Emily Gantt

Author Archives: Emily Gantt

Emily Reardon is a mother of two tiny humans, Layla and Oli, and a sassy beagle named Trixie. Emily attended Lander University in Greenwood, South Carolina and began her career in freelance writing as a contributor for Wag!Walking.com. Emily advocates for safe sleep practices and animal rights. Her mission is to bring reliable and highly-qualified content to the pet community.

Dachshund Breed Information

The number of Dachshunds registered by the Australian National Kennel Club has risen almost 500 percent in recent years, making them one of the fastest growing breeds in the land down under.

The Dachshund’s adorable sausage-shaped body is what draws most people to this breed, but it's their larger-than-life personality that makes their owners fall in love.  

This breed’s profound loyalty, unmatched exuberance, and spunky attitude sets them apart from other dogs and adds excitement to any home.

While the Dachshund is an undoubtedly cute and vivacious pet, they are not for everyone. These small but mighty dogs are known for their very high prey and defence drives and are susceptible to a number of hereditary diseases.

Dachshund History

It is believed Dachshunds originated in early 17th century Germany, where they were bred to aid hunters by chasing badgers (as well as, other small mammals) out of their dens.

Dachshund literally translates to “Badger Dog” in German, and true to their name they were an exceptional fit for the task since their short stature helped them to squeeze into spots other hounds couldn’t while their paddle-shaped paws that allow for quick digging.

Though their ancestry is not entirely clear it is thought wire-haired Doxies were created by crossing the Saint Hubert Hound and the terrier. Later on, long-haired varieties were created by breeding the wire-haired Dachshund with spaniels, to create a long luxurious coat that protected them while hunting in colder climates.

Today, Dachshunds are more likely to be found in their owner’s lap than hunting the fields, though they still enjoy digging and a great game of chase! 

Who are Dachshunds Best for?

  • Elderly people

  • Couples

  • Single people

  • Small homes or apartments

  • Moderately active people

  • Homes without other pets

  • Families with older children

Due to their fragile backs and high prey drives, Dachshunds are NOT recommended for homes with small children or small pets (such as hamsters or bunnies).

Health Concerns

  • Dachshunds are prone to a both of hereditary and lifestyle diseases.

  • Their floppy ears make Doxies susceptible to ear infections, so care must be taken to keep these clean and dry (especially during bath time). Plucking the inner ear hair can also reduce the chances of inflammation and infection.

  • Obesity is very common in this breed, so owners are advised to watch their weight carefully. Overweight Dachshunds are at a much greater risk of diabetes, back pain, joint problems, slipped discs, and heart disease.

  • Their elongated torso makes Dachshunds prone to inter vertebral disc disease (IDD), a severe musculoskeletal disease caused by the spinal cord becoming pinched between the spinal vertebrae. IDD can cause paralysis or even death.

  • Owners can decrease the chances of their dog developing this condition by supporting their back when picking them up by using one hand under the chest and the other hand under the bum. Doggy stairs are a great tool to keep them from jumping to get on the furniture or beds. These can be easily made or bought preassembled.  

  • Dachshunds are notorious for having poor dental health.  Daily brushing and dental chews (like grain-free Greenies) can break off the tarter that causes tooth decay. Doxies should also have professional teeth cleaning performed by their veterinarian every year to remove the plaque buildup under the gums that brushing alone cannot reach.
  • Joint issues such as hip dysplasia and patella luxation are also prevalent in this breed. Many vets recommend glucosamine and chondroitin supplements for both older and very active Doxies.
  • Hereditary eye issues such as cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) can affect older dachshunds.

Life Span

12-16 years

Dachshund Price Range 

The price range for Doxies varies substantially, some can be bought for as low as $300 while “Premium” Doxies can go for upwards of $4000.

Pricing depends on whether or not the dog has, registration paperwork, but their lineage, colouring, gender, age, and breeder preference plays a large role in this as well.

Tips from Dachshund Show Breeders

  1. Never brush your long-haired Dachshund while their coat is wet-- this is when the hair is most fragile and breakage prone.
  2. Pick a gentle shampoo that will not strip their natural oils. Something with soothing botanicals such as aloe or oatmeal is preferred for their sensitive skin. Earthbath Oatmeal & Aloe Dog & Cat Shampoo is a favorite for many breeders.
  3. Use duckbill-style hair clips to section your Dachshund’s hair while brushing and trimming; this will make brushing the undercoat easier and help you to give them a more precise cut.
  4. Bathing a Dachshund more than a couple times a month can create dry, flaky, skin and dull their coats. Use dog-safe wet wipes for minor cleaning and save bath time for when they are really dirty. EarthBath Grooming Wipes are a great choice for regular use since they contain Hawaiian Awapuhi Extract, a natural conditioner that strengthens hair and is common in many high-end salon products for humans. EarthBath’s Vanilla Almond Dog Spray is a great all-natural doggy deodorant to use between baths.

No matter how frequently you brush your long-haired Dachshund they are bound to get a tangle now and then. Combat stubborn mats with detergent-free Tropiclean D-Mat Tangle Remover Spray.

What do owners have to say about their Dachshund? 

Service animals should have a moderate energy level, high enough to give them the desire to work but not so high that they are bouncing around and uncontrollable.

Carmen and El Camino the Dachshunds

Abbie Sharpe, owner of El Camino and Carmen

“The best thing about owning a doxie, besides their sweet, charming demeanour, is their longevity.

I’m NOT an animal person by nature so when I fell in love with this breed, I fell wholeheartedly knowing I have a pal for a very long time.

Be patient and consistent with the potty training. Their devotion and infectious personalities will make it worth the trouble.” 

Squirt the Dachshund

Katie Schirmer, owner of Squirt

“Pros: He's a sweetheart. He just wants to be by me. He doesn't need a lot of exercise, and his coat is so velvety soft it couldn't be more low maintenance if he was bald.

Cons: He's kind of a diva. Coming from beagles in training, I'm not used to dogs who turn their nose up at certain treats. The breed is sort of known for having bad teeth if you don't take care of them. He's supposedly about 6 (years old), and just had eight teeth pulled when he went in for a dental. And of course, the risk of back issues is always a concern. He also barks at everything! Never aggressive, just loud.”

Bernie the Dachshund

Karli Hawthorne, owner of Bernie

“Potty train. Potty train. Potty train. Even if it means putting them in dog obedience classes--and buy indestructible toys!”

Apollo Luna the Dachshunds

Morgan Tolle owner of Luna and Apollo

“They love to be right next to you and truly are great companions. They have the best personalities, and are so funny but also very stubborn! Their worst traits would probably be their barking--a  leaf will blow by, and they will bark at it!

Their barking is uncontrollable sometimes and it’s tough! But we wouldn’t trade them for the world!!’

The Wrap Up

With any dog comes responsibility, but prospective Dachshund owners should know that this breed will need extra care to help them live long and full lives. Potential owners should consider the level of care and training they require before committing to this breed.

This breed is not recommended for homes with small children due to their fragility and predisposition to inter vertebral disc disease. Because of their proclivity for hereditary diseases, prospective owners should only purchase Doxies from reputable breeders.

Those who are up for the challenge of training and caring for these dogs will find that they make excellent family pets who love freely and protect those who care for them.

French Bulldog Breed Information

In just four years the French Bulldog has risen the ranks from Australia's 11th most popular breed in 2013 to their fourth most popular breed in 2017.

Their popularity isn’t limited to the southern hemisphere either, with the Frenchie reigning supreme as the most popular small breed in the US last year.

French Bulldog-inspired designs are even cropping up in prominent apparel and home decor lines, with J Crew, Skechers, and even Wal-Mart slapping their adorable faces on everything from sweaters to mugs!

The popularity of the French Bulldog is not a new fad, in fact; they have been prized companions for much longer than you might think!

French Bull Dog History

The mid-19th century saw a rise in the popularity of smaller Bulldogs, particularly in Nottingham, England, where they were the favourite companion of lace makers since they kept down rats.

Over time the demand for handmade lace lessened due to the rise of the Industrial Revolution. Lacemakers in fear of being replaced by machines, relocated to Northern France where the craft was still in full swing, taking their beloved pets along for the move.

These toy bulldogs became a favourite pet of French prostitutes who nicknamed them “Bouledogues Francais” which translates to “French Bulldog”, needless to say, the moniker stuck, spreading with them on their journey across the ocean to America in the early 1900s where they were readily accepted.

The “rose-ear” feature that was preferred by the French was deemed unacceptable by Americans and were further bred down with pugs and other terriers to achieve the upright “bat ear” appearance of modern-day Frenchies.

Who are French Bulldogs Best for?

  • People who live in apartments or condos

  • Elderly people

  • Couples

  • Single people

  • Less-active owners

  • Families with older children

Health Concerns

Facial Structure

Due to their facial structure, French Bulldogs are very susceptible to Brachiocephalic Airway Syndrome (also known as Congenital Obstructive Upper Airway Disease).

This disorder is caused by one or more anatomical misformations including small nostrils, narrow trachea, everted laryngeal saccules (air sacs), and an elongated soft palate that partially obstructs the airway.

These abnormalities can cause a number of issues that range in severity including noisy breathing, fatigue, gagging/vomiting, fainting, and heart problems.

This disorder often gets worse during hot weather and makes Frenchies much more susceptible to heat stroke.

Reproductive Problems 

Reproductive problems are more common than not in this breed. Breeding after five years of age is severely discouraged.

Genetic Spinal Deformities 

Frenchies are prone to genetic spinal deformities such as hemivertebrae, a painful condition where the spinal cord is constricted by misformed vertebrae. Surgery to correct these deformities is expensive, forcing some owners to euthanize. Untreated hemivertebrae can result in paralysis, incontinence, and excruciating pain for the canine.

Inter-vertebral Disc Disease

Inter-vertebral Disc Disease (IDD) is another common skeletal problem with this breed and is characterised by slipped spinal discs that can constrict the spinal cord causing paralysis and even death.

Pulmonic Stenosis

Pulmonic Stenosis or narrowing of the pulmonary artery is somewhat common with this breed and can lead to fatigue or collapse during vigorous exercise or in severe cases Congestive Heart Failure.

Hip Dysplasia 

Hip Dysplasia is common in active Frenchies and can cause limping, pain, and immobility of the back legs. This disorder can be corrected with periacetabular osteotomy surgery or made more manageable with medication

Retinal Dysplasia

Retinal Dysplasia is a hereditary condition characterised by the malformation of the retina. This disorder causes vision impairment, though it is not progressive or life-threatening.


Hypothyroidism (also known as under-active thyroid) usually presents itself in affected dogs around four years of age. This is usually not life-threatening but it can cause hair loss, weight gain, dull coats, and may require medication.

Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic Dermatitis (also known as eczema) is prevalent in this breed. Using hypoallergenic shampoos and bathing less frequently can help control the symptoms.

Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is extremely common with this breed, because of this French Bulldogs should never be left outside for extended periods during hot or humid weather.

Life Span

9-11 years


This breed sometimes has problems absorbing nutrients from food and may require a special diet or supplements.

French Bulldog Price Range 

The average cost for a French Bulldog in Australia ranges from $3,500 to $4,000 but can be more (or less) depending on colour, lineage, paperwork, and breeder preference.

Male pups (not spaded) from show dog parents go for around $6,000-$7,000.  

The steep prices are due to reproductive difficulties in the breed, causing most breeders to resort to artificial insemination.

Natural birth is extremely dangerous for Frenchies, so C-sections are required, which makes breeding quite costly.

Furthermore, there is a very small window of opportunity for the females, since it is unsafe for them to give birth after five years of age. 

Tips from French Bulldog Show Breeders

  1. French Bulldogs sometimes develop dry, cracked skin on their noses, a soothing balm like Natural Dog Company’s award-winning Snout Soother. This balm uses natural botanicals including organic grapeseed oil, hemp-seed oil, jojoba oil, and Vitamin E to ease the pain and moisturise affected areas.

  2. Often French Bulldogs will develop tear stains; a gentle sodium hydroxide-based stain remover product will work to diminish discoloration, while not agitating the skin. We like the Petpost Tear-Stain Remover products, just make sure you rinse any remaining product with water after cleansing.

  3. Breeders of brachiocephalic breeds swear Natural Dog Company’s “Organic Wrinkle Balm”  which helps to eliminate odour and prevent skin infections and chafing caused by moisture trapped in the facial wrinkles.

  4. Frenchies require shampoos with a super-gentle formula to so as to not trigger skin issues, Earthbath Ultra Mild Puppy Shampoo is a top pick for breeders (plus it smells like cherries)!

  5. Vets and breeders alike recommend adding omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E supplements to keep French Bulldog’s skin moisturised and itch-free.

What do owners have to say about their Cavapoo? 

Service animals should have a moderate energy level, high enough to give them the desire to work but not so high that they are bouncing around and uncontrollable.

Darla the French Bulldog

Lisa Eger owner of  Darla

“Advice I would give is don't take the cheap way out. This breed can be pricey.

Do not look for the cheapest Frenchie to buy. It will more than likely be poorly bred with the many issues listed above.

Also, you cannot go cheap on their dog food.”

Teagan the French Bulldog

Roxie Covell owner of Teagan

“Tegan is everyone's best friend, and she has so much heart to go around for all, but she is not one for camping, hiking or even walking an art festival. She grows tired super quick when out and about, sadly.

Tegan loves coming across other dogs, but other dogs look at her sideways since she makes some weird dog noises.

We have a tortoise, Goldie, that she likes to follow and protect (too closely) with her giant paws”

The Wrap Up

Although they are quite expensive in comparison to other popular purebreds, French Bulldogs make extraordinary companions with a fun personality and cheerful disposition.

Those thinking of buying or adopting a Frenchie should make sure they can accommodate their physical limitations and are prepared to deal with the health risks associated with this breed.

You won’t find a high-impact adventurer in this breed, but you will find a loyal companion who will love you until the end.

Cavoodle (Cavapoo) Breed Information

Cavoodles (also known as Cavapoos or Kavoodles) are thought to have been first bred in the 1950s, but over the last 10 years, the popularity of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel/Poodle mix has skyrocketed.

This lovable hybrid tops the charts as the most popular small breed in Australia; in fact, the demand is so high there that Australian breeders have doubled their population in the last four years to meet the need. 

Besides being downright adorable, these curly mutts are well-suited for almost any lifestyle. The Cavapoo’s energetic and loving temperament keeps single owners entertained, while their small stature and gentle nature makes them great for apartment living or families with children.

Cavoodle History

The modern-day Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a descendant of the Toy Spaniel, a popular companion of affluent women during the Elizabethian era. The Cavalier earned it’s regal title because it was the favourite breed of King Charles II, who thought so highly of this breed that he included their acceptance into law.

History tells us that King Charles II was seldom seen without two or three spaniels at his heels. So fond was King Charles II of his little dogs, he wrote a decree that the King Charles Spaniel should be accepted in any public place, even in the Houses of Parliament where animals were not usually allowed. This decree is still in existence today in England." -- The Cavalier King Spaniel Club Website 

The Poodle though commonly thought to be a French creation is believed to have originated in Germany in the late 16th century. Contrary to their modern portrayal as a “frou-frou” dog, the Standard Poodle was traditionally used for retrieving waterfowl due to their obedient nature and thick coat which protected their skin from frigid water and underbrush.

Over the years the Standard Poodle was bred down in size to be used as both a companion animal and a truffle-sniffing dog since their smaller size made them less likely to damage the valuable fungi.

Who are Cavoodles best for?

The small stature and gentle nature of Cavoodles make them an excellent choice for a variety of owners including:

  • Families with small children

  • Single people

  • Elderly people

  • Moderately active people

  • Homes with multiple pets

  • Those who live in apartments or small homes

  • People with allergies

Health Concerns

  • Since Cavoodles are a crossbreed, they are generally healthier than their purebred parents, though they can still genetically disposed to certain breed-specific illnesses.

  • One common issue with Cavapoo is ear infections caused by trapped moisture due to their floppy. Plucking their inner ear hairs and drying their inner ear after bathtime can help to prevent this condition.

  • Overeating and lack of exercise can cause the Cavapoo to pack on pounds and possibly even become obese.

  • Like the poodle, this breed is prone to gingivitis and tooth decay, be sure you brush their teeth daily. Dental chews can be given in addition to brushing (Grain-free Greenies are our top pick!), these help to break off tarter naturally. Don’t forget to schedule a yearly dental cleaning at the vet to take care of the plaque build up under the gums that you cannot reach with a toothbrush alone.

  • Eye defects (including cherry eye and cataracts) are common in Spaniels and can sometimes be seen in the Cavapoo, though it is much less likely.

  • Heart Disease and Dilated Cardiomyopathy are leading causes of death for toy poodles. This illness can trickle down to the Toy Cavoodles, though statistically speaking the odds are much lower due to mixed breeds having a wider gene pool.

  • Life Span on average is 10-14 years.

Price Range 

Prices can range from $1500 to over $3000 depending on gender, age, appearance, lineage, and breeder preference.

Tips from Show Breeders

  1. Use only stainless steel or ceramic bowls to feed and water your Cavapoo. Plastic dishes, even BPA-free ones can cause unsightly nose discoloration.Furthermore, plastic bowls are prone to microscopic scratches which can harbor bacteria (even after repeated washing), and causing allergic reactions.

  1. Giving your Cavoodle filtered water can decrease and even completely eliminate tear-staining. Persistent stains will require a professional strength stain remover like Tropiclean SPA Tear Stain Remover.

  1. A high-quality and balanced dog food will keep your pup looking and feeling their best. We recommend Orijen 6 Fish Grain-Free Formula Dry Dog Food because it consists entirely of lean meat and antioxidant-filled fruits and veggies. Unlike other popular dog foods, Orijen contains no fillers or chemical preservatives! The fatty acids in the fish will make your Cavapoo’s coat shiny and luxurious!

  1. Nature's Specialties Almond Crisp Shampoo is a cult favorite among Cavoodle breeders and groomers! This gentle shampoo brightens any color coat, and since it is concentrated it lasts for ages! Keep in mind you will need to dilute this shampoo 32:1.

  1. Shampoos strip hair of their natural oils, leaving the coat frizzy and unmanageable. Combat the frizz with a good quality leave-in conditioner like Chris Christensen Ice on Ice Conditioner with Sunscreen, which will detangle and protect their coat from sun bleaching.

What do owners have to say about their Cavapoo? 

Service animals should have a moderate energy level, high enough to give them the desire to work but not so high that they are bouncing around and uncontrollable.

Cleo the Cavoodle

Mollie Linton, owner of  Cleo

“Choosing a Cavoodle was the best thing we ever did, at first we were a bit concerned that they were too expensive and as we are young, we had to do quite a bit of saving up. But she is honestly the best dog.

She’s so cuddly and supportive. She knows when you’re upset and she comforts you. She is such low maintenance and doesn’t shed hair which is perfect for us living in an apartment.

She has such a kind and gentle soul and provides plenty of entertainment to our family.”  

Sundae the Cavoodle

Nola Cipri, owner of  Sundae

“You don't begin to know how much love you have for them until you bring them home.

They are high maintenance, but who cares, they really are your baby.”

Holly Coco Cavoodles

Maria Manley, owner of
Holly & Coco

“I am both an owner and a breeder of Cavoodles.

Pros are they are beautiful, loving, intelligent and peaceful, non-aggressive dogs. Low to non-shedding and usually don't have the funky dog smell.

Cons are they have to be groomed every 6 to 8 weeks. As for the price - worth every dollar.

They are the most beautiful dogs I have ever owned. Our family is besotted with our two.”

Remy the Cavoodle

Amber Sharrock, owner of Remy

“Cons - terrible recall. Very much like a cat. Pros - far too many to list here, she is my baby even though she picks and chooses to come to her name when it suits her.”

The Wrap Up

If you are looking for a low-maintenance couch dog, then the Cavoodle probably isn’t for you.

Those willing to put in the work to keep them healthy and groomed, the Cavoodle makes a devoted companion with teddy bear looks who will never want to leave your side.

The Easiest Dogs to Train to Suit Your Needs

The World Canine Organization recognizes 339 breeds of dogs, and since you have clicked on this article, it is probably safe to assume that you are looking for which of these breeds are the easiest dogs to train.

The answer isn’t as simple as you may think, the easiest dogs to train aren’t always the smartest, prettiest, or ones with perfect pedigrees, it is the ones who are most suitable for their intended purpose.

Every dog has a job, even if it is a simple one like being a faithful companion. Some dogs take to their roles more easily than others, in this article we will explore the attributes of various breeds and which are best suited for certain purposes.

Finding the Easiest Dogs to Train for Your Task

Any dog can be trained with the proper amount of time, commitment, and patience from the owner. An owner must be committed to training practices willing to go through a process of trial and error, find out what works for their dog.

Some dog breeds are predisposed to certain behaviors and job types which can make the training process easier OR more difficult for the owner.

Take for example the Australian Shepherd. These dogs, who are thought to have descended from the Border Collie, were bred to be superior herders and imported to the US  for this very purpose; although very good at their job, sometimes their temperament and energy level is too much for an inexperienced owner.

The AKC website explains, “Aussies exhibit an irresistible impulse to herd, anything: birds, dogs, kids. This strong work drive can make Aussies too much dog for a sedentary pet owner. Aussies are remarkably intelligent, quite capable of hoodwinking an unsuspecting novice owner. In short, this isn’t the pet for everyone.”  

Before you can find the easiest dogs to train for your particular task, we must first establish WHAT your dog’s job will be.

