Crate vs. Pen: The Pros and Cons of Puppy Confinement Options 

Crate vs. Pen: The Pros and Cons of Puppy Confinement Options 

  Welcoming a new puppy comes with some challenges, such as ensuring a safe and secure place when you’re not around especially when it comes to managing their behavior and potty training. One common question new puppy owners often face is whether to use a crate or a pen for confinement. Both options have their pros and cons, and it’s essential to understand them to make an informed decision that suits your puppy’s needs and your lifestyle. You  can use both, but it’s good to know the differences.

Crate Confinement:

A crate is a small, enclosed space that serves as a den for your puppy. It can be made of plastic, metal, or fabric, and typically has a door that can be closed. Here are some pros and cons of using a crate for puppy confinement:

Pros:

    1. Creates a Safe Space: A crate provides a secure and cozy space for your puppy to rest and feel safe. It mimics the den-like environment that puppies naturally seek in the wild, and it can help them feel secure and calm.

    2. Aids in Potty Training: Dogs naturally avoid soiling their sleeping area, and a crate can be a valuable tool for potty training. When properly used, it can help teach your puppy to hold their bladder and bowel movements, and establish a routine for outdoor elimination.

    3. Prevents Destructive Behavior: Puppies are notorious for getting into trouble when left unsupervised. Using a crate can prevent them from chewing on furniture, shoes, or other household items, and keep them safe from potential hazards.

    4. Facilitates Travel: Crates are also useful for traveling with your puppy. They provide a secure and familiar space for your puppy in unfamiliar surroundings, and can be used in cars or on airplanes.

Cons:

    1. Limitation on Movement: One of the main drawbacks of using a crate is that it restricts your puppy’s movement. Puppies need regular exercise and playtime to develop their muscles, coordination, and social skills. Spending excessive time in a crate can lead to boredom and restlessness.

    2. Potential for Anxiety: Some puppies may develop crate anxiety if they are confined for too long periods or have had negative experiences with crates in the past. This can result in whining, barking, or destructive behavior, and may require additional training and desensitization.

Pen Confinement:

A pen, also known as an exercise pen or playpen, is a larger enclosed area that allows your puppy more space to move around compared to a crate. It can be made of metal or plastic, and usually has an open top. Here are some pros and cons of using a pen for puppy confinement:

Pros:

    1. More Space to Move: A pen provides your puppy with more room to move around, play, and explore compared to a crate. This can help fulfill their exercise and mental stimulation needs, and prevent boredom and restlessness.

    2. Flexibility: Pens are more versatile than crates, as they can be configured in different shapes and sizes to suit your space and your puppy’s needs. They can be used indoors or outdoors, and can also be used as a barrier to restrict access to certain areas of your home.

    3. Socialization Opportunities: A pen can be a safe space for your puppy to interact with family members, other pets, or visitors, which can aid in their socialization and help them develop good behavior and manners.

    4. Reduced Risk of Anxiety: Some puppies may feel less confined and anxious in a pen compared to a crate, as they have more freedom to move around and see their surroundings. This can help prevent anxiety-related behaviors.

Cons:

    1. Less Effective for Potty Training: Unlike a crate, a pen may not be as effective for potty training, as it provides more space available for them to eliminate.

    2. Escapes: Some puppies may be able to climb or jump over the playpen, leading to unsupervised roaming or potential accidents.

    3. Limited Containment: Playpens may not be as effective as crates in preventing destructive chewing or accessing certain areas in your home.

    4. Reduced Security: Puppies with high anxiety or fear may not feel as secure in a playpen, as it does not offer the same level of confinement and den-like atmosphere as a crate.

Ultimately, the choice between crate and playpen confinement depends on your puppy’s needs, temperament, and your specific circumstances. It’s important to strike a balance between confinement and freedom, providing your puppy with proper socialization, exercise, and mental stimulation throughout the day.

© Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved July 2023

     

     

    Why Is My Puppy Chewing Furniture? Here is How to Prevent It.

    Why Is My Puppy Chewing Furniture? Here is How to Prevent It.

    Dogs Chewing Furniture: Understanding the Behaviour and Finding Solutions

    As a dog parent, it can be frustrating and costly to see your pup constantly chewing on your furniture. Not only does it damage your belongings, but it can also pose a threat to your dog’s health if they ingest any harmful substances. The solutions to this problem might surprise you!

