New puppies bring a lot of joy to your life, but they also come with quite a bit of responsibility. One of the key things you need to work with your puppy on immediately is crate training. At Archview Labradoodles, we introduce all of our puppies to the concept of crate training at an early age, but it is important that each family continues this process when the puppies go to their new homes.
A Gentle Introduction
We begin familiarizing our puppies with the idea of crate training at three weeks of age by adding the crate to their play area with the gate open. It isn’t uncommon for us to find all of the puppies piled up in the open crate enjoying a snooze with one another! This allows the puppies to grow comfortable with the crate on their own terms.
At five weeks of age, we begin allowing our puppies to enjoy a nap in the crate with a buddy for a few hours a day. When the puppies have reached six weeks, they will begin sleeping in the crate with their buddy from 10:00 PM to 5:00 AM, with one bathroom break in the middle of the night. By seven weeks of age, each of our puppies is sleeping individually in their own crate.
Picking up your puppy is an exciting time! It is important to remember, however, that is is a big life-change for your new addition. This can result in your puppy being nervous in their new environments. It is normal for your puppy to whine while in his/her crate for a few nights as they adjust to their new surroundings.
All of our puppies go to their new homes with a blanket covered in their mother’s scent to help comfort them acclimate to their new home. If your puppy is hesitant to enter his/her crate at first, we encourage the use of treats to help them learn the crate is a rewarding and nice place to be.
Crate Training for Proper Potty Habits
Prepare yourself for accidents! While our puppies have grown accustomed to the idea of crate-training, they are by no means fully potty-trained. Stay alert at all times when you are around your puppies. It is easy to be physically near your puppy, but mentally in another space. That is when accidents are most likely to happen. Your puppy will be used to one potty break in the middle of the night, but their internal schedule might change during the adjustment period. Always give your puppy the opportunity to use the restroom if they cry in the middle of the night.
Anytime you are unable to keep a watchful eye on your new addition during the daytime, he or she should be in their crate. This helps them acclimate to their new “safe space” and will prevent them from wandering off to have accidents in your home. When you let your puppy out of his or her crate, take them outside immediately so they can relieve themselves in the proper place. And of course, always reward them with lots of love and praise!
When to Go Outside
As new puppy owners, you will grow to learn your puppy’s bathroom habits over time. Here are a list of times you will want to take your puppy out to go potty:
- Your puppy just woke up from a nap.
- They were just released from their crate OR you just greeted them at the doorway.
- Immediately following a meal or a drink of water.
- Your puppy was occupied with a toy or a snack, but they randomly got up and began to wander around.
- He/she begins to sniff the floor while exploring the room.
- They make their way to an area where they have had accidents in the house before.
- Your puppy starts looking towards the door where you normally let them out to go potty.
- They begin to pace or whine.
- They have been playing especially hard with another dog or human.
Preventing mistakes is the key to proper potty training. If your puppy does have an accident in the house, don’t fret. Clean up the mess thoroughly and contemplate WHY the accident happened. If your puppy has prolonged accidents, try confining him/her to a small puppy-proof area (other than a crate). It is VERY important that you ensure you are letting them out to potty frequently throughout the day.
Remember, your new puppy is just a baby and has a lot of learning to do! If you foster a loving, caring environment for them to grow in, they are bound to be successful. And as always, we are here for you as a resource throughout your new addition’s life so feel free to reach out to us with any of your potty-training blues. We have tons of books we can refer you to that will help you and your puppy during this adjustment period.