Finding the Right Personality and Size

The three most important factors for selecting a dog is temperament, energy level, and size, take these personality traits into account when browsing for your new companion, these are vital for making sure the dog will be a good fit for your household.


Family Dogs

First and foremost you want a friendly, mild-mannered dog, who will get along well with all members of the household. Some dogs simply do not like children or certain genders of humans, while these dogs may be great for a single person, they just will not do as a family pet. Labradors, bulldog breeds, and the Hungarian Vizsla all make fantastic pets for families with kids.  

Service Animals 

A service animal should be even-tempered and not overly excitable.

Working Dog

Working dogs should be focused and have a desire for obedience and pleasing their owner; a hunting or herding dog that is disobedient can stray off and be injured by cars or other animals. You may think a high prey drive would be essential for dogs with these types of jobs but often it can be counterproductive,making them  liable to injuring the animals they should be herding or retrieving. Golden Retrievers and Basset Hounds are great examples of hunting dogs with lower prey drives.

Trick Dogs 

A dog with the potential to learn elaborate tricks will be eager to please, energetic, and very intuitive toward their owners. Jack Russells and German Shepherds are typically great at learning fun tricks, and most importantly they enjoy learning them!

Energy Level

Family Dogs 

Your dog needs to match your family’s energy level.  A couch potato breed like brachycephalic (flat-faced) English Bulldogs will not be a good fit for an active family who enjoys hiking several times a week. The same is true for a sedentary family who is looking into a very active breed like a Jack Russell who’s needs can go unfulfilled by more laid-back owners.

Service Animals 

Service animals should have a moderate energy level, high enough to give them the desire to work but not so high that they are bouncing around and uncontrollable.

Working Dogs 

Working dogs should have a high energy level; however, their owner will need to keep their energy levels in check with lots of stimulation and exercise.This will cut down on negative behaviours like being destructive, chasing pets, and herding children.

Trick Dogs 

Trick dogs should be high energy but not so highly-strung that they lose focus and refuse to follow your commands. Keep in mind that a high energy pup can become a very well-behaved dog with the right training regime.


Family Dogs

Contrary to popular belief, smaller dogs are not always the right fit for families with small children. Children are often quite rough with animals, though it is probably unintentional, small dogs are more prone to injuries from being mishandled or dropped. Small dogs are often more quick to bite than larger breeds since they are more easily intimidated, although this isn’t always the case. Large dogs are sturdier and generally have a more gentle and laid-back persona, which can be a good thing with an excitable toddler.

Service Animals

Consider the task your dog will be performing, a teacup Yorkie will have a hard time leading his owner as a seeing-eye dog. Whereas someone who requires an emotional support animal may prefer a smaller dog that they can keep close by in a handbag or a sling.

Working Dogs

Herding dogs typically should be midsize to large breeds. Hunting dogs can be any size depending on what animal they are trained to hunt. The small and mighty Dachshund was bred to flush out badgers and beagles are a favourite choice for rabbit dogs. Whereas Golden Retrievers are a popular choice for retrieving ducks since they have a “gentle mouth” that doesn’t damage the meat.

Trick Dogs 

Trick dogs can be any size.

No matter what the breed or background of the dog, remember that training takes time and effort on the part of the owner. A breed’s predisposition to certain behaviours or tasks can either help or hinder the training process.

Family-Oriented Breeds

Choosing the right dog for your family is paramount for many reasons, mainly because this animal will be sharing your living space for many years! Secondly, a very destructive or high-strung dog can add more stress and work for parents. Remember that children become attached, even if you decide it isn’t working out.

Don’t just adopt or buy a dog on a whim, make sure you know the dog’s background and personality before you bring him home. Set your family up for success by taking the time to get to know the dog before inviting him into your life.

Don’t Rely on Breed Stereotypes

American Staffordshire Terriers, also known as Pit Bulls, have gotten a terrible reputation in recent years being targeted by breed-specific legislation that labels them as an “aggressive” breed. This is simply not the case, although often used for the disturbing practice of dog fighting, “pit bulls” were the family dog of choice in the 19th century, earning them the nickname “Nanny Dogs”.

Bull dog breeds rank on Cesar Millan’s top 10 best breeds for family dogs list.

Cesar Millan's Take

The great advantage of bulldogs? They’re sturdy, so they can take anything that rambunctious kids throw at them, while they’re not very energetic. End result? A dog that will put up with a lot.

They’re also not picky about where they live, so both small apartments and large houses are fine.

Remember that just because a dog is great with children, does not mean that it will be easily trained to obey house rules.

Take the beagle, for example, a friendly loving breed with a high prey drive and is often distracted by their sense of smell. Beagles are just as likely to snuggle you on the couch as to ignore your commands in lieu of chasing squirrels and digging through the trash.

It is important that you do not to judge a book by its cover, just because a dog is a Labrador doesn’t mean it is going to be great with children.

You must realise that dogs, like humans, are individuals and should be treated as such. Consider the dog's personality taking into account their temperament, energy level, and size.

Service Dogs

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines service dogs as canines who are trained to aid and carry out tasks for individuals who have physical, medical, and mental limitations.

Service dogs come in many shapes and sizes; there is no limitation on breeds who can perform service work however some can be more easily trained and better suited for specific tasks.

Guide Dogs

Guide dogs are often used by the visually impaired to help them navigate the world around them, dogs performing this task should be larger breed who is very focused. Labrador Retrievers are a great choice for this type of work since they are eager to please and very owner-focused. 

Medical Alert Dogs

Medical Alert dogs can perform functions from alerting that a seizure is about to take place to identifying allergens in an environment.

The AKC website explains that “Their training is similar to that of a police dog learning to track scents or drugs. Breeds that most commonly work as allergy alert dogs are the Poodle, the Golden Retriever, and the Portuguese Water Dog.”

Larger breeds such as the Golden Retriever and Labrador are great for seizure and diabetic alert dogs since they forge strong bonds with their owners, are innately caring, and learn quickly. Their size plays a vital role in this as well, since a seizure dog will need to lay on their owner during an episode to reduce chances of self-injury.

Psychiatric Support Dog

Psychiatric Support Dogs are often prescribed to people suffering from debilitating mental illnesses that hinder their ability to perform daily tasks, the most common diagnoses for people who require these support animals are PTSD, agoraphobia, and severe anxiety.

Borzois are well-suited and are very receptive to training for this type of task. The AKC website recommends this breed because of their, “ intelligence, independence, and keen sense of awareness.”

There is no clear-cut answer about which breed best performs the functions of a service dog. Size, task requirements, and temperament must all be considered when choosing a service animal.

Working Dogs

Herding Dogs

The herding instinct is ingrained into certain breeds, but training them to control this instinct is another matter. Cesar Millan explains, “the innate herding instinct of breeds in this group will develop into problem behavior if not satisfied. Owners must provide regular exercise and mental stimulation to keep their dog happy and healthy.”

The ease of training a herding dog depends entirely on the owner’s dedication and persistence--these are much trickier breeds to train and require a lot of work.

Hunting and Tracking Dogs

Dogs can be used for all manners of hunting and tracking, from retrieving kills to locating bodies. The hound group and retriever breeds top picks for these types of jobs.

Though typically stubborn in other types of training, beagles excel in hunting small animals and tracking; the AKC praises this breed’s flexibility stating, “Beagles have great tracking ability and originally worked as rabbit hunters.  From the field they went to the airport where they work for U.S. Customs & Border Patrol as narcotics and agriculture detector dogs. You can also see the Beagle out and about as a bed bug detector due to his strong nose.”

Retriever breeds are also an excellent choice for hunting small animals since as their name suggests, they were bred to retrieve things, and are known for their gentle mouth and desire to please.

Other great choices are:

  • Irish Setters
  • Plott Hounds
  • Basset Hounds
  • Coonhounds

Herding breeds require little training to execute their task; however they can be quite challenging in other aspects of life--these dogs will need lots of exercise to perform to their fullest ability. Hounds make excellent hunting dogs, though their nose tends to get the best of them, pay close attention to obedience training since hunting can be a dangerous sport for untrained dogs.

FAQ - Easiest Dogs to Train

What dog breed is the smartest?  Which breed is the dumbest?

There are no “smart” or “dumb” breeds, only those who are predisposed to certain behaviors and tasks. The perceived intelligence level means nothing for a dog with no training. Untrained dogs will behave like untrained dogs. Which is the most obedient dog breed?

This is a tough question to answer, though some breeds like retrievers and German Shepherds are more prone to obeying simply because of their keen desire to please, the simple answer is a well-trained dog IS the most obedient dog.

The Wrap Up

There is no perfect breed; each has it’s own attributes and predispositions; it is up to the owner to hone these skills and curb unwanted tendencies.

In the words of Cesar Millan, “a smart dog is just potential without a human willing to put in the time and effort to train and channel the dog’s intelligence. While all dogs are trainable, it’s important to understand your dog’s inherent abilities in order to know how to motivate him and bring out his natural intelligence.”

With pets come lots of responsibility, make sure you are up for this challenge before bringing a new dog into your home.

Puppy Separation Anxiety

Type “Puppy Separation Anxiety Solutions” into any search engine and you will find hundreds of articles claiming their training course and products can cure your dog of his separation anxiety; while these strategies may be somewhat effective, they typically do not target the root of the problem--that is your dog has a need that is not being met.

There are lots of products and strategies that can help soothe an already anxious pup, but the bottom line is these only treat the symptoms. A dog’s physical and emotional needs must be met before it can ever overcome separation anxiety.

We rely on the expertise of professional dog trainer Cesar Millan, as well as various case studies and veterinary manuals to find a practical solution to your canine’s separation woes.

Could My Dog Have Separation Anxiety?

The Merck Veterinary Manual states that “It is estimated that ~14% of dogs have separation anxiety, or an inability of the pet to find comfort when separated from family members.”

Distinguishing between separation anxiety and destructive behaviour in a young puppy can be difficult.

House-soiling and chewing happens with every untrained pup, as does whining for their litter mates before they adjust to their new home.

The difference in anxiety-induced and destructive behaviours is that anxiety-induced behaviours are triggered by being left by their owners, not by lack of understanding the house rules (although the symptoms can look very similar to the untrained eye.)

Separation Anxiety Symptoms 

  • Destructive behavior (particularly at exits or toward owner possessions)
  • Distress vocalization
  • House soiling
  • Salivation
  • Pacing
  • Restlessness
  • Inability to settle
  • Anorexia
  • Repetitive/compulsive behaviors

According to the Merck Veterinary Manual “The behaviors are exhibited when the dog is left alone and generally arise within the first 15–30 min after departure.”  

A video-recording device can be very helpful in ruling out typical canine destructive behaviors and diagnosing the cause.  

Several case studies have shown that there are certain factors that can predispose a dog to separation anxiety.

