STARTING OUT RIGHT

Crate Training Your Puppy

Life with a litter!

Every puppy needs to learn the skill of resting calmly in a crate.

This skill will be needed at the veterinary hospital, for traveling, and for restricted activity due to illness. It's also a lifesaver for many young dogs during the destructive chewing stage that starts at several months of age and can last until age 2 to 3 years in some breeds. We believe for our puppies, that when purchasing a crate, go ahead and get the size your puppy will sleep comfortably in as an adult (300 or 400 size) Anything much smaller than that can cause more issues during early stages of crate training. We realize that the books say to not get too much space for the puppy to potty in the crate. Our puppies go potty as far away from their sleep area as they can so that isn't an issue. After a dog has become trained and reliable in the house, the crate will often be needed only for specific reasons rather than everyday use. One critical situation that can call for bringing out the crate again is separation anxiety. The ability to relax in a crate can save a dog's life during this crisis. Usually it works best to crate the puppy in your bedroom when you're sleeping. If you want the dog to share your bed, wait until the adult temperament emerges. Then if it turns out the temperament is not suited to bed privileges, you will not have the difficult job of teaching the dog to stay off the bed. Teaching a puppy to stay off the bed from the beginning is much easier, both for you and for the pup. People tend to make the mistake of giving the puppy attention for making noise in the crate. When you do this, you confirm the puppy's instinct that being alone is death (it would be, in the wild), and that calling for help will bring someone. Having the crate in your bedroom for sleeping tends to help because the puppy can hear, smell and possibly see you. Not being alone, the puppy usually finds it easier to get used to the crate. Your sleeping helps set the scene for the puppy to sleep, too. Keep the puppy on a good schedule of food, water and outings so the puppy's body will have the best chance of making it through the night without a bathroom break. If the pup does need a break, make it very low-key with dim lights and soft voices and no playtime. If you completely avoid going to the puppy when the puppy is making noise, problems usually pass quickly. But make no mistake, lost sleep comes with the puppy-adoption territory! Don't miss the chance to start your puppy off right, or you will lose a lot more sleep over a longer period of time, because crate-training will take much longer. The worst thing to do is let the puppy yell for a long time, and then go to the puppy. Doing that teaches the puppy to persistently make noise in the crate. It communicates to the pup that you want to be notified with lots and lots of noise! It also causes the puppy enormous stress that can become a lifelong response to being confined in a crate. Adult dogs in this stressed state can break out of crates and badly injure themselves. This is not the future you want for your puppy. What you want the puppy to discover is that nothing bad happens from being alone in a crate. You also want the puppy to learn that it's okay to let you know of a need, but you will not come in response to loud racket. Check on the puppy after the puppy has become quiet again. If your puppy isn't making it through the night without a potty break, schedule it so that the puppy doesn't have to wake you up and ask. Realize, too, that the puppy's body will awaken and need to potty whenever someone in the household gets up. That person or someone else will need to give the pup a potty break. Don't trick a puppy about the crate. Give a treat when the pup goes in, but don't be sneaky about shutting the door. Don't put the puppy into the crate when the puppy is sound asleep, to wake up trapped in a crate. That can cause the puppy to distrust both you and the crate. Be careful not to abuse the crate. When you are at home and awake, supervise the puppy in person rather than using the crate. Puppies need exercise, mental stimulation and guidance from you in order to grow up healthy and happy. Too much crate time is not humane. Puppies sleep 14 hours a day or so. If the crate time is scheduled so the pup can use it for sleeping, that's ideal. Make the crate a pleasant place to rest. A few safe chew toys and a treat can help the puppy relax and drift off to dreamland. Everyone in the household can sleep better with a crate-trained puppy. 

WATER & FOOD

Our daughter and puppies were featured in the book  Australian Shepherds by Christina Cox-Evick

    WATER

This may seem like a no brainer, however, we have PERSONALLY seem very  little puppies get very painful bladder infections due to their new owners restricting their daily water intake or making them wait too long in between potty breaks! 

Your puppy may seem to drink large quantities of water. Puppies need water and it cannot be deprived of it. A dog or cat can starve and lose almost all of its body fat and half of its protein mass (muscle) and still survive. However, if this same patient loses 15% of its body water, it will die. Water is the most important nutrient of all. For dogs of any age that eat dry food, water will be needed to rehydrate it in their stomachs for digestion. Puppies also need more water per pound than adults do because they are growing. Growth comes through very active metabolism at the cellular level. These processes produce many wastes and by-products that are excreted into the blood. It requires plenty of water to carry these substances to and be flushed through the kidneys. It is okay to schedule when your puppy drinks, but on a daily basis you must allow them to consume what they want and need. Providing fresh water is important. Infectious agents and diseases such as leptospirosis, Giardia, E. coli, and Cryptosporidium can be transmitted through contaminated water sources. Providing fresh water greatly reduces the risk of disease and therefore keeps your pet happy and healthy.                     

FOOD

(Click on our "Feeding Your Puppy" page to see the food we feed our dogs and puppies)

Table scraps are a No-No. Young puppies should not be given table scraps because their digestive tracts are not fully developed and table scraps could cause diarrhea or other gastrointestinal problems. Table scraps fill them up but do not provide the nutrients their rapidly growing bodies need. Feeding them from the table teaches them the bad habit of begging; this may make house training more difficult for you. Table scraps should never account for more than 10% of your mature dog's diet if given at all. No chocolate, no bones that splinter easily, and keep your dog away from high-fat, greasy foods. Cow's milk can cause problems. By the way, when it comes to pets, we consider milk just another table scrap. Cow's milk has the sugar lactose. Dogs do not have the enzyme lactase that is necessary to digest it. That is why they often develop diarrhea or softer stools when given it. Most humans produce this digestive enzyme. Those that don't are said to suffer from milk intolerances or allergies. When you see milk or milk by-products listed as ingredients in pet foods, lactose bacteria have been used to break down the sugar into easier digestible forms. Dogs do not need fresh milk! 

