How to Crate Train Your Dog

The use of a crate for training many different behaviors, including basic potty training is often recommend for virtually any breed. The crate itself is simply a tool to help the owner better care for their canine companion while providing a space for the dog that he can call his own. This area is meant to be a positive thing for him, to help him feel safe and relaxed within the crate. Many, unfortunately, use the crate as a form of punishment and thus can make training not only more difficult but also a stressful thing to deal with. It can also bring about avoidance behaviors in your dog, making training even more frustrating for you and absolutely frightening for your pooch. To make the crate a happy place for your dog, you first must teach him what the crate is all about, how to enter it, and what to do while inside of it.

The First Step
As mentioned earlier, the crate should never be a form of punishment. Instead, this area should be comfortable and full of positive associations for your dog. This means if he ever performs an unwanted behavior, he should not be forced into his crate as a time out. Instead, his crate should be used during potty training as a place for him to relax while you cannot watch him, a place to sleep a night, a place to eat all of his meals, and a place for him to go when you are not home with him. The crate can keep him out of trouble and safe from anxieties such as during the time of separation when you leave for work.

The crate should be large enough for your dog to stand, turn around, and lay down in various positions. Anything smaller and he will dread and avoid the crate due to discomfort. A crate can be too be, however, when potty training a puppy. A puppy may see a very large crate as having an area for him to lay down and go potty, which is not what you want!

Add a blanket or comfortable dog bed in the crate as well as a safe toy or two to make the crate more inviting and cozy. Start with a handful of delicious and quickly eaten treats in your hand. Toss one treat directly in front of the open crate door and encourage your dog to go get the yummy morsel. When he gets it, click your clicker or give a quick “Yep!” to mark the behavior of going near the crate and praise him. Again, toss another treat in the same spot and mark his behavior of going to get it. Your are helping him to realize that the crate is a good place to be at!

Keep your first session short at about 3 or 4 minutes long. Take a break, then come back to it later. With your second sessions, toss the treat on the inside of the door so that he must put his head in the crate to receive the treat. This time, mark the behavior of his head going into the crate instead of picking up the treat. Give lots of praise and again repeat the exercise.

When your dog is completely comfortable with putting his head in, toss the treat in a little further so that both of his front paws must step into the crate to get the yummy treat. The second both paws go in, mark the behavior and give lots of praise. You can end on this high note on your second session with a small handful of these little treats as a jackpot. Call it quits for now, then come back later.

Raise Criteria
Increase the the distance in which your pooch must go into the crate to get the treat by tossing it in further and further until he must step completely inside. At this point, you can add a verbal command such as “Go to bed!” or “Kennel!” and reward him every time he goes in to get that treat. If he ever stays in the crate for more than a couple seconds, mark the behavior and reward him handsomely!

Don’t begin to close the door with him inside until he is comfortable staying in it with the door open. When that time comes, close the door, mark the good behavior of him waiting calmly, and immediately open the door to reward him. If he is doing well, within the same session you can leave the door closed and reward him through the crate bars!

Always work at your dog’s pace as moving too fast can set him back dramatically. You want him to feel comfortable and happy inside his crate, not anxious and worried. With these training exercises he will very quickly associate the crate with positive emotions and will happily enter when you give him your verbal command with no food reward to come after.

Calm Small Dog Breeds That Will Never Become Annoying

Most dogs out there have both calm and agitated periods. With all these, some small dog breeds are naturally calmer than others. This was one of my main requirements when I first bought a dog. After all, everyone knows that small dogs are naturally loud and they have a high voice, so they can become annoying sometimes. But then, not all the breeds are alike. Please remember that no matter how calm a dog is, it still needs physical activities to stay healthy.

Cairn terriers are some of the calmest and most balanced dogs out there. They are also friendly with kids, so they make excellent pets for a family. Keep in mind that they have an elephant’s memory, so they will never forget something that has scared them in the past. They require patience if they have been through such happenings. If you get a pup, training is very important. Otherwise, you might end up with a stubborn pet.

On a different note, the poodle is just as calm, but also very intelligent. It thinks twice before barking. You can find poodles in more varieties, but the small size is the most common one. They were originally used with hunting purposes, so they still have some instincts. They like to outpoint birds and mark territories. The good news is that they are hypoallergenic because they have no undercoats. They are people oriented, so they love pleasing their masters. Plus, poodles are great watchdogs, so they can always notify you on the dangers or unexpected guests.

Finally, the English Toy Spaniel is not to be ignored either. I have seen many English Toy Spaniels before and they all look lazy and bored. Although they love activities, they will never go crazy around your home. They are also very quiet and they rarely bark. From this point of view, couch potatoes will love having them around. Other than that, the grooming requirements are not too high either. You can just brush the dog on a regular basis while watching a movie and it will be fine. I used to have a rubber glove with some soft pins for such activities.

