Cedar Crest Aussies

                                            Australian Shepherds and Miniature Australian Shepherds

What are the benefits of Crate Training?

Crate training can be a positive experience for dogs of all ages and their owners. If a crate is properly introduced and used, a dog will eventually view it as his "den": a secure, relaxing space of his own.
THE KEY TO TRAINING IS TO MAKE THE CRATE AN APPEALING PLACE. So never, ever use it for punishment.  To begin, make sure your pet can comfortably stand up and lie down in your chosen cage or crate. Then, set it up in a quiet location - but one that isn't too distant from family activity.
Now, open the door (make sure the door cannot swing closed on the dog while his head is in the crate; you may need to tie the door open to prevent this) and go about your regular routine.  Every so often, throw a treat into the crate.  Start by placing treats near the crate's opening, then gradually move each treat farther inside. (Alternately, you can throw a toy your dog loves to chase into the crate.)  Once your dog willingly goes into the crate, start feeding him his meals there, but leave the crate door open at all times, so he can go in and out as he pleases. 
Once your dog is relaxed about going in his crate with the door open, put a treat inside, let him in, and close the door. Immediately offer praise and more treats.  After five minutes, open the door. Now, start extending the length of time he stays in the crate with the door closed. Always give him praise and a treat when he enters. You may also place a safe chew toy in the crate with them.  Remember, the goal is to make the crate a place he genuinely likes to be. 

Best Method of Training

I get asked this a lot and I personally am a big fan of 4-H and my family has used the 4-H dog project to train all of our dogs.  If it is an option, I would strongly suggest that you support your local 4-H group.

However, that is not an option for everyone.  There are a lot of books, trainers, DVD's, and groups.  I have not found one that does NOT work.  Your dog (assuming we are talking about aussies) are very smart and you and your dog(s) have to just work on the communication.  The more you practice for short periods of time, the faster it will come.  Leash training is important in my opinion and the rest is just pretty cool "tricks".  Please take the time to teach your dog to walk on a leash for their safety.  I suggest using a choke chain when on a leash due to it is instant gratification and you have control.  

I love to hear back from families on all of the neat and cool things that their dog does.  

Dog Food

I have done a lot of research on this very topic.  I have found many great web sites that were helpful in comparing different dog foods and I have wonderful friends that breed and raise aussies that I talk with a lot.  For me it was important to find a food that didn't have "By Products" in it as it is not clear which ones they use.  I needed food for good eye development in puppies and joint and general health for all ages.  After trying many different kinds over the years, we are now feeding Nurti Source and love it!  Shedding is half of what it was and my moms are all having healthy, fat puppies with no ligament issues.  Though it is not cheap (we go through food around here) I feel that it is the single most important thing I can do for my dogs.  I don't feed my kids "crap" so why would I feed my four legged kids "crap"?