Susan Garrett's crate games really are amazing. We have friends that take theirs to a puppy kindergarten teacher who has a whole class devoted to them and they have been so beneficial and fun.

  1. Some crate game ideas
  2. Crate train during the day as well.
  3. Feed the dog in the crate.
  4. Drop special treats in the crate while the dog is watching, and eventually transition to 'surprise' treats in the crate.
  5. During the day, do short bursts of crate time. Reward for two paws in the crate, four paws, door closed for three seconds, etc. You get the drill.

I found with my pup that crate training at all hours helped best.

I closed to the door so he was stuck in the room with me. Then I put treats and toy in there and let him take naps in there with the door open. Then as he was asleep I would close the door on him so when he woke up he would be used to having the door closed. I would then only let him out once he stopped whining. Then at night I would put the kennel back in my room.

We still had to deal with some whining but it stopped much faster

I noticed after about a month when I'd go sit on my bed and he'd eventually go and lay in his kennel. After he'd lay down I'd close the gate after a few minutes, slowly increasing the time. Eventually I would let him have free roam of the bedroom at night and now he's allowed to go between a few rooms at night, not that you have to choose to not crate at night.


I've humanized my Roomba to the point that I put googly eyes on it and gave it a name. If there was a robot equivalent of the ASPCA I would totally report you.

Yet, I always thought it was kinda funny when I put him roomba on the black rug in my foyer. He keeps backing away trying to get off it. I never really appreciated it was because of the cliff sensors, and that he's actually deathly afraid of it. I guess I feel sorta bad now.

I guess another workaround would be to sprinkle glitter all over your dark rug. That way you don't compromise its ability to detect stairs or cliffs. That way you can still put your roomba on top of a stool and watch and laugh as it tries to find a way off it.

Since I get asked this fairly frequently Roombas are very light weight vacuums that are best for smaller areas and in places where you don't have lots of debris or knick knacks to deal with, think, child or pet toys or the corresponding debris that both tend to introduce. Roombas require a little TLC.

ideally you need to clean them (empty the dust bin, clean the brush and beater, wipe off fine dust) after every use so they aren't truly fire and forget.

About every year I need to break mine down completely in order to clean debris and cat hair out of various gears and interior corners where it will eventually clog and prevent the device from functioning.

We all worry about the well being of robots. At least our roomba

I was kind of annoyed when I was told I needed to pay for a new cleaning head. I think I got a small discount on it, but it works so much better. I hardly ever get the "clean roomba's brushes" error any more.

By the way, if you haven't seen them yet you should check out the new upgrades that are available for those of us who have old Roombas.

The new "Enhanced" cleaning head and "AeroVac" bin are quite nice. I just got both of them for mine since the cleaning head was wearing out anyway, and the new one and AeroVac are nice improvements.

Quieter, easier to clean, and apparently picks up more dust.

I dunno how it'd work on thick carpet. I have just a thin kinda area rug and it works surprisingly well on it after disabling the cliff sensors. I linked to a pretty thorough review in another comment, I'm pretty sure it's pretty good on carpets, but I'm not sure because that wasn't something I was taking into consideration when I first read it.

No matter what you'll have to manually vacuum a little at least once a month. It won't get into corners fully.

And another funny thing that kinda hurts how well it performs is that there is a rear exhaust, and I watched it push bundles of cat hair away from the exhaust, like tumbleweeds, into an area where it had just cleaned.

I have the Roomba clean that room each morning and walking into a pristine, super clean room just makes the work day start better.

It's perfect for something like that but if you find yourself having to do a clean up before running the Roomba every time you may as well just vacuum a standup vacuum has much better suction anyway.


I think the tether and crate are great tools for house training, I can understand not wanting to crate but it can make the learning process easier.

Right now it's all about building habits, let his out about 20 minutes after he drinks, an hour after eating, as soon as he wakes up, and every 2 hours as a general schedule.

Don't forget to work on the command to go pee and rewarding the eliminations that ARE in the right place. Those are just as important as the tethering.

When he squats to go, say gently 'go pee' or whatever signal you want his to relate to elimination. When he is still going, gentle praise and when he is done, lots of good treats! 4 or 5 at least for each go, for the first week of re-training.

If you have a feeling he needs to go but won't, try crating his for about 20 minutes and try again.

He might not go on every break, but it is important to treat his whenever he goes potty in the place you would like his to potty. If he's been pooping on the deck, this means leashing his and walking his in the yard until he has the habit of pooping in grass.

After he potties let his off the leash, that way he'll start to understand that he must potty first and then he can play in his yard.

If you take his for a walk, let his roam his usual potty area when you get back home before going back inside. As for signs, sounds like going away to hide it is his signal.