Several Small Dog Breeds That Don’t Shed At All Or They Barely Do It

I always used to feel upset when I found my dog’s hair in my coffee whenever I was about to sip it in the morning. Trying to resign with this thought did not really work, no matter how much I used to love my dog. But later on, I realized that most of these problems could be easily avoided by getting a dog that leaves no hair behind. If you are allergic to dog hair, you do not have to despair. You can still find a new best friend because particular breeds do not shed at all. Even if they do, the amount is neglectful. Such dogs are often referred to as hypoallergenic dogs because they do not release any allergens through their hair or dandruff. However, just because they do not shed, it does not mean that they do not lose any hair at all. Just like people, dogs lose hair, just that some of them do it in small amounts.

Why dogs shed

Dogs shed and this is a reality of life. It is absolutely normal to feel skeptical if someone tells you that some dogs do not shed. All of them do it, especially during the springtime or the autumn time. However, dogs with curly, long or rough hair have the tendency to lose more hair. This is why such breeds require a very systematic care and maintenance.

Shedding is a natural process caused by losing dead hair. The loss is replaced with brand new hair. In some breeds, shedding is a seasonal event that happens once or twice a year. The hair is loss during the springtime in order to give the dog a lightweight appearance during the hot season. When they shed during the autumn, dogs come up with a thicker fur. Some other breeds tend to shed throughout the whole year. Dalmatians, for example, lose hair continuously.

Dog breeds that do not shed

As long as there are no breeds that never lose any hair, animal lovers try to find a pet that does not leave too much hair behind, only to ease their cleaning tasks. With all these, keep in mind that even if they do not leave the hair on your carpet or clothes, many dogs still shed, while the hair is stuck in the fur. In the long run, they will end up with hairballs that must be cleared, so they usually require a lot of maintenance. You do not have to feel scared though. I had a few bichons overtime and all they need is a little haircut every once in a while, only to prevent any problems. I used to spend less than 15 minutes to do it.

The affenpischer belongs to the toy dog category and represents one of the best options if you dislike hair. It is often referred to as the monkey dog and makes a great companion. It is small, easy to carry around and very friendly. The Bichon Frise is part of the same category. At a first glance, it looks like it will lose a lot of hair. Practically, its fur is curly and thick, with no layers of thin hair under. Bichon Frise dogs are very healthy and rarely have any problems, especially if you care for them adequately. The bichon category is more diversified though. For instance, unlike other breeds that barely shed, the Havana bichon does not lose any hair at all. If you are allergic to dog hair, you can get such a dog with absolutely no concerns at all. On the other hand, the Maltese bichon is similar, but these dogs ask for a lot of care and cosmetics. The breed is quite fragile, so it is not appropriate for any random environment.

The cairn terriers can be found in two sizes – small and medium. They represent a common solution because they barely need any care. Plus, they are quite friendly with kids too. On the other hand, the hairless American terrier is ideal for people who are allergic to dogs’ dandruff and dead skin particles. They are completely hairless, aside from the eyebrows and mustache. They are available in three sizes – toy, miniature and standard.

Finally, a few other breeds that barely shed include:

  • Chinese crested (both hairless and powderpuff)
  • Yorkshire terrier
  • Shih Tzu
  • Brussels Griffon

Although these breeds do not leave too much hair, a sick pet can always shed because of various health problems. Therefore, you have to properly care for your companion, whether it comes to the nutrition, allergies or other affections.

How to reduce shedding

Although it is impossible to prevent hair loss, I have learned a few different ideas that can help dog owners reduce the amounts. For example, I use to brush my dogs almost everyday or at least a few times a week. Make sure that you do it along the body, only to prevent the formation of hairballs. I bought one of those rubber gloves with soft pins and it works perfectly. Second, a dog needs two baths a month. A bath can improve the hair circulation around the skin, but it also helps you clear dead hair.

Unless your dog is scared whenever it hears the vacuum, this appliance is quite helpful in the process. Some of my dogs use to run away whenever they saw the vacuum, while others actually love it. Regular haircuts are also mandatory if you have a dog with plenty of fur. I gave my bichons a haircut at every couple of months.

As a short final conclusion, dogs are like people, so they do lose hair. Some of them do it in excessive amounts, while others barely lose a few strands a year. Whether you are allergic to dog hair or you simply dislike finding hair on your elegant clothes, getting a small dog that does not shed is a brilliant idea. Your options are quite diversified though. But then, make sure that you give your little companion all the care that it requires. A healthy body is usually a main requirement for no hair on your carpet and clothes.

What To Look For In The Best Small Breed Dog Food

It might seem overwhelming to analyze each ingredient in your pet food, but then, there are a few front running names that must never be ignored. I used to ask for reviews or just judge by my dog’s preferences, but I have realized that caring for the food is a lot more important than having my dog choose. So what are my main recommendations?