Dogs that are more likely to be affected:

  • Shelter dogs
  • Dogs who have lost an owner
  • Young puppies
  • Small dogs 

Bottom line: Untrained dog behaviours can look very similar to separation anxiety, consider the context surrounding these behaviours. A webcam or other recording device can be a great diagnostic tool to help pinpoint the cause of the behaviour.

Fundamental Training: Building a Foundation

When you think of a dog’s needs what comes to your mind is probably the same as a human--food, water, shelter, and warmth. But if you had only those essentials you would be a pretty miserable person, right?

Dogs feel the same way.

You cannot expect a puppy to be content when left alone when his emotional and physical needs are not being met. Even the most independent and well-mannered dog is going to suffer extreme emotional distress if left alone in a crate for hours every day and is shown little to no affection from his pack leaders.

Long periods of confinement and lack of interaction will create separation anxiety in a perfectly balanced dog, and severely exacerbate problems in a dog with dysfunctional attachment issues (or a history of anxiety.)

We know what our pets need to survive, but we also need to fulfill those deeper needs, the ones that allow a dog to THRIVE.

Needs of a Well-adjusted Puppy

  • Emotional Connection
  • Human Interaction
  • Exercise
  • Mental Stimulation

A dog’s mental health has a profound effect on its physical well-being. Meeting your dog’s needs is vital and must take place before any training or rehabilitation can be successful.

Making sure your dog is in the right mental space before you leave is crucial to them being at ease while you are away.

How to Make Sure Your Dog is in the Proper Head space

Cesar Millan's Take

How to Raise the Perfect Dog

"Dogs are not programmed to live by themselves. In nature, the constant presence of the pack is what shapes their identities. 

The only time they have to learn to be alone is when they live among humans. We shouldn’t be surprised that they are distressed by it. But even though we are asking them to do something unnatural, we can’t feel bad about it or stress out about it, because this is the reality of how we live Today."

Behavioural Conditioning

Cesar Millan's Take

How to Raise the Perfect Dog

“Our modern lives make it next to impossible that our dogs are with us 24/7. But there’s a reason dogs as a species have survived millions of years of evolution in just about every environment imaginable, in every corner of the globe. They are among the most adaptable mammals nature ever created.

A dog, and especially a puppy, can adjust to this new style of life with very little difficulty, if we help her to do it in stages, and if we stay calm and unemotional about it. That’s what we want to communicate to her—to relax.”

Millan’s Method for Puppy Separation Anxiety

Desensitising Your Dog to Departure Cues

The Reunion

Bottom line: Keeping goodbyes and homecomings short and sweet will make your time away less emotionally-charged for your pup. Be consistent! Practising departure cues and being “away” without leaving the home will condition your dog to not have an anxious reaction when you actually leave. 

Comforting Your Puppy While You Are Away

Audio Books


Leave your Dog with your Scent

Make the Crate a Happy Place

Bottom Line: We have entire guide dedicated to crate training full of thoroughly researched safe practises and effective strategies.

Television - DogTV

​Author’s note: My pitbull Jaina LOVED the DogTV channel. Any time I needed to get work done I would put on a stimulation video for her and it would keep her entertained for over an hour! I still watch old recordings of her absolutely TRANSFIXED by these videos. Very special memories indeed.

Bottom Line: While these suggestions will not cure your dog’s separation anxiety, they will help comfort him while you are away.

Treating the symptoms of Separation Anxiety

Acupressure Wraps

Calming Chews

Author’s Note: I have had success treating both myself and my dogs with CBD products. My sweet Jaina would go into a frenzy trying to escape (even tearing holes in the floor!) when we would go out. Giving her a treat with a couple drops of diluted CBD oil on it (and some interesting toys) helped her tremendously!

Essential Oils

Pheromone Sprays and Diffuses

Bottom LineCalming products (such as wraps, pheromone products, and essential oils) can drastically reduce the symptoms of your dog’s anxiety symptoms. Talk to your vet about which of these is right for your dog.

Using Medication to Treat Puppy Separation Anxiety

Common Medications Used to Treat Canine Separation Anxiety

Why Medications are Not a Solution

Bottom Line: Putting your dog on medication should be a last resort. Never give your dogs medications that are intended for humans without the advice of a veterinarian. Weigh the pros and cons of these medications before you decided to go through with this course of treatment.

If All Else Fails...

Bottom Line: Don’t give up on your dog! Seek professional help from trainers and vets if you feel like the separation anxiety has gotten out of control.


Separation anxiety is a troubling disorder for both pets and their owners; thankfully, this disorder can usually be controlled or completely eliminated with the right amount of care, exercise, and affection. Patience and consistency is key to overcoming your dog’s fears.

Ask your vet about homeopathic remedies and medications before you administer them, and seek the counsel of professionals if you get to your wit's end. Never give up on your dog, odds are a breakthrough is right around the corner.

Puppy Lead Training

Leash training a puppy can pose quite a challenge for new owners, especially when the puppy refuses to budge or makes a habit of pulling and biting on the leash. Many exasperated owners declare “He just won’t walk on a leash!” and just stop walking their dog altogether.

Dr. Ian Dunbar, Author of Doctor Dunbar’s Good Little Dog Book and Godfather of modern dog training, ensures us that these common problems can be addressed and corrected with the right method.

Before training can begin your pup will need to meet some basic requirements and master a few commands, let's first make sure your puppy is ready for the task!

What age to start leash training a puppy?

Dr. Dunbar states that “It is not safe to walk your puppy on public property until it is at least three months old”. Before this time your dog will not have had its vaccinations and is at risk of catching parvo, which is a leading cause of death in young puppies.

You can, however, practice training a puppy to walk on a lead at home or in your yard before three months--just make sure Fido is not in contact with faeces from other unvaccinated dogs.

But don’t wait too long either, Dr. Dunbar warns owners that “by the time the puppy is 18 weeks old the following exercises start to lose effectiveness.”

Bottom line: Start lead training early, but take precautions.

Acclimate your dog for leash training

The wearing of a leash and collar is not a natural concept for a dog since these simply do not exist in the wild. Wearing a collar or leash can be a very scary notion for a timid puppy.

Getting your puppy accustomed to these newfound devices is essential to success in on-leash walking later on.

  1. Start by letting your dog sniff the collar and leash you plan to use. Give him lots of treats and gentle praise for exploring his new equipment.

  2. After a while, put the collar (or harness) on and let your dog adjust to the idea of wearing it, combine this with lots of gentle praise and treats.

  3. Once your dog has realised the collar and harness are not enemies, attach the lead and let him explore with the leash dragging behind him.

  4. Eventually, you can begin to hold the leash and while your dog explores.

Make sure the leash cannot get caught on any items and create tension on the leash--this could be a major setback for a young dog.

Bottom line: Gradually introduce walking equipment you plan to use, this will decrease the likelihood of a fear response. Make wearing leashes and collars an enjoyable experience with lots of treats and praise.

Commands to Master Before Lead Training Can Begin

1.  Settle Down

The settle down technique is exactly what it sounds like--giving your dog a simple command such as “settle down” to halt any activity immediately.

This command is important to get your dog in the right mindset to walk nicely (on OR off leash).

2. Sit

A puppy must grasp the concept of sitting on command before polite on-leash walking can be achieved. The good news is, most owners find this is the easiest concept for their dog to learn.

3.  Heel (off-leash)

Heeling off-leash is a simple (and fun!) training exercise for dogs and owners and is, in essence, an exciting game of chase!

Bottom line: The key to successfully leash training a puppy is for them to first learn to calmly interact with you off-leash--this will require them to know how to sit and settle down on cue, as well as mastering heeling off-leash. As with anything, practice makes perfect...but lots of treats and affection will help too! 

Commands to Master Before Lead Training Can Begin

All the options for puppy lead training equipment can be perplexing for a new owner. However, these devices are not created equal; you must discover which type will work best for your canine.

1. Basic Collars

Best for: Easy-going, well-trained dogs who never pull

Pros: Easy to use, affordable, pet ID tags can be attached

Cons: Comes off easily, can cause injury to a strong puller

2. Choke Collars

Best for: We DO NOT recommend this type for any dog.

Pros: Some outdated training manuals suggest this style collar for difficult dogs, but they are much too dangerous and easy to misuse to ever be a valuable training device

Cons: Can cause serious injury, distress, fear, and even death when used improperly

3. Harnesses

Best for: strong pullers, brachiocephalic (flat-faced) breeds like pugs and french bulldogs.

Pros: Gives more control over dogs, much more gentle on the dog, several options such front clip styles that prevents pulling and styles that use calming acupressure to soothe the dog--Cesar Millan suggests this style

Cons: Can cause chafing, more expensive than a traditional collar and leash

4. Basic Leashes

Best for: easy going dogs, hiking or situations where you need to keep your dog close by

Pros: Compatible with most collars and harnesses, inexpensive, comes in reflective options for on-road walking, good to keep on hand, 6ft (or shorter) leashes are commonly required by law

Cons: Little to none if you purchase a high-quality leash, too much lead-way can cause the dog to wrap the leash around you

5. Gentle leaders

Best for: Cesar Milan highly recommends this style for training dogs (and even has his own brand of gentle leaders)

Pros: Does not require a collar, can be worn in several ways including over the snout like a muzzle, much more gentle than a standard collar and leash, harder to slip off than a collar

Cons: Usually doesn’t have a place to put ID tags, improper usage can cause injury

6. Retractable Leashes

Best for: small, well-behaved dogs, who no longer need training

Pros: Gives the dog the freedom to sniff and do their business at a distance

Cons: Detrimental to training, teaches the dog that they are in control, can be dangerous if used around busy roads or unpredictable animals

Bottom line: ​​Front clip and acupressure harnesses are fantastic tools for leash-pullers and excitable puppies who are still learning. Once your dog is trained, a collar and retractable leash may give him more freedom. Any training tool can be misused; it is up to the owner to use the products responsibly.

How to Teach a Puppy to Walk on a Lead

Once your dog has met the prerequisites, you can put Dr. Dunbar’s puppy lead training strategies into practice.

Before you begin, make sure all you have taken care of all your dog’s needs. A hungry, under-stimulated dog with a full bladder is going to have a hard time concentrating on leash training!

Prior to training, make sure your puppy:

  • Is feeling well

  • Has been fed

  • Doesn’t have to potty

  • Has had plenty of time to play and socialise beforehand

  • Isn’t tired

Dr. Dunbar’s Steps for Training a Dog to “Heel” On-leash 

  1. Command your dog to sit by luring it with a treat in your right hand.

  2. Move treat to your left hand

  3. Say “heel” while holding the treat in front of the dog’s snout and take three steps forward.

  4. Move the treat back to your right hand to lure him to sit.

  5. Offer treats and praise when your dog successfully completes the sit-heel-sit sequence.

  6. Practice in your home first and then move to practice in more distractive environments like the park or your yard.

“Before walking your puppy on-leash, teach it to heel on-leash. You will pay much more attention to the tension in the leash when heeling rather than walking.” - Dr. Dunbar

The most common lead-training issue is when the puppy won’t stop pulling on the leash. This makes walks a literal drag for everyone involved! Using this method, leash-pulling should never be an issue--because you never allowed it to become one!

