It's been 20 years since I had a "puppy" in the house (Cebar, my English Cocker X Cavillier King Charles Spaniel X, was a rescue at 17 months and prior to that I had two elderly black solid English Cockers, Jock as a puppy who lived to 16 years and Skye as a puppy who lived to 11 years) so the last puppy I realised was actually little Skye-Girl, all that time ago. So understandably I wanted to check out what the latest was on all things "puppy". Although many the training strategies are the same, there was also a lot that was new, like Crate Training and Puppy Play Pens.
I'd like to say a "Big Thanks" to Rachel Fusaro https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZnrQuXwvt2hINQRpjXwYNQ
who I just LOVE, she’s not a qualified dog trainer, she’s a regular Pawrent like the rest of us, but has so much experience with rescues and is exceptional in the gentle way she trains, how responsive she is with the dogs and the empathy she has for our four legged friends - she’s absolutely fabulous! She’s on a mission to SAVE ALL THE DAM RESCUE DOGS…. So check her out, her advice is great!
Here’s what I gleaned from watching her YouTube Channel preparing for today with Whisky, my little Frenchie who I will finally hold in my arms in about an hour!!!
CRATE TRAINING - (Disney Land) Practice - at least 5 times a day
Play games in the crate, puzzle food in the crate, have toys in there
Normalise the crate, have it in the normal house areas
Interact in an around the crate - don’t always walk away - desensitise the crate
TOILET TRAINING - It’s YOUR fault if they have an accident - they are learning.
1. Avoid “accidents” inside at all costs. For the first 4 - 8 weeks - when they go outside and do No1 or No2, DON’T BRING THEM BACK INSIDE - they can’t always empty their bladder.
Watch or follow them CONSTANTLY - and if they start to sniff or circle or indicate in any way they might need the toilet take them straight outside! ITS NOT PLAYTIME - NO SUPER EXCITEMENT
2. Avoid any “accidents in their crate”. Take the puppy outside every 1 - 4 hours around the clock. Wake your puppy up ever 2-3 hours even during the night for the first 4 - 8 weeks. Don’t wait until they cry - it’s too urgent by then - they will have an accident.
3. Limit their exposure and freedom in your home until they are potty trained eg Play Pen
If there is an accident inside - take the puppy straight outside and when you come back in use an enzymatic cleaner NOT AMMONIA BASED.
DAY ONE WITH YOUR NEW PUPPY:
MARKER WORD - Yes PRIASE (good lad or good boy)- reward when they are actually in the act of doing what you want. REWARD with a treat.
When they make eye contact when you call their name.
SIT - guide with food
DOWN - guide with food - keep it close to their body
FIRST NIGHT CRATE TRAINING
1. Crate in your bed room next to your bed. Sit near the crate with the door open. Wait for the dog to go near or in the crate and reward with MARKER COMMAND - YES (Vital Essentials Freeze Dried Minnow). Do this for at least an hour.
2. Feed their meals inside the crate or right next to it, with the door open. DONT SHUT THE DOOR YET!
3. Basic Commands around or in the crate - slowly and gently introducing structure, expectations and routines. Positive reinforcement - rewards can be play, praise or treats. (Sits or Downs are a great start). Don’t force them to go inside and don’t shut the door yet. Work it like a turtle and make the crate Disney Land!
4. Exercise them before bed - it can be indoors or outdoors in your yard (if they are not yet fully vaccinated). Keep them away, don’t let them nap before bedtime.
5. Let them go to the toilet before putting them into the crate (set your alarm and take them out every 2-3 hours throughout the night). It also lets them feel less confined in the crate.
6. Play pens can help if the puppy is still uncomfortable in the crate or when the crate door is closed.
FIRST 72HRS ESSENTIALS
1. Keep their world SMALL - not too much stimuli and results in more accidents if you don’t restrict their world.
2. Crate, Playpen or Baby Gates (that they can’t squeeze through) - keep within eyesight
3. Start to spend time NOT HOLDING your puppy AND sometimes putting them in their crate for short periods
4. Potty Training - frequent toilet brakes every hour or even 2 times an hour
5. Calm but intentional play - observe how they play - barking, mouthing, pawing
6. Crate normalisation - make it Disney Land
7. 3 toys only - 1 ball/rope, 1 soft, 1 hard
8. Basic Training and Obedience - very short and reinforce the “movement” of the sit and down.
9. Touch them all over - paws, ears, teeth ect so they get used to being touched
10. Hand Feed the puppy every meal (3 - 4 times a day) - only when they are doing what you want eg all 4 paws on the ground, or in their crate etc. (2-4 hours before bed time NO water or food)
11. When feeding hold the treat under your thumb on your palm and don’t realise until they are gentle and use their tongue.
12. Don’t let them nap too early - engage and play with them in the evening to try to keep them awake until you go to bed (or they will want to play when you need to sleep)
TOP 5 TOILET (POTTY) TRAINING HACKS
Dont bring them inside straight after they have gone to the toilet outside - they can’t always fully empty their bladder on the first go, so wait to see it there is any more to come. When you bring them back inside you watch them VERY closely, and if it looks likely take them straight back outside again.
Dont let them have an accident in the crate. The way to to that is to take them out every one to 3 hours, even during the night - wake them up every 2 - 3 hours. The more accidents they have inside, the more normalised it becomes for them. Don’t wait for the puppy to cry - you won’t have enough time!
Limit their exposure and freedom to your home until they are fully trained. Watch for signs such as put their nose to the ground for a second, they might walk in circles, they will change their behaviour suddenly, they may whine, they may go to the door,
Don’t play and engage with them on toilet brakes - you don’t want them to get confused about play time outside and toileting outside - otherwise they can learn to give you tilting signs just so they can go out to play. Keep it separate.
Don’t punish them for any accidents, just take them outside and then clean it up with an appropriate cleaner. If you scold or punish them they get scared and learn to go when you aren’t watching, this delays their toilet training. They don’t have control over it, it makes it more stressful.
Wish me LUCK! I'm a Frenchie Mummy on a Mission to have the best toilet trained pooch on the planet (they are notorious for being slow to toilet train and stubborn)!