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Ask Angelo is an article that answers common questions that I have been asked over the years.
How should I prepare and introduce a puppy or a rescue dog to its new home?
Welcoming a new dog into your home requires thoughtful preparation. Temporarily you need to set physical boundaries. Having boundaries keeps your new dog safe and helps with building your relationship and addressing training or behavioral issues, until the dog is ready to expand its range. This "safe zone" you create within your home (I use the kitchen that I fence off with baby gates) should have convenient access to a fenced area outside. You should place a crate inside your dog's "safe zone" to function as a den. I prefer transport crates versus the metal wire types. Crates are wonderful tools used for potty training, transporting your pet, and reducing separation anxiety. Be mindful that there are time limits that a puppy or dog should be in a crate. Crate training will be covered as a topic all its own in a later edition. Now that the physical boundaries are established, welcome your new pet into your home with an extensive supervised tour so the dog becomes familiar with its new home. Then return to the “safe zone” where your relationship and training begin.
This video will give you an idea of what it looks like to be prepared for a new puppy or dog.
Crate training: How can my dog benefit from crate training, what size and type of crate should I buy, and how do I get started?
Crates are wonderful tools that can be used for potty training, safely containing and transporting your pet, and reducing any separation anxiety (both the dog's and yours). The objective of using a crate is to create a den-like atmosphere where your pet feels comfortable and safe and where you feel comfortable that your pet is safe.
The proper size crate is one that allows your pet to turn around and lie down comfortably inside. When you're potting training a puppy or dog, a crate that gives them too much room can make potty training ineffective by allowing space for a potty zone. You might have to use increasingly larger crates as a puppy grows. I prefer transport crates, versus the metal wire types. Transport crates are more enclosed creating a den-like environment that makes a dog feel secure, and they reduce the possibility of your pet getting its teeth or paws caught between metal wires.
I start crate training by positioning the dog away from and then motivating it toward the crate with a small amount of food in my hand. Once we reach the door to the crate, without pausing I toss the food into the back of the crate. If this is done correctly the puppy or dog should follow the food. At first I leave the door open and periodically repeat this step a few times until the door can be shut for short periods of time. A command like “kennel!” can be added. Next, I feed the puppy or dog its dinner inside the crate and shut the door. After it has finished eating I take it directly outside for a potty break. Feeding dinner in the crate is a temporary tool to get your dog comfortable in the crate.
Remember that there are time limits that a puppy or dog should be left in a crate. Next article will cover proper time limits and bridging the separations between you and your pet. This will include how crate training can be used to reduce separation anxiety.