Please submit your questions. Answers will be posted on this page. Due to the number of email questions I receive daily, answers to selected emails will be uploaded as soon as possible.
Your submission becomes the property of Diane Rich Dog Training,LLC.
Only your first name, city and state will be used for this site, but your full name, city, state must be included in any email for a response.
Crate Training Diane,
My husband and I are planning to get a puppy soon which is why we
bought your puppy pre-school tape and are looking forward to receiving
it. A female Springer we are going to name Marni. I work out of the home
and will spend more time with the puppy during the day than my husband.
We are going to try the crating method of housebreaking but wonder how
long we can crate a puppy during the day as I do have some meetings
away from home. Thanks for your advice.
Melanie and Howard S. Sacramento, Ca ANSWER (click to toggle)
Melanie and Howard,
Crating is only part of the housebreaking program as you will see when
you receive my tape. You must make sure the puppy has completely
eliminated before crating. Plus your dog must be healthy to be successfully
housebroken. Most puppies can hold it while being crated 3 hours maximum
during the day. A 2 month old puppy may be limited to 2 hours crating
per day. She will need to potty after she wakes up from a nap so I would
put the crate in my office so I can watch her. Excessive chewing on her
toys or playtime may stimulate her tiny bladder and she will need
to eliminate. It is better to take her out more often than not just to be sure.
Remember puppies need to LEARN to hold it and they are not physically
capable of holding it too long until around 5 months. At 5 months of age
you can crate her for about 4 hours after you are sure she has eliminated.
I am quite conservative on crating during the day as I feel dogs need to be
out and about under watchful eyes as much as possible. Very small breeds
need to be taken out more often, but ALL dogs need to learn to hold it.
Remember we are setting them up for success. Let me know how it goes.
We have a eleven week old golden retriever (female) that we got at 8
weeks. We tried crate trauning but she barked uncontrollable the whole time
she was in it. When we got her out, she would be covered in urine. Being an
inside dog we had to bath her daily or not touch her. We got fed up and
left her out. She goes to the door but also goes on the carpet too. Now I'm
trying to get her use to an outside run but she barks constantly. I have
watched her bark for 2 solid hours, non stop!!!!! On several occasions. Please
help. Is she just paranoid, or crazy? Thanks
Les Nashville, TN ANSWER (click to toggle)
Congratulations on your new puppy! First of all, puppies need to be
introduced to a crate gradually. The crate needs to be a positive place for
the new puppy. The crate should never be viewed as punishment by the
puppy or problems can develop. My puppy tape offers a segment on how to
introduce your new pet to a crate. A complete housebreaking program, also
included as an insert with the tape includes scheduling suggestions to help the
puppy be successful. Dogs have to LEARN to hold it and have to be healthy
to do so. Your puppy needs to have a completely empty bladder before crating.
And, crating during the day for the age of your pet should be no more than 3
hours at a time. It is very unnatural for a healthy pet to urinate where she sleeps,
unless she was purchased from a pet shop or experienced unhealthy crating
experiences before you got her. Also, your puppy is too young to be left outdoors
in a dog run without supervision. I also recommend beginning her pre-school
training at home to mitigate her barking issue or it will get worse. . She is not
paranoid or crazy, she is a baby and needs to learn in a positive way what is
expected of her. Good luck, Les, and let me know how it goes.
I am looking forward to receiving your dog school tape as I am starting
with Chipper's Obedience. He keeps pulling on the leash and won't
heel. Any suggestions as he seems to keep choking himself. Why
doesn't he get it?
Jennifer Jacksonville, Fla. ANSWER (click to toggle)
You will find the obedience demonstrations in the tape helpful, as you
will have a visual aid. You will also note a Miniature Schnauzer as one
of the demo dogs in my tape! First of all, go to the demonstration on
how to appropriately hold the leash. Low and centered. The leash
needs to be slack at all times. If it is not, then you are constantly
battling with your dog. Depending upon the age of your dog, you may
just want to use a buckle collar for now. All you need do is the second
the dog starts lunging forward, make a very sharp, 180-degree turn to
your right, walk a step or two then another abrupt 180 degrees turn
walking in the same direction you began. Utter no warnings and don't
slow down. When the leash is slack. Praise Chipper. On a formal heel
command, his right shoulder should be at your left leg. Make it fun.
Practice the command in a quiet place at first, then incorporate
distractions once he "gets it." Let me know how it goes.
