Author - Junior Watson

Q&A: How to deal with an aggressive small dog?

dog-jumpingMy dog (4yrs, pit terrier- about 45 pounds) came from a large yard to a town-home community late last year. She’s acclimated fairly well to the leash/harness and it’s training after some struggles.

We have a neighboring home that has two dogs — a larger pit bull type and a tiny toysized dog. This neighbor frequently lets his tiny dog roam (without the owner being around) and has shown aggression to not only my dog but me as well when we encounter each other.

When I’m lucky enough to see the tiny dog in advance, I try to pick up mine for her safety. However, there are times Dixie struggles down and attempts to protect me before I get her away from the situation as quickly as possible. After these encounters, my dog is very mopey and disinterested in her toys or even sitting next to us on the couch. The welfare of my dog is my highest priority. How do I handle this in the future when I encounter this dog on one of our walks? ~Cassandra

Hello! I love all subjects related to dog socialization, because I think it is a very important subject. Let’s see if I can help you!

So, first of all, though I love all dogs and try to understand their behavior no matter the breed, I honestly can’t think of a single toy breed off hand that was solely bred for its intelligence. In fact, many experts say some small breeds aren’t able to perceive size, so don’t actually understand the danger they put themselves in.

On top of poor breeding practices, many owners of these small breeds (Chihuahuas are notorious) never bother to try to socialize their dogs at a young age. I can easily see exactly what you are talking about; I’ve both seen personally and heard many stories of these smaller dogs running right up on animals 30 times their size and acting very aggressive. Understand this isn’t ultimately the small dog’s fault; it should have been the owner’s responsibility to socialize their pet, or control it if they can’t.

What You Can Do
You probably can’t control how this small dog acts, since he isn’t yours. If I had this problem, I wouldn’t think twice about talking to the owner. Be polite and courteous about the situation, no matter how furious your neighbor’s lack of responsibility makes you, because that way your neighbor is most likely to listen to what you have to say.

Ask your neighbor to please keep their dog off of your property.
You might suggest having a fence installed. 3-4 ft. chicken wire is all that is needed for most toy breeds, and not that expensive.
Politely explain the danger the neighbor’s dog places himself in by confronting other dogs.
If nothing else works, you might threaten to contact animal control. This should get your neighbor to step up. Though this may mean the smaller dog ends up being sheltered, it is preferable to death. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that. This way, you also have a record of having contacted animal control, if you ever do end up facing legal matters.

No pet owner should simply let their dogs roam around un-restricted; that is very irresponsible! Other animals aside, what if they get hit by a car? What if they end up chasing other animals and run off? What kind of pet owner allows their dogs to roam free with so many possibly dangerous outcomes?

Your Dog
If these two dogs end up fighting physically, my worry for you would be about the legal repercussions you and your pet may face if your mix ends up killing the smaller dog. Look up the laws and pet regulations in your district. Be sure you are prepared if your fears do come true, and capable of handling the outcomes. You also have to worry about your neighbor’s larger dog reacting in defense of the smaller.

Next time you see your vet, try asking for advice. Also, make sure your dog is updated on all vaccinations so she doesn’t end up contracting anything from these other two. If your dog is leash reactive around these other two, there are good YouTube videos available for free on how to handle the situation.

In the End
You can’t ultimately control what your neighbors do, and can’t be responsible for their dogs too. But you can prepare yourself to handle any outcome you might face. Try to be extra vigilant on your walks, and avoid that area or walk the other direction if you need. ~Cassandra

Q&A: Help! My dog is now barking at children!

teach-your-dog-to-sitI have a one year old boxer/red heeler mix named Abby. We’ve had her since she was three months old. At four months we started taking her to the dog park daily and she never showed any fear of adults or kids. As she got older, around 8 or 9 months, she started barking out the windows when people walked by, but nothing too severe. She is now a year old and we’ve recently moved. Her barking inside the house got much worse after moving, but with training it is slowly improving. Where she used to bark once or twice but then greet strangers at the door, we now make her go to her crate when someone knocks at the door because she is so insistent with her barking.

