Miranda Hitchcock of Every Dog Behavior & Training, a non-profit aimed at improving access to professional, ethical dog training and behavior support, joins Crystal to talk about finding a trainer to fit your needs and your budget.
We’re talking certifications, methodologies, and even how to make sense of all those buzz words like “positive,” “balanced,” “dominance,” and “relationship”-based training.
We also break down websites, how search engine optimization might be interrupting your search instead of helping, and how to cut through the weeds to get what and who you need.
If you’re planning to hire a dog trainer any time soon, don’t miss this essential two-part series to save time, money, and your sanity while sifting through the unregulated world of dog training.
A Convo About Muzzles, Passing Dogs, & Doggie Group Therapy
Cara and Crystal take a little extra time in this double episode to talk about the intertwined topics of muzzles, dog rehabilitation, and what your dog might actually think while passing other dogs on the street.
While we’re at it, what about those scenes on TV where the reactive/aggressive/troubled dog is magically rehabilitated in a yard with thirty other dogs? Is this the equivalent of dog group therapy? If so, does it work and what are the risks?
So, your dog is reactive and you’re really stressing that Dog-To-Dog portion of the test on the Canine Good Citizen.
You are not alone.
Whether your dog is excited about other dogs or just weary, almost everyone preparing for the CGC wants to know: how do I teach my dog to keep it together when in close proximity with a stranger and their dog?
After years of administering the CGC test and preparing aspiring therapy dog teams for the real world of classrooms and hospitals, Crystal has your back on this one. In this episode, she covers where to get started with treating dog reactivity, what classes to look for while preparing for the CGC, and what unsuspecting part of the test fails people the most. Hint: it’s not the dog-to-dog portion.
Becca Rainwater from As The Fur Flies joins Crystal to talk about all things dog grooming. From preparing your dog for the groomer; to how to get the cut you want; to ear plucking to undercoats, they cover just about everything in this two-part episode. Brace yourselves! There will be anal glands.
Akc – what to ask you dog groomer before you hand your dog over
Crystal Dunn 0:00 Do you have anything that you want to write down or anything like that real quick? Or are we pretty much good to go? I think we’re pretty good to go. I have my notes pulled up. I think that should be, should be pretty good. Um, you know me, I kind of like to shoot from the hip even if it is prepared. Yeah, yeah. I like to prepare it so that I can bend shoot from the hip. That’s my that’s my M.O. Becca Rainwater 0:31 Yeah, be asked to stay on script. It’s never gonna happen. Crystal Dunn 0:36 You have the chance to like organize your thoughts in your head ahead of time. That just makes all the difference for me. Yeah. I can talk pretty freely after that. But if I’m just old, it’s a little different. So yes, some of my wittiest moments have been when I’ve gone in cold though I gave some really good interviews. I was pretty impressive myself. My last interview was cold in it apparently did quite a did it did great. I did great. People love that episode. So it’s just my mom listening to it over and over again, she just placed it on repeat. Your mom must be really good at selecting grooming or boarding and daycare facilities now. Welcome to Far Fetched a podcast on the many myths and misconceptions about dogs. I’m Crystal Dunn, writer, dog behavior consultant, host of podcasts and person who is physically unable to not laugh at the word Shih Tzu. Okay, so with me today is my friend, former co worker and dog extraordinary Becca rainwater back out. Welcome back. Yes. Very excited to be back. Yeah, he joined me once before on this podcast to talk about all boarding and daycare facility well, how to choose a boarding and daycare facility. And now you’re back to talk about how to pick an equally important pet care service, which is how to select a groomer. So, so just so people know, in addition to a long history, running a high end boarding and daycare facility that also offered some grooming services, you’ve done a fair amount of grooming on your own. Becca Rainwater 2:27 But you are also or you’re currently a manager at a grooming salon as well. So, yeah, so I thought this would be a really great conversation for us to have because you see it every day you work with some really, really talented groomers. I really do. Yeah, and your grooming salon has an amazing reputation in this town. So it’s very grateful. Yeah, so before we jump into how to choose a groomer, what you should know about grooming and all that good stuff. Crystal Dunn 2:58 I thought it’d be fun to kick off this. This episode with a with a grooming story of some sort of, do you have any favorites? Like, like, my mind’s real short because I have a very limited experience with grooming. Not my specialty at all, which is why I brought you on here to answer all my questions. But, but my, in my limited experience. I’ll never forget the first time I called a Lhasa Apso’s hair fur. the extremely irritable man who owned this dog informed me that that is not for that his hair. And to never reference his dog’s hair as fur ever again. Becca Rainwater 3:48 Yeah, the shave is that the groomers are calling it both behind his back, he’ll never know.Because they do they don’t really make any distinction. There’s no real. I mean, let’s think about the whole continuum of coat links that are out there. You know, when does it stop being a hair and what does it when does it stop being you know, fur and becomes hair? Crystal Dunn 4:12 I was Like, sir, I stand corrected. Yeah, just backed away. Just the conversation. That’s kind of what you got to do. Yeah. So I don’t get roasted. A lot of people