I have tried the following methods:

  • Kennel in my room - he got out, tore everything up, and peed everywhere.
  • Kennel outside - he got out, and ran away for a short period of time (I had to go find him about a mile away from my house).
  • Eight foot Fenced in area - He somehow climbed the fence, didn't dig below it.

Note: He got out of all of these "traps" within a matter of an hour. I may consider renaming him "Houdini".

Seriously, I have no idea what to do at this point. I live in a rural area and there isn't any type of dog-sitters that I have been able to find. Is there any way I can train him to stay in one place and be calm until I return?

He is about 5 months old, I have had him for about 4 months. He is a Boxer mix. He is not fixed.


2 Answers 2


It is natural for a puppy or adolescent dog to have a lot of energy and you might still be dealing with it a year or so from now. So you're doing the right thing to try and address it before he reaches full adulthood.

One option, which I've also suggested in another recent question, is to lay wide mesh across the top of the run you have and secured to the sides, so it can't be climbed over.

Also consider chickenwire (very thin mesh) across the bottom, if it won't hurt his paws and will get buries in grass, or paving slabs around the perimeter or burying or securing the bottom of the fence, or using stakes, so that the next act isn't digging under. (If he learns it can be done he might keep trying, if he never finds it can be done he will probably give up trying, so its worth being preemptive and get it dealt with first).

More generally this sounds like puppy energy and not pathological. But one of the skills puppies learn in nature is to calm themselves down and you might be accidentally encouraging wild behaviour, or not giving him what he needs to start learning this as well.

What I would also suggest as well as any physical limitations is two other things. First, practice being calmer and not "rising to the bait" all the time when he is bouncy and exuberant. Acknowledge, pet quietly, go back to what you're doing. Above all a calm measured very soft consistent tone of vouce. Give him signals that he can understand "calm" is required of him.

Second, buy an indoor "pen" (2nd hand kind they use for toddlers is ideal and very cheap on craigslist/eBay) maybe 5-6 foot across or similar and put him in it daily when appropriate. Maybe in a room you are in, so he has to deal with limited external entertainment rather than social abandonment. Acknowledge him briefly only when he's in it, brief petting, nice words, and eye contact, enough he doesn't think its punishment, give toys and treats - and leave him for enough time to work through attention-getting, frustration, and worry, and finally to work out how to entertain himself in a limited space. Reward (calmly and briefly!) calm lying down behaviour, when he shows it. At first this will set him off again, so you will have to keep it very very brief, calm and perhaps not immediately. If he is food oriented, give a tiny amount - one or two nibbles - occasionally when you "notice" him and he's being good. Outside the pen, keep the calming manner so he learns it doesn't just apply to one place and time.

Exuberance does have a place, so pick a time and place (a specific place or behaviour cue) so he knows its "play time", for example in a specific room, or cue using specific words/tone/behaviour. Dogs are really good at picking up that sort of thing if you do it consistently - think of how you go to put on shoes and they know its time for a walk, or whatever. When playtime's over, go back to calm tone and signal with a different, calmer tone and behaviour yourself, so he can learn to tell the difference.

It may take time, but dogs do learn :)

See also my reply to this question for other ideas - My dog is becoming unusually hyper. Whining, won't hold still, and jumping/nipping at me


I agree with previous answer, some excellent solutions there but you need to think about training.

If you're a parent, a puppy/dog needs to be trained what is the right or wrong behaviour, like a child does.

Dogs like routine and boundaries, it gives them a purpose. That purpose is accentuated by teaching basic commands which includes a rest and chill command, especially for a puppy. Kids want to stay up all night but we know they need rest and sometimes have to be told to rest.

As for cage training, here is what I tend to do:

There's several ways to train your puppy to use the crate but this is what I did:

First make it comfortable with blankets and old duvets. The crate needs to have a blanket over the top, like a roof to simulate den conditions.

You need to make the puppy understand the above by associating the crate with positive experiences. Food is by far the best reward. Keep the crate open, and lure your puppy closer and closer. Eventually placing a treat in the crate. Repeat several times until the puppy feels comfortable or goes in on its own. A command can be added later. This may have to be repeated several times. If the puppy gets in the crate, getting hugs and fuss in the crate is really useful to emphasise security. I also used to feed my dog in it as well.

If you want to close the door, you can sit next to the crate when your puppy is in until they start sleeping and relaxing. Then I slowly closed the door and stayed there whilst reading, enhancing calmness. Did it several times a day till the closed door didn't bother the dog. Then I start on moving away, a few feet at the time, until I can do anything around the house. Don't go too fast. Don't be afraid to go back a step. The most effective training is for the puppy to work it out with your guidance. Never force a dog to do something, crate should never be associated with negative experiences.

As for general training this is what I have always done:

My attitude towards dog has always been the same: they are pack animals and need some sort of leadership. Even if people and dog behaviourist have new thoughts on the matter.

Your choices are:

1) Ignore a bad behaviour, show no interest or emotion once that behaviour occurs(for mild case)

2) recognise that the behaviour is bad enough that it needs a "negative" intervention. Basically disagree with the dog and use something simple like:"no!"

3) is the same as 2) but most effective of all: Start with 2) and then use what's called behaviour replacement therapy. Basically say "no", I disagree and then replace that behaviour by a command like"sit" followed by a reward.

You need to decide what's what and how you wish your dog to behave. Positive reinforcement is always best(the third option), however not always possible. This where training comes in. All of the basic commands(sit, stay, down...). This will give you and your dog structure and excellent communication. It's also very rewarding for both of you and will increase your bound. Be sensitive and start small, in a room your dog is comfortable in with few distractions and build from there.

To train a dog, it's like 3). Patience is required. You never force a dog into a behaviour, you let him work it out. Wait for the behaviour and then reward it. There are plenty of books available to help you. Your dog needs a leader. If he doesn't have one, he will be forced to lead and let's face it, being a leader can be stressful and difficult. If a dog hasn't had another older dog show him what to do, he will make it up and it generally turns to aggression.

Dogs have always worked with humans. Historically, it's thought that wolves got closer to humans to get an easier meal. In exchange for food and security, they guarded, hunted, herded and so on. These days, they don't work and find it hard to have a purpose. You need to make your dog work for rewards.

Rewards is not just food but it is a big part of training(adjust your dogs diet to compensate for treats) but also hugs, cuddles, toys, whatever is going to enrich their life has to be earned and not given for free.

This is a book used by many trainers: https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81H3RZUhYyL._AC_UL320_SR208,320_.jpg

I would also read articles from Cesar Milan the ultimate dog whisperer.

Good luck!

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