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Dog Training Using an Ex-Pen or Tether Speeds Up Training!

Great for puppy training or dogs that are having potty accidents or nipping and jumping.

Tether or Ex-Pen Training Method

Keeping a dog or puppy tethered or in an exercise pen nearby can be an incredibly useful training tool. You can use it to help teach your dog or puppy: frustration tolerance, calm, sit and down, proper toy play and chewing, independence, interacting without nipping/biting, house training, understanding leash pressure, interacting without jumping, stopping demand barking.


Choosing your equipment. What's great about a tether is that you can easily move it from room to room. But tethers are not the best with children in the house-hold as children could get tangled. Also tethers should not be used unsupervised. 

If using a tether: To get started you will need either a chew proof tether (available online), a piece of rope or leash that is fairly sturdy and coated with bitter spray. The tether length should be about 4 feet maximum. You should have several tether spots set up for easy use in your home depending on where you might be in the day. Some good stops are the kitchen if you spend a lot of time in there, your office, the living room etc. When you move to a new area bring your dog on the tether. 

If using an exercise pen: Set up the pen in an area that you will be spending a lot of time in. 

For both the tether and the pen, have a bed, small amount of water and an edible chew or Kong stuffed with daily food - it's best to use most of your dog's food for training or to keep her occupied. Have some treats available for you to reward good behavior. Be sure to offer your dog a potty break every couple of hours especially if you are working on house training.

Young dogs should spend most of their time on a tether or pen for the first few months unless exercising or crated, after that you can transition to using the pen and tether less and having your dog drag a leash. Using a crate or other small safe space is best for when you are out. And of course exercising your dog is important for overall health and for good behavior. Try to aim for at least an hour of exercise per day.


When your dog is tethered  or in the pen your job is to be paying close attention to her behavior. When she is calm or chewing on a toy go towards your dog and offer some attention or toss a treat. When she is agitated or barking, move away from your dog by perhaps leaving the room. Also take the opportunity to practice having your dog not jump up for greeting by walking towards your dog and if she jumps up say "no or eh eh" and walk away. You can do the same with nipping/biting by approaching and if your dog nips, say "no or eh eh" and walk away. It's also good to practice your dog's independence training by leaving the area briefly for short and then longer periods up to a few minutes. If your dog begins barking when you've left, try to wait for a moment of calm before re-appearing and then do shorter periods of leaving after that.


Good luck using the tether method with your dog!

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