  1. Teach your puppy that pulling is never okay, not even when standing still! Dr. Dunbar teaches us to “Hold (the) leash firmly with both hands and refuse to budge until your dog slackens the leash. Not a single step!”

  2. It may take a while, but eventually, your dog will stop pulling and sit. This is your cue to praise and treat. Then take ONE large step forward.

  3. Your dog will most likely start tugging again, DO NOT MOVE. It won’t take as long this time for him to realize you will not move until the tugging stops and he sits.

  4. Once you have taken several successful single steps, practice this with three consecutive steps, then five steps, and so on.

“Your dog quickly learns that he has the power to make you stop and to make you go. If he tightens the leash, you stop. But if he slackens the leash and sits, you take a step.” -Dr. Dunbar

Dr. Dunbar’s Tips for On-leash Walking:
  • Practice in and around the home with few distractions before taking training to the sidewalks.

  • Frequently change speed, use the command “Quickly” when quickening the pace and “Steady” when you slow the pace.

  • Speed up when making right turns, this will prevent your dog from making a shortcut.

  • Slow down and use the “Steady” command when making left turns, this will prevent your pup from bumping into you.

Some outdated training methods used by Cesar Milian (and even previously by Dr. Dunbar), suggest forcefully jerking a dogs leash to get him to walk properly. This will only startle the dog (and could injure it). The practice is no longer supported by Dr. Dunbar or his training courses.

NEVER hit, jerk, scream at, or otherwise purposely intimidate your puppy. These practices can be detrimental to the human-canine relationship as well as create major physical and emotional problems for the dog.

“You must become the centre of your dog’s universe. You need to stimulate and strengthen your dog’s gravitational attraction towards you by moving away enticingly and heartily praising your dog all the time he follows.”- Dr. Dunbar

Bottom Line: The keys to successful leash training is practising on-leash heeling first, not allowing pulling to ever become an issue, patience, and keeping a positive disposition!

FAQ - Puppy Lead Training

Help! I am leash training a puppy who bites the leash constantly, how do I stop this?

Biting and chewing is a natural way for puppies to explore the world around them. It is also a way of displaying excitement and expending energy--just like a small child clapping or jumping up and down.

Leash-biting Solutions:

  1. A modified version of Dr. Dunbar’s red-light/green-light method (we discussed this in the section regarding on-leash heeling) can be very effective to halt leash chewing. If  your puppy bites the leash, then stand completely still--do not take a single step! This will teach Fido that biting will not result in the walk progressing. Eventually, your dog will connect these two behaviors and likely stop this behavior.

  2. Making sure your dog is not overly excited before a walk will also decrease mouthing. A dog who is tired from vigorous play before the walk will be less likely to bite, jump, and pull.

  3. Alternatively, bringing a toy along for your dog to carry can keep his mouth busy, thereby eliminating the opportunity to mouth the leash.

When I put the lead on my dog, he struggles to escape the collar by bending his neck and pulling away from the leash, how do I deal with this?

The standard collar and leash setup may be intimidating your dog, try switching to an acupressure harness to reduce stress as well as the tension on the dog's neck. Introduce training equipment gradually and in a positive manner (lots of treats and praise), so your dog will associate good feelings with these tools.

We would love to hear your experiences with leash training! Tell us your success stories and lead-training troubles in the comments below!

How to Stop a Puppy from Chewing Everything!

A common obstacle for new dog parents is figuring out how to stop their puppy from chewing EVERYTHING. From cushions and blankets to shoes--the mop isn’t even safe from those needle-sharp chompers!

This dark cloud can dampen even the spirits of even the most enthusiastic dog-owners, but there is a silver lining! This bad habit can be nipped in the bud with the right tools, techniques, and some patience.

We have studied the teachings of Dr. Ian Dunbar, a trusted veterinarian, animal behaviourist, and pioneer in the dog training field, to find a foolproof solution to stop your puppy’s destructive habit.

But before we get into HOW to stop your puppy from chewing everything, we must first find out WHY your puppy is chewing.

How to Stop a Puppy from Chewing EVERYTHING. Could it Be Teething?

It is easy to write off a puppy’s constant gnawing as a behaviour problem, but the teething pain is much more likely to be the culprit. To establish which type of chewer you have, first consider the age of your puppy:

Insert timeline 

2-4 weeks: Baby teeth start to emerge. Puppies of this age should still be with their mother.

5-6 weeks: Puppies should have all 28 baby teeth and are likely eating moist or soft puppy food. Just a couple of weeks to go and puppies will be ready for their new homes.

12-16 weeks: Owners will begin to find tiny baby teeth laying around. These deciduous teeth fall out to make room for their adult teeth.

6 months: By or around six months, all baby teeth should have fallen out, and a full set of 48 adult teeth should have replaced them.

This timeline is important to determine if your puppy is undergoing the painful teething process. This happens twice within the first six months of life, OR if he has begun chewing out of stress or pure boredom.

Insert teething remedies infogrpahic:

 Remedies for your teething puppy:

  • Cold carrots make cheap and nutritious chew toys that are jam-packed with vitamin A, potassium, and fiber.

  • A bit of cool raw steak is a delicious source of protein, that is gentle on gums and reduces the inflammation that comes along with teething. The protein will increase energy and make the coat shinier, but limit this treat to once or twice a week.

  • A raw bone stored in the fridge will help to soothe inflamed gums, while the calcium helps him to develop strong teeth.

  • A frozen treat-filled Kong toy is quick to grab and will keep your pup busy (and happy)!

Even if teething is the cause of chewing, this behaviour must be addressed before it becomes routine, otherwise, your canine may transition into a destructive chewer simply out of habit!

Bottom Line
If your dog is under six months old then teething is probably the cause of chewing. Remedy this by getting your puppy hooked on more appropriate chew toys such as a frozen stuffed Kong toy or a cool carrot!

Could it Be Destructive Chewing ?

Destructive chewing is a pain in everyone's tail--pups included! This bad habit can stem from many issues, from anxiety and stress to loneliness and lack of stimulation.

Figuring out what is triggering your dog’s chewing will take some close observation. A puppy cam could prove resourceful in pinpointing what is eliciting this response from your pet.

Time of chewing.

If chewing occurs ONLY when your puppy is left alone, then separation anxiety could be the cause.

Make sure you leave your puppy in a comfortable space like a crate or small puppy-proof room with a comfy bed with lots of stimulating toys. You will need to seek advice from a veterinarian if separation anxiety persists. 

Dogs who mainly chew while your attention is focused on something else may be seeking attention. Combat this with lots of quality go for walks daily and spend plenty of time playing together daily.

Is there an environmental factor tied to chewing (such as a noisy vacuum running or thunderstorm)?

If so, chewing could very well be your pup’s attempt at stress-management. Redirect chewing and place their crate in a quieter area.

Author's Note
Taking your pooch out first thing in the morning and then giving her a good healthy bone to chew on will satisfy her. When she is done with her bone, put it away for the next morning or the afternoon when the chewing starts up again. In my experience, chewing is a sign of the puppy needing play time. Pay close attention to what your puppy needs so you can help meet those needs.

Homeopathic Sprays to Combat Chewing

Homeopathic deterrent sprays are an excellent way to discourage your dog from gnawing their favorite off-limits surface (like chair legs and power cables).

These typically taste bad to a dog and will make destructive chewing a less enjoyable experience. 

You may have to try several types to find one that works for your pooch.

Dog repellent sprays are readily available commercially and can also be easily replicated at home.

  • Ammonia is a common dog repellent that can be used to clean any wooden furniture your pup fancies chewing.
  • A solution of one part apple cider vinegar and two parts water is great for spraying on commonly chewed items
  • Bitter apple sprays are sold in most pet stores and are a convenient solution for chew-happy pups.
  • Arrow Circle Right
    Spraying a VERY diluted solution of cayenne pepper and water will keep your dog from chewing certain items. It can irritate their eyes and noses; so it is suggested that this used sparsely and only in extreme circumstances. 

DO NOT USE LEMON OR LEMON OIL ON SURFACES YOUR DOG MAY CHEW.  Lemons are toxic for canines, even if they have never bothered your dog before, exposure to them can become toxic over time.

Insert info-graphic: Essential Oils that are Toxic to Dogs 

Once you have established the cause of destructive chewing, you can more easily remedy the situation; a chew toy coupled with plenty of stimulation and exercise will usually curb chewing altogether.

Using an all-natural dog repellent spray can make chewing household items less appealing.

Dr. Ian Dunbar's Strategy for Dealing with a Chew-Happy Dog

If you follow our dog training articles you will be very familiar with the Godfather of dog training, Dr. Ian Dunbar and his amazing methods. 

Here is a strategy he teachers is his Top Dog Academy:

Step 1 Take preventative measures—cover or tact up electrical cords and put away any valuables that Fido might get into. 

Step 2 If you cannot supervise your puppy, keep him confined in a crate filled will several enticing chew toys. 

Step 3 Dr. Dunbar urges owners to “make sure the only objects within reach are chew toys. Thus your puppy develops a serious chew toy habit right from the outset, if only because there is precious little else to chew”. 

Step 4 Prepare several of these toys in advance, so they are readily available. Dr. Dunbar suggests Kong products and sterilised long bones because they are hollow and you can stuff them with delicious goodies.

Step 5 Stuff the toys with three types of treats--a kind that can is easily removed, a type that is more difficult to remove, and finally a treat that can only be removed by the owner. A mixture of kibble, peanut butter, and large hard-to-remove pieces of freeze-dried liver are excellent choices for this purpose.

Step 6 Several stuffed toys will keep Fido preoccupied with something positive rather than finding something negative to chew while you are away.

Step 7 Dr. Dunbar suggests to “Delay greeting your puppy until it fetches a chew toy. Then pull out the treats remaining in the Kong and give them to your pup.” Eventually, your dog will connect your arrival with receiving the remaining treats from the toy.”

Step 8 If your puppy messes up, stay calm and don’t make a fuss.

Step 9 Calmly use the command “out” or “crate” and escort your puppy away (eventually they will learn to go without you accompanying them). Banishment will teach your dog that chewing is not the way to get attention.

Step 10 If your puppy messes up, stay calm and don’t make a fuss.

Step 11 Above all, PRAISE your dog when it chews appropriate toys; this will make the connection between chewing his bone and receiving positive feedback.

Store pre-filled Kong toys or long bones in the freezer for easy access to redirect chewing, and always praise your dog for playing with them.  

When caught in the act, use the command “out” or “crate” and escort your puppy away from you. Banishment will be much more effective than hitting or yelling.