draw the line that like hair grows like human hair and doesn’t shed the same as for Becca Rainwater 4:30 I would ask those people to please please take a look in their shower drain. As it turns out, they are shedding too. But yeah, I mean, we’ve speaking of Shih Tzu, we have had some fun. We had a Chi-shit the other day, a chihuahua Shih Tzu mix. I kid you not they self reported this dog as a purebred. That’s a personal favorite of mine. Right now I’m on like this big drive that we shouldn’t be calling them bernedoodles We should be calling them Bernese Mountain doodles. Just think it’s a better name, honestly. Yeah, so we get some fun, get some fun names coming through, we get a lot of people who don’t know what they have, or they think they have something completely different from what they actually have. And I have to stop myself every time from going well, if you went on WebMD and typed in all your symptoms, and it told you you had cancer, would you believe it? Or would you go ask a professional? Depends on who you’re talking to. True? Yeah, I’m like this professional telling you, you have a Havanese mix. It’s not a rare breed your it’s your Okay. I want to show it. I don’t have a pedigree, I don’t know what you shouldn’t. So Don’t. Don’t do that. Well, I’m sure some of our misses are going to jog some of your grooming story memories as well as we go through. So the first thing I want to do is just go through just basically a cache of either complete falsehoods or partial foul falsehoods for us to kind of crack open. Crystal Dunn 6:24 Again, I am not a specialist here I am going mostly on the advice of other people’s because this is this is not an area that I have ever worked actively in. I’ve worked alongside groomers and I’ve had dogs that had to be groomed, but that’s where my I’ve cared for dogs who were into growers. That is my that is my limited experience here. So, so I’m just gonna jump right into our favorite dog grooming myths. The first one is, I don’t need to do anything. Before my appointment. I just need to bring my dog to the groomer. Yeah, just you know, roll up, dump him out and roll off. That’s fine. I’m pressed for time. Yeah, so um, you know, there’s there’s a pretty short checklist of things you need before you go and see your groomer. Number one is vaccines, make sure that you meet their vaccination policy. Most groomers only require rabies. There’s some places who who specialize in younger dogs and really getting a good start with young dogs. And they will also record require distemper, Parvo and possibly Bordetella, depending on the space. Right now, we only require rabies, I’m kind of trying to push towards us requiring distemper Parvo, as well, because we do you see some younger dogs, you also want to make sure that you have an idea of what you want from your dog’s haircut, look up some reference photos, you know, it doesn’t even have to be of your specific breed as long as the kind of coat type is kind of the same. So if you have like a kind of curlier, dog nature, you’re bringing in pictures of curly dogs and not straight coated dogs, we will not be taking a hair straightener to your dog. Unfortunately, that’s what I do before I go to the salon every time I just grab a picture of somebody with really curly hair, because mine is bored straight. And I take it into them. And I’m like, I want this. Yeah. And make sure that if you’re using terms, you’re using the right terms. A puppy cut is a different thing on every single breed. And it’s really non standard. So make sure you’re being specific. You know, if you come in and say you want an Asian fusion look, please make sure you know what Asian fusion is because it is a very distinct style. Personally, I think it’s super cool and very cute. It’s not everybody’s cup of tea. And we have had people who were like, Yeah, let’s do an Asian fusion fail on them. And then they get their dog back. And they’re like, Excuse me, this is what now? All the more reason to be like, Okay, where’s the picture? Right? Like, yeah, the picture. You can’t argue with a picture like this. Yeah. And then that way the groomer can tell you, Yes, that is possible or no, that is not possible on your dog. And maybe you can find something else if it’s not possible, right? Yeah. What’s even better is old picture or pictures of your dog after a fresh groom that you really liked. So if you get your dog back, you absolutely love their cut, go home and do a little photo shoot. The worst thing that happens is you get a bunch of likes on Instagram. Yeah, the best that happens is that you can recreate that look with your groomer every single time because you will have pictures of a fresh cut. Please don’t give us pictures of your dog. Two weeks after their hair cut. We it’s really hard for us to judge what it looks like. Generally, that happens a lot. I’ll get reference pictures that are like I want it to look like this and like this dog is like a poodle with a ton of shrinkage because it’s been like running around and a human feel like bad news. 30 dogs I would imagine that would be really, really problematic with curly dogs it Yeah, yeah, the curly ones are can be a little bit of a mind. Intense for sure. And get a little bit of exercise into your dog. We don’t want them to be like overtired. Like overtired toddler about to throw a tantrum, but a light jog before they come in. If they’re the kind to get a little sleepy from a couple Benadryl, like, that’s fine. Like it’s their first rodeo, right? Like, yeah, whatever, I tend to chill them out. Yeah, and I’m a big fan of medication is not a dirty word, you know? Although do be aware of how your dog reacts to something like, Oh, yes, time because they always do a dry run at home first. But as a caveat here, make sure you ask your benefits or Becca Rainwater 10:52 talk to your vet, always. This is this is assuming that you’re going to your vet for these medications. Don’t go read your own your mom’s, you know, medicine