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Thread: Two questions

  1. #1
    matiekorgan's Avatar
    matiekorgan is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultTwo questions

    Hi Lab parents!!

    I'm a new owner, so please be patient with me . I just have a couple of questions re: Harper, our 8 week old choc Lab. Looking for advice, please!!

    1) I'd like some more information on the principle of crate training (direct me to a site or provide some info if possible). The thing that I'm having trouble getting my head around is how Harper will go from being taken outside once an hour or so (big praise, food reward for doing wees/poos) to not 'going' inside. What I'm thinking is that he's just learning not to go when confined to his crate ... what about the rest of the house?

    2) He seems to scratch a fair bit. He has no fleas, and no irritated-looking skin by the looks of it in terms of redness or sores - but he does have some flaking. Is this more likely a diet issue, or some kind of allergy? He's currently eating Pro Plan Large Puppy, but I'm open to suggestions and I'm actually happy to put him on a natural diet, but we've only had him since Sunday so I didn't want to scare him too soon.

    Actually, let's add a third question, while I'm on a roll

    3) "Doggy smell" ... Is there something I can do about it? I've been hesitant to bath him since he's come home, since I've been wanting him to retain that smell of the rest of his litter, just for some comfort, but we're finding that he's actually really, really stinky. Is it a matter of washing him, or is it just going to be a case of keeping the window open and buying some room deodorizer?

    Thanks, I know I'll get some great advice.
    Katie & Harper
    Soccorullus Corey Boy, our "Harper" 31.08.09


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  3. #2
    Roscoe's Mom is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by matiekorgan View Post
    Hi Lab parents!!

    I'm a new owner, so please be patient with me . I just have a couple of questions re: Harper, our 8 week old choc Lab. Looking for advice, please!!

    1) I'd like some more information on the principle of crate training (direct me to a site or provide some info if possible). The thing that I'm having trouble getting my head around is how Harper will go from being taken outside once an hour or so (big praise, food reward for doing wees/poos) to not 'going' inside. What I'm thinking is that he's just learning not to go when confined to his crate ... what about the rest of the house?
    If he goes in the house, you don't praise, he gets no reward... he eventually learns that if he wants the cheers, he goes outside. Crating helps to give them that "den" feel and to help spare your carpets. I know there are other reasons too... but just being able to have some place to feed her and put her to bed are reasons for me to crate Roscoe. I leave it open during the day, she goes in and chews toys or whatnot... it works. I'll look for some sites for you, there are so many.


    I'm not sure about your other questions. lol Roscoe's just a few days younger than your pup.

  4. #3
    BigBrownDog is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by matiekorgan View Post
    Hi Lab parents!!

    I'm a new owner, so please be patient with me . I just have a couple of questions re: Harper, our 8 week old choc Lab. Looking for advice, please!!

    1) I'd like some more information on the principle of crate training (direct me to a site or provide some info if possible). The thing that I'm having trouble getting my head around is how Harper will go from being taken outside once an hour or so (big praise, food reward for doing wees/poos) to not 'going' inside. What I'm thinking is that he's just learning not to go when confined to his crate ... what about the rest of the house?

    2) He seems to scratch a fair bit. He has no fleas, and no irritated-looking skin by the looks of it in terms of redness or sores - but he does have some flaking. Is this more likely a diet issue, or some kind of allergy? He's currently eating Pro Plan Large Puppy, but I'm open to suggestions and I'm actually happy to put him on a natural diet, but we've only had him since Sunday so I didn't want to scare him too soon.

    Actually, let's add a third question, while I'm on a roll

    3) "Doggy smell" ... Is there something I can do about it? I've been hesitant to bath him since he's come home, since I've been wanting him to retain that smell of the rest of his litter, just for some comfort, but we're finding that he's actually really, really stinky. Is it a matter of washing him, or is it just going to be a case of keeping the window open and buying some room deodorizer?

    Thanks, I know I'll get some great advice.
    Hi! Congratulations and welcome!

    I'll give your questions a shot.

    1. The theory behind crate training lies in the concept that a puppy will not mess it's own space. That is why it is important that the crate be big enough for them to stand, turn around and lie down - and no bigger. If you have a large roomy crate - he will go to a corner and pee/poop. When you get a crate, get one you can divide - smaller as a puppy and then full size when he grows.

    If you frequently take him out, praise for eliminating outdoors, catch him in the act when he has accidents inside and scoop him up and bring him outside
    he will eventually extend his notion of "his space" to the entire house. Expect there to be many missteps in the process - consistency on your part (a schedule for potty outings and vigilence in watching him when he is on the loose in the house) will help shorten the process. Don't make the mistake of using pee-pee pads in the house. It is a very mixed message to tell a puppy it if OK to pee in the house when you really don't want them to do so.


    2. If he is stinky I'd give him a bath. He may have gotten wet with his own urine or a sibs in the litter (very probably) and this could also have an irritating effect on his skin. Use a puppy shampoo - not human or baby shampoo. My 10 month old puppy had a couple of baths as a small puppy due to accidents - but has not had one since. In general with my older puppy, I hose him off if he seems dirty. There is also a Listerine solution you can make (very dilute) and spray him with when he is older and gets stinky. I don't think you need to worry about retaining the smell of the litter on his body for comfort. (I just realized that is #3's answer)

    3. You should leave him on the food his breeder has him on for at least a few months. It is a challenge to a young puppy's system to switch food. Of course what you feed is your choice. I left my puppy on Pro Plan LBP until he was 6 months old then switched him to the food my older Lab eats. (very slowly over a couple of weeks)

    Good luck!
    Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.

