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Aug 29, 2003, 10:30 PM

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Re: [brandyg] Potty training

Hello Clint ...Smile...

I asked ai_ney for "support" simply because we all work together in this forum to help where we can ... SmileSmileSmile ... no one person possess all the knowledge or experience ... and sometimes it's useful/helpful for you (and myself included) to hear from more than source of information ... Smile... if I gave you impression we were going to "gang-up" on you - I apologise ... for sure that was neither the intent or purpose ... Smile

Ai_ney volunteers at the SPCA ... and will have particular experience & knowledge of crating & dogs who have been crated ... she also works full time and is herself seriously considering adoption of a dog and how she is to balance work and the dog's needs ... all matters which will give her a special understanding of your posting ...

Different countries will have different facilities available for dog & owners ... and therefore it was necessary to know where you came from ... Smile... For example: Being in Dallas, you will have easier access to books and research material - better access to dog training facilities & experts ... then we have here ...

I trust all is resolved ... and once again, I apologise if I have offended you in any way ...

Okies ... here we go ...

Puppies: From new born to full maturity, the dog probably grows the fastest of all mammals, multiplying fastest in bone, skeletal & muscle. The dog probably grows fastest in its first 6 to 8 months. A puppy is also most sensitive during the first 18 to 24 weeks of its life ... Different experts may sub-divide the period differently but most are agreed that during this period how a puppy is treated, supervised, socialised, cared for & trained is critical to the pup ... fears & habits learnt over this period are difficult to undo & have a tendency to last.

I have a Labrador too ... and she is the love of my life ... and what makes Labradors so special is their "temperament" (so happy and playful when young, so sensitive and steady when mature) ... their intelligence (so easy to train, they almost understand what we say) ... and their love for people (they make terrible watchdogs) ... And of course, if you hunt - a Lab is retreiver par excellence ...

During this period of growth, it is important for us to cultivate these positive traits or we may not get the adult we are hoping for ...

As far as a pup is concerned ... it's owners are members of its pack ... and you the alpha pack member ... the pup instinctively regards all that you do in that context ... but a pup has no understanding of why humans need to work or why it is confined ...

Given the above, your puppy is in his critical growth period.

Crating concerns

(a) Long periods of crating is not suitable for proper skeletal development or brain development ... be detrimental to formation of paws and hips. Boredom sets in very quickly (even with toys in the crate). The puppy needs room to move & play to enhance muscle, skeletal and brain development/growth. If the pup has to be confined ... then he needs a space bigger than a crate ...

(b) A puppy's natural instinct is to eliminate away from where he eats or sleeps ... Crating for long periods subdues this natural instinct (because they are then forced to eliminate in the crate where they are confined) and can make housetraining very difficult. Ideally, we try to housetrain a pup by teaching him to pee & poop where it's convenient for us ... but not to pee or poop where the pup lives. If the pup's natural instinct is cultivated with good training - the pup will learn fast not to pee or poop where you & your wife live ... remember as far as the pup is concerned, you are his alpha & pack member and will not pee or poop where you live.

But if this instinct is subdued ... and the pup will pee & poop wherever he may be ... in the house, outside the house ... in your bedroom ... etc.

(c) A crate is intended to be replacement for a dog's cave or hiddy hole. In the wild, dogs instinctively finds a little cave to rest & sleep ... but it is not a place of confinement ... we ought not to use the crate that way ... or the dog will start to associate the crate as a place of punishment - and not understand why its being punished.

Housebreaking: Given that there is no one to supervise the puppy while you are at work. You must accept that housetraining is going to take longer and require much more effort and patience from your wife & you ...

Ideally, house training is carried out over a period of 14 to a month (when the pup first arrives) with fairly constant supervision required during this period - but unfortunately, you don't have this option Unsure ... so you must be patient ... a puppy of 10 weeks may need to eliminate some 8 to 10 times a day (their urinary & bowel systems are not fully developed and they cannot hold their waste as would an adult dog).

