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Rescue Dog Help!

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I’m pretty sure that we’re adopting a new dog in the next few days.  He’s 3-1/2 and has never been taught anything, but seems to have a really nice disposition.  He’s a small dog (15#) and I’ve never had a small dog before!   It’s also been many years since I did any training.

My questions:  is it possible to crate train an older dog?  I have two young grandchildren whom I will need to protect this little dog from!  🙂 

Recommendations for books/videos on training?  I definitely need some refresher!!

Food - this dog has been fed way too much people food!  Any recommendations for a good food for small dogs?  Treat recommendations?

Any other thoughts or considerations before I take this leap?

Thanks very much!



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We are working on crate training a 5 yo foster dog, a 60 lb boxer/shepherd mix, maybe?  She still needs to be bribed to go in, but she's sleeping there every night now.

I watched the video that was recommended in a pamphlet on the crate box "ABC's of Crate Training" at Midwest Homes 4 Pets website. It took us about a week before I felt like we could leave her overnight in the crate.--Our dog has major separation anxiety and cries a lot at night (or anytime we leave the room (roll eyes), and I didn't want her to associate the crate with feelings of abandonment. We hid lots of treats in the crate, have it in our kitchen where there are people a lot that she might want a break from, praised and treated her when she went in of her own accord, feed her in the crate, closed the door for short periods, then stretched those periods. 

No idea on food. We are using food and treats the shelter gave us, though we bought a kong toy and kong brand treats that are going over well.



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I foster and currently have two small dogs--a Shih Tzu who is almost nine years old, and a probably Lhasa Apso foster we "failed" on a few months ago. She's estimated to be 8 years old. We knew nothing about her when we got her as a foster--she'd been picked up as a stray at a local hotel. So with that background --

It's absolutely possible to crate train any older dog, and I wouldn't consider a 3.5 yo small dog very old. Since you know he's house trained you want to make the crate comfy and cozy. Put a cushy old towel, small blanket or a crate bed (if you want to spend some money) in it. Make it a fun, positive place. I always have a special treat or toy that the dog only gets when he goes into the grate. Don't use a crate for punishment. Start out with very small amounts of time (like a few seconds) and gradually work up to longer periods. You may find he's already used to a crate. Some dogs love their crates and some dogs hate them with a fiery hot passion. My personal belief (substantiated by nothing I've seen in veterinary research) is that some dogs have claustrophobia or barrier frustration. Anyway, definitely give it a try and see how it goes. Every dog needs to be able to tolerate being crated to help with overnight stays at the vet, being boarded, etc. But if he absolutely hates the crate and you can't convince him to tolerate it you can try baby gating him in a bathroom or other small space and see how he does with that.

When it comes to kibble the only real difference in food meant for small dogs is the kibble size. Some of the regular sized kibble pieces can be huge for small dog mouths. My own small dogs have always vastly preferred canned or moist commercial food (I home cook a good bit--and least when grocery shopping isn't an issue during a pandemic--and only use commercial food for convenience). They seem to like and do well on any of the Purina One canned foods, which are widely available and not expensive. They also love the Fresh Pet rolled foods.

In all likelihood you won't see his real personality for several weeks or (more likely) a few months. It takes most dogs awhile to settle in, feel safe and start showing their true selves. Those first few weeks when they tend to be on their best behavior are called the honeymoon period. So don't be fooled if you see some naughty behaviors over time. I've had the very rare foster who was totally himself from the get go, but that really is much more the exception than the rule. Our recent "failed" foster has been with us for five months, and just in the last month have I been fairly certain that now I'm seeing her real, normal self.

Good luck! I'd love to see a picture.

Edited by Pawz4me
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Oh, how wonderful! Congrats!

My dog is 15 lb. and loves Purina ProPlan Focus Adult Small Breed Formula. The kibble is nice and small and it hasn't caused any problems for her sensitive tummy.

We love Charlee Bear Original Crunch treats. They are very low-cal and are not at all messy, so they can be easily carried in a pouch for training. 

My first dog was an adult rescue and although he fussed at night at first, he learned to love his crate.

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