The Denning Principle page 2

The Denning Principle (continued)

Conditioning your dog to like its den

The process starts with a period of what is called conditioning where you make the dog happy about being confined in the den. This is best done at dinner time as (usually) dogs love food…

Let’s look at the first few days.

The process starts with selection of a suitable room.  A laundry or bathroom is good; a double garage is a bit large but may be satisfactory if nothing else is available.

For short term confinement, sometimes it is quite effective to use a crate or a pet carrier of the type used to take pets to a vet or used during airplane travel.

Laundries are good because they ‘smell’ like the owners and are a kind of intermediary room between the outside and inside.

The Denning principle can also be used to persuade a dog to love his kennel.

Put the dog’s water bowl and its bedding in the den to give it a pleasant, comfortable and ‘homely’ focus.

For the first few days do nothing other than feed the dog in its new den and lock it in the den with its food. But the important point is to make the dog extremely happy about being confined in the den. To do this I am afraid you really have to act like a fool in front of the dog – total over the top lunacy – the Jolly Routine. This means at the time of feeding and denning you squeak and squawk at the dog in an excited voice, jump up and down, slap your thighs, turn somersaults in front of the dog and walk upside down on your hands. Do anything to make the dog happy about being confined and being fed.

You should then leave and lock your dog in its den for 15 minutes with its food. Release it after approximately 15 minutes and play a game with it. Do this and nothing else for about five days. By the end of this period you will have developed a new routine in your dog’s lifestyle that it enjoys and looks forward too.

How pheromones can enhance a den

Adding a Dog Appeasing Pheromone  diffuser to the den, or placing a pheromone collar on your dog can make your him or her love the den even more. The smell of the pheromone is equivalent to the calming perfume released by your dog’s dam when you dog was suckling as an infant puppy.

Therefore, use of the DAP makes the Den more like his or her mother’s lair and research shows that about 70% of adult dogs are calmed by the use of the DAP.

What’s Next?

What’s next? Well it’s very simple.

When you need to go to bed at night or to work during the day you do a condensed version of the Jolly Routine. This means you take the dog to the den, give it a specific food reward that is only used for the denning process (a few cheese squares or an arrowroot biscuit or kabana sausage for example), then squeak and squawk at the dog to make it happy and then close the door.

What works even better is to use our Carton of Magic Routine. In summary this routine refers to many ways in which you can feed your dog through items like the Kong Wobbler which fully absorbs your dog’s attention and make it love the den.

.With the Denning Principle, the dog is usually very content and quiet. Why is it quiet?

Because not only have you solved the real problem – stress and anxiety – you have also put the dog in a quiet place where it is less likely to hear or see the stimuli that evoke barking, hole digging and so on. Burglars and other bad guys in your garden will still evoke a woof, as they should, but not that butterfly zooming overhead or the dog barking once at the tip of Cape York Peninsula.

It is also essential that you compensate for the lack of exercise and stimulation when denned by providing the dog with quality time when you are home. This is not a casual pat or two when you get home but is a regular program of exercise, training and cuddles on a daily basis. Be sure to get the dog aerobically exercised by throwing the ball, by jogging with the dog or some similar form of exercise. Also give it some brain work – teach it new commands, a few tricks, some agility work or some other processes which will give it an enriched life-style.

The Denning Principle fits like a glove with my No Bored Dog’s Routine and the Carton of Magic Routine which are also available through this site.