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Ask the Expert: Q&A

Spritzing Your Dog

Q: Some puppy kindergarten trainers use a squirt bottle to squirt water (with or without additives such as lemon juice, vinegar, Bitter Apple, etc.) to squirt a puppy if it plays too roughly with others. Do you consider this a positive and up-to-date technique? Is this a technique you personally use or endorse? And if not, what would you recommend doing instead, when one pup in class plays too roughly with another?

Crate Training

Q: My puppy loves being in his puppy pen in the TV room, which is one of those foldable metal fences, open on the top. He hates his actual crate, which is a metal cage for dogs, quite large, with plenty of room. I can get him to go quietly into it if I give him a wildly desirable treat. But once the treat is gone, so is his patience for the crate. I try to go in to release him only when he is being quiet, and I'm trying to work up the time he spends in the crate. Also I try to put him in the crate at "sleepy" times. But the crate training is so hard to do emotionally...he yowls! He is lonely and bewildered...he can't be loose in the house, because he chews and eliminates. So we are working on the house-breaking and chew-toy training. He is a whiz at clicker training though, and only 8 weeks old!

Training "Leave It"

Q: I have a rescue Border collie/lab mix. He is about 5 months old, and an absolute delight. He picks up things very easily and constantly needs a job. We have been working on clicker training and we both really like it, but I have a couple of "positive training" questions. First. How do I train "leave it"? Second. How do I train him not to chew the house up? Third. How do I maintain the bond that I have developed, but have him listen to other people?

Training an "Emergency" Down

Q: How can I clicker train an emergency "down"? This seems like an important behavior to have on cue.

Dog Responding Slowly to Cues

Q: My dog is responding slowly to the cue. How can I get a faster response?