cabinet for her 10 year old and go to your vet for that one. But yeah, I mean, like, as a human being with a lot of anxiety, anything we can do to make things look, I know exactly how that feels to be in a new environment, you don’t know what’s about to happen. And you’re really, really stressed out. It’s so much worse for your dog, because we can’t explain it sit down to them and explain to them what’s about to happen. You know, their groomer is about to touch literally every square inch of their body and I mean, every square inch of their body. That’s a lot. It’s a lot to process. You know, from a baby behavior standpoint, you know, going into the groomer a few times before your dog has to be groomed. Just to acclimate them to the smells and the sounds and the people is an extremely good idea, especially if you’re going to have a lifelong dog. Your dog’s going to need grooming life for for life. You know, it’s one thing if you’re going to bring your dog in just occasionally. But those little hairy guys, there’s there’s definitely a warming process that has to happen and good groomers are really good at doing that making it a pleasant experience and warming them up to them. Yeah, I just did a little happy visit with a little doodle puppy. This earlier this week. She just came in to eat some cookies and look at all the stuff. Wow, let’s go. And that’s all it is. Just go in they get treats, they get snuggled. And then they get to you. And that’s it. They might rush. Right. And that’s what I Oh my God. That’s what I say to all the dogs. Let’s go look at stuff. Wow, let’s go look at things and they’re like, Oh my god. Okay. Sounds fabulous. Yeah, like, Yeah, let’s go. Yeah, we’ll walk away and their parents sneak out the door. While we’re, you know, in the back, they’ll never know that you left. So let’s but yeah. So let’s go on to the next one. So this one strikes me similar to like, the common sense that you would, you know, use with going to a salon, but I should pay the same amount from room and a groomer? Is there a standardized fee schedule with groomers? No, not not even a little bit. Um, where you’re located in within your own state within the nation is going to vary widely. So grooming pricing tends to follow the cost of living. So we’ll have people who, you know, would be like, Oh, my gosh, your prices are so high. They’re not the same as they are in rural Georgia. Yeah, no joke. Yeah, this this is this is a large city. Correct. I don’t even want to think about the grooming pricing in places like New York and Los Angeles that, that terrifyingly high. Yeah, for your high end salons, which is another factor that plays into it, right, like some salons are really known for what they do. And they have drummers that are extremely experienced and, and just in, you know, in the field, like the best of the best at what they do and really passionate about it, and then you’ve got people who are like new to it. And you know, they’re going to need a little bit more practice. And they’re probably going to be a little cheaper and, you know, in every gray area in between, right. So it’s just like going to get a haircut. If you want the really high end stuff, you’re going to go into town, you’re going to go to the really high end salon and they’re going to give you a certain level of attention. And if you want a budget friendly experience, then if you’re like me, you go to birds barber shop where they shove a beer in your hand and call it a day like Yeah, and I pay 55 bucks for my haircut. Perfect. So yeah, grooming cars generally follow the cost of living. It also changes from year to year their yearly cost increases. We see the same increase in cost of materials and I mean you would be shocked at how quickly rumors go through blades like they can be sharpened, but you want to sharp as late as possible. because you’re going to get the best cut as possible from that. So they’re replacing them frequently. Shampoo prices, I swear double every three months. It’s ridiculous. You’re also going to pay more for mobile because they have to factor the cost of gas and travel. Especially travel time traveling between different spaces. If time is a big one there. Yeah, you get so many dogs as a mobile as a mobile groomer. Oh my gosh, their time is money. Yeah, it’s impaired mobile groomers. Well, they deserve it. They’re not only dealing with the shenanigans of dogs all day they’re also fighting your cities traffic all day. Yeah, fair. Give them a little credit. Also, if they have any, like fancy certifications, that’s that’s going to, you know, change your cost as well where if you’re free, which gives us a little liberty to charge slightly more. Really, the difference is not all that much from the other grooming salons where we do charge a little bit more because we are fear free. But yeah, so all of those things factor in I also hear a lot people will be like, Well, my dog is so small. Why is their grooming so much? Like Well, you know, small bugs are hard to grow. They’re difficult they take a really high level of skill because you are using the same size clippers you would use on your neighbor’s new fugu, as you’re going to do on your teeny tiny little three pound Yorkie and so the skill required to use those slippers on that small of a dog I mean, that skill levels high and not every river likes to pose little think of it because it’s it’s Think of it this way what you’re saving in vet bills for your dog right you’re making up for in your grooming bills. Yes. Oh, yeah. Yep. Yeah, they are. You gotta be real careful with those, those small fries. Little guys little tiny tendons. So what about my groomer shaves my dog because it’s easier. Oh, man. Okay, let’s get into this one. I would love to talk about this one. And so something that a lot of groomers will talk about is humanity over vanity. That’s a big thing that they say a lot. We want to prioritize the humanity of the dog over the vanity of brushing out mats. Brushing