The real problem, though, is that she now barks at kids. A few times people have brought their kids to the dog park and Abby goes nuts. She won’t get too close to them, but runs a circle around them, barking so fast it becomes a howl, almost like she is baying at them. She never barks at adults or dogs outside our home, and inside the home she is never so amped up that I can’t get her attention with treats, but when she sees a kid, she won’t listen to commands or pay attention to treats. I know the obvious answer is to carefully desensitize her to kids over time, but we don’t have kids or know anyone who does. Having just moved, we hardly know anyone at all. She only rarely runs into kids when they come to the dog park. I’m afraid though that if she continues to go without socialization with kids, her fear will get worse and eventually turn into aggression. ~Lisa Taylor

This behavior could be partially due to your pup’s instincts. Australian Cattle Dogs (Red Heelers) are very energetic dogs, known to sometimes ‘nip’ at or try to herd family members in some direction. To several herding breeds, in fact, the line between children and small animals can sometimes blur a bit. Without observing, if I had to guess, I would say this might be impacting your little one’s behavior.

Others might say your dog may have developed some sort of anxiety related to children, but I would lean toward the above explanation a bit more.

As far as barking as strangers walk by or knock at your door, that is very natural behavior for many breeds, but especially one bred to herd with a known protective instinct. You mentioned ‘fear’; are you sure it is fear she has toward other children?
It’s impressive that you mentioned desensitization. That’s exactly what I would suggest, or at least slow socialization. So, you don’t have any relatives or friends with kids, but you could try:

Signing up for ‘obedience’ classes. I personally think they are better for building social skills than anything obedience related, but they do teach a few useful skills.

Talk to neighbors. Ask your neighbors to hand your dog a treat that you give them on your dog walks. This will help teach your pup strangers (or kids) aren’t a threat to fear.

Building Social Skills: I don’t know of any other way to adapt a dog to new situations, people, and kids without introducing and socializing them with kids. Socialization is actually one of the most important things you’ll ever train into any dog. It’s important to start this as early as possible! At one, your pup is nearing adulthood; you don’t have a lot of time left before this becomes a more difficult process. At most dog parks, there is an area for small dogs, and an area for larger dogs. You could try the small one so your dog is easier to get ahold of, and purchasing a harness with ‘don’t pet’ signed on it. For your walks, ‘Gentle Leaders’ are good training tools to discourage pulling.

Q&A: How do we get our dog ready for our RV lifestyle?

sad-dogWe have a 7 y/o Pyrador, altered male, lots of energy, super-guardian, barks at cars going by and intruders; has bitten one intruder (a friend he didn’t know;) and he doesn’t like men as much as women. In the next 6-9 months, we are taking him away from 3 rural acres (we currently live in the country bordering a national forest) where he can run to his heart’s desire. We are moving into a 5th-wheel RV while we tour the nation for our retirement. He will have to be on a leash or lead at all times and will have strangers around him at all time (whom he will bark his head off at). How do we make this drastic change in his lifestyle? We are healthy owners and plan to walk him often, but we know the barking and restraint will be a problem.  Thank you, Kyla F.

So- think of the breeds that went into your mix. Labs are normally considered fairly docile and people oriented, but the Great Pyrenees is a different story. This is a powerful breed conceived with a very protective instinct, and are known to bark at just about everything. It’s not his fault at all, just the purpose for which he was bred.

It sounds to me the most important thing you need to consider is working on social skills, especially if he is aggressive toward strangers right now. I’m sorry to say, at 7 years old, that is not going to be easy. Dogs are most receptive to new experiences and welcome new encounters during puppyhood, specifically 12-16 months. It can be much harder to socialize a grown adult. It’s not his fault at all; even if he is fantastically social, this is a breed that will bark at unfamiliar things encroaching his territory.

