Help!!! Need info!


Well-Known Member
Hi all. I know this isn't really a help forum, but I need some! My brother in law bought his wife a new Great Pyr (9 weeks old). The puppy is a paranoid little thing: timid, afraid of almost everything. They have never owned a puppy, although SIL's mom is a vet tech at a country vet.

Well, Polo (the puppy) whines and howls in his crate (they are trying to crate train him as they are both gone all day at work), and he is terrified of it. They have bought a shock collar for him and try zapping him when he cries in there!!!!!!!!! They have no concept of positive training.

I need a great but EASY, QUICK article or book for them. They are compassionate owners but have no idea where to start. I've told them before about clicker training, but they don't seem to think positive training makes a difference. I'm sure they're just finding whatever on the internet and if it sounds like it works, try it! I just cringe thinking of poor Polo, terrified already, and getting shocked!!!!

I have clicker books/ positive training books, but they are long and in depth and I want B and SIL to be able to quickly see the benefit in taking the time to HELP Polo, not punish him! Poor thing.

Ideas, anyone??:doghuh:


Well-Known Member
Thanks for the links!! I will definitely share those. You restated exactly what I was trying to say - they are giving him even MORE fear of the crate!

They live in a different state, so I need to send them something online ASAP. I will copy and paste the text if they don't want to sign up for this forum.

I couldn't believe that ANYONE could even think of shocking a precious 9 week old puppy!!!


Honored Member
Staff member
I cannot stress enough that they need to abandon the shock collar entirely. This will ruin all efforts towards his crate training, and they've got a tooon of work ahead of them since he already has a negative association with the crate because of it.

They can view the links without having to sign up; they just won't be able to respond or ask questions.

They need to understand that crate training just isn't quick and easy. If they aren't willing to spend the time to work with the pup, then they will have to enlist professional help or find another solution. If they've never had a puppy I would HIGHLY recommend taking training classes since they are already having difficulty. This is going to be a huge dog and if they don't know how to handle it he's going to be a terror when he's older and they'll end up getting rid of him. Sorry to sound cruel and harsh, but it's the truth....please don't be offended but so many people get large breeds that they know nothing about and end up having big issues. I really think they would benefit a lot from taking a course somewhere.


Well-Known Member
Thanks, everybody, for the resources!! I passed them all on, and hopefully we will see some results!! I had already stressed intensely that shocking is NEVER appropriate, and I hope these resources will be able to convince them of that.

I will be visiting my family in my BIL/SIL's town next week, and I'm going to see if they have some time for me to go over to their house and let me show them how easy and fun it is to train with positive methods. Also, my mother-in-law watches Polo sometimes during the weekends, and I sent her all the info too, to help her understand as well. She has been very impressed with my puppy's progress, so I think that will motivate her to try positive methods while she's puppy-sitting.

It's amazing how many people get a dog/puppy and have no idea where to start! My husband says "A little knowledge can be very dangerous" and I think that's true in this situation. You think you know something, but really you know just enough to make bad decisions!

Too bad the breeder didn't offer more resources and give them appropriate expectations for the first few weeks. The internet can be such a good resource, but you have to wade through so much junk and inappropriate advice that it can be dangerous!

Apparently they are desperate to stop Polo's crying because they have neighbors with a baby (in a townhome with thin walls) who might complain to the office. I suggested they bake some brownies and take it over as an advance-apology gift in case it takes a little while for THEIR baby to stop crying. :dogbiggrin:

Anyway, thanks again all. I will be posting an update after I hear back from them or see them in person.



New Member
Crate games by Susan Garrett! It is a DVD and you can get it online, just google it. It's worth every dime and will make the puppy very happy to be in his crate.
Good luck!


Well-Known Member
Thanks, Sarhaspups! Your post came just in time for another problem that I think might be solved by crate training: now my MIL is having problems with my puppy's father (intact 5yo male Golden)! He has always been a "normal" dog and is typically fine when left alone at home, even for hours. He has always had free reign of the house with no problems.

Well my MIL has recently started working away from home and Sundance is starting to have crazy wild episodes at home alone. He licks/chews sores on himself, especially during Florida's thunderstorms (of which he is terrified), has started chewing things he's not allowed to, and yesterday he actually peed all over my MIL's bed!! He has NEVER had behaviors like this, even when he was little! Of course as soon as anyone is home with him, he goes back to "normal" behavior.

MIL is leary of crating him all day; she feels bad for him and thinks it might make him MORE nervous and wild if he can't "escape the cage". He's never been crated since his puppy days. But I think if he could be taught that the crate is a fun and safe place, his own little den, he might actually have LESS anxiety while everyone is gone from the house. I will definitely check out the DVD, for both my SIL's puppy AND my MIL's dog!!! Thanks a bunch!


New Member
I hope she will consider crate training b/c it will make a huge difference in the dogs behavior. It is a place of comfort for them and it isn't cruel. Crate games is an awesome DVD and will show you step by step training and making the crate a fun content place for the puppies. I feel that my dogs are much better in a crate while I'm away from the house. They can't get hurt, can't get out of the house...ect. The are safe there.


Experienced Member
For Sundance I want to add one caveat-for a very anxious dog crates can make things much worse. The fear can be heightened and they can severally injure themselves trying to escape in their panic. I advise caution in crating a severely fearful dog. Just think how big of a change this is for a dog to suddenly be alone all day after never experiencing it. Goldens need a lot of exercise, they are working dogs at heart. If he's not as interested or being engaged as he once was he may be incredibly frustrated, bored, and anxious. My 3yo golden got very fearful after we moved and our older dog died. It took me about 14 months to train around her fears. She was miserable and so reactive to just shadows on the wall that it just broke my heart to see my happy dog so miserable. My suggestion is a certified behaviorist, that was my first stop; it made a HUGE difference.

At the very least they owe him some transitional training to help him understand that it's okay to be alone for a while and give him things to do and more exercise, training, and attention when they are home. It sounds like this sudden huge change in his life had created a cluster of behaviors that can be addressed with things that are calming, satisfying, engaging, and reassuring. Having the additional stress of being slapped in a crate all day after not having been so won't have a good result. At the very most gating in a larger but perhaps dog proofable room like a kitchen and leaving a radio or tv on to cover sounds of weather somewhat would be better. There are also recordings of storms and weather to play at levels so low they provoke NO reactions while doing pleasurable things like eating, massaging, brushing, petting to help desensitize. Very gradually you turn up the volume as long as there is NO reaction. Storm fear is a fairly slow phobia to overcome but it can be done with some patience and understanding.

If this dog is doing things that are self injurious like creating lick granulomas and otherwise hurting himself I strongly suggest a certified applied animal behaviorist. My dog became very fearful after we moved and a great behaviorist made all the difference. There are also medications for dogs that are hurting themselves in severe cases. They are not magic pills and will not work without some training to help the dog get past the fears and think about them differently.

You can find certified behaviorists at
and at major vet med teaching university behavioral medicine departments

It takes some work and understanding but it is doable. I recommend the training first and medications (like SSRI's) only if necessary. After much research and professional opinions I really feel that tranquilizers make things scarier.