your mats is extremely painful. It is so so painful. It hurts your dogs. It hurts your rumour. It’s not good for their back. It’s good for their arm. It’s not good for their body. No good for their psyche their God. No terrible. Yeah, and I mean, like, there have been studies on what it does to humans to be forced to torture other living beings. Not to say that the matting is torture, but you’re inflicting pain by doing what by demanding it is very painful. It’s also not easier to shave your matted dog, it’s genuinely not easier to do. So the more matted a dog is, the more likely it is to nick the skin when you’re shaving them. Because that hair pulls that skin up so tight, it’s so easy for it to pull the skin up between the clipper blades and Nick the dog groomer has to slow down dramatically if they’re shaving a mad dog. They have to go super careful. Honestly. Shaving about a dog isn’t all that good for their back either because they’re going to be hunched over your dog paying super close attention to where that Clipper is going where that blade is and how the dog’s body is responding to this process. So it’s actually not easier for your groomer to shave your mad dog they just don’t want to see your dog in pain. Yeah, I think it’s painful matting is painful. brushing out matting is painful. Shaving matting is no picnic either but it is of the three options leaving it brushing it out or shaving it is the least painful option. Imagine can be dangerous to it It disrupts the dog’s blood flow we’ve had some people who will say that you know we gave the dog clipper burn or they have some kind of rash after the grooming and what it is is that hair rebounding from being pulled up so tight by that matting madding sucks. Yeah, it’s like bomber and you know, and this kind of leads us to our next one too, which is I brush my dog but my groomer still says that they’re matted. So what happens here when that when you take your dog in you think you’ve been doing right by them? Yeah. And then your groomer says yeah, you’ve got mats. It happens. And it happens for a lot of different reasons. Um, one of the things that you may see if your dog is between like six months and a year is that they’ll go through an adolescent code change. Sometimes it happens a little bit over a year, but their code will start to change as they get a little bit older from this nice, fluffy car. puppy coat to this more. You know, hate to say wirey but it’s you know, it’s it’s a mature code, it’s less fluffy. It’s less cottony it’s less downy. So when those two textures come across each other, they’re not friends. As he does puberty never is your friend, you know, they don’t get along well. So we do tend to see some matting around that time, that’s super normal. If you have a dog who their coat is one that does need to be cut very regularly, so something like a poodle, lico doodly coat, you know, Maltese, Shih Tzu, whatever, and they’re going through this code change. As much as you love them fluffy, it’s gonna save you a lot of headache just to kind of cut them short that one time and just start over again, it’s gonna save your dog a lot of issues with matting just makes everyone’s life a little bit a little bit easier in hair grows back, I promise. Every dog’s hair grows back might grow a little bit slower than others. But all all hair, all hair grows, all hair grows back, it’s normal to need a reset here and there. You know, for those little hairy guys, especially I think, where it’s just you kind of try to maintain like, I’ve always always liked our dogs, you know, we had a we had a shit up. So growing up. And I always liked like the puppy cut look on him to like, Gary and everything. And yeah, but you know, I remember having to reset that a couple times not because we were neglecting him just because you know, their code, just like you said it changes over time. And developmental changes can affect that. And weather can affect that, I think and it’s just a lot of things at play there. And how thorough you are at brushing certainly if there was a huge learning curve for me, I was a dog groomer basically, as a teenager in between sessions. That was my chore was I had to brush off. And, and I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, of course. Yeah, that’s that was something I wanted to mention is that you want to make sure that you’re also you know, brushing effectively, that’s an important part of brushing just running a comb through them. It’s not, you know, not as effective as you know, actual effective coat brushing, which is brushing so that you are brushing all the way down to the skin, you want to be able to park their coat and see their skin right there on every part of their body. I’ve had quite a few people who are like, I can get a brush shirt, I’m like, Yeah, you can get a brush through the top through the like, last two inches of this coat. But there’s another inch underneath there that is just matted to the skin. And we see that occasionally, you also want to make sure you’re prioritizing the areas that are more likely to match. So really anywhere your dog’s body contacts, each contacts itself. So in their armpits, between their back by the hind legs, Yep, yeah. Yes, or their ears anywhere around their ears, because those are constantly touching itself. And around the collar, yeah, around the collar, anything. If you have a dog who’s prone to matting, let them go naked as often as possible, that’s going to cut down on your matting significantly. and ship them to their rear of their legs. So where they sit down on themselves that tends to get matted really frequently. You can request that your groomer goes a little bit shorter in those areas, we have quite a few dogs that we see that they’re like, yeah, just you know, taking really short and the armpits really short in the back of the legs and kind of blended out. And I’m always thrilled to report that back to the groomers you know, they’re always happy to do that, because