Saturday, November 5, 2016

Teacher's Pet - Crate Training Throughout Your Dog's Life

Crate Training Throughout Your Dog’s Life
By Brianne Statz, CPDT-KA

For many puppies, crates are an excellent tool to help set your puppy up for success with housetraining, prevent inappropriate chewing, and avoid other undesirable behaviors when you cannot be supervising. Often when our dogs get a bit older, are reliable in potty habits, and not destroying all our shoes when left alone, we stop crating. If your dog is more comfortable sleeping on the couch while you’re at work, there is nothing wrong with that – but don’t throw out the crate entirely.
There may come a time in your adult dog’s life when crating is a necessity, and if they have not been crated for years, suddenly finding themselves in there again may be stressful.  Recently Payton, my nearly 11 years old Australian Shepherd, had knee surgery. He is still on restricted activity, not allowed to do stairs or jump up on furniture (although try telling that to him!). So, while he has not been crated in years, he needs to be now while his leg heals. Your adult dog could also need to be crated or kenneled at the veterinarian, if you need to fly with your dog, or if your living arrangements change.
Luckily, Payton had only minor qualms about finding himself crated again. He will hop right inside in the morning because he knows that’s where his food bowl will be, and he also gets occasional bones and other goodies in there. Making the crate the place where fantastic food happens creates a strong positive association with crate time, and working on a frozen Kong can keep your dog occupied (and quiet) in the crate. 
You can also play training games with the crate that make going into and staying in the crate very rewarding for your dog. CHECK OUTTHIS VIDEO for some examples. So, even if your dog doesn’t need to be crated routinely, it might benefit you down the road to incorporate some occasional crate games into your training, or just every now and then feed a meal or a bone in there, just in case you need it.
Happy training! 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Product Review: The Fifth Paw

Product Review: The Fifth Paw

By Emma Burton


Walks are an excellent time to work on skills with our pups. They get exercise, and you can put skills that you have previously worked on in less distracting environments to the test. This isn’t so easy, though, if you have to juggle the leash, keys, treats, and of course, the inevitable doody bag. I encountered this problem with my very active German Shorthaired Pointer. I want to be a good neighbor and pick up after him, but the rest of the walk I was either searching for a trash can, juggling a gross bag and trying to hang onto his leash, or all of the above. In an effort to find anything that might help me out, I was browsing online and came across something called “The Fifth Paw.” After owning this product and using it every day for over a year now, I can say that it is something I will never again be without.


The Fifth Paw is a simple leash attachment with three hooks that rotate freely around the center piece which slides over the leash. After knotting a doody bag, you slide it through one of the hooks. The knot keeps the bag from falling through the clip, so you don’t have to worry about the bag again until your walk is over! The fact that the clips rotate on a ring means that the bag doesn’t get tangled in the leash, and you can clip more than one bag on it, which is useful if you have more than one pup or are going on an extra-long adventure. I have found that this product helps me keep more of my attention on training—sometimes, I even forget the bag is there!

This product shows very few signs of wear after over a year of use, and is also made in the USA. Though it is a little expensive for something that carries bags of dog doo, I find it invaluable. As someone who lives in downtown Madison where traffic is dense, having full control over the leash is my number one priority, and The Fifth Paw lends such a big hand. If you have noticed it’s difficult to juggle all you need on a walk, or simply are tired of carrying bags in your hand for an entire walk, this product is here to help. As you can see, Copper did a lot of market research before buying, and gives it two paws up!


*This is an unsolicited and honest review. I have no association with The Fifth Paw and was not compensated in any way to write this review.*

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Teacher's Pet: Product Review of Lupine

by Anetsa Blesener

Are you familiar with the collars produced by Lupine? These collars and leashes are labeled as, “Guaranteed for Life – Even if Chewed!” Perhaps you have wondered if that could really be the case, thinking that “well, my dog would NEVER chew” or “it must be really hard to get a replacement.” Based on my experience, I can confidently say that this guarantee is solid.

