Holiday Cooking Dog Training & Management Tip

So holidays are just around the corner! Maybe your dog training is not quite to where you would like it to be, or maybe you have a young puppy.

A couple of years ago Miss Rizzo was a young dog and a bad counter surfer (not that much has changed in that department….but that’s another story!). I knew that I was going to be busy cooking. If I was busy cooking that meant I would NOT be paying attention to my young dog. If I was not paying attention to my young dog, that was going to give her opportunity to steal and be rewarded for her naughtiness. I did not need any more reason for her to be interested in the counters. I also knew that I was going to be in and out of the kitchen, so that would give her even more opportunity for naughtiness.

Does this sound familiar to you or just about anyone you know with a dog? Yes! Remember dogs are creatures of opportunity – if the opportunity to get something yummy is there, they are going to take it – unless you have TRAINED them to do something else. Rizzo has been trained to stay on a  mat, but not for the duration that I was going to need when cooking for Thanksgiving.

Dara and Rizzo Holiday Cooking TimeSo up goes the exercise pen! I love dogs that dog can learn to respect short gates and exercise pens. It is something I work on a lot when they are young. Both Dara and Rizzo (in the photo) could easily jump this gate – it’s only a 24″ high gate. Neither dog does, they learn that all they have to do is hang out on the other side of the gate and they will be rewarded. As you can see Rizzo does want to be on her mat too. The reason I like exercise pens is the flexibility in their size and shape. The opening that is shown is too big for a traditional gate. The exercise pen covers the span no problem and when I don’t need it I can easily fold it and store it away.

With the holidays just a few weeks away it’s a great time to think about how you can do some minor training with some management to make your holidays easier and less stressful. It doesn’t take long to teach your dog that laying down near the gate is an easy way to score some treats. So go get that exercise pen and get training!



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