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Bringing Home Puppy

Sunday, March 19, 2017 6:41 PM

Bringing home a new puppy is exciting…much like bringing home a baby.  Puppies are like newborns…the care is very intense at first.  Thankfully, puppy phases pass much quicker than baby phases!   Moyen Poodles thrive with consistency and known boundaries.  The first major phase for every puppy is establishing the proper place to use the bathroom in the new home.  My puppies start using the bathroom inside on litter and washable potty pads.  When weather permits, they are also taken outside to use the bathroom on grass as they mature.  I have a doggy door in my puppy room that some of my puppies start using to go outside to use the bathroom.  Eight week old puppies require consistency with house training in their new homes.  They require frequent trips outside and supervision when they are loose in the house.  As long as they are transitioned properly into their new homes, my puppies have minimal accidents.  

In the beginning, I always recommend that families take Puppy outside at least once an hour when they are awake and playing.  It is best NOT to wait for the puppy to signal or start acting like they need to use the bathroom…just take them outside regularly.  This helps to establish the proper bathroom area in the new home.  Puppy bladders are very small, so they have to urinate very frequently when they are awake.  If sixty minutes is too long to prevent accidents, it may be necessary to go more often in the very beginning.  The goal is to give Puppy the chance to use the bathroom outside often enough to prevent accidents in the house.  Puppies do their fastest growing during the first six months.  The bladder strength and capacity becomes noticeably better as each week passes, and the frequency of trips outside decreases as Puppy grows.  

During times that a responsible person can not supervise Puppy, I recommend a crate or exercise pen.  Restricted freedom helps to prevent unwanted accidents and bad behaviors like improper chewing.  Exercise pens are nice in the main living area of the house.  They offer room for puppy to play, but restrict their freedom.  Crates are best when Puppy needs to hold his bladder for an extended period of time.  Crating is necessary at night and during the daytime for working families.  New puppies need a chance to use the bathroom mid day, so it is best if someone is available to visit the house over lunch for the first few months.  I do NOT recommend using puppy pads.  Litter pans and Fresh Patch are both options when indoor bathroom use is necessary.

I recommend crating puppy at night for at least the first six months.  Some puppies have a harder time than others the first night away.  I think it is best to initially have the crate in the bedroom, because this helps Puppy feel more secure.  Introducing crated naps during the day helps most puppies to cry less when thay are crated at night.  I have also found that classical music helps calm puppies that scream in the crate.  In the beginning, most puppies need to go outside to use the bathroom one or two times a night.  Puppies will normally fall asleep before the family.  I recommend crating Puppy around 8 or 9 PM, then taking Puppy outside to use the bathroom right before the last person awake goes to sleep.  When Puppy has been crated, it is best to carry him outside instead of expecting him to walk the whole way without an accident.  During night time potty breaks, it is best to give praise then straight back to the crate.  Don’t give Puppy the chance to play, eat, or drink.  Once Puppy feels secure in the crate and is able to sleep throught the night, the crate can be moved to a different room, if desired.  

Families that take the time to give Puppy their full attention in the beginning quickly fall into a rythmn that helps Puppy establish good habits in his new home.  When bad bathroom and chewing habits are avoided, life with a growing puppy is easy and enjoyable.  Puppy classes are an excellent tool for molding behavior as Puppy grows, and I am always happy to offer support and direction.  The key to initial success is found in limiting unsupervised freedom until Puppy is a trustworthy and well-behaved adult.