Feng Shui with Fido™Puppy series: Housebreaking Your Puppy

The CRATE: 

Using the puppy crate properly has a few tips that I want to share in order to create the best results. Feng Shui with Fido™ is my method of puppy training and philosophy that I’ve shared with my private clients for years. In order to get great results with housebreaking new 8 week-old puppy, it’s great to remember that crating your puppy is age related.

Here are 5 steps to help explain the crating process.

1. The crate serves as a den. The den concept is meant to teach your puppy to learn to self soothe, learn to hold the urge to go to the bathroom and learn the route outside. This is a process and happens over time. Some people try to crate their puppy’s early and get up at 2 am and 5 am to take their pups outside, this does not housebreak your pup faster.

2. If your puppy has pee’d in the crate, your doing something wrong and shutting the crate door too early in your pup’s development.

3.  The crating process should begin within a corralled space. This allows your puppy initially to be able to go in and out of the crate and den naturally.

4.  Your first step is to provide a space within your house that will serve as a playpen area. The crate will help your puppy den and feel safe. This is the first step in teaching separation from you and preventing separation anxiety from happening in the future. 

5. When your puppy is approximately 14 to 16 weeks old he/she will be able to hold his urge to go to the bathroom all night long. By that time shutting the crate door will be no big deal. Until then you should initiate outside many times throughout the day/evening and provide wee-pads within the corralled space only. Free time with you to play is awesome too.

6. The whole point of a crate is to provide a covering for your puppy. Plastic crates do that. If you have a wire crate put a towel on the top in order to create a cozy space.

A Straight Up Answer About Having An 8 Week-Old Puppy

Paws For A Minute® / ASK INGER-Q&A
Question:
I recently purchased, Montauk, see attached. She is a beautiful 8 week-old
“miniature” english Bulldog. 
I have set her up with a crate and a small pen area in my kitchen – about 8ftx3ft in total. I had read a lot about crate training so had been taking her outside frequently over the first few days to go potty. I think she was beginning to understand and respond.
I live in New York City and went to the vet for the first time yesterday. He basically explained to me that as she has not had any vaccinations yet that she must stay inside at all times until the shots are completed when she is about 17 weeks-old. Do you agree with this? I definitely don’t want to put her in danger but feel that keeping her confined in this space for the next 8-weeks is hardly a good life?
In addition, if I am to keep her in the crated / fenced area. What should her schedule look like? Do I only take her out when I play with her (maybe twice) per day? For the rest of the time she is in the fenced area? And I should go about my normal day.
Really appreciate your help. No one seems to give straight answers.
                                                                                                - Richard
ANSWER:
Hey, thanks for the great questions. She’s gorgeous and congrats on the new puppy!
 Firstly, yes I do agree with your vet. The problem is that many pet professionals neglect to tell owner’s “why” they should so a certain protocol, hence the confusion. The reason (very young) pup’s should not go outdoors, until fully inoculated, is because they should receive a series of shots, which are complete at around 17-weeks. This is to prevent many viruses but an important one to note is called parvo, a very contagious illness that pup’s can pick up from there pads. The incubation of this type of virus is roughly 15 days and owners wouldn’t know it until their puppy gets sick. Vomiting and diarrhea are the symptoms and rapid dehydration can be the killer, literally. So that’s the main reason, however, remember your pup’s been on the planet only 8 weeks, what’s the hurry? Oh I know, housebreaking.
Yes, well, that’s the next topic of conversation, leaning to go poop outdoors!
Paws For A Minute® / new puppy 8 weeks-old
 Even if your puppy appears to be getting the concept of going to the bathroom outside, biologically she can’t hold it 8 hours (at 8-weeks of age) that happens in stages. So you could neurotically feel compelled to take our puppy outside 45 times a day, because pup’s that age poop a lot, but the truth is that she needs to grow in order to learn to hold the urge to go. Yes, training is apart of that, but your not accelerating the training process at this young age by thinking she understands. Your main mission right now is to teach your new puppy to self-soothe and begin to understand the process of where to go potty.Teaching when to go potty comes later
Learning to self-soothe means teaching your pup to chill by herself (within a safe space) such as a gated area. At 8-weeks a puppy’s day consists of  playing , eating, peeing, pooping, learn how to (go in and out) of the crate, chewing, and get to know you! Think infant. Sleeping in the gated area all night long is a big deal. Music or a sound machine will help. Keep papers or wee-wee pads in one end of the gated area. When you take her out of the gated space, take her out on a leash, and guide her to spot (on a patio or yard) for potty on a wee-wee pad. Dogs will learn by routine, so it’s up to you to set one. Don’t expect for them to just “get it,” cats do that, not dogs. Remember, even if a puppy stumbles out a patio door (that’s kept open) to go potty, doesn’t mean she’s even close to being housebroken. That happens from a combo of training and age! After she goes potty then it can be playtime with you, but for 20 minutes or so at a time! Remember, this can be many, many times a day! You can also hang inside the gated space with her.
You mentioned this type of routine is hardly the good life? Don’t think of it that way, she’s a baby. A ball rolling at that young age is a good time. Have fun and get to know each other. Just like a human baby, puppies at that stage; eat, play, pee, poop, sleep. Now, having said that, when your puppy becomes 12 or 14 weeks-old, the party begins. All papers in the gated space come up, the crate door shuts for periods of time, triggers of music get introduced, commands get implemented, teething starts and the housebreaking concept comes alive.  Stay tuned for stage two of the puppy process which is only a few weeks away. I hope this helped and helps others. Please keep us posted on your progress!

What’s The Deal With Crating Your Dog? Is it Cruel?

Paws For A Minute® dog training tip! Crating your dog is not a mean thing to do. However, using a the crate as a punishment,  time out or for too long a period of time is wrong. Dogs are den animals. They love to go into small spaces. You must take the time to teach your dog to learn to be crated, slowly. Leave the crate door open and allow your dog to naturally go in and out on his own for a few days. Best way to achieve a great result is to baby gate a room or area and put the crate within that space. Do a gating exercise while your home for 20 minutes a few times a day. Use a leash to guide your dog in and take him out of the crate, when ready to shut the door. This helps guide your dog instead of coax.

Dog owner tip: Properly crating your dog and doing so, slowly in stages, can teach your pup to self soothe. In time, your dog will LOVE to have bone chewing time with music while crated. It’s meant to help teach your dog a schedule! Crating can be used as a great housebreaking tool and help cure separation anxiety. It can create trust by teaching your dog how to be calm indoors. Yes, any age dog can learn to be happy while crated.

It’s up to you to teach your dog slowly with patience. Always begin small periods of crating, after a walk and while you are home, at first.