On of the *best* dog training (not even related to agility) DVD's I own is Crate Games by Susan Garrett. As we were traveling, it brought to mind how reliable my dogs are with their crates. Because of Crate Games, I can leave my dogs in a crate with the door open and know they'll just hang out. Here are some practical applications:
#1 - Dinner. My #1 rule is NO DOGS AT THE TABLE. And that means any table, not just my house. When we visit my parents, there are normally 8 people at the table and 6 dogs. That's too much traffic if all dogs are milling about. So when dinner is served, I give my dogs the command, "Crate!" They rush to their open-door crates and lie down. They stay there during dinner. As their reward they may get a tidbit from the people food we just had or a really good doggie treat that I brought along. It makes for a lovely supper, no drool down anyone's leg, and the dogs get a treat for working.
#2 - Feeding. As I'm preparing the dogs' dishes for supper, I don't want them jumping up at the counter, barking at me (my most hated behavior!), or driving each other into a frenzy. Crate Games to the rescue again. Before I begin to fix their bowls, I yell, "Crate!" if I have to. They're so conditioned that they head for the open-door crates as I head towards the dog food container. Smart Dogs! +:o)
#3 - Rest Stops. As we travel across major highways to and from my parent's house, stopping to potty and feed the dogs is critical. I know that I can open a crate door, look around for a leash, check for traffic, then give the release command. My dogs will wait for the release command and stay safe in their crates even if there are other dogs in the area. Handling four dogs at the rest stop becomes easy because no one is lunging out of a crate or flying into traffic.
If you haven't added this DVD to your collection, my recommendation is DO IT! It was a great investment of time and money for me...and the bonus is the dogs think it is f-u-n.