As I write this, we are both sitting in bed, waiting for our newest addition to quiet down and fall asleep... Oh the joys of sleep training a twelve week-old puppy. You'd think we'd have the hang of it the second time around but these girls could not be more different. Boo was a breeze when it came to sleep training, potty training, you name it, she was an A+ student. Koda, on the other hand, has pushed buttons I never thought I had. I think that's why God made puppies so cute. So that you'll look at them and not rage with anger when they pee on the floor (while making perfect eye contact... why is that?). I have to keep reminding myself that these sleepless nights and wet floors aren't for nothing. That girl, she melts your heart with one look of those charcoal grey eyes.
At twelve weeks old, she has already learned to sit and she's become a master at walking on a leash. She's sleeps for about 4 hour stretches every night (I guess she's preparing us for parenthood someday!). We knew from the moment we met her that she was food motivated, and boy oh boy can this girl eat! From that moment on, treat training was definitely in the cards.
I wanted to share with you how we crate trained Koda as well as some tips and tricks for potty training.
When crate training, it’s important as an owner to introduce the crate in a positive way. The last thing you need is a puppy who doesn’t enjoy being crated, and they will let you know if they don’t! I recommend slowly introducing the crate to them. Make it comfortable with bedding or blankets that they recognize, toys they like to play with, and always give lots of little treats when they go in and out of the crate. The goal is for the pup to realize that this crate is their den, a place they will want to sleep in. We crated Boo every night when she was a puppy until she grew out of her crate at about six months old. We knew we wanted to do the same way of training with Koda. Koda is extremely food motivated, as most puppies are, so we wanted her to associate something that she enjoys (eating) with her crate. We put her food bowl in her crate and feed her at meal times. When she is finished eating, we let her outside to go relieve herself. It’s important to make those little things a routine so that she recognizes them and knows when it is time to go potty OUTSIDE.
If you’re a new owner and you’re worried about your puppy relieving themselves in their crate, I wouldn’t worry too much about that. It’s a dog’s nature to separate their “den” from where they go to the bathroom. There can be a few reasons for an accident in their crate. Too much time spent without being able to go outside, fear, unfamiliar with their crate/den.
When potty training, the times to let your pup out to relieve themselves is:
-First Thing in the Morning
-After Playtime and Naps
-Leaving Home and Last Call Before Bed
Make sure to give praises for potty. Go outside in the yard with your pup and give them the voice command to “go potty” or “do your business”, then wait for results. Be sure to give high praise for results. I once that when potty training, you should treat your puppy’s potty or poop like it’s the best thing they’ve ever done. Give praise, belly rubs and treats. Remember if there are ever accidents indoors, don’t punish your puppy. Negative reinforcement does not work and can easily break a bond between canine and master. If you catch the accident, pick up your pup and take them outside. Use words like “potty” and “outside” together so that they associate doing that deed with being outside. If you notice an accident but didn’t see the act, simply clean it up and ignore your pup. At this point, they can no longer associate that deed with anything. For us, we praise good behavior and redirect bad behavior.
Help your pup by giving positive reinforcement, lots of toys to chew on, good quality food, and lots of exercise! A tired pup is a happy pup!
To be clear, we are NOT experts in this area. This is what we have learned from our experiences raising our pets paired with knowledge we have gained from experienced dog owners. These methods may or may not work for you, your lifestyle, or your pet, but I encourage you to give it a try! We still have much to learn!
For more information about potty training and crate training, I recommend checking out what the American Kennel Club!
-The Happy Egg