    So why do dogs chew on furniture? There are several reasons for this behavior:

    1- Teething: Puppies go through a teething stage just like human babies. During this time, they experience discomfort and soreness in their gums as their baby teeth are replaced with permanent ones. Chewing on furniture is a natural way for them to alleviate this discomfort.

    2- Entertainment: Puppies when they are left alone for long periods of time, they may start chewing on furniture out of entertainment and they don’t know the difference between your furniture and their new toys. We need to teach them!

    3- Anxiety: Some dogs may chew on furniture as a coping mechanism for anxiety or stress. This could be due to a change in their routine, fear of loud noises, or separation anxiety.

    4- Lack of appropriate chew toys: Providing your puppy with alternative chew toys can help redirect their chewing behaviour away from your furniture while they’re teething

    So, what can you do to prevent your puppyfrom chewing on furniture? Here are some solutions:

    1- Confinement. Wether you use a crate an ex- Penn or a baby gate you need to create a safe space where your puppy can spend time when you can’t supervise. This space should be puppy proofed.

    2- Supervision. If you’re puppy is out of his/her designated area make sure your supervising.

    3- Make sure your puppy have enough sleeping time. Puppies sleep on average of 15 – 20 hours per day. The lack of sleep can create excessive chewing and restless behaviors.

    4- Keep your play time and training sessions short and sweet. Start teaching patience and self control by adding structure and little rules to every game. Puppies get more tired when you make them wait for things than when you rile them up and play endlessly. When you exercise or play too long with a puppy, they tend to get more cranky, aggressive and frustrated.

    5- Address any underlying medical conditions: If your dog is chewing excessively, it could be a sign of a dental issue or other health problem. Schedule a visit to the vet to rule out any underlying conditions.

    While dogs chewing on furniture can be frustrating, it is a common behavior that can be managed with the right solutions. If you’re still struggling to prevent your dog from chewing on furniture, consider seeking the help of a professional dog trainer or behaviorist for guidance.

    © Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved June 2023

       

       

      How Can I Discourage and Stop My Puppy From Barking Excessively 

      How Can I Discourage and Stop My Puppy From Barking Excessively 

      Puppies are a lot of fun, but when fun turns into too much stimulation, they can also be quite vocal. Barking is a natural behavior for dogs, but excessive barking when it gets out of control is not. It can also become a nuisance and cause disturbance to both you and your neighbors. Fortunately, there are ways to discourage your puppy from barking excessively. 

      The first step to addressing excessive barking is to understand why your puppy is barking in the first place. There are different reasons why your puppy might be barking excessively. Here’s a list of the most common ones: 

      1. Overexcitement and/or overstimulation. This could be triggered by you coming home, you getting their leash, playing with too much excitement or too much stimuli overload in the environment. This is usually caused by the lack of self control. This barking will often be with a wagging tail, happy mood, spin in circles, some nipping and running to play chase, ears perked and head held higher. 

      2, Attention barking (usually reinforced unconsciously by humans). This barking is usually high pitch, annoying and relentless. Their tails may be straight or wagging, with their ears down/natural or at attention. Be careful with this behavior. If your dog is  barking to get your attention or treats and they get what they want when they bark, you’ll be reinforcing and encouraging the excessive barking. Be aware that negative attention it’s still attention and will reinforce the barking. 

      3. Triggered by a noise or sight (ex: a dog passing by your house or the mail man coming in). This type of barking usually triggers an automatic emotional response in your dog that spirals up into an uncontrolled barking. 

      4. Territorial barking (guarding or protecting). Your dog feels the need to protect your house. These barks will usually be deeper and may have a growl associated with them. They will also be fairly continuous and incessant. With territorial barking the body posture is usually leaning forward, tail is up and wagging, ears and and eyes are up and alert. It could be followed by a bite. This may happen at a later puppy stage 4 months and older. 

      5. Fear barking. Insecure/fearful dogs will show body language leaning backwards and backing up while their barking. Tail might be between the legs and tense, hackles raised, and low head posture. Some insecure/fearful dogs might bite and lunge when you turn your back on them and move away. 

      Once you have identified the underlying cause of your puppy’s barking, you can start working on a solution to address the behavior:

      1. Socialize your puppy

      Puppies that are not properly socialized may become anxious or fearful in new situations, leading to excessive barking. Socializing your puppy from an early age can help him become more comfortable in different environments and around new people and animals. Take your puppy for walks in different places, introduce him slowly to new people and dogs, and expose him gradually to various sights and sounds.

