Training a Puppy

As most of you know (because it’s all I talk about right now!), Tom and I recently took a huge step in our relationship, and we got a puppy together!! Willow is now 7 months old, and due to us relocating, we hadn’t lived with her until now. This past week or so has been very enjoyable because we’ve been able to spend all this time with her, but also quite challenging, because, as many of you may know, having a puppy is hard work!

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We have been puppy training her since she was a few weeks old, and we are so proud that she now sits, waits, lies down, goes to her bed, goes to the toilet and leaves on command. She has taken to training extremely well; responding to our commands and behaving well around other dogs and new people. However, the one thing that we have yet been able to crack, but it has only been a week, is the crate training.

Our little Willow is used to being left with other dogs or being around us (her pack!), and so when we have left her alone, even just to go into another room, she cries, barks and scratches at the door. Of course, we don’t want unhappy neighbours, or a dog that can’t cope when we leave her, so it seemed that crate training was the most sensible way to go. That way she can learn to enjoy being on her own, and feel safe and comfortable in her own space. We have enlisted some rather fabulous help (Lisa at Bright Skies Pet Services), and spent a long time researching the best way to crate train a puppy that suffers with separation anxiety.

Here is what we have been doing so far:

  1. We bought a small crate, filled it with cosy blankets and her bed (which smells like her doggie Mum). We also put a cosy jumper of mine in the crate which smells of Tom and I. Both of these things should help to reassure her and settle her in the crate.
  2. We visited Pets Corner in Hale Barns to buy calming treats, pigs ears and a calming plugin diffuser, all of which will only be used when she is in her crate. If she only gets these treats when in her crate, she will associate her crate with good experiences.  {We have had a fantastic experience at Pets Corner so far, they were all extremely helpful, plus they do a guarantee on products so that if you feel as though they have not worked, you can take them back. I can’t wait to shop more with them, honestly their produces are GORGEOUS!}
  3. We have been bringing the crate into different rooms, leaving the door open and allowing Willow to go in and out of it as she pleases. We want to make the crate a welcoming and cosy place, and help her to acclimatise to it, rather than force her in it.
  4. Her training has been daily, with little sessions throughout the day. It has been consistent and positive, only praising her for her achievements, rather than shouting at her when she makes a mistake. For example, we congratulate her when she’s quiet, rather than telling her off when she barks. If she realises barking/whining/crying gets her attention (bad or good) she will keep doing it.
  5. Also, we have been making sure she gets good, regular exercise every day, as well as mental stimulation such as games, hiding treats, making her work for her food etc. as this tires her out and will make her less likely to be energetic and restless when being put in her crate for bed. Don’t get me wrong, this girl seems as though she will stay up all night if it means being left alone, but obviously we’re still very much in the beginning stages of the training, and don’t expect a miracle.
  6. We read online that leaving the radio on (classical music was suggested) and a lamp on in the room could help to settle a dog when being left in a crate overnight, as dogs are typically used to a lot of hustle and bustle throughout the day, that being crated in a dark, silent room could be quite frightening for them. So we are trying it out and seeing how that goes too.

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Crate training a puppy or dog, especially those who have separation anxiety, requires a lot of time, patience and consistency. We have had our fair share of tears and heartbreaks this past week, because hearing her cry all night plays with my emotions and makes me feel like I am the cruellest dog Mum ever. However, we have kept it up and made sure that we positively reinforce quiet, relaxed behaviour in the crate, and I must say, we are definitely seeing improvements. I will regularly update her progress on the blog and share the tips and tricks that worked for Willow. Remember that every dog is different though, and what works for one, won’t always work for another. This is why patience is imperative; you can’t expect a miracle.

Here, are the products I have bought so far (click the links for more info):

Ancol Self Heating Pet Pad from Pets Corner £15.99

Pet Remedy Plug-in Diffuser from Pets Corner £24.99

Pooch & Mutt Calm & Relaxed Treats from Pets Corner £3.29

Lavender Essential Oil (any health shop)

Hollings Pigs Ear Strips £10.99

Crate from Amazon £17.09

Natures Menu Real Meaty Dog Treats from Pets Corner £2.19

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Most of these products you could probably find elsewhere, in other shops or online, but those listed are where I bought them myself. As it is early days, all of the products are being tried and tested, and I will update you on what I thought was worth the money and what I wouldn’t buy again.

Please comment below or contact me via my social media channels (listed below) if you have any tips to pass along to me, as they would be greatly appreciated! I hope, if you are training your dog at the moment, some of these ideas will help, but please remember that I am not qualified, so if you need proper help, my advise would be to contact a local dog professional to help guide and overlook your training (we have Lisa, as I stated earlier). Good luck!

Thanks for popping by, subscribe for more!!

Jessica Xx

P.S if you want to see more of Willow, here is her YouTube debut!!

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