But every dog is different, and some dogs just don't ask to go outside at all. Mine doesn't. He's 9 years old and has never had an accident and never asked to go outside.

It's my job to just take him out every four hours regardless.

If he were a puppy in training, I would obviously take him out every three quarters of an hour or so.

With tethering his to you, you will probably notice more of his actions before he has an accident. Signals from my own dogs are sniffing around, pawing at carpet, waiting by the door, scratching the door, and the weirdest has been sitting on my feet and refusing to get off.

Every time my girl sits on my feet, I scramble for the door as I know he really has to go. It took me awhile to catch on to that signal, as I figured it was just one of his many quirks.

The most common is probably sniffing around, and most dogs like material that will absorb their mess. Use an a pet cleaner to clean any accident. Even if you can't smell it, there is the possibility that he still can.

If he has a certain "spot" where he tends to have an accident, clean that area very thoroughly with an enzymatic spray.


The early weeks and months are crucial for getting your pup to experience all sorts of things and especially important for socializing with other dogs and humans. They are learning their skills for life, if you plan on making it a large part of their life then get them used to it

But don't jump onto the trail right away.

At the very least, I would recommend waiting until he has all of his vaccines, so 4-ish months. The last thing you want is for your dog to get into tussle with a raccoon before he has his rabies vaccine. Talk to your vet so the dog gets all of the appropriate vaccines and flea/tick treatments when it's tick season.

For longer hikes, wait until he's fully grown. The physical strain of those kinds of hikes on a growing puppy can cause joint problems in the future.

Get them some boots for their paws. Keep an eye on your terrain.

My dog got blisters from a long hike over stony terrain and it was just terrible to recover from. I picked up mukluks to protect his feet. I was pretty diligent about boots so the blisters are rare but on a small dirt hike he picked up a stone in between his paw pads. We caught it when he started limping. Do a paw check after hikes.

First and foremost, make sure he's on preventatives for fleas, ticks, heartworm (which is transmitted by mosquitos), or any other parasites that may be common in your area.

Check for ticks daily and be prepared to remove them.

Those are all far more likely to cause problems for your dog than any other kind of wildlife out there. Also do a thorough tick check after hiking/camping. Even with preventatives, they still sometimes attach.

Make sure your vet knows that you're planning to hike and camp with your dog.

Ask if there are any specific vaccines they would recommend. The exact vaccines he'll need will vary depending on where you live, but some examples of what your vet may recommend include leptospirosis and Lyme vaccines.

Third, get a dog first aid kit and familiarize yourself with how to use it.

It's also worth learning which human medications/treatments can be safely used on a dog and which cannot. You might also want to consider training your dog to wear booties (so you can put a boot on him if he injures his paw) and training him to wear a muzzle.

Even the most friendly dogs can lash out when they're injured--you don't want an injured dog and a bite to your hand/face.

As for preventing encounters with wildlife, keeping your dog on leash will prevent most of those encounters. If you want to hike with your dog off leash, make sure you train a rock-solid recall to keep him out of sticky situations.

In camp I just use a 25ft cable tie out wrapped around a picnic table leg or tree. Other people tie a rope between two trees and attach the dog's leash to the rope.

Your dog should get water and snacks when you do (or more frequently) on a hike. Be mindful of the heat as dogs don't sweat, give him as much water during and after a hike as he desires, and find shady spots on the trail to pause and let him cool down.

Food should be pretty easy.

I usually bring A can of screw as food since I know he's burning lots of calories out on the trail.

Just go and experiment.

Take more than you need then adjust accordingly. If you're going to feed your dog structured meals at home, I suggest you do--labs will almost always eat themselves to obesity if free fed, just pack as much food for as many meals as you need. If you're going to be doing a lot of hiking or particularly strenuous activity, plan to feed your dog a little more than what he would eat at home.

I portion my dogs' food into individual baggies for each meal ahead of time to make things easy. This probably goes without saying, but bears and other wildlife will be just as attracted to dog food as to human food. Store dog food appropriately while camping.

Water is a little harder to judge, and to be honest, you're probably going to have to figure it out as you go along.

You can kinda judge based on how much water your dog drinks at home, but he'll probably need more while hiking. If you're car camping or can otherwise spare the weight, bring extra. Be careful about letting your dog drink untreated water from a river/lake/etc. Giardia can affect dogs too.

Honestly, going for a hike with their humans and chilling with them at a campsite is in and of itself a good time for many dogs, especially for hardy, outdoorsy breeds like labs.

If you want to do more with your dog, a game of fetch would probably be fun, or let him swim, if it's allowed and safe, or give him something to chew on while you sit around the fire.

This might go without saying, but from one dog owner to another, please don't give dog owners a bad name amongst hikers and campers.