You can try rewarding him for allowing strangers to approach, asking strangers to hand him treats, etc. Show him strangers aren’t a threat. You can contact a certified animal behaviorist if you have the money to afford one (be sure he is an actual certified behaviorist, and not just a trainer), which could offer one on one help.

If you are going to be around kids or other strangers are likely to approach while you’re away, I would certainly suggest keeping him inside as opposed to outside on the leash.

Consider a body harness with a sign, something like ‘don’t approach, or ‘do not pet’. I’m sure you’ve seen the harnesses that service dogs wear, with signs alerting strangers not to pet? Don’t go with those exact colors, but something that stands out.

Try this Training Method:
When your dog is barking, say “Quiet” in a calm (don’t show any emotion), firm voice. Wait until he stops barking, even if it’s just to take a breath, then praise him and give him a treat. Just be careful to never reward him while he’s barking. Eventually he will figure out that if he stops barking at the word “quiet” he gets a treat (and make it a delicious treat, such as cheese or chicken, to make it worth more than the barking.)

You might consider investing in a ‘bark’ collar. Not all ‘shock’ or jolt your pup; many of the new ones will offer a sound and vibration correction as well. You can also talk to your vet concerning mood altering medications, such as those used to treat excess anxiety or depression in dogs. Anxious dogs will often bark more.

As far as strangers entering your area or home while you are away, this is what GP’s were bred to prevent (as far as animals/predators) and it would be natural for your dog to show aggression. You might want to check the laws in the area you will be in regarding dogs, and prepare accordingly; not all will side with the homeowner (though it does seem ridiculous for any legal system to support an intruder).

Avoid muzzles that restrict your dog from panting, which any that prevent barking would probably do, but this could prevent dog bites.

Finally, I don’t like to suggest this and I’m sure you might cringe at the idea, but it is a preferred alternative to sheltering him. There is a surgery you can talk to your vet about that will ‘soften’ his bark.

Q&A: How do I get my dog to settle down?

My dog is a rescue that I adopted when he was 4 months old. He turned 1 year on Christmas day. He is a wonderful dog, and listens really well, usually. I even took him to puppy class at Petsmart, and he did well. The problem is when he meets new people or dogs. He LOVES everyone. But he gets so excited, he totally spazzes out. Whining and jumping on person or dog. Almost like he can’t get close enough. He stays close by my side when I am home with him. I have 4 other dogs, 3 Yorkies, and an Australian Shepard. And 3 cats. He gets along fine with all of them. Although he is a rough house player with the Aussie, and she is 4, so sometimes she doesn’t want to play as much as he does. How can I get him to settle down so I don’t have to put him in his crate when someone comes to visit? ~Sabrina 

Hello; I believe I can help shed some light!

It would help to know what breed/s went into your pup, as some breeds are higher energy than others. At least you have the social side down pat! It seems as if your little one is a bit too social.

You might try a few things. The first question most trainers will ask is- how much exercise does your little one get at home? Not enough physical stimulation might lead to outbursts like this. The reactions you describe are also often natural responses from a happy, well socialized dog, especially a highly energetic puppy, eager to play.

By acting out like that, dogs are looking for a response from others. You might also try asking company to completely ignore the dog; he should settle down once he learns his outbursts don’t get him anywhere. From the amount of pets you describe, it certainly seems like attention seeking behavior.

Without physically observing/meeting the dog, I would recommend increasing his daily exercise. Take him for walks. Play games with him. ‘Hide & Seek’, whereby you hide a toy or treat somewhere in the house and let him search for it, is a fantastically stimulating game (though you’ll need to train/teach the game first).

Puppies are high energy anyway; he (sadly) won’t always be that way! Aussies are also high energy breeds, so it is good your little one has a playful companion.

Q&A: I was attacked by a dog, now my dog is too protective

I have a medical alert dog who has always been very pleasant and quite submissive around other dogs. 2 months ago, I was attacked by a street dog in Mexico. Now I am finding that when we encounter dogs who stand and stare at us, rather than approach and sniff, my service dog’s reaction is to softly growl and become rigid. This is unacceptable as a service dog. How can I calm her fear that I will be attacked again, or that she must be defensive? I want her to feel safe and secure again, knowing that we will be fine. She was not harmed during the attack on me.~Greta 

Hello Greta! I believe I can help shed some light on your situation.

