The K9 Companion class began as an entry level training course for dogs that are 6 months or older. The concepts, however, can be used for all ages of dogs including puppies. The class introduces you to reward-based training techniques that will help you communicate to your dog a basic vocabulary of commands and will strengthen the bond you have with your dog to help make him or her a better house companion. Please review all the weeks because information in latter weeks make be useful immediately. Certainly there are various sequences in which the exercises may be taught and you should do what works best for you and your K9 Companion.

Reasons to Use a Crate for your Dog by Barbara McClatchey

As I write this on a summer afternoon, I look around my home. I have at the moment 6 Poms in the house, 4 of my own and 2 Rescues. There are 6 crates with open doors. Tuffy is in the crate in the living room which “belongs” to Nutmeg, one of the Rescue dogs. I heard Tuffy earlier when he went into it and began scratching to take possession. (As Alpha Dog, he gets to choose his preferred crate; Tiffany was in that one earlier.) Cookie, a Rescue, has taken a bone into her crate to protect it from the other dogs. Tiffany is asleep in Taffy’s crate, and Oliver is sleeping in Tiffany’s crate, both in my bedroom. Taffy is ensconced at the very back of my computer desk, against the wall, giving him the equivalent of an even smaller crate than usual, since he is under a low shelf. Nutmeg is the only one not “sheltered”; he is sleeping on the carpet near me. I do have the crates more or less assigned to one dog or the other, but as you can tell, they sometimes play “Musical Crates.”

Why do I tell you this? I want to make the point that crating is natural and even attractive to dogs. Just as we prefer to sleep in a bed having been trained that way from childhood, though we might occasionally sleep on a sofa or in a recliner, so dogs that are accustomed to the crate enjoy it. Dogs love some form of “denning” and will go under a bed or table to sleep in a small, confined area. The crate takes advantage of this natural behavior.

The crate has other uses besides comfort:
  1. If a dog is sick, crate confinement confines the mess—you don’t have to throw the dog out into the yard to be sure he doesn’t throw up (or worse) on your carpet.
  2. Crating is Housebreaking Made Easy. It’s the one place where a puppy or dog will not “go,” and he can therefore be left in it when he might otherwise make a mess in the house. (See more details in my Housebreaking instructions.)
  3. A crate in the car is like a baby’s car seat. It not only keeps him from roaming the car as you drive, or leaping out when you arrive, it also protects him in case of accident, so that he is not thrown into the dashboard, tossed around when your car rolls, or left to run, scared, across three lanes of traffic because a door has sprung open.
Additionally, a dog that is accustomed to a crate will be less traumatized by cage confinement at the vet’s office. Think about it—he is feeling sick, so he is kept over night (or longer) in a strange place with strange people around; his family have disappeared; other dogs and cats are crying, barking, yelping, and generally indicating a desire to get out; and on top of that, for the first time in his life, he is “behind bars.” If he is crate-trained at home, he will regard the cage as a place to feel safe and secure, rather than threatened.

None of this means that the dog should be crated inappropriately. A dog that is crated while you are at work and gets lots of exercise and interaction with his people the rest of the time, is all right, but this should not be done with a puppy that cannot “hold it.” Puppies can “hold it” for about as many hours as they are months old. Also, dogs and puppies can, and many should, be crated all night. Tiny puppies may need to be taken out during the night, but by 4-5 months this should not be necessary.

Copyright 2002 by Barbara McClatchey
Permission to copy is given, provided copyright line is retained.


Crating In The Car
Keeping the puppy/dog safe in the car is another reason to crate train. Nobody likes to think of what would happen if they were in a car accident. Car doors can fly open and the dog, if uncrated, stands a good chance of leaping out into traffic and getting hit by a car or running off because they are scared. If you have your dog crated in the car when in an accident the dog may get banged around but the crate will most likely protect the dog from being hit, may help contain the dog in the car itself, and will keep him from being lost if the car doors fly open even if the crate is expelled from the car. If you are hurt in the accident the emergency services people are more likely keep your dog safe and contained if the dog is in a crate and they can easily transport the dog to a safe area. 

More good info:

Potty Training Tips for Puppies & Dogs (Complete How-To Guide)

Crate Training Tips for Puppies & Dogs (An Easy How-To Guide)