Getting Real About Puppy Training


Today we hear from Dog On It's Marketing Intern, Katie Reitz, as she tells us about her experience training her puppy. Listen is as she gives us the inside scoop on crate training, bell training, indoor grass-patch training, and more! She even provides us with some links to her life-saving resources at the end. 


Tell us a little bit about you and Madden!

Madden is my 8 week old golden retriever, and he is a PTSD Assist Animal! I brought him home at 6 weeks from a breeder in Gray Court, South Carolina. He has been the perfect addition to my home and really keeps us on our toes!


Could you provide an overview of how you are training Madden? Did you ever consider putting him through a training program or in a training school?

Training Madden started off really difficult because I decided to crate-train him. Because I live in an apartment, it was hard to leave him alone for periods of time because he would cry, and I was always afraid my neighbors would complain. I found that the easiest way to do this was to just rip off the bandaid, and let him cry for a few days with hopes that he would get used to it and eventually be content in his crate while I’m gone. Dragging it out would have meant a bigger headache for my neighbors. Additionally, he sleeps in the crate, so if he falls asleep around the house, I’ll pick him up and move him to the crate so he can get comfortable with it. For bedtime and when I leave, he is being taught that if he whines, that earns him a trip outside to try and use the potty, and absolutely nothing else. Whining does not equal play time. He does get treats for going in the crate and when I get home. As far as potty training is concerned, my LIFESAVER was a grass mat off of Amazon (link included at the end), that I put on my balcony with some puppy training pads underneath. I have bell-trained him, meaning that he knocks into a string of bells on my patio door to indicate that he needs to go outside. He caught on quick and potty training has been a breeze since. I have only really considered sending Madden to a training program when he’s really just being awry, but it’s all jokes, haha. I feel like our system works pretty well.


What is Madden being trained to do? Is there anything in the future you plan to train him to do?

On top of bell training and crate training, Madden is being taught simple commands such as sit, shake, lay down, roll over, stay, etc. I grew up with four golden retrievers, and I think this breed just catches onto commands really quickly. My new goal is to train him to sit and wait for me to put his food down when he is ready to eat, instead of jumping.


What is the hardest part of training right now? Is your puppy struggling with anything in particular?

I think the hardest part of training right now definitely has to do with the crate. Puppies go from being with their siblings all the time, to being alone in a new place, and it can be difficult for them to transition. One of the things that helps me with crate training is a Snuggle Puppy (), which is a stuffed animal that comes with a battery-powered heartbeat setting and heating pads. It is supposed to resemble another dog in the crate, and it has really helped Madden feel more comfortable, It’s a little pricey for a stuffed animal, but it was a lifesaver. It’s also important to note that you don’t want to punish your puppy in their crate, as the plan is to make sure they feel comfortable in it.


What advice do you have to Dog owners out there who are looking to train their puppy? Do you have any resources you recommend?

What I wish somebody would have told me when I brought Madden home, was to be patient. It’s hard being a new dog parent. There were nights when I cried in frustration over crate training, and that is totally normal. It does not make you a bad dog mom/dad to not have it 100% figured out all the time. But, being patient with yourself and your dog is key. Reward them for doing good, and try to limit your scolding for being bad. A dog is much more susceptible to learning from a reward than a punishment, as puppies are treat-driven. And remember, you’ve got this!


Snuggle puppy link:


Grass pad link:


Thanks for tuning in! Talk to you soon!

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