This is a very natural, protective reaction. Regardless whether the dog attacked you or your pet, the attack in itself could have had a traumatic impact on your dog. She is only acting in a protective manner. Unfortunately, she has learned that other dogs might pose a potential threat to her owner, and is now regarding these ‘encounters’ with suspicion.

Normally, I would tell you to begin focusing heavily on positive socialization and promoting friendly encounters by rewarding your pet for positive interactions, but your case is special. Service dogs are highly trained animals, subject to a unique set of social guidelines.

I would suggest reaching out to the organization who has initially trained and supplied your service dog; they will likely be able to offer a more complete answer, as well as better help, than anyone else. Don’t settle for just any dog trainer, as very few dog trainers have any actual experience with service animals or animal behavior.

You can also reach out to an accredited animal behaviorist in your area. In any case, it is important you contact a credible trainer with experience handling service dogs.

Take a look at this article. Specifically, the paragraph below, focusing on early socialization:

‘The most important rule of socializing Service Dogs in Training is to never, ever, ever, for any reason, force an SDiT to approach, interact with, touch or be on/near/with something that appears to frighten them. Forcing a puppy in training to engage when afraid ensures he’ll never form positive associations with the object, person, place, surface, equipment or situation. Instead of forcing your SDiT, always keep high-value treats with you and use them to encourage a suspicious puppy to explore a situation of his own accord. If you lay a solid foundation of socialization that rewards a puppy in new situations, you’ll create a confident learner who thoroughly enjoys circumstances he’s never encountered ’(anything Pawsable).

I understand your dog is no longer in training, and almost certainly no longer a puppy, but this still holds true. Your dog will need to learn not to expect possible threats everywhere, because that isn’t her purpose. Like the snippet suggests, I also wouldn’t force any interactions.

Before you do anything that may impact the original training, consult with either an accredited service dog trainer, a behaviorist, or the original supplier that connected you with your dog.

From my experience, the only way to calm your pet and give her confidence other animals pose no threat is to focus on socialization with strange dogs you may pass (only after consulting with the owner) and counter-conditioning, to answer your original question. Unfortunately, you can’t always be sure how other strange dogs will react, despite anything their owners may claim, so use caution.

You Must Appear Confident
Dogs read our body language very closely, and often react to it, so it is important you always try to promote an air of calm security and confidence. Try not to appear afraid or insecure, or lose your temper in any way, around other animals.

Q&A: Should I adopt two littermates?

I have a 6-month old cavalier that we have had for 2 months. She has adapted well to our home life and is doing well in her obedience and trick classes. We are enjoying her so much that we would like to adopt her sister. I know that littermate syndrome is a problem. We would take both dogs to obedience training (each with their own person). Do you think the problems that are often seen with littermates might be less since they have lived apart for 2 months? ~Wendy

Hello Wendy,

I think I can help you there! Socialization questions are actually some of my favorite.

I’m guessing this is the breed you are talking about? Tell you the truth, breed is beside the point for your question; social development is much the same in every dog breed. So, let’s tackle your concerns!

Puppies do first begin to develop important social skills among litter-mates, vital to lifelong growth. Since you’ve been immersing your pup in a social environment with several other handlers and puppies (the classes you’ve spoke of), she has continued to strengthen these skills. In my opinion, the social contact your dog is getting in these classes is far more important to her lifelong development than the actual training you are paying for.

Remember those ‘priceless’ commercials on television? You might say ‘Obedience training can be bought, but social skills are priceless!’ That being said, keep it up! The socialization puppies get in these classes is fantastic; every owner should do this!

I don’t think you have to worry about Littermate Syndrome, especially since your puppy has already been building upon her social skills by meeting and interacting with so many other humans/pets.