they know that it’s going to be easier for everybody in the long run. Yeah, anything. Yeah. And then also, like, work with your groomer to find a sweet spot for the length. There’s a really fine line between the length by like in too long for me to maintain appropriately. And I’m finding more and more I’ve had so many clients coming in the past week who have been like, you know, they don’t need a huge haircut, but it’s right on that cusp that I know if I get let it get a little bit longer. It’s gonna Matt and I’m like, Thank you for coming so brown. So much for being so proud. Yes, we’ll take him in to be perfect or it’ll be great. Like that’s, those are the interactions I love. I love having where they have the foresight and they’ve been paying attention and they go you know what, if I let this go longer, it’s gonna be a problem. Let’s go ahead and take them a little bit shorter. Or if they’re like, You know what, we’ve been going for this really plush coat and it’s been fun. But it’s a lot to maintain and I’m exhausted. Let’s just go with a shortcut for the next couple of times. Great it’s gonna save you so much trouble. In Yeah, so yeah, well, I mean work with your groomer, they want your dog to be beautiful. They want your you to enjoy your dog and enjoy your dog’s coat. And if that’s a team effort, you know as it is with any pet care service, this is a team effort. So please communicate with your firmware about about what you want and what you can do to achieve what you want. Yeah, okay, good. Good tips. Yeah. The next one I have here is if I shave my double coated dog, so we’ve entered that that realm now. It will grow back right? double coated dogs. This is a big, there’s a lot of debate about this. People have a lot of desires when it comes to their double coated diet. Yeah, this is gonna get me canceled. I’m probably gonna get some hate mail from Yeah, from either pet parents or from pet professionals. Probably both. They’re all going to be mad at me. It’s fine. The vast majority of double coats you actually can shave and they should grow back normally. groomers. Don’t send me hate mail. A lot of the times when coat grows back improperly after shaving a double coated dog. There’s an underlying health issue going on. There’s some kind of thyroid issue going on. There’s some kind of chemical imbalance that’s causing this coat to grow back. Funky. If you think that you know shaving your double coated dog is right for your dog. I mean, go for it, you know, well and also keep in mind that a double coated dog can look vastly different from one to the next like an Akita Alaskan husky, she knows he knows. This is what people are usually imagining when they think of double coated dogs but you’re also talking about Bernese Mountain dogs grape tyrannize, Newfoundlands, Golden Retrievers, Labradors, and there’s a lot of variety in there too. So to kind of make a hard and fast rule about this shirt would ignore a lot of other detail a lot of varieties coats or marine Iranians have any problems I don’t know sometimes the pumps go back right and sometimes they don’t and sometimes it’s due to an underlying health issue and sometimes it’s not. I do find that people don’t seem to realize that there actually is a some a really nice wide range between shaving your double coated dog and letting your double coated dog have their full and complete coat. There’s a big range between they’re anywhere from closer to be keeping their full and complete coat area you can do regular dish settings to remove any loose coat that gets caught up in the rest of their coat that happens all the time we see so much impacted coat bills are those videos where you see people taking the high pressure dryer to the coat and you just see the dog just like if you’re gonna do that, definitely buy a beekeepers hat. Yeah, your face. Wear some sort of protection over your mouth and nose to Yeah, you can but you can do a D shedding and then do a Phaeton sanitary trim so they’ll clean around their sanitary area so they have cleaner boots and on to wipe their butt and worry about dingleberries or anything like that. And then clean up their feet because they need absolute maximum grip for maximum speed. Okay, you guys we got to clean up their feet all the way to you know, in the middle ground you have the silhouette trim or the outline trim, where your groomer will actually scissor cut your dog so that it is closer to their outline without shaving your dog. I love a good outline trim not every groomer loves doing them but if you can find a groomer who’s like yeah, I would love to find your money your dog good as gold keep them they’ll ask you a little bit about furnishings Do you want the like the feathery hair on the back of their legs trimmed down or not? Do you want the beautiful Aussie peach but the court or the Corgi peach but going on with jodhpurs my family oh my god that’s so good. I don’t think I I can’t say that. I don’t know if I any I don’t know that the average human smart enough to get very good. Yeah. Yeah, if I call it the peach but they know exactly what to do the Corgi famous they want a perfect peach emoji walking ahead of them down the street. I mean who doesn’t you know doesn’t um or you know if you like their, their pants or their feathers a little more natural you can do that way as well and just kind of thin things out. You know there’s a there’s a wide range if you’re not if you’re if you’re concerned that your dog has too much coat that it’s causing them trouble with heat regulation. We’ll talk about that eventually, I suppose. Then a good dish setting is going to go a long way but you don’t have it but you’re like a little gun shy about like I don’t know if I want to shave them. You don’t have to you know There isn’t really a way for your groomer to guard the two. We get this a lot to cut the guard hairs but not the undercoat hairs and I’m like, so they are all mixed together. We can’t cut one without cutting the other.
