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  #1  
Old 01-07-2013, 02:30 AM
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Default New Puppy Prep & Housetraining

Hi everyone!

My fiance and I are about to get a longhair chi from a reputable breeder in the next month, and I couldn't be more excited! Right now I am trying to research as much as I can to make sure our new addition has the most happy and comfortable life possible.

My fiance and I both work full time, however are on opposing schedules for the most part. I work shift work on a four week rotation, have lots of days off during the week and some evenings. My fiance has a regular 8:00 - 4:30, Mon-Fri. gig.

Even with opposing schedules, our puppy may have to stay alone for 6 hours at a time the odd day. I most definitely plan on crate training him, placing a small den-like crate within an exercise pen with a pee pad, toys and water. Ideally we would love to train him to potty outdoors only, so we still plan on taking him out as much as we can to get his used to walks/eliminating outdoors.

I guess I'm just looking for advice from everyone on if I am on the right track for house training, with the ultimate goal being pottying only outside and having free run of the house when he grows older and matures. Is this possible while working full time? Any advice and guidance, tips and tricks would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:06 PM
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You're on the right track. I playpen type enclosure with puppy pad and bed is a good choice for when you're not there, at least in the beginning stages. You should also be using a crate and getting your puppy used to being crated. A crate will become an invaluable tool to you to have your dog loving his crate, and going into it on command. It also helps with potty training....dogs tend to NOT want to eliminate where they sleep, and crate training also helps to train their little bladders to go for longer and longer periods of time.

When you're home, and you can't watch your puppy every single minute, put him in his crate. He won't necessarily like it at first, but do it anyway, pairing the crating with high-value treats so he begins to associate the crate with all things good and yummy. Give a command every time you crate him too...I use "In your crate!" I can tell my dogs "In your crate!" when they're in the kitchen, and they'll run through the entire house to get to their crates

What you're trying to accomplish by watching your dog like a hawk is to NEVER let him have an accident on the floor. If he does, it's your error, not his. He has no inherent inhibition about where he pees (except hopefully for his bed/crate/den area) it has to be trained into him. If you can't watch him vigilantly, put him in his crate. Or leash/tether him to you so he can never get far enough away from you to find a nice quiet private spot in which to pee or poop. Take him outside immediately after he eats, drinks or plays, as soon as you let him out of his crate, or every hour when you're home. Take him to the same spot in the garden so he can smell where he went before which sometimes helps stimulate him to go potty again. Give him a potty command...go potty, or do your business or whatever works for you, which he will also hopefully begin to associate with going to the bathroom and will begin to go on command.

Treat him lavishly and ridiculously immediately after ... not during .... his potty. Make him think he's the most exceptional and smartest dog in the world for just having gone pee or poop. Positive reinforcement works wonders in training.

When it looks like he can actually go several hours without peeing or pooping, stop using his playpen enclosure to keep him in when you're not there, and instead switch to his crate. The sooner he gets the idea that outside is the ONLY place he goes potty the better. Giving him a place inside to eliminate, while necessary initially, is just going to confuse him in the long run. So aim for it to be as temporary as you can possibly make it.

And welcome to the forum!
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:21 PM
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How exciting!

Ronni said it all! I never used a playpen because we are able to take them to work with us. But, they are also a safe place for them. They tend to put "everything" in their mouth!!

I am a huge believer in crate training. Angel was not crated until we got him. He took to his crate almost immediately. He did not come out of it unless he was being played with or to go potty. When potty training him, I acted like a "weirdo" - clapping my hands, saying yeah! jumping up and down and just giving him an overload of positive attention. I stayed from treating him for going potty in the right place because I reserved those treats for learning commands. If not careful, chis can be overfed and become obese. Treats should be calculated as part of their daily intake of food.

You came to the right place for advice. Lots of knowledgeable people on here!
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:45 PM
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Already such great advice, thank you!

Sounds like I am on the right track, however these replies bring up some questions:

Should i reserve the exercise pen exclusively for when he will be alone for long periods of time, and have him crated without otherwise?

Any success stories out there of similar situations and raising trustworthy, balanced chis?
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:16 PM
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I am a firm playpen advocate. Mine have their crate inside the pen. Door to the crate is open or off. They can come and go. Door to pen is only closed when I want them inside (visitors, workmen etc) and at night. One chi uses the top of the crate to sleep on! It's padded very well with soft pad! The puppy sleeps inside her crate so far. Now that the puppy is housetrained she has full run of the house. She goes into her pen and goes into her crate to sleep when the sun is out! Otherwise she 'follows' the sun! I LOVE my playpens.
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:17 PM
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I would not shut the door to the crate for 6 hours. Too long in my book. JMO
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:01 PM
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Honey is alone for 3 hours in the morning and 4 hours in the afternoon while i work. I always leave the radio on and make sure the house is warm enough etc.
When she was a puppy, she was in a playpen for this time, and was very good. She was crated when i was at home but couldnt keep watch of her (shower, cooking etc). She hated it, but got used to it, as they do! She only had bully sticks in there at first, so she associated it with nommies in the end! Even today, she will sneak off with a bully to her crate!
At about 6 months, i started leaving her with the run of the (puppy proofed) kitchen whilst i was at work, with her crate in there with door off, and a pee pad, food etc.
We transitioned to outside only a couple of months ago when i noticed that she wasnt really using the pee pad in the day. So far, she does great, and has the run of the hall and kitchen when im not there now. She has free run of the house when i am there, and is crated at night.
We go for 4 walks a day, and she knows to eliminate on her walks or when i let her out in the garden.
When she got spayed last week, she used pee pads for a couple of days as we couldnt go on walks, and the garden was so muddy i didnt want to let her out in it, but she has now got right back into her outside only routine.
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:24 PM
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Yep, Great advice!

Once your pup hits around 4-5 months old she should have no problem holding it for the 6 hours you will be away from home in her crate. I would use the potty pads for only as long as absolutely necessary and then get rid of them quickly. When she is being left with no potty pads I would put her in her crate, not the playpen, and close her in so she isn't tempted to potty while you are gone. As she gets better, over the course of months, you can start to give her small amounts of freedom in the house while you are gone to the grocery store or somewhere else short and work up from there.

I don't think 6 hours in a crate is too long at all, my girl spends up to 8 or 9 hours in her crate on a daily basis and is fine with it (of course she is an adult).
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