Her sister might be a separate issue, but as long as you continue to focus on socialization training for both of them, introducing them to other animals/people and ensuring each experience is a positive one, they should be fine.

Dogs are more prone to developing ‘Littermate Syndrome’, or fear around other humans/dogs in general, if they either receive no social contact outside their siblings, negative social contract, or are very poorly socialized. As long as you keep doing what you are doing, both will grow to be happy and social dogs!

I always like to point out- it is far easier to socialize a puppy. Trying to build social skills in a poorly trained adult can be much harder to near impossible.

Q&A: Help! My puppy doesn’t like his collar?

Hello, we have a chihuahua puppy (4months) that we just got from the breeder. We put a collar on the dog and he is really reacting very negatively to the collar. We had the dog for about 2 weeks before we got the collar. Our mistake for sure. But during that 2 weeks the dog was very happy, playful, engaging, just a good dog. But we have to get a collar on him in order to train him and be able to keep him from running off as he is getting more and more adventurous. So now the dog is really acting like he is being tortured. He will not walk around now he just lays in his bed or under a chair. He is whining and acting like the collar is hurting him. We have checked and it is not too tight and there should be no reason why it would be hurting him. Its only been about 24 hours but this reaction seems extreme so I wanted to reach out. We are thinking to just leave it on him and he will eventually get over it but again since his reaction is so extreme we wanted to make sure we are doing the right thing. Thank you.~Gary

Hi Gary, I wouldn’t use a collar with a Chihuahua, or any other breed that size, due to their delicate body and potential for injury. My first bit of advice- consider investing in a harness for the wee one (pay close attention that it doesn’t apply pressure to the trachea). A good, effective harness for a dog that size shouldn’t run you much more than a standard collar would anyway, so cost really shouldn’t be a problem. He may not want to wear it at first regardless, so be prepared for at least a little bit of drama.

If your dog has gone this far without wearing a collar/harness, there is a good chance he simply won’t like the way it feels.

Now that that is out of the way, my next stop (if this unusually avoidant and skittish behavior continues) would be a basic veterinary check up, just to make sure there is no injury anywhere. In fact, I would highly advise you take him to see a veterinarian if you haven’t already, just to make sure he is in good medical condition. That should be one of the very first stops for any adoption.
Did you also get vaccination and registry paperwork from the breeder? Were you able to check on the medical history of his parents, or did the breeder not tell you? This is always important information to have, especially if you buy a dog you haven’t actually seen in person. Ignore this advice if you’ve already done all that!

On the training side, try looking into counterconditioning. Pair the collar (preferably harness) with praise, a cheerful attitude on your part, and treats every time you put it on him. Always present a confident and happy persona, avoiding any overly worried or anxious feelings (or at least don’t let him know you feel that way). Dogs often judge situations based on our reactions; you don’t want him to think you are insecure.

If this is your first dog, or/and you have little experience raising a puppy, don’t be afraid to read up on the breed, socialization training, and anything else you might have questions about. Chihuahuas are notorious for developing poor social skills, so be sure to get right out in front of that while he is still a puppy. Again, if you’ve already done this, go ahead and ignore that bit.

Q&A: Older dog not getting along with puppy – Segregate or not?

I’m not a trainer and have raised (successfully) many well adjusted rescues, some with serious baggage. My latest is guarding his kennel, inside and out. He’s 4 months (hound mix). He’s not aggressive, but his body language shows he could become so about it. I know the normal answers, keep the other dogs away from it, positive rewards w/ other dogs present, etc. I have one male (3yr old Cur) who constantly is pushing the puppy by going up to the kennel (smells the residual treats of course). I’ve always kept my pups in a kennel in my room where the older dogs tend to like to stay too. Keep the pup with the “pack”. I’m now thinking in this particular situation (with two younger dogs, in the past it’s been much older dogs with a pup) I should put the crate in another room behind closed doors during the day while at work?? I just don’t like segregating him. but I have a feeling they’re harassing each other during the day. They get along fine as these things go 90% of the time. I’ve only had the pup for three weeks (the other two dogs are still adjusting of course) and he has some fear based mannerisms we’re conquering, but he’ll be good, nothing major. The two in question are both hounds and by nature can be possessive. Segregate or not? What’s the worse thing can happen if that pup spend 6 hours a day 5 days a week in a room all by himself? ~Reggan

Hello! I think I can help you with your hound mix!

