First off, crates are not cruel at all. Crates are great ways to inforce correct behaviour. Is your dog neutered? If not thats the first thing you have to get done, the second thing is get him on the "no free lunch" training program. (I'll copy and paste it below).
Any time he doesn't follow your rules, he gets put in his crate. He should also be in his crate when you aren't there, and should also sleep in there at night.
Decembers Training Tips come from Cinnamon Clark; Obedience Instructor from http://www.turnaroundtraining.com
. Please remember that the key to making this training work is consistency. Enjoy!
Non Confrontational Dominance Program (or no free lunch)
Starting immediately, your dog must earn everything it wants for the rest of its life. It does this by quietly sitting and staying for a few minutes.
This includes sitting for the following:
Food and feeding
Being able to go outside and come back inside
Having feet toweled off
Being invited onto the bed or couch (if owner desires)
Playing with toys
Having a wound checked
Being petted or loved
And anything else the dog wants
All animals have rules. Dogs are no different. People can't speed through Stop signs just like dogs that can't bolt out the front door and run down the street. In this program, all the dog must do is place its rear on the ground and defer to its owner. This is a simple yet extremely powerful behavior. This protocol was specifically made for both dog and owner. It will not take away a dog's love of life, personality or spunk.
1) Avoid confrontation. If your dog is aggressive, this is paramount for the success of the program. If the dog is continually placed in situations in which it feels the need to defend itself, aggression simply becomes a learned behavior. Example: If your dog attempts to guard a rawhide chew and you back away and say, "Oh well, just finish it then." What has the dog learned? It's learned that aggression works. If it wants you to go away, all it has to do is growl.---If the dog aggresses guarding a chewy, simply remove them from its diet altogether.
2) Have specific feeding times. If the dog has food in its bowl all the time, why does it need you? The dog should not be free fed(unless there is a medical problem present). You must be the one to offer food (the bowl coming from your hand) when and only when the dog sits. Example: If you ask for a sit and the dog doesn't comply, give the dog a "no-reward mark". Now you can simply walk away. The dog must wait till the next feeding time for another chance. (A no-reward mark is not a command. It is a word that lets the dog know that the human is going to leave the general area. For my no reward mark I use, "Too bad!" as this is easy for me to remember.)
3) Ignore controlling behavior. Example: when your dog comes up to you while your are sitting on the couch and nudges your arm for attention, ignore it. When the dog stops this behavior, call it over to you and ask for a sit. When the dog does, you can pet it. You have just controlled the situation, not the dog.
4) Praise needs to be earned. Over praising a dog makes the praise uneventful. It is not appreciated. If you control and ration all praise and Attention, your dog views you as more authoritative. Example: If your dog knows how to sit on command, only praise when it gives you an exceptionally fast sit or a perfectly timed square sit, etc.
5) Toys are a privilege that must be earned. The dog has access to only one toy at a time. You control the use of toys and the time spent playing with them. Example: If your dog has a toy and is insisting that you play, (and you don't want to ) give your no-reward mark and leave the yard or room and return in a few minutes. Now call the dog to you and ask for a sit. The dog is only allowed to play with you when you ask for it. Give a command for this such as, "Let's play!" This makes things easier for the dog to understand. When you want to end the game give another command such as "That's all!" This will give your dog guidelines to follow. If your dog persists with play after you have requested the game to end, again give the no-reward mark and Leave the area and do not interact with the dog for a few minutes.
6) No high places. The dog should not be allowed onto the couch or bed without you asking. High places are a way dominant dogs use to gain control. Dogs feel more authoritative when on a higher level.
7) Do not cater to any demanding behavior. If your dog is barking in your face for attention, give the no-reward mark and walk away. After a few minutes of silence from the dog, ask it to come over to you and sit. Then you can give attention.
8) Watch for subtle, pushy, defiant behavior. Expect mistakes on your part and your dogs. No one is perfect.
9) Freedom is to be earned. Example: If your dog refuses to sit for being let out, the dog will not be able to run loose in the yard. The dog will have to be taken out on a leash to relieve itself.
10) Praise your dog! Remember, fair is fair and your dog can have as much love and attention as it EARNS. This way of interacting with your dog isn't cruel nor is it too much for you to ask. This is simply a "hands off" approach to training. I don't believe in bullying a dog into submission. I try to allow the dog to learn without my interfering. We cannot force another living being to learn. Wean only provide a safe environment for learning. Hopefully, we can instill want for knowledge. When the dog "learns how to learn" and enjoys himself, we've done our job.