      2. Provide structured play and start teaching your puppy self control.

      Puppies that have excess energy and no self regulation may bark excessively as a way to release their pent-up energy. Providing structure play and teaching self control exercises will keep your puppy calm and content, reducing the likelihood of excessive barking. Take your puppy for exposure walks, play structured games where they slowly learn boundaries, and socialize them with well behaved older dogs that will teach them how to calm down.

      3. Teach your puppy the “quiet” command

      Teaching your puppy a “quiet” command will teach him to understand when it’s time to stop barking. Start by saying “quiet” or “enough” in a firm but calm voice when your puppy barks excessively.

      4. Learn Behavior Training 

      Behavior Training is a powerful tool for training puppies. Rather than punishing your puppy for excessive barking, focus on self control exercises and activities.  Behavior Training is NOT about letting your dog misbehave and then correct, punish or redirect that behavior with treats. It’s about not letting the behavior to happen in first place when possible. The way to do it is to keep your dog in a sound state of mind or  “green zone”. Or bringing him/her back to “green zone” if he/she is already out of control. This will allow your dog to get better at social skills and coping skills in different environments

      Excessive barking can be a frustrating behavior to deal with, but with knowledge and consistency, you can help your puppy learn to bark less or stop barking . Understanding the underlying reason for your puppy’s barking, providing structured exercise, teaching the “quiet” command, and using Behavior Training will effective discourage and stop excessive barking.

      © Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved June 2023

         

         

        What Should I Do If My Puppy Exhibits Aggressive Behaviors?

        What Should I Do If My Puppy Exhibits Aggressive Behaviors?

        Getting a new puppy is an exciting and fun experience, but it can also come with its own set of challenges. One of the most common issues new puppy owners face is behavior problems, such as aggression. Aggression can be a serious problem if not addressed properly, as it can lead to injury to both humans and other animals. In this blog, I will discuss what you should do if your puppy exhibits behavior problems, specifically aggression:

        – 1. Identify the type of aggression. Aggression is a very general term. Here are some different types of aggression: Aggression because of lack of Social skills, Leash aggression, dog to dog aggression, human aggression, Stranger aggression, Fear aggression, Resource guarding (food, toys or humans), Territorial aggression, Trigger aggression (hats, uniforms, gender etc), Conditioned aggression (water sprays bottles, canes, brooms, sticks etc), Dominance aggression, Redirection aggression, Pure aggression (killer instinct)  and probably other types that I haven’t mentioned. As you can see there is a wide range of different types of aggression that are treated very differently.

        – 2. Identify the cause of the aggression The next step in addressing your puppy’s aggression is to identify the cause. When does the aggression start and why? Is your puppy under stress? Is it fear based? Is your puppy being dominant? Is your puppy in pain? Is your puppy overstimulated or frustrated? Is your puppy getting enough sleep or down time? Understanding the root cause of the aggression will help you develop a plan to solve the issue.

        – 3. Knowing the difference between Behavior Training and Obedience Training will save you a lot of time, money and energy. Going to a basic obedience group class will not make much of a difference. Once you have identified the cause of your puppy’s aggression and consulted with a professional, it’s time to implement training and behavior modification techniques. These can include Behavioral Training, coping skills, desensitization, counter-conditioning and management strategies.

        – 4. Consult with a professional If your puppy’s aggression is severe or you are unsure of how to address it, it’s important to consult with a professional. A dog behaviorist, dog trainer with aggression experience or a vet behaviorist can assess your puppy’s behavior and provide guidance on how to address and solve the issue.

        – 5. Be consistent and patient Addressing your puppy’s aggression will take time and patience. It’s important to be consistent with training and behavior modification techniques and to give your puppy time to learn new behaviors. Consistency is key in ensuring your puppy understands what is expected of them.

        – 6. Stay calm and present. It’s important to stay calm and present when addressing your puppy’s aggression. Getting frustrated or angry will only make the situation worse. Instead, stay patient and positive. 

        Addressing your puppy’s aggression requires knowledge, patience, consistency, and most likely the guidance of a professional. By identifying the cause of the aggression, consulting with a professional and implementing a behavior modification plan, you will be able to overcome your puppy’s aggression issues and become a well-behaved and happy member of your family.

            © Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved May 2023

           

          How Should I Start Leash Training My Puppy?

          How Should I Start Leash Training My Puppy?

          Leash training is an important skill for puppies to learn. Not only does it ensure their safety when outside, but it also helps them to develop good behavior habits. However, leash training can be a difficult and frustrating process for both the puppy and the owner. Here are some effective techniques for leash training a puppy.

          – 1. Start with a lightweight leash and collar that won’t weigh your puppy down or restrict their movements.

          – 2. Wait until your puppy is tired or half a sleep to put the leash on. While your puppy is still calm take it off. This is a very effective way to tell your puppy that the leash means nothing; Is not a chew toy, I’m not going to pull you or restrain you etc. That way they won’t fight it.

          – 3. Put the leash on your puppy while your are training. That way your puppy will learn to do things on leash without any pulling. Reward and lure your puppy with treats, while wearing the leash. Start with short training sessions. 10-15 minutes. Gradually increase the length of the training sessions as your puppy becomes more comfortable on the leash.

          – 4. Walk at a steady and slow pace when walking your puppy on the leash. Why slow? Because  you walking at normal pace means your puppy is probably running. Once your puppy grows he/she is going to think that is normal to run on a walk. Your grown up dog running is not going to be you walking at a normal pace. Thinks ahead!

          – 5. Don’t pull your puppy along or let them pull you. Learn Leash Communication skills.

          – 6. Always put the leash on while your puppy is calm. Don’t get your puppy excited while working on leash manners, if not your puppy will start bitting and playing with the leash. Excitement and leash are like oil and water. It’s a bad mix. Remember this for the rest of your dog’s life. If your dog is on leash, your dog should be calm unless you have a working dog.

          Leash training is a vital skill for puppies and adult dogs to learn, since we need to use a leash by law.  By using positive reinforcement, starting with short training sessions, and being patient and consistent, you can help your puppy develop good leash behavior habits that will last a lifetime.

              © Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved May 2023

             

             How Do I Teach My Puppy Not To Bite My Hands?

             How Do I Teach My Puppy Not To Bite My Hands?

            .

            Getting a new puppy can be an exciting and fun time, but it also requires a lot of work and patience. One of the most important things you’ll need to teach your puppy is how to not bite your hands or your clothes. Here are some tips to help you train your new furry friend:

            – 1. Set Boundaries

            The first thing you’ll need to do is to learn how to set boundaries for your puppy in a calm and effective way. Teach them that biting is not acceptable. If your puppy bites your hands, you can stop the play or use the underhand technique to calm them down.

            – 2. Do NOT yell or say NO

            Using a high-pitched yelp to mimic the sound of a littermate being hurt to help discourage biting is NOT a good idea. This usually riles them up and makes them bite harder. Saying NO in harsh voice will either scare your puppy or make him/her more feisty.

            – 3. Provide Chew Toys With Movement

            Puppies like to chase things. Instead of just throwing toys to the floor and hope for the best, move the toys around with your hands. Make them chase the toys so they become interested in them. Offer your puppy a variety of textures and shapes to see what they prefer. This will help redirect their biting behavior to an appropriate outlet.

            – 4. Encourage Positive Reinforcement

            Positive reinforcement is a very effective training method for puppies. When your puppy exhibits good behavior, reward them with a treat or verbal praise. This will help your puppy learn what is expected of them and will encourage them to continue appropriate behavior.

            – 4 Be Consistent

            Don’t let your puppy rehearse biting your hands. Consistency is key when it comes to training your puppy. Make sure everyone in your household is on the same page and using the same training techniques. If you’re inconsistent with your training, it will confuse your puppy and make it harder for them to learn.

            – 5. Control Excitement 

            Excitement can encourage biting behavior, so it’s important to be aware of it. If you riled your puppy up with excitement and move your hands fast your puppy is more likely to get bitey and target your hands.

            – 6. Seek Professional Help

            If your puppy’s biting behavior becomes aggressive or doesn’t improve with training, it may be time to seek professional help. A professional dog trainer or behaviorist can help assess your puppy’s behavior and provide more targeted training techniques.

            Training your puppy not to bite your hands or your clothes takes patience and consistency. By setting boundaries, providing chew toys, encouraging positive reinforcement, not letting the practice it and seeking professional help if necessary, you can help your puppy learn appropriate behavior and develop into a well-behaved adult dog.

              © Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved May 2023