The Bone Debate

Almost every dog owner has heard the saying “Don’t feed your dog chicken bones; they can splinter in their stomach!” at one time.

The great bone debate has had veterinarian community for years now, with some saying they are essential for dental health, and others claiming they are downright dangerous.

The answer is somewhere in between. Some types of bones are incredibly beneficial for a dogs health, while others are detrimental.

Choosing the right bone.

  • Never feed your dog a cooked bone, these (no matter the type!) CAN splinter in their intestines and cause serious health problems and even death.
  • Sanitation is key! Handle raw bones the same way you would handle meats for human consumption. Keep them refrigerated until it is time to eat. Putting the bone in the freezer for a few hours is a great way to kill any bacteria the bone may harbor.
  • Choose human-grade meat/bones. 
  • Arrow Circle Right
    Dr. Dunbar recommends sterilised long bones which you can fill with yummy treats.
  • Arrow Circle Right
    Do not give your dog “bully sticks” or large strips/knots of rawhide, these are easily swallowed and can cause obstructions in the digestive tract.

Insert the “Food Storage Guidelines for Fido” chart I made here...feel free to take the info from it to make it look more aesthetically pleasing 

Choose a sterilised long bone or a human-grade raw bone for your dog. Make sure you keep raw bones refrigerated until right before consumption, this will prevent the growth of bacteria.  

How to Stop a Puppy from Chewing  a Mop

Mop-chewing is a favorite past time for many pooches, but this destructive hobby can have deadly consequences. Mop strings can pose a choking risk to a small puppy, and even if they don’t get lodged in the throat, they can still cause an intestinal obstruction.

Moreover, mops are typically soaked in all sorts of toxic chemicals including bleach and other common cleaning solutions. The easiest way to resolve this would be to keep any mops and cleaning chemicals stored in a closet out of reach of your puppy.

If you don’t have an off-limits closet, try using an unpleasant-tasting dog repellent spray, and redirecting chewing by “trading” the mop for a more appropriate chew toy.

There are even plush dog toys on the market that have a fringe-like appearance with a similar texture to a mop. Just make sure you supervise Fido with soft toys, these could be easily destroyed and swallowed by a heavy chewer in a matter of minutes.

How to stop a Puppy from Chewing Shoes 

Dogs have roughly 294 MILLION more olfactory (scent) receptors in their noses than humans. With this keen sense of smell, your dogs are going to find a way to get to your sneakers, no matter how well you try to hide them--especially since the scent of their beloved owner is likely one of their favourites.

A hanging shoe organiser will keep footwear out of the reach of shorter dogs, but you may have to get a little more creative with taller breeds. Playing the “exchange game” may be a better approach for these dogs.

Offer your dog a stuffed Kong or bone in exchange for your favourite ballet flats, and praise them enthusiastically. Over time your pup will learn that bringing you a chew toy of their own will get them rewarded with affection.

How to Stop a Puppy from Chewing a Blanket

A puppy who is exclusively chewing soft surfaces like blankets may be in need of a soft plush toy to gnaw on. A frozen wet washcloth can be a beneficial item for a teething puppy as it is gentle on their inflamed gums. Many times a what looks like chewing is actually a puppy suckling, typically caused by being weaned too early.

How to Punish a Dog for Chewing

How to punish a dog for ANYTHING can be a tricky question to answer, even more since punishment techniques are easily misinterpreted and misused.

Let’s begin by discussing what NOT to do.

What NOT to do.

Never hit, loom over, scream at, forcefully grab, throw, purposefully scare, muzzle, or leave a dog in a crate for hours and hours to punish it for chewing. 

Some outdated training manuals suggest trying the “alpha dog” maneuver (forcefully flipping a dog on it’s back and growling) on particularly difficult dogs, but most qualified trainers, Dr. Dunbar, and Patricia McConnell included, seriously discourage this technique.

The often misused practice can create a fear of humans which makes training more difficult and can even cause a dog to become aggressive.  


Dr. Dunbar praises the banishment technique (also called “time out”), as the most effective form of punishment. It is simply stopping all playtime immediately when the undesired chewing is exhibited, and (softly but sternly) telling your dog to “exit” or “go to the crate.” 

The first few times you will likely need to escort your dog away, but over time he will (reluctantly) leave on his own. Over time your dog will learn that the behaviour is not tolerated and will result in them being sent away from their owner.

Breed Specific.

Certain breeds may be more receptive to one particular method of discipline than others. Beagles are very nose-driven dogs, and can frequently be found scavenging through trash cans looking for discarded food morsels. 

Though stubborn, Beagles are very food-oriented. Dr. Dunbar’s suggests shaking a treat bag while the dog is in timeout to show them just what they are missing out on.

“People-pleaser” breeds like Golden Retrievers may catch on to the house rules with banishment alone; whereas, high energy breeds like Jack Russell terriers will likely need to expend their energy before training can even begin!

When do puppies stop chewing everything? 

Teething- induced chewing typically ends around the time a dog turns six months old, but that doesn’t mean the behaviour will stop entirely.

Gnawing on sticks and bones is instinctive for both wild and domesticated canines. It is ingrained in their brains, and for good reason, it is their way of strengthening their jaws and cleaning their teeth.

It will take an owners patience and consistent efforts to stop destructive chewing entirely, but it is possible.

If you cannot get your pet’s chewing under control, then seek veterinary advice and the counsel of a professional dog trainer. 

It will take some trial and error to learn what works best for your dog. Never physically punish or yell at your dog to get them to behave. The banishment technique will usually work, but may require some minor “tweaks.” If all else fails, seek professional help.

The Takeaway

Countless dogs are surrendered to over-crowded pounds every day for chewing, making this natural behaviour death sentence for many--but it doesn’t have to be that way.

With effort, understanding, and a whole lot of love, your chew-happy puppy can grow into a trustworthy companion.

That's All for Puppy's Chewing

I hope you have been able to take away some new chewing solutions. If you have, please drop us a comment below, we would love to reply to you!

Crate Training: 3 Easy Steps for Fast Results!

When it comes to crate training you will be happy to know that there is a simple formula that sets you up for guaranteed success. Today we are going to teach you how to use it!

After hours and hours of reading books from the greats in dog training and five months of patiently puppy training my own dog, using their methods,  we have concluded that crate training can be organised into one simple formula. 

We call it the "Crate Training Success Formula". 

In this guide, we will explain how to easily implement this formula in three easy steps without needing a degree in dog psychology or even dog training. 

Dog trainers believe that crate training should only be used while your canine undergoes other types of training such as puppy toilet training, puppy sleep training, house training etc. 

So we have broken the guide down into sections to help you understand why you are crate training and how to crate train for that specific reason.  

Are you ready? Here we go;

Crate Training Strategies from THE Experts

The create training guide has been masterfully created by leaning on three major dog trainers of our time. Doggy Dan, Cesar Millan and Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz.

Crate Training Advice From Doggy Dan

You may have heard of him, New Zealand’s own, Doggy Dan who is gaining international traction for his holistic dog training ways.

He has helped over 37,000 people successfully train their dogs through his paid online training course, the Calming Code and The Perfect Puppy Program in which we had the privilege to undertake.

Doggy Dan with Moses

Today, we give you some insights into how Doggy Dan crate trains his own pup Moses through his paid online courses.

Crate Training Advice from Cesar Millan

We have added the cherished wisdom of our favourite Mexican-American dog behaviourist and TV celebrity,  Cesar Milan with over 25 years of canine experience to this guide.

Cesar Millan Dog Trainer and TV Celebrity

We have extracted everything you need to know from his best selling dog training books (How to Raise the Perfect Dog; Through Puppyhood and Beyond and Cesar's Way; The Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding and Correcting Common Dog Problems) into easy to follow crate training schedules for your convenience. 

Crate Training Advice from Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz & Larry Kay

And finally, Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz and Larry Kay the author an international best selling dog training book - Training the Best Dog Ever,  A 5-Week Program Using the Power of Positive Reinforcement, is a book based on love and kindness.  Barack Obama's dog trainer when he was President, .

You may recognise these trainers and their valuable techniques from our other posts on dog training, that’s because these guys truly know what they are doing.  

This crate training guide is full of invaluable advice from these trainers who are experts in crate training. 

Good Crate Training vs Cruel Crate Training

Before we go any further its important you understand the difference between good crate training and cruel crate training. Its a very touchy subject but does deserve to be mentioned.

Crate training is the process of using a crate as an appropriate enclosure to eliminate unwanted behaviour (peeing on the carpet) WHILE training your dog desired behaviours (peeing outside). 

If you use a crate instead of teaching your dog the house rules then most people would agree that crate training is cruel and in fact some countries have even banned crate training for these reasons. 

The Approved Reasons for Crate Training

So good crate training is when you use a crate WHILE you teach your dog the rules of the house.

All three dog trainers agree that, when done correctly, the successful use of crates will curb destructive tendencies, while giving your pup a safe space to adjust to the rules of the house. 

3 good reasons for crate training

Generally speaking, the house rules can be broken up into three categories of training, potty training, sleep training and house training (what is and isn't acceptable to chew for instance).

Doggy Dan Profile Pic

Doggy Dan's Take

Doggy Dan, promotes the practice of crate training as an effective way to establish leadership and correct behaviour when done correctly and with a lot of love and patience.

He goes on to teach that crate training is a great means to an end, the end being a well-trained house pet who spends more time outside the crate

Bottom Line: While it is not a cure-all for puppy problems, crating can be a beneficial tool for setting boundaries and expectations for your dog.

Choosing the right crate

Choosing the right crate is fundamental in successfully crate training your pooch.

There are many things to consider when shopping around (or building one yourself)-- selecting the wrong enclosure could cause a whole array of new problems! 

Housing your dog in a too small crate can be detrimental for their physical and emotional well-being, causing serious health concerns from stunted growth and arthritis to anxiety!

Basic Sizing Guidelines

An appropriate crate is just large enough for them to stand and turn around comfortably, without giving them extra space to get into mischief!

Newer wire cages often come with a removable separator to block off extra room for growing dogs-- this is especially helpful with larger breeds!

The most basic way to measure your dog for a crate is to add 5-10 cm to the length and width. However, there any many other important variables to take into account, like breed, temperament etc.  We will go into this now. 

Bottom Line: Go through the Australian dog crates sizes guide to ensure you choose the right size crate. 

Study your dog.

Take into account the size, breed, and temperament of your puppy. For example, a high-energy bully breed can easily disassemble a plastic carrier style-- this breed would benefit more from a sturdy wire cage with a lot of visibility.

On the other hand, keeping a teacup Yorkie in the same size wire enclosure could be counterproductive for house training.

Typically a dog will not eliminate where they sleep or eat, but an oversized crate can allow for dogs to snooze on one side and potty on the opposite end!

Bottom Line: Dog crate sizes by temperament is an important factor when deciding on your crate. 