Help! My 11 month old lab mix, Bouncer won't listen to me. I took him to class
and he seemed to get most of the obedience but now he is home and it is not
working. He is very sweet but every time I ask him to do anything he just walks
away. I am too embarrassed to take him anywhere because he is so unruly outside.
What am I doing wrong?
Ashley Seattle, Wash ANSWER (click to toggle)
Obedience is only part of the equation in creating a well-mannered pet who wants
to listen to you. Dogs may love their "parents" but will only listen to those people
in the household they respect. Bouncer needs to start earning his way. He needs
to sit for his food, any treats, for toys, and for your attention. Look at it as his way
of saying please. If you have allowed him on furniture or beds, you may wish to
curtail that privilege for now. Equal height is equal hierarchy! Also, review all your
obedience at home, in your neighborhood and at your local park. Make it fun and
successful for both of you. Think leadership. Think Alpha. You need to be first
I have been reading some training books, reviewed your puppy video, and
have gone with some friends to training classes. I am confused about collars
as I find particular trainers are adamant about the collars they use. Your puppy
tape states not to use choke collars on puppies but I saw choke collars on puppies
at the classes I attended. Please elaborate on your opinion.
Blake Santa Fe, New Mexico ANSWER (click to toggle)
Great question. I address this question at my behavior seminars in Seattle. The
collar choices you have are fabric or leather buckle collars, fabric snap type closure
collars, Promise or Martingale collars (partial choke collars Greyhounds wear),
metal choke or correction collars, pinch or prong collars and head halter type
collars. I do not believe puppies under 6 months should use or need a choke
collar and definitely not a prong collar (the collars with the prongs sticking into the
dog's neck). Pet Parents are not always educated on how to use these training tools
effectively and humanely. If used incorrectly any collar can actually harm the dog or
create undesirable behavior. I also see prong and choke collars left on the dog when
not in training. I prefer to put young dogs on a fabric or leather buckle collar or
Promise collar if the dog keeps trying to back out of the collar. If prong collars are
needed, then hopefully one's trainer teaches the owner how to use it effectively and
correctly then weans the dog off that type of collar. The head halter type collars put
pressure on the dog's muzzle not the neck and can be highly effective if the dog indeed
has a muzzle and both the owner and dog can get past the initial rejection of that type
Just wanted to thank you for your breed selection questionnaire included in your
website. Also wanted to thank you for your personal assistance in helping us with
our decision. It was quite helpful in determining the right breed for our family.
Thought you should know we are going to rescue the 2 year old female pug as it is
small and doesn't require the exercise of some other breeds. What exercise should
we include in our daily activities?
Brenda, Mel, Courtney, and Randy Atlanta, Georgia ANSWER (click to toggle)
I think you made a great choice based on our email. I have yet to work with a pug who
wasn't sweet. You do need to be careful with humidity and heat in your area and may
want to walk the dog very early or close to sundown this time of year. Short, walks
under 25 minutes should do it for you as I understand the dog has been used to walks
previously. Bring water and don't overdo it in the heat.
Choke Collars Diane,
Please settle this disagreement between my girlfriend and I. I have always
left choke chains on my dogs. My girlfriend tells me she read it is unsafe.
I have never had a problem. My dogs have been indoor outdoor dogs.
Oh, Duke is a 4 year German Shorthaired pointer mix.
Danny P. Tallahassee, Fl. ANSWER (click to toggle)
Any collar can be a danger to your dog. Collars can easily get caught up
on fences, tree branches, even rose bushes. Dogs playing together can
get teeth caught on collars. Collars can even get caught in a kennel or
crate. Even tags hanging on the collar can get caught up on something.
If you use choke collars for training then they are for training only and
should not be left on your dog. I do agree with your girlfriend on this one.
Duke's everyday collar can be a buckle collar. Although these too can
present problems. My yard is escape proof, and my dog's collar comes
off as soon as we get in the house. His collar is off when his dog friends
come over for playtime. But…he is also trained not to bolt out of my
front door when opened.
Dogs sharing toys or space Diane,
I have an 11 month old dog. She was purchased from a pet store when she 3
months old. She has papers saying she is a Shitzu - but her size, body type
and temperament are like that of a Lhasa Apso. About 3 months ago we
purchased 2 Shitzu's from a private owner. They are true Shitzu's and very
mellow little dogs. Patch (the 11 month old) has a problem when it comes to
the puppies having a chew bone or treat. She will steal it from them and
sometimes attack them. She has never physically hurt one yet - but they yelp
at the top of their lungs - like they are wounded. We scold her - but that
isn't effective. I just ordered your training tape and hope it helps.