Given the circumstances ... the usual housetraining methods may have to be modified.

Suggestion: Go to the local bookshop - get a good training manual ... (I can suggest some books if you wish) most good manuals will have a section on housetraining ... Then work on housetraining in the evenings & over the weekend consistently & diligently - but without punishing or frightening the pup ...

Punishment for elimination in wrong place has negative effect ... Pup simply learns to be afraid to pee or poop when you are around and will hide its elimination (which kinda defeats the purpose) ... There are several methods for housetraining ... you have to find the best to suit your circumstances.

Confinement: If you agree that confining the puppy in a crate may not be the best solution, then we can look for alternative ways of securing the pup. Again whatever solution we suggest, there will be difficulties and again patience will be required.

Suggestion: You live in a house, thus I assume you have a garden or yard. Is it possible for you to cordon off a sheltered area for your puppy, while you are at work?

Keep the area safe. Do not collar your pup (especially never leave a choke/slip chain on a dog) when he is left in the area. Leave toys and chews with the pup. Avoid rawhide type toys ... rawhide swells when wet, and can choke a pup, avoid cloth, rope or plastic toys that can be chewed up and swallowed, for same reason. Alternate his toys to avoid boredom.

Always provide plenty of clean water.

For a 10week old pup, maybe an area 10ft by 15ft will work. Have the crate within the area - but this time, the crate is for him to sleep & rest (provide a soft place for pup to lie down - you can find really tough cushions/mats/matresses at pet shops which will be suitable for this) ...

With luck ... the pup will learn to eliminate outside the crate in a corner of the secured area and still give him room to play and stretch his legs.

In some homes we know, where there is no place outside, the owners create an area in the house usually next to the bathroom for the dog.

Let it be an area where if accidents occur and the puppy digs or chews (and that will happen) its okay and little or no damage is done. But for sure accidents will happen ... you may come back and find he's been playing with his poop or even eaten his poop ... but be patient, clean him up ... accept that that is not his fault ... and just move on ... SmileSmileSmile

Am real glad that you can make it back to the pup during lunch. This is most invaluable ... when you see him during lunch ... don't just let him out ... but play with him too ... show him your love ... and the puppy will know and understand that.

Socialisation: Finally ... accept that your pup is alone for long periods ... so during the evenings & weekends ... socialise the pup ... take him to parks where he can meet people & other dogs ... take him when you visit your friends. When your friends visit you, encourage him play with them ... Socialisation is one of the most critical elements for dog development ... and most essential to rearing a sound healthy dog ...

Given your circumstances, I strongly suggest that you & dog - enrol for dog training ... proper training of a pup is probably the most effective & fastest way to enhance and strengthen relationship between dog & owner. A training centre is also a good place to meet other doggy people and to learn.

Dogs are social animals. Periods of confinement and being left alone can lead to "anxiety" in a dog ... anxiety can cause a dog to chew obsessively & to develop a whole host of bad habits that can make the dog difficult to live with.

The way to avoid this is to make effort when you are home to spend time with the pup. I would even suggest that you let the pup into the house ... If possible, to even to sleep with you or at least share your room ... No confinement when you are home ... when you are home its "happy time" for the pup ...

Acceptance: Accept that your circumstances may not be ideal ... that it will be more difficult for your wife & you then it would be for a family where there is someone home all the time ... it is nevertheless very possible to rear and grow a pup into a wonderful adult.

It is impossible through this forum to tell you all you need to know ... so do speak to doggy-people where you live ... people who love dogs will always have time to share their knowledge and experience ...

We have 4 dogs ... and for every bit of love we have shown them, they have return that and more without question or reservation ... we wish you no less & good luck with your little fella ...

Cheers Smile ... see you around.

(This post was edited by surchinmy on Aug 29, 2003, 10:43 PM)

This post has not been edited

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