Consider your dog’s breed and size.

Timid toy breeds will likely be more comfortable in a soft-sided cage or a carrier style with plastic sides--the limited visibility will help them feel protected from “predators.”

Small dogs such as Jack Russells or Pugs are well-suited for playpen, soft-sided, and plastic enclosures. If your dog falls into this category, consider it’s temperament and energy level.

Energetic dogs on the smaller end of this spectrum do well with a playpen style set up, but heftier canines might just topple the pen over!

Different Crates for Different Dogs

Medium sized dogs have a wide assortment of crates to choose from, like the Whippet or American Bull Dog, could suit soft-sided, plastic, playpen, and wire crates.

If your mid-range dog is prone to escaping, go for a wire crate--but you may need to pad the bars if you have a chewer!

Extra large dogs like the Great Dane, should give wooden crates a try.

Powerful big stature dogs which easily break out of flimsy wire cages will have a much tougher time making escaping from a sturdy wooden setup. 

Here is a general guide for selecting the most appropriate crate size and style per dog breed.

Please note that your dog’s personal temperament must be taken into consideration before relying on the below recommendations.

Crate Training - Dog Crate Sizes Chart

The Crate Training Success Formula 

Now that you have chosen the right size crate for your dogs breed, size and temperament, you are ready for the next step. 

We can now finally reveal the special formula that will solve all your crate training problems!

As promised, here it is. The Crate Training Success Formula;

Crate Training Success Formula

I know it doesn't look like much but it yields incredible results and that's why professional dog trainers use it and recommend it.

It looks simple and that's because it is. It just takes some understanding of your dog and some planning, oh and patients!

In this section, we break this down into three easy, manageable steps for you. 

The 3 Easy Steps to Crate Training

Step 1 -  Know your intentions for crate training.

Step 2 - Prioritise your puppy training program.

Step 3 - Commit to a schedule that works with your intentions.

Sounds easy and is it. Let's get into it. 

Step One: Know your intentions for crate training.

So why are you crate training? By now you should have given some thought as to why you have chosen to crate train. In this guide we have catered to the three most common reasons for crate training.

Choose a reason that closely relates to your reason for crate training;

a)  I am trying to potty train my puppy.
b)  I am trying to teach my puppy to sleep at night.
c)  I am trying to teach my puppy to be well-behaved when left alone.

Bottom Line: Choose your intention and then move on to Step Two.

Step Two: Prioritise your puppy training program.

The latest research from numerous case studies conducted by the Journal of Applied Animal Behaviour Science, reveals that a well-trained puppy is highly unlikely to suffer from behavioural problems as a grown dog.

This tells us that behavioural issues such as destructive chewing, self-harming, and anxiety can all be solved through…you guessed it... puppy training!! And the sooner, the better!

To save you a lot of time we have summarised and condensed Doggy Dan's paid online puppy training course into an easy to follow guide. 

Doggy Dan Profile Pic

Doggy Dan's Take

The Online Dog Trainer uses the 'Calming Code' as a basis of his 'Perfect Puppy Program' for training your puppy to be well behaved and happy. 

Doggy Dan believes that once this is in place, crate training becomes a dream.

We have summarised these paid programs for you here. 

The program is self-paced, making it very effective for puppies and dogs of any temperament.

Our advice is to stick with it and get everyone in the pack involved. This is just one method you can try out, there are many other dog training methods out there for you to explore.

If you don't have time then you can enrol your dog into a local puppy training school. This can be very rewarding for you and your pooch.

We still use Doggy Dan's techniques and we can vouch that they do work, they are very simple. Although, you do have to be vigilant and very patient for the techniques to work properly. 

Bottom Line: Committing to puppy training course is really important while you undergo crate training. It will put a stop of bad behaviours sooner so the crate can be stored away. 

Step Three: Try a schedule that works with your intentions. 

For some of us sticking to a schedule makes us cringe. I get it. But it can really set you up for success and it doesn't have to be forever. 

For each intention we have provided you with a schedule. All you have to do is adjust it to suit your lifestyle. 

The schedule is there to help you understand your puppy’s unique behaviour and for the puppy to understand what is expected.

Honestly, the magic happens when you use a schedule. 

Sticking to the schedule allows for consistency, consistency leads to results.  

Choose a schedule that aligns with your intentions:

  • Crate Training Schedule - Potty Training
  • Crate Training Schedule - Sleep Training
  • Crate Training Schedule - Being Left Alone

Remember, it's not forever. It's just here to fast track the crate training process. 

Bottom LineStick to a schedule. Tailor it to your lifestyle and be consistent until you see results. Remember, this is a proven to work technique. Try it out and see for yourself. 

Now that you have your crate, intention and your schedule, you are ready to learn how to put it into action. Choose the action plan for your intention. 

How to crate train a puppy for potty training 

If your intention is to use a crate while little Fido is learning how to hold his bladder and learning where to potty, then crates can be a great tool.

Depending on your work/life schedule, ideally, you would only have your puppy in the crate at night.

All you need for this method is the bladder formula, a potty training schedule, treats and lots of love and patience. 

Crate Training Potty Training - What you will need

How long does it take to potty train  a puppy? It depends on which dog training method you follow (positive reinforcement, clicker training, electronic training, mirror training, relationship-based training, alpha dog training, dominance training).

For simplicity and effectiveness, we have based our recommendations on mainly alpha dog training and positive reinforcement (Doggy Dan's Methods). 

Note:  If you live in a house with a yard, the process will be much faster. If you are in an apartment, it’s slightly different and requires a little more patience, more about that here.

Lets get into how it works...... 

Crate Training for Potty Training - How it works

1. The Bladder Formula.

A puppy under 10 weeks old is physically unable to hold their bladder throughout the night. An easy rule of thumb to follow is a formula called the bladder formula.

The Bladder Formula
Add the number 1 to your puppy’s age and then convert this into hours.

For example, Fido is 3 months old + 1 = 4 hours. Fido can only hold his bladder for approximately 4 hours at a time.

This means he shouldn’t be left in his crate for longer than 4 hours at a time (at night or during the day).

The potty training schedule provided will allow you to use the bladder formula to plan out your day and night.

The biggest benefit to sticking to this formula and a schedule is that it quickly teaches your puppy that there is a particular place for going to the toilet.

He won’t have time to pee in his crate because you will be knocking at his door every four hours!

Bottom Line: Get committed by setting an alarm clock and be ready for a toilet trip. This is what the schedule is for. The more consistent you are, the faster he will learn! I promise!  

2. Plan ahead! The Potty Schedule for Crate Training.

You know by now that sticking to a schedule is absolutely paramount for successful crating. This not only avoids smelly and uncomfortable accidents but it trains your pup to NOT cry out. Crying spells will be totally avoided.

So plan ahead and get your schedule ready. Let’s get into it.

Your schedule will be broken up into weeks;

Week One -  Observation.

Week Two - Adjust the schedule so it works for both of you.

Week Three - Commit to a schedule until the training is complete.

For some, after week three the training is complete and the crate can be put away.

For others, the puppy might grow attached to the crate and prefer to use it while taking himself to the toilet during the night, with the exceptions of a few mistakes here and there. 

If after week three, there is no progress, then go back to the Perfect Puppy Program and step through the fundamental training rules.

Sometimes the way we say our cues, or the way we feed or discipline our puppy, can create trust or respect issues which in turn makes potty training and crate training much more difficult. 

Tip: Set your pup up for success by not feeding or giving water before lights out.  

Try to make their last meal and drink about three hours prior to bedtime, this will prevent any restlessness and the unnecessary need for going to the toilet.

If you haven't got it already, here is your Potty Training - Crate Training Schedule.  

If you want to follow the Perfect Puppy Program, here is a schedule that reflects Doggy Dan’s leadership training for Potty Training.  

3. Reward and praise.

Everyone loves to hear that they are doing a good job and your pup is no exception!

The greatest dog trainers of our time, rely heavily on “positive reinforcement’ as the best training method, for standard house pets, especially for potty training.

Take Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz, the dog trainer to President Obama’s family dog, as a great example. 

Training the best dog ever

Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz's Take

Dawn suggests naming the cue to go potty and using this same cue to praise your canine when they do their business.

You may be surprised at how fast your puppy learns the connection between the two. Especially if you take Doggy Dan’s advice and give a little treat when doing so. This is guaranteed to speed up the success. It did for my dog and it worked!

Say something like, “go toilet” when they go outside and “good toilet” to praise them for eliminating in the appropriate place.

Keep Cues Short 
One to two syllable words more easily than elaborate cues.  Add treats IF this is part of your puppy training program.

Crating at Night
If you are using the crate at night to stop your puppy from doing his business all over the house, then be sure to calmly wake him up, take him out to potty, praise calmly and then settle him back into his crate. In and out. Don’t make a big deal out of it. 

TIP: The Perfect Puppy Program suggests saving special cuddles or treats for potty training. Keep a bag of special treats near the potty (in a tree or on the bench) and use only for potty training.

Remember that accidents happen!

Just like human children, puppies have accidents from time to time--especially before they learn the ins and outs of the house rules. 

Understand that mistakes are part of the process, impulsively yelling or rubbing your dog’s nose in their puddle will only worsen the problem, causing your dog to become more secretive about their accidents.

It is important we apply Doggy Dan’s calming code for these accidents. 

Doggy Dan Profile Pic

Doggy Dan's Take

Stay calm while dealing with your dog, put them in the crate away from the mess while you discreetly clean it up away from their sight.

Even though we have a formula that tells us how often Fido needs to go to the toilet, we have found that sometimes pups have the tendency of changing their own pee schedule, even if one drop comes out.

For now, logging your pup’s elimination patterns may help to predict when accidents are most likely to happen, and prevent them before they occur.

Positive reinforcement training will teach little Fido to hold until he actually needs to go. This is very powerful. 

Bottom Line: Try and stay calm while training, just like little humans they too are sensitive to energy.  

Crate training at night - Teaching your pup to sleep through the night

Crate training at night is nothing to lose sleep over, as long as you have a little patience and make some preparations beforehand! 

If your intention is to train your puppy where to sleep at night while using a crate then this is one of the easiest methods.  

Before you Begin Make the Crate Comfortable & Inviting 

Make sure your pooch is accustomed to the crate before you put them in for the night.

Spend some time during the day acclimating them to the enclosure, scatter treats around it, and encourage them to investigate.

Put some cozy blankets and some soft toys in to make it as inviting and relaxing of an atmosphere as possible--with some time your dog will be retreating to this space by their self to take a cat nap or to get away from the household hustle and bustle.

Bottom Line: Spend some time turning the crate into a safe haven for your puppy.

Crate Training: Whining, barking, and crying.

It’s hard not to make a fuss when your pup is crying and barking all night in their crate. Although saddening and often aggravating, it is an issue that nearly every crate-training fur-parent has encountered.

