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The Ex Pen

The Ex pen

The Ex pen in our system is not something we actually have to train, but rather condition. What does that mean or what is the difference?

Training to me means teaching a dog how, training a dog to do what it has been taught even when there are distractions around and proofing the dog to an acceptable level, whereas conditioning means repetitive exposure to the same thing really.

So as we need to put our puppies in the ex pen on day one, we will just use environmental enrichment to make the pen a cool place to be. If you have followed the All Important First Day rules,. you would have placed your pup in your backyard for a while after arriving home and your dog has learned the making noise wont get your attention.

Its after this lesson that I will puppy in an ex pen and teach puppy that the ex pen is ok.

Some rules before putting puppy in the ex pen.

  1. The puppy has toileted recently
  2. I am in a position to ignore noise if puppy demands to come out.
  3. Ex pen is rich with interesting things
  4. Puppy is tired if possible.

I use very large toys in my ex pen, I don’t want the pup to destroy them so large toys last best and my fav is TUFFY. This guy can take a beating and is great quality.

Tuffy never really leaves the Ex Pen and any time I walk by the ex pen I grab Tuffy and pretend he has come to life.

I also like to have an Invincible in there as well, there are another great toy that I think are great value.

Onto Conditioning

Each time I put puppy in the ex pen I toss a little piece of food into the ex pen as we approach, this causes the puppy to “choose” to jump into ex pen. Over time like with anything, when I walk toward pen I will stall, and puppy will jump in and THEN I will throw in the food.

It is a very important step in which you teach your puppy to be pro active at creating his own reward in you by delivering and or offering behaviours that you like to earn a reward, this would be one of the single most important things I feel you need to focus on.

I will have a spill proof bowl or crate bucket in the ex pen with some water but that is removed each night around 2 hours before bed time so there will be no wet crates in the morning.

I like the crate bucket ( but some also feel the cup is good as well

I will give my puppy bones and even food releasing toys in the ex pen, I really want to make it a rich place.

I aim to remove the ex pen from my home and have a well behaved inside dog that is also crate trained by 20 weeks, although many people need a few extra weeks to get this squared away, thats fine also.

The Pen is removed when:-

  • The puppy is relaxed in his or her create with the door shut for upwards of 2 hours, any time day or night
  • The puppy is getting too excited in pen and given the bigger size now, the pen is giving way to the puppies power
  • The puppy has enough impulse control that it can put efforts into my gamkes when I play them and will rest between in the crate if need be.

There is also some great reading in the Library called Doing Time in the PEN