Feeding schedule. The puppy's feeding schedule will be somewhat dictated by your own personal schedule. We don't want to leave food out for the puppy so that it can eat it whenever it wants. You need to be there for the feedings because you want the puppy and its entire body on a set schedule. This is best accomplished by feeding the pup what it will eat at specific times on a specific schedule. Puppies under six months of age should be fed three times daily; between six and twelve months old, two times daily; and once or twice per day after twelve months of age. Puppies maturing into adults will naturally decrease the number of feedings per day on their own. By feeding on a set schedule, the dog will then go to the bathroom on a more set schedule and make house training easier and faster. Make it a habit to give the puppy some quiet time after the meal. Don't let the children romp and play with it for the first hour to an hour and a half after eating. This can lead to some stomach upsets that can sometimes be very serious. The puppy will probably need to go to the bathroom, however. Amount to feed. The amount of food given with each meal should never be dictated by what is on the back of the dog food bag. From our experience, these people obviously want to sell a lot of food. With our own pups, we place an ample amount of food down for them and then after 10 to 15 minutes it is picked up. You'll soon learn to judge how much they need and, depending on how fast they clean it up, when they need more. Remember to have water available with or immediately following the meal. One of the biggest complaints that veterinarians hear from dog owners, especially those with animals less than 18 months of age, is that they never eat enough. The owners feel the dog isn't putting on weight or growing as fast as they think it should. They are tempted to somehow encourage their animals to eat more. Don't do it. The growth rates and appetites of young animals on a good quality food are primarily dictated by their genetics. Don't try to make your dog grow faster than it should or into something it isn't. This will only cause problems. Artificially accelerated growth leads to bone and joint disorders. Feed them the amounts that keep their body at an active healthy weight. The amount will change as the weeks go by. ALWAYS go by the feel of his body. Can you easily feel his ribs, spine and hip bones?  Treats: Treats should never account for more than 10% of your puppy's caloric intake. Your puppy's food is its sole source for the nutrition it needs so don't "fill up" your puppy on treats before meal time. Liver products are great treats because they provide nutrients your puppy is unlikely to obtain from any other food source. Hard chew treats keep your puppy entertained and improve dental health by exercising the gums and scraping the teeth. It also satisfies your teething pup's need to chew. Treats can be used during training to reward good behavior, but be careful not to overdo it. 

Rawhide bones, Knuckle Bones, or Elk Antlers? Pet owners have a lot of questions about rawhide. The first question commonly asked question is if rawhide is good forpuppies. I have seen many puppies and dogs eat so much that they vomit up the partially chewed rawhide pieces. I am a much bigger fan of beef Knuckle bone and elk or deer antler. The chewing of these very hard and yet amazingly appetizing bones has the beneficial effect of removing plaque from the animals' teeth and keeping them cleaner. This is significant because periodontal disease is a real problem in many adult dogs. By giving your puppy these kinds of bones, you may in fact never need to have your dogs teeth cleaned! Therefore, buy quality knuckle bones/ antler from a source you can trust. It will not only satisfy your pet's natural urge to chew, it will also help keep him healthy. 

Houebreaking

Blue Eyed tri by Retro

 A dog or puppy is either housebroken or not. If your dog is sneaking off to another room and having an accident, you will have to take some of his freedom away until you can solve the problem. The longer you allow this type of behavior to exist, the harder it will be to modify. Unless you can catch him, it really does not do any good to drag him off to the site of his mishap and try and punish him. Keep him in sight if he is bold enough to try something in front of you, say "No, no"  (But not too harshly or your puppy may begin to hide from you when he eliminates) and " Go potty outside" as you quickly carry or run him outdoors so he can finish eliminating in the appropriate area. Remember, it is your house. He has to earn his freedom through good behavior and this is your responsibility.

Start by establishing an elimination spot outdoors. In the morning, clip his leash to his collar and take your puppy outdoors to his spot for elimination. State commands like "go potty" or "hurry up" After he does his duty, bring your puppy inside.  Remember, About 15 to 20 minutes after a meal, take the him outside again for elimination. Take your puppy to his "spot" at each elimination time. Maintain a regular feeding, drinking, and elimination schedule.

One of the most commonly made errors in housebreaking is rushing too quickly ahead of your puppy. Too much freedom too quickly can cause some confusion. If your puppy experiences an accident or two, you will have to back up and slow down. Marking should not be confused with housebreaking problems because marking is deliberate. This behavior will arise in dogs who may be trying to vie for the role of the leader in the household; marking is a way of claiming territory. It is advised that if you should notice this behavior indoors or out, you strengthen all obedience commands immediately. This will remove all doubts as to who is in charge around the house.

 Placing food or water in his crate will allow him to fill up his bladder and bowel and he will have no choice but to relieve himself in his crate. Make sure you take your dog or puppy outdoors to eliminate on a regular schedule and especially prior to being left for prolonged periods of time.

If you have tried all the above and are still experiencing what you believe to be "Territorial Marking," 

 Even well-trained dogs sometimes have accidents. Clean the accident area with a pet odor neutralizer so your dog won't be tempted to repeat his mistake. Here are some tips to help prevent accidents:

Do not make sudden changes in his diet.

Avoid giving your dog late night snacks.

Make sure to spend enough time outdoors.