Why is kenneling so important? What kind is best? And what are some of the most common mistakes people make while kennel training?
Cara and Crystal dive into the details to talk about introducing the kennel at different life stages and how kennels might be useful for a lot more than just potty training and containing.
Cara Achterburg 0:08 Hey, welcome to the dog ten. I am Cara Achterburg. I’m an author and advocate for rescue dogs. And I am the co host of this, although I am not the one with the answers. The one with the answers is the indominable Crystal Dunn, who is my favorite trainer, and hopefully yours too. And we have a really great topic today. But first Crystal, tell them who you are, where they can find you and what you’re all about.
Crystal Dunn 0:31
I’m just here for all the nice intros that you give me. I am Crystal Dunn, and I have a podcast called far fetched. It’s a dog pod.
Cara Achterburg 0:43
And it’s all about dog myths and misconceptions. And you can find this episode on that same feed right now. Wherever you listen,
so yeah, so today’s topic is a really, really good one. That’s a really timely one. And I’m going to lead into it. I’m going to tell a little quick story, but I’m tell the topic is crate training, which is a hot topic. I know this because I fostered over well, almost 200 dogs in it. I get the question a lot. How do you I mean, I say to everybody, this dog is cratering. I don’t think a single one of my foster dogs left my house not crate trained. And I stressed how important it was that the puppies were not okay, the puppies. But I did stress how important it was to crate train for a lot of reasons like when they’re puppies, it’s because we don’t want them to wreck your house. But I learned firsthand. Recently, when my dog had an awful accident, he put his feet through a glass window, sliced up his his legs, terribly cut it in a sliced attendant cut arteries. I mean, we were here, thank God and we got him to an ER and he had some extensive surgery. And the vet said to me, when she was telling me what was going to happen and how much money it was going to cost and all of that she said, keeping him still afterwards is going to be critical. And I said, okay, but he’s great train. And she said Thank God, she said, so many people come in here with their dogs having had some traumatic accident or been in an accident and car accident or whatever reason they end up in the ER. And the recovery is so it’s important that they be still and if they’re not crate trained, that’s really difficult. And she just said, I don’t know how people do it, who aren’t crate trained. Thank goodness, he’s crate trained. And it was a really good thing that we were able to keep them very, very still. And because of that so. So that’s just a side note. Not only did you create train your dog for reasons, like we talked in one episode about preparing them for boarding. Also, keeping puppies safe, keeping your house safe. And in the unfortunate event that your dog would have to have surgery, it’s important that their crate train. So today we’re going to talk about crate training how to best crate train your dog crystal take it away.
Crystal Dunn 2:53
Yeah, this is kind of a big one too, because there’s many different stages that a dog can go into crate training out, you got puppies that are just getting started in life, and they have no preconceived notions about what’s normal. And that’s always the easiest time to start of course, because you’re kind of establishing that normal with them. So if you have a puppy, my advice is always start crate training right away as young as possible. Start with an X pen with Mama so that they get used to the idea of just the look of kind of a crate or pen setting. And, and then from there, start transitioning into a crate while you’re potty training and stuff too. And it’s another great use for crate training writers because if you’re potty training a dog crates, one of the only ways and keeping them confined is one of the only ways to teach them how to control their bladder and wait to go outside. Dogs are naturally very neat animals, they’re usually going to wait and hold their bladder until they’re outside of a crate. So that’s why crates are really effective for potty training too. But beyond that crates are going to help manage your destructive behaviors and everything too. So as you puppies growing up and gradually spending more time in there, one big mistake that ends up happening is a lot of people only put the puppy or the young dog in the crate when they leave the house. So then the dog starts associating crate time with being alone and you leaving. And that can be a really negative association, they start to build up over time. So we want to try and put the dog in for naps and stuff when you’re actually home and desensitize them to you moving around the crate, things like that too. Just tons of really great videos out there that you can look up on YouTube, just like crate games and stuff that you can play. I call it the inout game where you just toss the treat in puppy goes in, it’s a treat to get to come right back out. Then you slowly desensitize them to the door shutting behind them, so on and so forth. But in short, like if you’re having them spend time in there with their mother, if you’re having them spend time in there when they first come to your house alone, and their toys are in there at first and their water and their food might be in there at first and they’re really small. That really becomes kind of a home base for them a very comfortable kind of den like setting right there’s a lot of talking dog training about like, well, that’s their den, they don’t hate it, they won’t hate it. If it’s presented to them in a positive light. If you accidentally counter conditioned imitating it, then then they will