But, let me back up. As a disclaimer, while I am a lead trainer for Teacher’s Pet, I have NO affiliation with Lupine, nor do I work for a business that sells their products. I must admit, I am a bit of an “impulse buyer.” When I first saw them, I was really attracted to the many patterns available! There are several other reasons I decided to grab a Lupine collar and leash for my bigger doggie, Naboo:

·         Padded handle – It fit comfortably in my hand.

·         Leash clip – Different than a “regular” leash. Easy for me to snap on & off, but difficult for him to get out.

·         Material – Sturdy, & the products come in several width options.

·         Other – There is a spot between the leash & the leash handle where a bag-dispenser fits!
Since Naboo tended to pull, especially if excited, I knew the the padded handle would not dig into my hand. While the aforementioned leash & collar survived many years, it was when I adopted Shelby that the guarantee came into play. When the pups & I were riding in the car one day, my innocent Shelby began chewing on Naboo’s leash, & by time we arrived at our destination, our wonderfully padded handle was detached from the leash. On the bright side, though, I finally got to try out Lupine’s guarantee!
Guaranteed Even if Chewed?

When you arrive at the Lupine website, there are a couple ways to fulfill the guarantee. Personally, I utilized their mail-in option, as they did not have the new EZ-Return option. For mail-in, I simply mailed the leash, along with my contact info, & they would send a replacement a business day after receiving it.  Unfortunately, I included an old address (I had recently moved), & the package was returned to Lupine. I learned of this because a VERY nice representative called me to verify my address. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!? I couldn’t imagine that they would call me to ensure that I received my replacement. They could’ve dismissed it as my mistake, but no, we got it all squared away & I received my replacement shortly after. There was only one other time that I utilized the guarantee. This time, my rambunctious pups damaged a collar. I included my correct address, & it was even easier to receive a replacement!

I can’t say enough about this company, & you can obtain a replacement no matter what has happened to the collar &/or leash. As long as they can verify that it really is one of their products, they will replace it! Because of my great experience with Lupine, I recommend their products to all my friends & students!  
If you are interested in more info on Lupine, their website is

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Teacher's Pet Training - What is a Therapy Dog

What is a Therapy Dog?
By Brianne Statz, CPDT-KA 
Dogs can be a great source of happiness – think about the way your face lights up when you see your dog at the end of a long work day.  They can improve mood and reduce stress.  A therapy dog is a pet with a stable temperament that can provide affection, comfort and stress reduction for people in settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, schools and disaster areas.  A therapy dog needs to have basic obedience skills, and to become certified, the dog must pass an evaluation along with his or her owner.  (Hint, hint – dropping in to a beginner doggy school or doggy high school week 4 class is a great way to brush up on the key skills of leash walking and polite greetings!). 
Dogs are not the only animals that can help people – there are therapy cats, bunnies and horses too!  Recently I began volunteering my time with a local organization, the “I Am Magic Foundation” (  While the primary focus has been on horses helping people, we have also started working on training several dogs to make therapy visits (it’s a bit easier to travel with a dog than a horse).  Nikki the lab mix made her first visit to a long term care facility recently, and the residents (and Nikki!) were delighted with the visit.  Our goal is to certify several rescue dogs through the “Love on a Leash” organization (  Eventually we hope to start a local chapter of this organization to complement and help support the work with horses. 
Do you think your dog might make a good therapy dog?  We would like to build a group of therapy teams that can make visits to assisted living facilities, schools, or any facilities that may benefit from a dog visit.  If you are interested, we can help support your goal by providing training tips and helping with the certification process. 
If your dog is not a good fit for a therapy dog, but you are interested in helping out, we are also looking for volunteers to help coordinate visits with facilities, work with the rescue dogs living on the farm toward certification, or volunteer with the horses as well.  For more information, contact or 

Happy Training!