My new son aka 8 year old lab (name yet tbd) will be arriving home in some 4-6 weeks. Looking very much forward to the big day, the first weeks and the many years to come but my head is full of questions about how to ensure the best possible life for him and me together. One big theme is naturally house training and both related and unrelated to that, if I should crate him. I hope to get some perspectives on both themes.
House training - multiple locations
I have read about house training and have it fairly clear. However, most articles and advice seems to assume that you can take the puppy to the designated outdoor location, ie. that you are with or near the puppy all day (mostly backyard but I guess it could be any outdoor location that is not too far away from the house). In my situation, apart from the first 1-2 weeks, the puppy will be alone a couple of hours per day which is longer than his bladder can hold. Therefore, he will have to relief himself inside the house. My question is: Is it best to educate him to relief himself on a specific spot inside the house (e.g. on newspapers in a specific location of the house) when he is alone s well as outside when there are people home or is it best to educate him to relief himself outside and then just accept he relieves himself anywhere in his confined area when he cannot get outside? In case of the former, what is the approach to teach him 2 locations?
Anyone that does not crate?
It is quite some years ago since I was a dog owner and back then, crating did not really exist. Therefore, I do believe it is possible to train and ensure the well-being of a dog without crating but I have also read about successful crating. I do lean towards not crating but wanted to hear from people who have experience with not crating their dog, e.g. why did you not crate? do you regret you did not crate? worst and best experience with not crating?
An 8 YEAR old can hold their bladders just fine. Did you mean 8 WEEKS? Even if 8 wks, they should be able to deal w/ a couple hrs just fine.
I highly recommend crate training too, btw.
WindyCanyon Girls, August 2014
8 weeks, sorry for the mistake.
So based on what you are saying, just one potty training spot and that is outdoors?
i wouldn't allow them to relieve themselves indoors at all. you are asking for trouble.
hopefully, the crate is small enough and he can hold it for that amount of time. if not, clean the crate with natures miracle and say nothing to the dog about it.
crate train. why are you not wanting to crate train?
crate training more than just house training and more than just sticking a dog in a evil cage. It has to be trained to be their home, their safe place, their den. A well crate trained dog will learn to LOVE LOVE LOVE their crate and seek it out. Crate training is great for travelling (you can crate them for safety), great in case your dog ever needs surgery requiring forced rest for recovery and KEEPS THEM SAFE beyond "house training" and past "chewing everything in sight" phase.
I am not saying everyone HAS to crate train, just mentioning some of the valuable reasons to do it.
And I agree with the others, don't let the puppy pee in the house, it just means you have to train TWICE, the first time to pee in the indoor place, and then AGAIN to potty only outdoors. You are creating twice the work.
A puppy ABSOLUTLEY should be able to hold it for a few hours. they don't pee non stop!! LOL
Lastly - please start practicing leaving the puppy alone from the first few days. If you are home NON STOP for two weeks then suddenly leave you may crate an anxiety/attachment issue. I am not suggesting you leave the puppy alone the day you bring him home, but absolutely MAKE A POINT of going for a quick errand (even just 20-30mins) starting day 2-3 sot he puppy LEANRS to be alone. It is something they learn.
Thanks a lot for your thoughts. Makes a lot of sense.
Regarding the crating, I guess its because I am not familiar with the concept but familiar with not crating, hence its a barrier. However, seems like there are many benefits to it and little downside if any if used correctly so will consider it.
crate training also doesn't mean you HAVE to crate all the time. but it's a good thing to train and if the dog becomes destructive at east you have a safe route. Dogs chew walls, furniture, floors (not all but some) so knowing the dog is crate trained means a safe, healthy option for the puppy to keep them safe.
Let me give an example of why crate training is great. Today I had to travel ~170 mile (one way) for a breeding. My puppy hasn't been out in my big kennel enough to say okay.. my other girl was in season... just behind the one I was taking to be bred. Well, suffice to say, it's sure nice to take dogs in the vehilcle who are crate trained. Oh.. just the other day, I had a couple in my rig / crates too. Had a bigwig "employer" riding w/ me to a lunch mtg prior to a vet appt for the one. His first coment was "really, you have dogs in here? They are SO quiet". That is why you crate train, for that confidence... JMO.
WindyCanyon Girls, August 2014
I didn't crate train in the usual sense. Had a crate but kept it in a big pen or my gated kitchen and the crate door was open. Then, for those times I had to be away longer than puppy's holding ability (which is nil when they are only 8 weeks old) if puppy had to eliminate she could exit the crate and thus keep her sleeping place clean. My puppies chose a piece of floor away from the crate door to bathroom, the odd time they had to.
Crates don't potty train puppies. That's YOUR job. YOU have to get puppy out in time to toilet. If you miss and puppy is stuck in the crate then she is forced to lie in her own pee or poop. You will miss; a meeting will take longer than you expected, there will be traffic, you will sleep soundly one night and not hear the rustling that signals an urgent and imminent need to potty.
I would not deliberately train a spot in the house. Last puppy came to us Dec. 8 of a very snowy, cold winter. Of course he would be the one who needed out twice a night at first. We simply kept boots, mitts, coat by the door and were careful not to get locked out in -30C at 4 a.m. In a way the cold helped, puppy didn't seem to want to be out there any longer than necessary any more than we did.
Puppies were fine when they did have to be crated. A car ride, a visit to relatives, the odd time at home, say when cooking a holiday dinner and puppy underfoot was dangerous. After all, we did still have the crate, just didn't use it the way you often read about. One huge caveat: Puppy can ruin your kitchen and endanger their little selves by chewing and eating the wrong thing. Ours didn't but it happens enough the pen might be a better bet. For us a sturdy, home made pen, not the flimsy little fence things you can buy.
If I had to use a crate (kitchen not safe or no room for a big pen) then I would use the biggest crate I could possibly fit and not put dividers in it.
Good luck with whichever way you decide to go. You must be so excited with a puppy coming.
I think what you did is what I will be doing. I live in chile and its hard to find gold crates here so it's almost per default impossible to crate him. Probably keep the crate I bring him home in as an optional crate for him to go to if he wants and then use it for occasional needs