hate it. If they only have to go in there when they’re in trouble or when they’re going to be alone, they’re not going to dig it. So try to put them in there. Think of it like toddlers need naps, baby dogs need naps, and they’re not always going to tell you it’s usually when they get real Malfi that they need a nap. They just need to go in there for sometimes just 15 minutes at a time just to chill out sometimes a couple hours. So that like kind of randomizing of using it at first and playing those great games and making it a like fun experience for them can be really, really helpful in introducing a kennel. And beyond that, when you’re taking a new dog into your house, a lot of times they’re not kennel trained, right, so you’re starting with a dog who’s mature. Maybe a dog has been in a shelter and already has a negative association with being contained. Those dogs can have a much harder time acclimating to a kennel, and those are usually the cases where you might need to bring in a professional to help guide you through it, if needed. I’ve met dogs that had such negative associations with a kennel that they could not use them at first, and it took months and months and months to acclimate them which can be really problematic when you have a destructive dog and in that environment too. So in those cases are usually had a kennel present, and the dog had to stay in a smaller room where they could be contained. But introducing a dog to the kennel that’s more mature is a gentler process for sure. But it’s also an urgent one just like it is with a puppy. You can’t bring your new rescue dog home, let them get comfortable on the bed and a couch because you feel sorry for them. Set these new expectations in this new environment and expect them to three days later, just go into kennel training right so the second you get home that dog is starting to learn going in and out of the kennel playing kennel games, finding their food in their kennel or eating in their kennel as a whole. Those things can really help acclimate them to that environment, help them accept that this is just part of their deal. And if you can do it for these really short bursts of time, you can also help them understand that this isn’t like a forever thing they’re not going to be stuck in there for hours upon hours on end for the rest of their lives, which is all some of them really have to associate with a kennel especially if they spent most of their time in a in a shelter. So
So yeah, those are kind of my takes on kennel training and how to introduce it. I do want to stress reach out for help if your dog it has such a negative association with the kennel that they’re destroying it or that they’re getting out of it. And I’ve worked with a lot of pitbulls who could take down a kennel no problems. Like I’ve gone to houses where the kennels literally looked like had been run over by a Mack truck.
Cara Achterburg 7:57
Scary Thing too. And they can do that because they can get hurt. And I’m gonna throw a few things in here just because I have so much crazy experience from fostering Yeah, we always use zip ties to zip tie the corners of our kennels because that’s where they break out. So we would use zip ties and zip tie both sides, all corners and down the sides. Anywhere there’s a gap along the bottom. Make sure you flip that little handle up so they can’t slide they can’t like dig and dig and pull the whole base out that plastic thing out. Yeah. So there were a lot of tricks for doing that. And I have a question for you about it too. But I was going to talk about that we were trade crate training a dog hits not been in a kennel. I always made it a fabulous experience. I gave them the cushiest memory foam bed possible, unless they
Crystal Dunn 8:42
There’s the caveat, right?
Yeah, and I gave them choice or they only got in the kennel. I gave them treats that they only got when they went in into the crate. And so we tried to make it a really really special special experience. So they want and I always fed them in there too. And that way they knew Oh, especially really food motivated dogs were thrilled to go in there because they knew it meant food. So yeah, question though. One of the things that I did do and I hope it was the right thing was for some of these dogs that were really overwhelmed I covered their crate with like, I usually left the door open but I covered it with like a blanket so that it really was like a little key. I’m in this little cage. Yeah. See, they’re like nothing can get me in and they go in and out the opening of the cave is that
it’s really specific to the dog right so some dogs really enjoyed via feeling enclosed. They can feel safer in that environment. others it might freak out so it’s just something you can try. The same goes for like dapped diffusers to release the mama hormone that can help some dogs really chill out. I’ve seen about I’d say it’s about 80% effective. You’ve got sound makers, some will replicate the sound of the womb others are just nice, you know white noise makers, those can really help. You really kind of have to take To the dog because some dogs really can’t handle having all that stuff, the more sound the more anxiety they have, or, or the, the more enclosed, the more nervous they become. Or maybe they’re the type that will pull the blanket through and eat it. Yeah. So you kind of have to tailor it. Same goes for bones and stuff. I think giving bones and the high value chew toys in a kennel is really, really great. But you do have to spend the time to monitor that interaction when you first give it to the dog so that especially if you’re just getting to know this dog, you don’t know what they’re eating style is you don’t know if they’re a whole bone swallow or if they’re gonna take it easy. Speaking from experience here. Well just hand them the toy.