Tips for Soothing an Upset Puppy

If your puppy to crying out at night try some of these soothing recommendations from Rebecca Setler, the author of Puppy Sleep Training.

Rebecca suggests trying a sound machine or fan pointed away from your pooch to soothe them and block outside noises.

The book goes on to recommend using some plush toys come with a built-in “heartbeat” this could help ease your puppy’s mind--just make sure there are no plastic pieces that your teething puppy could hurt himself on.

Covering the crate with a light blanket or towel help some dogs feel hidden from predators--other dogs will pitch a fit if you cover their crate.

Just like some humans sleep with the door open and others sleep with it closed, it is just a matter of personal preference!

Some dogs even find comfort in sleeping with a worn shirt that belongs to their owner.

Take some time to troubleshoot and try different ideas to figure out what works best for your dog.

Tips for Not Giving In

Doggy Dan’s number one rule for nightly crate training is to not to give in.

Doggy Dan Profile Pic

Doggy Dan's Take

Often puppies bark the loudest right before they drift off to sleep, like a last stitch effort to get you to let them out. As hard as it is, try your best to not give in. 

If your pup is absolutely frantic for a long while, calmly let them out to potty and take them straight back to the cage.

Do not play with, pet, talk to, or cuddle them during this time.

It is important to make this step straight to the point-- this teaches the dog that barking and fussing will not get them out to play or petted.

Stay calm during this period, don’t throw them back in the pen and slam the door--remember, a crate is supposed to be their safe place, never a place of punishment!

Cesar Millan's Take

The Dog Whisperer - Cesar Millan believes this act of staying calm when showing leadership, is the absolute key to building trust in the eyes of your puppy.

Bottom Line: The calmer you are when the puppy is distressed, the more he will look to you for guidance.

Busy Dogs are Happy Dogs 

Rebecca Setler insists that keeping your dog active during the day is paramount for a puppy to adjust to sleep through the night.

Going for walks, practising fetch, and having play-dates with other four-legged people are all fantastic ways to expend some of that bubbling puppy energy!

Learning how to stimulate your pup is very important. Both Cesar Millan and Doggy Dan agree that the key to success is all within your ability to meet your dog’s needs.

If your dog is fulfilled (mentally and physically stimulated), then they will want to please you in return.

Establishing a Routine

It is important that fulfilling your dogs needs becomes part of your daily routine. Learn how to stimulate your puppy and recognise which types of stimulation are best received by your pup.

Some examples are; learning new tricks, off leash exploring (hiking/beach), problem solving obstacle courses and obedience training.  

Keep trying until you find what works for you and your puppy.  You will be able to instantly tell when your pup is enjoying himself.

Implementing an exercise routine becomes easy when you stick to a schedule, the schedule will teach the puppy when it is exercise time and when it is SLEEP time. This can be very effective.

You can find more solutions on how to get a puppy to sleep here

Bottom Line: The more you make an effort with your puppy, the easier it is to train them when and where to sleep.

Tips for Where to Place the Crate 

Consider putting the crate in your bedroom for the first few nights, just until your pup gets used to the routine. Being able to see and hear their owners breathing helps a new puppy feel secure in the crate and lets them know they are not alone!

Elevating the Crate

Rebecca Setler recommends elevating the crate so they can see you while you sleep--be sure to secure it well, you don't want it tumbling to the floor with your beloved pooch inside!

Playpen Enclosure

Doggy Dan recommends setting up a playpen where the puppy can roam around his enclosure in between naps.

The playpen has the crate, with the door open, toys and a pee pad. This allows the puppy to get distracted and likely to settle himself down.

Doggy Dan Profile Pic

Doggy Dan's Take

Doggy Dan also gives the option of setting up the enclosure near your bedroom and then gradually moving it out further away toward the area where you want the puppy to sleep indefinitely.

Rooming-in depends on the household. If you are a working family then maybe it’s better to set the enclosure up in the area you want from the beginning.

Playing soft music as mentioned earlier, dimming lights and the like will soften the stress and make the transition easier.

Bottom Line: Moving the crate to your bedroom at the beginning is a personal preference.

Crate Training While at Work

Being a working dog parent is a challenge in itself, but when you add crating into the mix, it can become even more stressful. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be! 

Doggy Dan Profile Pic

Doggy Dan's Take

In the words of Doggy Dan, “Set your dog up for success”!

Always feed and toilet your beloved pooch right before crating and never leave them confined for longer than they can hold their bladder.

Young puppies and small breeds may only be able to contain their water for an hour or two. Puppies six months or older should be fine for four to seven hours. Go back to the Bladder Formula for more information. 

Practice makes perfect!

Cesar Millan suggests finding creative ways of rehearsing for the big day beforehand. Leave your pup in the crate for literally one second and work up in increments a little at a time.

Try this without closing the door first and work up to closing the door. A few treats and some encouragement go a long way during this step!

Give Fido something to do!

Put a few interesting toys in the crate to occupy their time (maybe a rubber chew toy filled with peanut butter and their favourite plush to cuddle up to).

Having several options to play with will keep them entertained so (hopefully) they will barely notice you left!

Keep your cool! 

Doggy Dan’s Calming Code is a very effective strategy for keeping your canine cool and collected upon your departure and arrival. He teaches us always to be relaxed when interacting with our dogs.

A consistently calm demeanour gently asserts dominance which helps your dog to feel safe (since you are in control, they don’t have to worry!).

Cesar Millan's Take

Cesar Millan also affirms this principle in his book “Your Way to Train a Well-Behaved Dog,” telling readers to “Make sure your own demeanour is calm and steady. The more times you’ve shown leadership in different environments, the more your dog will trust you even when she’s unsure.”

Take your time!

When you come home, don’t rush to the cage in a frenzy! Take about five minutes to get settled in before you approach the pen.

Do not speak or make eye contact with your pup during this period--overtime this can cause or exacerbate hyperactivity and whining.

Do not let your dog out while they are whining--this teaches them that barking gets them what they want. Giving in will only condone negative behavior, they will learn that you will let them out but on your terms, not theirs.

If they are calm and five minutes have passed, approach the crate CALMLY,  and take them straight outside to potty. When they finish their business, praise them and give them the pets that you both have been longing!

Following these steps is vital for creating a calm and obedient dog, mistakes are bound to happen, but patience and consistency are key!

Read more about crate training for working dog parents here which includes an elaborate schedule for working dog parents.

Author's Note: I used a modified version of this method with my (now 8-year-old) beagle, Trixie. Beagles have some of the best noses in the dog world and are commonly used as cadaver and drug-sniffing dogs.

Trixie used this keen sense of smell to discover all the yummy contents of the trash can and dig dirty clothes out of the hamper! Through the use of crate training, positive reinforcement, and some interesting toys, she quickly grew out of this bad habit. 

Trixie was also an avid poo hider in her puppyhood. By implementing a strict schedule and limiting food and water intake before bed, we were able to stop the in-house pottying completely.

At four months Trixie’s progress was set back substantially. She snuck out of the house while visiting with my mother and was hit by a car--- USD 8,000, one cast, and major hip surgery later, we began again.

This time tackling learning to walk again and how to potty outside. Using a towel as a sling I helped her to regain her mobility, and she did excellently!

The set back required us to have an even more rigid schedule, because she couldn’t get up to potty by herself, she was essentially crate bound.

Her determination was remarkable. By the time she had healed, she was settled back into her routine and completely housebroken once again!

When to stop crate training 

Ultimately, when to end crate training is entirely up to the owner. Some dogs may be fine left out once they are totally house trained--others may still like to get into mischief while their owners are away. 

Remember that your puppy is an individual, what works for other dogs may not work for yours!

You may want to install a puppy cam, to check on your dog throughout the day and make sure they are ready to stop crating before you toss it out completely.

Limit or omit crate time entirely if you see signs of your puppy becoming depressed or emotionally withdrawn.

Alternatives to crate training

Crates just not an option for your fur-family?

Try keeping your pup in a small secluded room like the laundry area or a bathroom while you are away. Playpens are another great alternative that allows dogs to have more range of motion, while still being contained.

Bringing in a professional trainer can address a number of issues and lead your fur-child to the point where they no longer need a crate at all.

Hiring a dog sitter can also be helpful for long days at work and will also keep your pup from getting lonely during your absence.

Is crate training cruel? 

Looking into sad puppy dog eyes behind the bars of a crate can make any dog owner wonder if they are doing the right thing by crating. Dog trainers can’t seem to agree on this either, and some countries have even banned the practice (with the exception of using them for transportation).

If implemented correctly, crate training can promote independence and self-confidence. When misused crates can exacerbate pre-existing issues, create new problems, and cause injury or even death.

A dog left in a crate for that majority of the day will lack social skills, obedience, and self-esteem. Crating for long periods can cause health problems like muscular dystrophy, arthritis, anxiety, and depression.

Tips for humane crating

  • Leave your dog in the crate for no longer than four hours at a time.
  • If you work long hours, call a neighbour or a friend to let Fido out.
  • Make sure you are using a safe enclosure that they are well-acquainted with.
  • Arrow Circle Right
    Give Fido opportunities to entertain themselves in the crate.
  • Arrow Circle Right
    Allow your pup plenty of exercise and face time away from the crate.

Read more about ethical crating here

FAQ - Crate training problems 

Why is my dog using the bathroom in their crate?

You could be leaving them for longer than they can hold their bladder. Generally speaking pups can hold their bladder for one hour per month of age--for example, a two-month-old puppy should be let out to potty every two hours.

You may also be using too large of a crate. Many wire style crates come with a piece to close off a portion of the crate; these are especially beneficial for large breed puppies that are growing into their kennel.

Help! My dog won’t stop shredding the bedding in its crate!

You may need to remove the bed entirely.

Try putting just an old towel in for them to lay on and some heavy duty chew toys in there to keep them occupied. Usually, the destructive puppy phase will pass once teething is over.

Also, try taking your dog for a massive run before putting him into the crate and see if this is the cure! Both Doggy Dan and Cesar preach the importance of always meeting your dog’s needs first and then ask them to do something for you.  

The Takeaway

Crate training can be an excellent tool to help a puppy learn boundaries and expectations, that is if you implement it correctly. 

Today we have shown your the Crate Training Success Formula. The formula consists of three simple steps;

Step One -  Know your intentions for crate training.

Step Two - Prioritise your puppy training program.

Step Three - Commit to a schedule that works with your intentions.

Stick to these rules and you are guaranteed to succeed. 

Bottom Line: The amount of effort you put into crate training should be doubled with house training!


What Happens Next? 

  • If you have found this guide to be of great value please share or leave a comment. We would love to hear your experiences with using these methods or successful methods of your own. 
  • Checkout the Puppy Training Guide inspired by New Zealand's famous dog trainer Doggy Dan. We have condensed his paid course into an easy to follow guide for new puppy owners.