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    Hi, my puppy Jersey is 8 weeks old, too. Her birthday is Sept 1. When's Harper's? They can be puppy cousins!

    1. Google "crate training" or go to these links:
    How to housebreak a puppy
    How & why to crate train

    I feel like I'm the one who is trained! I take Jersey out after waking, playing, or eating. She only gets run around time when I think she's "empty", but even then I find her sniffing around like she's looking for her keys. It's a more focused & serious sniff than the opportunistic sniffing the floor for dropped crumbs. If she has no accidents, I know I'm taking her out enough, I don't think she's housebroken, or even can be until she's bigger.

    I'm doing clicker training. When she eliminates outside, I click, give a big "good girl," pat on the head, and reward with a treat. She can't miss the fact I'm happy! I also use the clicker for sit, down, roll over, fetch, drop it, & come. Here's clicker training and hand signals Accidents are ignored, and cleaned with steam cleaner.

    Jersey also scratches. I think when I'm training her, she scratches her head when she's confused. A pat on the head, and "good girl" stops it.

    With a yellow lab, you can see when she needs a bath. I've given her little bath, just her legs, once. Used a pea size drop of dish soap. Some website or other recommended it.

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    Saffy had real bad itchy spots when I first got her but after we ran out of Beggin strips and the cheap treats that her previous owner left me her skin cleared up a lot. So it might be a reaction to your pups treats. Try a week on something home made or organic to see if you notice a difference.
    Lauren the one who buys Saffy's Kibble

  8. #6
    BigBrownDog is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluejeans View Post
    With a yellow lab, you can see when she needs a bath. I've given her little bath, just her legs, once. Used a pea size drop of dish soap. Some website or other recommended it.
    I'd never use dish soap on my puppy. I dries my hands right out - cannot be good for a puppy with flaky skin.

    Dog shampoo is formulated with the specific PH requirement for a dog's skin. Make the small investment in a bottle of dog shampoo.

    And - in 3 years I have only bathed my older Lab when he has encountered a skunk. It is actually harmful to a Lab's coat to bathe him. Unlike other breeds they need to retain the natural oils they produce.

    My Shepherd stunk if she did not get a bath at least once every 6 months. My 3 YO Lab has not had a bath since last winter (skunk) and smells fresh. My puppy has not had a bath since he was 10 weeks old. Smells fine.
    Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.

  9. #7
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    matiekorgan is offline Senior Member
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    Hi Everyone,

    Thanks so much for all your advice.

    So, question 3 has been answered. We got some natural puppy shampoo (mostly coconut and some essential oils, pH 7.0, and very mild - doesn't even have a smell, really) and soaped up his legs and his "stinky bits", and just rinsed off the rest of him with the soapy water and then gave him a really, really good rinse with plain water - and he's come up good as new ... or rather, better than new!! Was worth the investment, Sharon, for sure.

    Bluejeans, thanks so much for the links. Harper is August 30! Close!

    And as for the science behind toilet training ... I got to see it in action today! My husband had Harper out the back on a lead, he had done wees and they were practicing walking nicely on a lead on the path. Harper started tugging at his lead a little, and my husband thought he was just being a wally, but as soon as they got to the grass he dropped his butt and did a #2! Now I can see that he's developing a strong preference to going on the grass. It's amazing to watch, really!

    Again, thanks so much for all your advice.

    Lauren, I LOVe your idea about natural treats. Great idea. I've been using some processed looking ones as well as some liver strips. I got the processed ones as a gift pack thing with a magazine I bought, so I was just "using them up", so to speak. I definitely won't be buying them, though. They even feel oily to touch, and I've read that lots of companies spray fat on dog foods to make them more appetizing.
    Katie & Harper
    Soccorullus Corey Boy, our "Harper" 31.08.09


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    another idea, when Milly was as little as Harper we never gave her 'treats' we just worked out her daily allowance of kibble and took a few of those and used them as treats. As a small puppy they can get upset tummies pretty easy so by using her food I knew what was in it plus I didn't have to worry about over feeding her, as I just took it from her allocation for the next meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner which ever was coming up) and then when that meal time arrived I just gave her the remainder. Was loads easier plus I wasn't wasting money on un-necessary treats.

    Looking forward to more pics of Harper *hint hint* and how awesome is this weather? When he turns 12 weeks old it'll be perfect weather for a Bombo Beach afternoon!!
    Sarah & Milly - Sydney Australia






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    Sarah, we were out today and Harper was at home and I was like "I cannot WAIT to bring him with us!"

    That's a great idea about the kibble. I already use it to stuff his Kongs with, and I've been giving treats for toilet training so that I made a HUGE deal out of it ... maybe we'll start phasing that out, too.

    Funny this came up, actually, he had a bit of a different poo (looser than usual) and we realised that he had a LOT of the processed treats today with Ben doing leash training. Whoops. We know now not to do that again.

    He's snoring away quite happily, though!
    Katie & Harper
    Soccorullus Corey Boy, our "Harper" 31.08.09


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