Creative Confinements

Some dogs get restless when left alone or have trouble containing their bladder. A confined space can eliminate a lot of anxiety and limit their options to chewing or sleep. Eventually these habits will become ingrained, confined or not.


A crate is a small pen for your dog to rest or sleep in—it is not big enough to play in or move around in. Although it looks and sounds confining, a crate is like a den for your dog. It helps him learn to rest when you're away or sleeping and aids in housetraining, as most dogs do not go to the bathroom where they sleep.

Crates come in many varieties, but your dog won't care what type of crate you use as long as you put his crate in a familiar spot. Always leave him a toy to play with or a bone to chew.

If you're going to crate your dog at night, consider putting the crate by your bedside. Your dog will be happiest and calmest when sleeping near you.


A dog's playpen is a segmented fold-out fence that provides an area large enough for your dog to move, play, and stretch in. It may be purchased in either plastic or wire. Its size varies depending on how many panels you attach together. A playpen is an ideal option if you are gone for long hours or for periods when you can't supervise your puppy's freedom.

If you do work long hours, place toys and bones in the pen, as well as a water dish. If you have a young puppy or a dog who you are paper training, you may also leave papers in one section of the pen.

When you return to your dog, do not pet or greet him until he is calm and either standing or sitting with all four paws on the floor. If you excite him, he may learn to tip the pen over.


Gates are a perfect way to enclose areas and still allow free play. There are many gates on the market, so consider the options as they relate to your dog. Pressure gates prop between two walls, and other gates can be secured into the wall with screws. These gates have doors that make it easier for you to move through them. Fortunately, there are wide gates and tall gates that accommodate any situation.

Mats and



Training Tools

Dogs like to feel welcome and directed in each room and when they travel. A mat or bed can serve to direct them in your home and will be comforting when you visit or travel.


Give your dog a special place in each area of the house you spend time in so when he enters a room, he'll know where to go. Pick a location that is close to where you'll be in that room

Help your dog get organized by placing all his toys and chews on his mat/bed. When you want him to settle down on the mat, instruct him to SETTLE DOWN and chew his BONE. Pet him when he cooperates; secure him to his bed area with a leash if he won't settle down.

To decide which bed is best for your dog, consider what makes him feel comfortable; many dogs are happy with a flat mat, which is easy to wash and transport.

Help your dog with car travel by bringing along a favorite mat, or keep a special travel one in the car. This mat will help him identify his space. If you're going on an overnight trip, bring the bedding with you to help your dog behave. When going to the veterinarian, bring the mat to put on the table. Doing so will make it a more pleasant experience for everyone.

Toys and


Dogs enjoy activities, especially when they're young and restless. Skip the crayons and handheld computers; however, purchase a few toys and bones instead. Not only do they entertain, but they also soothe the teething stage.


There are many toys on the market for dogs. Some your dog will really enjoy; others he may rip to shreds or ignore completely. There are stuffed toys, rubber toys, ropes, squeak toys, Kong toys. Once you find a favorite type of toy, buy several and spread them around your home. Consistent toys will help your dog identify what is his.

If your dog rips a toy, throw it out immediately.


There are a wide variety of chew toys on the market as well. Some are made of animal parts that have been twisted and basted. Pet stores carry everything from pig ears to horse hooves. Many of these chews are odorous, so be sure to give them a sniff before you buy. There are also chews made of pulverized cornstarch, vegetable matter, and pig hide. Your dog will know what satisfies his urge to chew. Once you identify which object this is, buy it in bulk. Dried, hollowed-out bones are ideal for tucking peanut butter in, but some of them splinter, so supervise your dog's chewing until you're sure that the chews you have purchased are of good quality.

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