  • pick up his poop, if you're in the backcountry, bury it like you would with human waste:
  • follow dog-related park rules
  • don't take him on trails where dogs aren't allowed
  • don't let him run up to other hikers/campers without their permission
  • don't let him wander into other camp sites
  • don't let him harass wildlife
  • if you're on a narrow trail and meet another hiker
  • move to the side of the trail and have your dog sit until the other hiker has passed
  • keep him quiet at night
  • and remember that not everyone likes dogs and those people have just as much right to enjoy their time in the outdoors as you do

There are many parks that don't allow dogs partially because too many dog owners can't be bothered to be responsible for their dogs.

Please don't give parks more reasons to ban dogs.

I hope you have a good time in the outdoors with your new puppy! It really is a lot of fun for both humans and dogs. My two hike and camp with me at every possible opportunity.


I have a rescue dog and he does the very same thing. He came from a house with 16 other dogs, and I think he was just trying to eat without having to fight for food.

Rescue I dogs do it regularly, and he refuses to eat in the kitchen on the tile - if I put her food bowl there at dinner time he'll take it mouthful by mouthful to the carpet to eat. I think that he never got used to the hard floors and is more comfortable eating on carpet I guess.

I'm pretty sure that they hate our smooth floors.

When I gave him his kibble, he'd carry the bowl to where I was sitting in the living room and dump it on the carpet, take his bowl back, then come back and eat his kibble. We never taught him to do that. It's really adorable though.

Later he would take mouthfuls and walk over to me and chew, sometimes dropping it on the carpet.

My assumption is he's not so much interested in the carpet, but for wolves, when they eat their prey, they'll usually take their food away from the carcass to eat, which could be something your dog is mimicking on the carpet.

Dogs (and my cat) also prefer to vomit on rugs for the same reason.

The last bit isn't so arodable.


The cage is the dog's den. They should have open and easy access to it and should feel safe when inside of it.

The crate should never be used as a punishment, because then the dog will attribute negative actions with the crate and therefore will be more likely to resist going into the crate when necessary.

If you live in a way that your dog would rarely need to travel or visit places that may not be dog-safe, then you do not -need- to crate train your dog.

It is a useful skill and positive relationship for your dog to have, but it is not 100% necessary to stress good crate behaviors with your dog if they would spend the majority of time outside of it.

Crate training is a useful tool for situations like travelling, going to the vet, or otherwise when you need to contain your dog for a short time. It doesn't mean you have to crate your dog for many hours a day, I happen to think that doing that is cruel.

We crate trained my puppy as soon as she came home, and it was so incredibly useful for toilet training.

She now is crated (ie locked in her crate) very rarely and only for short periods of like 2 hours maximum - for example when we need to vacuum the house or when she's exhausted but refuses to calm down and needs an "enforced naptime"! We do not crate her when she's left alone in the house. BUT she loves her crate. The door is always left open and she will go into in herself, lie down on the comfortable bedding and nap.

She has a wide choice of places to nap, two couches, our bed, two other dog beds in the apartment - but unless she's snugging next to us on the couch, usually she will choose to sleep in her crate.

It's a place of safety and comfort for her.

I too have concerns about the practice of crating dogs for long periods routinely, eg those people that crate their dogs when they go out to work, and then again at night, so the dog spends like 16 or 18 hours out of 24 in its crate.

But to me, that is just a cruel use of a very useful training tool, that does not make crate training bad in itself!

Here are some reasons against keeping a dog in a crate when you can't watch them i'll give you some there is no reason not to teach a dog to be comfortable in a crate, all dogs will need them at some point.

For car-rides, training-classes or bed-rest for example: My main one is if the dog gets sick. It's not nice having to lay in your poop for a few hours. Since it's recommended to have the smallest crate possible to discourage peeing and pooing in there they have no choice but to remain on top of their feces.

Another con is that they can't choose where to lay down. Sometimes they might want to lay on a cooler hardwood floor and sometimes they want a soft and warm dog-bed for example. Especially in older dogs it's nice if they get that choice for their aching bodies.

My last con will be that some dogs hurt themselves in their crate.

Especially if it's not a very sturdy one. Many people keep their dogs crated for the dogs safety but they buy flimsy crates and the dog ends up hurting itself. My friend recently had to take her dog to the vet because her dog had pierced its paw trying to get out of her cheap crate. That dog had never shown signs of separation anxiety and had been crate-trained.

I wrote these cons because wanted some reasons against crating a dog in the house and not to hate on crating.

There are many pros as well!

That said, don't crate older arthritic large breed dogs, because I feel like they need to be able to really stretch out and walk around, and for a 60 lb dog a crate big enough for that would be the size of a room. So just confining the dog to a room makes more sense, especially when the older dogs are usually already house trained, and less likely to get into various sorts of trouble.