My Typical Response: What is your response to behavior "X" and how do you try to stop it?
Owner Response: Nothing really until I get so tired of it I yell STOP!
This formula works for dogs that bark and whine, especially in a crate. People who come to my training facility are often curious how many dogs I have with me at any given time. They they are shocked and respond with amazement that there can be that many dogs with little to no noise. Sure, dogs get excited when people or other dogs come on the property, especially if it seems like there is fun involved they are not apart of. But teaching them calm on quiet is important. You can watch most all dogs start down a rabbit-hole, quickly. They start with a scratch or pawing on the crate, then they start a little "crate dance" that turns into full fledged whining and barking to get attention and make sure you didn't forget about them. As the responsible human, we need to stop that downward spiral before the dog goes over threshold and gets nutty. It isn't a healthy state of mind to be frantically pawing and barking. Nor is it good for us to have to listen to that nonsense. Best of all, it is EASY to control, when you start early, be it with your voice, your physical presence, a bonk, a shake can or any other "interrupter of behavior" that is sized appropriate to what the dogs needs.
The formula works for dogs in socialization too. Take a handful of dogs, all hanging out on a beautiful afternoon in a fenced in yard. We typically see a couple of things happen. Either they walk by each other with a passive "HEY!" to each other and keep on walking to go sniff something or take a pee, OR, one comes running out like "OMG! There are other dogs, OMG! Gotta go introduce myself to them all and make them play"! Ok, true, probably a little too much humanization there, but I think you know what I mean. In the later response, if left unchecked when there are a variety of doggie personalities, there is a high risk a scuffle could break out if we do not set the tone of play in the yard and cut out shenanigans BEFORE they happen. That does not mean the play yard is always a quiet, somber, boring place, but it means we know the dogs in the yard before they come out and we closely watch the interactions and body language for any signs that indicate something is about to go down and stop it before it erupts into anything detrimental. The key is knowing body language and being able to interpret what is play and normal conversations. This is why our Day Camp is called a Structured Daycare. We provide leadership and guide and control the atmosphere in the play yard. As you can see in the pictures below, sometimes dogs just hang out and watch, some actively participate. Sometimes there is run and play, other times, they just hang out and chill.
My challenge to dog owners is to teach your dog what you expect of them and take control early by providing consistent leadership, guidance and structure to help them stay on track. You will be amazed at how easy it is and the wonderful response from your 4 legged companion.