He’s still young and developing at 4 months, which is great! An older dog may be harder to work with, but this shouldn’t give you too many problems at all, as long as you’re patient. Let me break this down a bit:

-He’s showing possibly aggressive (defensive?) body language.
-You’re not sure what activity takes place during the day while you are gone.
-Do you know how their lives were prior to your adoption?

< div>I know you’ve heard this answer before, but I would use rewards and praise when other animals (or people) are around the crate, to reduce the guarding behavior. You want to teach your pup that it’s ok when other animals/people are around, they don’t mean to harm him and he’s safe. Be consistent with this, and eventually he will want you to be around. Incorporate praise as well as treats. Reward them both for being around each other. Turn it into a fun ‘game’ if you can.

I am going to go ahead and assume you have a pretty good amount of experience with socializing dogs, and the importance of socializing at a young age, since you’ve taken care of many. I’m also guessing by ‘kennel’ you mean a large crate and not a kennel type enclosure?

Though some may disagree with me, isolating your puppy for six hours a day is absolutely fine as long as you work on socialization activities and offer play/exercise when you are home. You’ll want to work up to this point to avoid any anxiety behaviors from developing (separation anxiety probably being the ‘worst’ case scenario). If you have very little time for training due to work, try to begin on a Friday and work throughout the weekend.

Keep in mind, ideally it would take more than 3 days to get your pup feeling comfortable with extended durations of isolation. At four months, he likely won’t be able to hold his bladder all day; try not to exceed six hours (should be your maximum at this point). The American Kennel Club offers several articles on crate training, only a click away- if you need extra sources.

If you aren’t sure how the larger dogs treat the smaller one while you are away, body language will usually help. Does the smaller one show any signs of submission or anxiety when the larger ones are around? Ears back? Tail tucked? Crouching? Shivering? Or is he completely happy and playful?

Once you have this guarding behavior taken care of, you shouldn’t need to isolate them. You can also consider setting up a small camera for observation purposes, if cost isn’t an obstacle.

Q&A: Help! Crate potty training issues.

Hi! We adopted a Beagle mix puppy when she was 5 weeks old. She is almost 6 months old now. We are really struggling with her going to the bathroom in the house. We did not crate her during the day when she was little because we live 30+ minutes from our offices and we did not think she could hold it several hours and certainly not all day. I kept her confined to our bathroom (which is big) with puppy pads, toys, water, etc. When she was big enough to stay outside with our older dog, she started doing that. Now the two of them stay out all day until we get home from work. She is only crated at night while we sleep. My question is, is it too late to house train her at this point if she’s still going in the house? It’s causing quite a bit of consternation. We try to keep rooms closed off but if they’re open at all during home time, she finds a way to pee or poop on our bedroom carpets.

If crate training is the recommendation, how long should she be left in it at the time? And how long will we have to do this? I feel so badly for dogs that are in crates all day and all night! Hopefully it won’t take too long, but I’ve got to get her trained even if it means my husband and I alternating coming home for lunch every day indefinitely.

We also have a big biting problem, which worries me for my small children, but I’m going to try obedience training for that. We do have chew toys, bones, and all the recommended things. Hoping its a phase she grows out of … ~Aubrey

Hello Aubrey!

I think I can help you with your beagle! It seems like you have two separate problems, so let me address both.

First, I want to touch on this biting issue, because that can potentially become a much bigger problem. This seems like much more of a behavioral concern, one that simple obedience training (by definition is meant to teach a dog to obey commands, such as sit, stay, recall, etc.) probably won’t actually help you with. Not all dog trainers have much actual behavioral experience, and even fewer yet are college accredited behaviorists (which is who I would suggest reaching out to).