Meat

Whenever I found meat on the label, I thought the respective product was good, but I learned that it was not. A meat meal is not necessarily beef, lamb or chicken. Instead, it can be absolutely any type of tissue. Therefore, I look for specific sources now. The same rule applies to poultry, which refers to birds. In other words, poultry in your small breed dog food does not always mean chicken.

Proteins

When it comes to proteins, a few experts have recommended me to stay away from foods that show a decent amount of protein, especially if there are no other details. There is no other way to find out more about the quality. Once again, I was advised to pay attention to the actual sources of proteins. Bone meals are very harmful, as well as corn gluten meals. Practically, the respective proteins have an extremely low absorption rate.

By-products

Just like you stay away from by-products, you should also ensure that your small breed dog does not get any either. If you see chicken by-products on the label, it means that the respective food has various parts of chicken. They are ground and mixed with other ingredients. You may just as well feed your dog a beak or perhaps feet, which are not really the healthiest options. As a general rule, simply ignore all by-products you can find.

Carbohydrates

Whole grains are not recommended to people only, but also to dogs. From this point of view, ground rice is an excellent source of carbohydrates. It is easily absorbed and ensures a high nutritional value. On the other hand, corn or wheat flours are highly processed. Therefore, they may not be as healthy as other options.

Less Popular, Yet Very Charming Small Toy Dog Breeds

Small toy dog breeds represent a main priority for a lot of people because they are easy to take care of and they do not cause too many problems. Besides, they always stay small, so they will never lose their cute appearance. When it comes to this category of dogs, most people think about bichons. However, I have learned that there are many other possibilities out there.

English Toy Spaniel

I have owned an English Toy Spaniel as a kid and I must agree that they make perfect companions. They are very easy to handle because their grooming requirements are quite low. You do not need to spend a fortune on cosmetic procedures because their fur is their pride, so they will take care of it. However, you have to brush them on a regular owner. They are normally very quiet and calm, which means that they are appropriate for apartments. However, just like any other dog, the English Toy Spaniel does require some activity as well, so take it out as often as you can.

Italian Greyhound

Italian Greyhounds are some of the cleanest dogs out there because their fur is very short. They are also odorless and make great options for people who are fanatic about cleanliness. Moreover, allergic individuals will also get along with this breed very easily. The Italian Greyhound is graceful and beautiful. It is refined and elegant, but also very quiet. Therefore, it will not be a nightmare for your neighbors either. It is muscular and active, so it requires daily activities too.

Chinese Crested

You will find it unusual at a first glance, but I have reached to the conclusion that the Chinese Crested breed is so ugly that it becomes extremely attractive. If you want attention and a dog that will die to make you happy, this is the right option for you. Constant attention and affection are its main priorities. It can be found in different colors, including lilac, pink or blue. As for the hair, you can find both hairless and powderpuff Chinese Crested dogs. The hairless ones do not shed at all and they are odorless.

Three Less Popular Small Dogs That Stay Small Overtime

Puppies are always cute and joyful, so everyone loves them. But when about to get one, how do you know that it will always remain small? Perhaps you live in an apartment or you do not have the time and resources for a large dog. Therefore, a little education is mandatory in the process. When it comes to small dogs, everyone thinks about poodles, bichons or small terriers. However, I have realized that there are numerous less known breeds that might look even better, depending on your preferences.

Papillon
A Papillon dog’s face will always make your day, no matter how sad, upset or angry you are. These dogs simply have an aura of happiness around them. They are so small that they are perfect for apartments or small condos. With all these, they obviously do require a lot of physical activity. Since they are so small, you can always take them with you when you walk around.

On a different note, the Papillon breed is affectionate and devoted, but also very attentive to your commands. It is smart and easy to train, hence the popularity of this breed in dog competitions.

Miniature Pinscher
The miniature pinscher is often taken for a miniature doberman, although it is not. It comes in three colors only – black, red and chocolate. The breed is quite small, but very brave as well. Surprisingly, it will never hesitate to follow an intruder and attack them. The dog makes an excellent companion for your workout sessions. Whether you like hanging around in a park, walking a lot or jogging, this dog will never hesitate to workout along. It is active and always up for some adventures.

Toy Manchester Terrier
The toy Manchester terrier is identical to the original Manchester variety, only it is a lot smaller and its ears cannot be cropped. It is often confused with the miniature pinscher too, although their colors are different. The dog is very friendly and accepts kids immediately. It likes hanging around with you and will never refuse a walk outdoors. It is very important to know that it is fragile. Never attach a leash on the collar because you risk damaging its trachea or other neck organs. Instead, get a body harness. The collar should only be used for a tag. I have actually read a lot of sad stories regarding such accidents.