Rachel Penn Hannah
Six years ago we got our first family dog. I knew instinctively that if the dog was not well trained I would not like the dog. As the weeks got closer to our puppy arriving from Yamhill, Oregon, I spent hours doing internet research about crate training. I learned that our newly remodeled house would be overwhelming to a puppy and that she needed to have her boundaries confined to the kitchen/dining room where we spent most of our time as a family unless we were playing with her in other areas of the house. I provided her with chewing toys to satisfy her oral needs and inspected her ears and body daily to get her used to cooperating with us and the vet. Our dog was also always fed after us at dinner. She learned to watch us eat, without begging, waiting patiently for her turn so as to better understand the order of dominance.
Omi was one of a liter of 12 puppies and had always slept in a pile of puppies until the day she arrived to us in California, having flown in a plane. Even though I felt sorry for her, I did not let her sleep with us like I wanted to ( an adorable soft nine pound goldendoodle). Instead, I insisted on her sleeping in her crate beside my side of the bed. She cried and cried until I put a sleeping bag on the floor and stuck my fingers through the door of the crate so she could lick them. She quickly fell asleep. We did this for about three nights before I realized that she just needed to see me, so I put the crate on a chair next to my bed, at eye level. She dutifully went to bed every night about 8:30 and soon slept through the night. She also learned “sit”, “down”, “shake”, and “come” all before she was 12 weeks old. I have never been so proud.