he can get out on his own. Again, do this several times over the course of the day or a few days. However long you feel your dog needs. Then, when you think he’s ready, on to Stage 3.

Stage 3: When your dog is happy to go in and out of his crate, the next step is to close and lock the door behind him when he enters to go after his treats. Tell him Good Boy! and walk away. DO NOT open the door if he starts whining. Only open the crate door when he is quiet. Otherwise, he will know that whining gets him released, and then my friend, he is training you!

Bringing a new dog home for the holidays can be a smooth transition with a little preparedness and foresight. Think ahead of all the things your new dog will need BEFORE he comes home, and it will be a happy holiday for all involved.

Homemade holiday dog treats

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Article by: Emily Randolph

Apparently, I have the dubious title of ‘most gluttonous of the Dog House’ so I was assigned to write this piece about making holiday dog treats from scratch. I heartily stand behind the idea of homemade treats because you can control the ingredients. It’s a four-paws-up and a-tail-wagging concept. I have personally taste-tested (of course) the below recipes, and think they are all woof-a-licious.

Note: When investigating and creating your own dog biscuits, be sure there are no onions or chocolate ingredients, as both can be toxic to canines.

Apple Cinnamon Doggie Biscuits
1 package apple, dried
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Tablespoon parsley, freeze-dried
1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
1 cup ice water
1/2 cup Corn Oil
5 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered milk
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon corn oil

Put the apples in a food processor so those pieces are small. Combine in a bowl all of the ingredients — can add oil or water if dough is too dry. Using a rolling pin roll out dough to about 3/16″ thick (can make thinner or thicker). Using a cookie cutter – cut into shapes — place on cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for approx. 20 -25 minutes (until golden).

3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup quick oats – uncooked
1 cups hot water
1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
2 eggs- lightly beaten
3 to 4 tablespoons peanut butter- smooth
2 to 3 tablespoons of your favorite nutritional supplement

Combine peanut butter, hot water, oil, and eggs in a bowl. Mix until smooth. Set aside. Combine flour, cornmeal, and oats in a separate bowl. Mix well. Pour the bowl of the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients. Mix well with hand mixer until dough forms.

Knead dough on a floured board until no longer sticky. Add flour as needed. Roll out dough to inch thickness. Cut into shape with a floured bone shape cookie cutter. Place on a lightly greased or non-stick cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes, or until firm to the touch. Remove from oven and let cool until hard. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. (Dough can be frozen for later use.)

Cheese Biscuits
1 1/2 c. Flour
1 1/4 c. Grated Cheddar
1/4 c. Veg. Oil
4 Tbl. Water

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Cream the ingredients together, adding the water one tablespoon at a time to help bind the dough. When it begins to form a ball, roll it out on a floured surface, using cookie cutters, cut the dough into fun shapes and place on cookie sheet. Bake approx. 10 min. until lightly browned. Makes about 30 med. size biscuits.

Dog-friendly tips for merry holidays

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In the spirit of the season, Bark Busters, the dog training company, offers helpful tips for the estimated 44.8 million U.S. dog owners on keeping their dogs safe and happy during the holidays.

“In planning for this season’s holiday festivities, it is important to keep your pets in mind. While most of us welcome the sights, sounds and smells of the season, holidays can also be chaotic – especially for dogs,” says Lisa Holzer, dog behavioral therapist and trainer for Bark Busters USA. “Holiday festivities can disrupt a dog’s routine and present potentially dangerous circumstances. But by following a few common-sense tips, the holidays can be cheery for everyone – including the family dog.”

Christmas trees can lead to problems with curious canines. To prevent the tree from tipping, anchor it to the ceiling or wall. Hang nonbreakable ornaments near the bottom. Since tinsel can be deadly if eaten – it can twist within the intestines, causing serious problems – do not use it.

Don’t let dogs drink the Christmas tree water. Chemicals that help the tree last longer can cause severe indigestion in dogs.

Holiday plants and greens can cause health problems. Pine needles, if eaten, can puncture holes in your dog’s intestines; regularly sweep them up to avoid a trip to the emergency animal clinic. Mistletoe, poinsettias and amaryllis can be toxic, so keep pets away from them.

Many snow globes contain antifreeze, which is extremely toxic to dogs – so it’s best to keep snow globes and all antifreeze out of the reach of a happy, tail-wagging dog. If there is an antifreeze spill of any kind, send your dog out of the room while cleaning up the liquid. Dilute the spot with water and floor cleaner to make sure your dog does not lick these harmful chemicals later.

Holiday sweets are not dog treats. Candy, cookies, cakes, peppermints – and especially chocolate – can trigger life-threatening illnesses in dogs. Keep sweets out of the dog’s reach.

Make no bones about it. Turkey and chicken bones are not for dogs. They can easily break, causing choking or bone shards getting stuck in your dog’s gums. Give “dog bones” specifically designed for dogs to chew….

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