But wondered if you have any special tips on how to teach Patch to share.
For the most part she plays well with the pups. It is only when they have a
carrot bone, treat or something she wants that she attacks them. Sometimes
in bed - if one of them intrudes on what she percieves as her space she
Kris P. Eagle River, Alaska 99577
ANSWER (click to toggle)
You have quite a little pack there. The Dog School tape you ordered will help
you get control of your dogs via the training methods demonstrated. The
"leave it" and "out" or "give" commands need to be a part of your training.
First of all, multiple dogs need to establish their own pack order. Most
squabbles sound worse than they are and from what you describe it sounds
relatively normal. But sometimes teeth, especially sharp, needlelike puppy
teeth can make contact so you need to always check your puppies for
battle wounds. You may also want to supervise the sharing of toys. If you
think it will get out of hand, take toys away when you are not home, unless
your dogs are crated separately. It may get to a point that the only time they
can have toys is when they are separated. Many times, the oldest, or first pet
resident is the dominant dog although this hierarchy can change. The dominant
dog eats first, goes through doors first, and tries to get to you first. Watch the
pack order they establish and try to accommodate their decision. You need to
be aware that if there are fights among dogs it is usually over food or toys, and
sometimes just getting attention from the pet parent. Dogs do not live in a
democracy, although we try to create it for them. Please do not scold the older
one, just watch them for now and let them work it out.
Have fun with the pack and let me know how it goes.
I have never owned a dog before, or as you say, parented a puppy! While looking
for a new puppy in the classifieds we see AKC. What is it?
Lynn Dallas, Texas ANSWER (click to toggle)
AKC is a registry. American Kennel Club. A registration certificate identifies the dog
as the offspring of a known sire and dam (mom and dad), born on a known date.
It does not, however, indicate the quality, temperament, or state of health of the dog.
Alternative Health Care
What do you think of alternative health care for dogs?
Simon Boca Raton, Fla ANSWER (click to toggle)
Great question. Not sure if you are asking about herbal remedies, raw food diets,
flower essences, acupuncture, chiropractic care or massage. I lean towards more
conventional medicine and conventional feeding methods for both my dog and cat.
They both get premium pet foods, annual exams, vaccinations and massages. I would
consider acupuncture, definitely believe in pet massage, and if all else fails may consider
other kinds of health care. You need to decide for yourself what works for you and your
pet. The alternative health care field for pets is growing and there are books, websites and
magazines out in the marketplace on the subject.
Loved your puppy video. The inserts were very helpful.
The last dog I had was very aggressive only when I had her on the
leash. I didn't see this problem covered on your puppy video and
wondered what you suggested to prevent this problem. I have
a 4 month old G.S.D. named Harley. Thanks.
Maria B. Miami, Fla.
ANSWER (click to toggle)
Great question. The best way to introduce your leashed puppy or dog
to another nice, playful leashed dog is to just stand still and let the
leash go to its full 6 feet. You want slack in the lead and some distance
from your dog. Hold the leash at belly button level and relax.
We tend to pull the dog close into us which signals red alert, warning,
not sure to your dog which may eventually trigger a defense aggressive
response. Your pup may initially hide behind you or do a quick sniff of
the other dog and duck behind you. Don't say anything or push him to
say "hi", just relax and let him gain courage on his own time.
Enjoy your website. We have a 5 month old Boxer named
Brandy and want to know about brushing her teeth. Thanks
for any help you can offer.
Tamara M. Clearwater, Fla. ANSWER (click to toggle)
You may wish to introduce this activity to your dog when
he is tired. Lift your dog's lip and gently touch his gums
and teeth with your finger making a small circular motion
and praise him. Get him used to you putting your fingers
in his mouth. Build up "touch time" slowly where you
can touch the gum and teeth area on both sides. You can
wrap a little gauze (moistened slightly with water)
around your finger and gently massage the gum area for
a few seconds. Then purchase pet toothpaste. Dog
toothpaste comes in poultry, beef or peanut butter flavor.
Do NOT use people toothpaste. Dog toothpaste usually
comes with a regular toothbrush or rubber (thimble like)
finger toothbrush. See which works best for you. Put a
drop of toothpaste on the toothbrush and gently brush as
many teeth as you can manage. Your dog may start to
salivate for this activity eventually as most like the flavor.
You should brush at least once a week. Tarter is unhealthy
for the dog, gives the dog terrible breath and may require
a Vet visit for professional brushing which entails
anesthetizing your pet.