Cara Achterburg 10:40
What about placement of the crate, like I had a lot of times we kept our dogs in the kitchen to our foster dog. So they were with us where we were most of the time, but I also had dogs that were really anxious. And sometimes I would move the crate to a really quiet space. Is there any rule on that? Or is that again just done by dogs?
Crystal Dunn 10:57
Yeah, I think it’s again, it’s just dog by dog. I think some dogs really need the quieter space a lot of times we make mistake by putting the dogs kennel in a completely different area to house I think that’s usually a bigger issue because then the dog feels very alienated and dogs don’t their family animals they don’t want to be cast away from everybody. So oftentimes leaving the dog in a more highly trafficked area in their kennel is a lot more effective than say, like putting their kennels in a garage or something if you want a dog to hate their kennel put it in. Yeah, it’s not a good place for a duck. For a lot of reasons. But, um, but yeah, so like, I I tend to tell my clients, especially when they have puppies if they’re acclimating to have a kennel in their bedroom and in their living room, or to move their kennel from room to room, depending on what time of day it is, so that the dog is not completely abandoned in there.
Cara Achterburg 11:50
Right. So we did 10 minutes, but I had one,
Crystal Dunn 11:54
we can split this one in to stop and
Cara Achterburg 11:56
you can leave now if you’ve lost and you’ve had 10 minutes and we’ve already crossed our demand line, we try not to cross the line. But um, so just wanted to touch really quickly on types of crates, because I have all kinds. I have airline crates, I have a wire crates, and I have a soft sided crate which my dog Fanny recently broke out of eight her way out of looking for someone to serve and repair it. Because they’re so easy to take when you travel. Yeah. Is there anything you know, general rules as to why would you use airline versus a wire versus the soft side to create so somebody out here is watching listening to this. And they’re they’re thinking I need to create train my dog. What kind of crate do they get?
Crystal Dunn 12:36
Yeah, I always start with the wire like cage like crates, because you can, they’re just a little bit more flexible in what they can do. They lay flat easier to take up less space for storage, they’re easier to clean. You know, just in general, I can cover them if I need to, I can leave them uncovered if I need to. So those are my go to but they are the most they are the easiest to mangle and break out of. So if you have a Houdini, you definitely need to zip tie at the very least if not, you might consider a more of like an airline crate like the hard plastic sides ones. Those are great for dogs who really like to be enclosed, who you know are going to be traveling in that in the future if they do need to be flown somewhere something that’s the great to go with so that it feels like home. They’re also pretty easy to clean, not as easy, they definitely take up more space, but they have their own their own use for sure. In a lot of cases, you might need a covered crate that’s like actually hard plastic and then a little bit harder to get out of in my experience. And then you’ve got your soft fabric and stuff. Those are just your luxury kennels, you know those aren’t really for any practical use except to say like my dog who’s already very comfortable in a kennel will go in there and maybe they like to have it’s more of a house.
Cara Achterburg 13:51
It’s so easy to take places with you and you can unzip the top. I love to having fun. They were puppies. It was great when they were puppies, but then I don’t remember what happened why Fanny broke out of hers but she tore her way out the side window to get it repaired. I don’t know why because she’ll probably do it again. But I just thought we’re gonna take a trip this winter and I have to take three crates and I would like to take that one because it’s so light
Crystal Dunn 14:14
well in the last one to mention is the the military grade kennels are heavily enforced super ones no one can get out of thankfully they’re more readily available than they used to be. We used to have to special order those suckers for a couple grand from like specialty sites and now you can buy one on Amazon if you want for 500 bucks. They’re not cheap, but actually it might be cheaper than that in some places but they are the reinforced kind of got the thicker bars. They are much harder to get out of if you’re training you know military dogs and these channels. They’re they’re pretty secure. But those are really great for dogs who do Houdini out and who are very powerful you know your your you know Pitbull breeds and stuff like that who are Have some who have figured out they can get out of the kennel often need what it does
Cara Achterburg 15:05
and have the strength to do it.
Yeah. All right, cool. Well, we
went a little over. Sorry about that everyone. We try not to do that.
Crystal Dunn 15:13
I think I think was helpful info.
Cara Achterburg 15:16
So thanks for being here with us. Join us again, you can find us right now on the farfetched podcast.com. But we’re gonna maybe have our own place someday.
Crystal Dunn 15:26
Yeah, we’re gonna we might move this over to its own RSS feed. Now that we’ve got some of these episodes, put them out. We get a lot
Cara Achterburg 15:33
more questions. So send us your questions. You can comment rate on farfetched podcast or you can message crystal directly or you can message me directly or find us and send us your questions and we will attempt to tackle Yes. All right. I’ll see you next time. Cara