Depending on the severity of this ‘biting problem’, I urge you to contact an accredited animal behaviorist and not rely on simple obedience training- both for the safety of your Beagle, and others who live with you, especially small children who may not understand boundaries. Remember, dogs aren’t people, and shouldn’t be expected to act like people.

If you would like to offer more details surrounding the issue, I would be glad to offer what help I can!

Potty Training
No, you don’t need to crate train your dog, although it is helpful and recommended. It is certainly not too late to potty train!

I like to recommend reward based positive reinforcement methods.

Create a regular potty schedule, and stick to it.
Accompany your Beagle outside when it is potty time, and reward with enthusiastic praise + a possible treat reward EVERY TIME she potties outside. Don’t miss one, or she may confuse the idea and your training will take longer. You are trying to get her to form the association ‘Potty outside makes mother/father happy, and that is good for me.’ In her little Beagle mind. (:

Punishment isn’t necessary, even discouraged; you want your girl to enjoy the training process and not fear it.

Don’t reward mistakes indoors, or acknowledge with an apologetic tone. Eventually she will learn ‘I get nothing if I go indoors, but rewarded if I go outside’.

It is helpful if she is leashed by someone’s side at all times when she isn’t created (which is one reason crate training is useful). If she is leashed by your side, you’ll be able to catch every single mistake, correct it by running her outside to the desired spot, and speed up her training.

Dogs will prefer not to eliminate in confined spaces (a bathroom is too much space), or where they sleep, which is one reason crate training is recommended for potty training. I’m going to skip the actual training process because it is an ordeal in itself, but will leave links to specific training articles if you need. The majority of potty training articles, or trainers, will recommend crate training initially.

At six months, most dogs can hold their bladders around 4-6 hours, which is the standard recommended time frame here. Thankfully, she has grown and won’t need to go every two hours!

A standard eight hour work day is probably too much to ask. For proper crate training to work smoothly, and to avoid any complications like separation anxiety, you’ll have to gradually work up to an extended time period anyway (as you’ll see if you read the article below). I understand this isn’t always possible, so consider starting training on a Friday and continuing throughout the weekend.

HSUS Article on crate training

I hope I was able to help! If you still have questions regarding potty training, the AKC has a fantastic article on the subject.

AKC Potty Training

Q&A: Help, my dog doesn’t like his leash!

We have a labradoodle puppy who is 4 months old, we have had him for a month. He has been sweet, house trained well and has learned the basics of sit, get down and shake. In the last week however, he has become unbearable almost 🙁 He has began to show signs of aggression in that he barks at me in frustration and has begun to bite at me and the leash as I try to take him out to potty, even biting me with those razor sharp puppy teeth several times as he jumps to get the leash out of my hand. Any advice would be greatly appreciated as I don’t want these behaviors to continue” -Melissa

Hi there Melissa.
The first thing to do if you haven’t already, is to get into a puppy class. It sounds like you have some training already and that will put you ahead of the game.

Next, The puppy needs to learn that the leash means good things. Positive Association. So to do that, use a “high value” treat when you put him on the leash. Every time. You should only use the high value treat when the leash gets put on. To use it at any other time lowers the “value” of the treat. Its not so special if they get it all the time.

Here’s the idea. We’ll use bacon as the high value treat, but it can be anything as long as the dog will go nutty for it,.

I love bacon + the leash = I get bacon when the leash is near = I love the leash.

That’s the principle.

Also, leave the leash on for a while after he comes inside for a while, and before he goes out. This way he gets used to relaxing when he is on the leash. This way he wont build any anxiety towards it.

Make an effort to make the entire experience as positive as possible. Lots of praise.

I would suggest putting the leash on him, using the high-value treat, and then just walking away (while inside, go do something else for a few minutes and then take him outside). Give him a few minutes to de-stress.

Do this several times for the first week.

Please let me know if this works, or if you have any other issues.