Know Your ABC's and Your ABT's
Always Be Training - Always Be Consistent
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Owner Question

I need help. Our rescued 8 year old Giant Schnauzer, Bear has destroyed 2 kennels. He is fine in the kennel when we are home, but flips when we leave. We are at the point where we cannot go anywhere without him and I am at my whits end. I even tried zip ties all around but that didn't work. He could care less about toys and treats, so kongs won't work. I have tried everything I can think of besides putting a muzzle on him and boots on his paws so he doesn't eat through the door or wall. We can't let him free roam the house because he already ate chocolate that was put away and we can't chance him jumping the fence and taking off if he gets outside (he did that already at my parents after the first kennel incident).

Updated: yes this kennel is smaller because he already destroyed the larger one we had. We thought we would try one that he had a little less room to move around so he couldn't get a good grip and break the kennel. We even zip tied it but he ate the plastic tray. As I said we are trying everything. He is a wonderful dog when we are home even in his crate. 

My Answer

Joyce, It's hard to give a good solution to a problem without knowing all the facts. I agree with Elaine, a good trainer in your area can help. I would like to suggest you start teaching your dog that the crate is his, a place he can call home. Start by placing it in a room where the rest of the family hangs out. Then place a couple things he likes in it. Keep the crate door open most of the time, but periodically close him in it while you are wondering around that room. Open the crate shortly after you closed it so he will start to get used to the idea of being in it, sometimes with an open door sometimes not. Feed him in the crate from now on too, and periodically toss some treats in it for him to find. Right now he has a negative view of his crate with the strength to do something about it. Recondition him to start liking the crate. It will take a little time, but not that long if you remain consistent. 

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Owner Question

I need help with my blue heeler. I know she has potential to be a very well trained dog but I just don't know how to get her there. She is 8 months and still not even potty trained.. her intention span makes it hard. I know she was not bred to be a family dog, even though she is amazing with the kids. If I could train I could probably give her more jobs which I know she craves. If you think you could help me with her please pm me.  I would like to start mid august. 

My Answer

It's difficult if not impossible to assess the situation you have without meeting you and your dog and any other people in your family that might be handling her, or at the very least influencing her behavior. I recommend you go to my website to gather some basic information about me and my training. It is www.AmericanCanineClub.com. The long and short of it however comes down to two simple phrases that I believe are the foundation of ALL SUCCESSFUL DOG TRAINING. Know your ABC's AND YOUR ABT's. ABT's means, Always Be Training, because your dog is ALWAYS LEARNING. ABC's means, Always Be Consistent, because if you are not, then you are CONFUSSING. When you are confusing, then your dog doesn't really know what you want her to do, and she will default to being A DOG with no direction....... When that happens, the dog often gets labeled with descriptions like hipper, naughty, unintelligent....etc., etc., etc. If you can focus on these two things and take them literally, you will be 90% of the way toward seeing your dog performing the wanted behaviors you are looking for. And you can accomplish this without hiring me to help you. It's key that you take it literally, remain consistent, recognize even when you don't think you are training, you dog is watching everything so she is always learn, and sometimes that means that she might learn something you don't want her to learn. I hope I've been helpful and I will be happy to try to help more if you want my help. 

Owner Follow Up Question On Blue Heeler

Thank you so much.. it makes sense that she is always learning because she is always following me. Ill try to be more consistent but I'm very Interested in discipline. If you wouldn't mind giving me a few ideas. She has a kennel but will cry for hours before she finally falls asleep and I've been doing time out lol where she sits in the corner for 8 minutes since she's 8 months. I really don.t like spanking her but i could be outside with her all day park, errands, play dates and as soon as we get back inside the house shell go potty. I really don't want to get rid of her because we would all have a broken heart and I don't think that would make her life better or mine. So any advice on productive discipline would be much appreciated. 
 
My Follow Up Answer On Blue Heeler
 
Again,  it really requires a proper assessment. Tips over messaging is time consuming and a shot in the dark. But I will say this one thing regarding the potty problem example you mentioned. Remember most behavioral problems stem from the handler/owner and others who influence the dog, so while you probably don't need to hear this, chances are the unwanted behavior is not the dogs fault. First you should rule out a health issue by visiting a vet. However, once that's ruled out you need to consider two things. Remember she is still a puppy, and a day out as you outlined is very exciting and fun for any dog....a puppy can actually forget to potty if she's having the time of her life. Quite often dogs will potty when out playing and still have an accident in the house. Do you take her out to potty while on a leash, or do you let her out on her own in a fenced in area or long line? I don't need an answer....here is the solution.....take her out regularly on a hand held leash with the specific purpose of her going to the bathroom.....if she doesn't go, then do it again a half hour later until you both figure it out. When she does go where you want and when, praise her and make a big deal about it. Teach her where and when to go. And always finish up a fun day out, with a visit to the bathroom on a hand held leash. Also, Blue Heelers sometimes require firm handling, but that doesn't mean spanking her. The time outs are actually a good thing, with a modification. Place her in her crate immediately upon her doing something wrong....if you are a minute late it won't work. You must catch her in the unwanted act. Then place her in her crate but only for 1 minute not 8. Just enough for her to be able to link the discipline with the unwanted behavior. Do this for any and all unwanted behavior. Be consistent and she will begin to understand what you want. 
 
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