Southern Charm Mini Aussies/Mini American Shepherds of Georgia
Karla & Mike Benjamin
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Using an Exercise Pen for Puppy Potty Training
A Puppy Exercise Pen is a great way to contain your puppy while allowing him to exercise. Dog exercise pens for containing your pet indoors or out are available in a variety of heights and finishes. Exercise pens consist of interlocking panels allowing for easy adjustment of size and configuration and providing portability. It is possible to purchase two and put them together to make an even larger pen. If a puppy has to be left alone for more than 3 to 4 hours then the exercise pen is a better option than leaving the puppy in a closed crate. If the puppy is too young, we do not want to leave the puppy in the crate for a longer period than they can hold their bladder. In the exercise pen you can put the puppy’s crate or a bed, his toys and water if you need to leave for an extended period of time. This is where you will set up the potty, the tote big enough for the puppy to turn around in. You may use pellets for a pellet stove but we find that “horse bedding”, found at Tractor Supply works better than anything! Fill the tote almost half way full with the bedding or pellets. You can change this after the material turns to sawdust. Cleaning up poop is very easy and you may use a scoop or paper towel.
Training a Puppy to Potty in a Specific Area Using a 15-foot Tether.
If you have a designated area that you want your puppy to eliminate in you can use a 15′ tether to keep your puppy in that area while he is supposed to do his business. Take your puppy out to the designated potty area on a leash then attach him to the 15′ tether. Let the puppy sniff around and explore the area. It is helpful to scent the area with the puppy’s urine or feces. You can bring out a soiled paper towel or one of his droppings to help him get the idea that this is where he should go. If you form this habit early you will have trained your puppy to go in a specific spot and he will more than likely continue to go in this spot when he matures even without the tether.
While at the potty area start giving your dog a command such as “Go Potty”, “Do your Business”, or whatever prompt/command you want to use. This will come in handy later when you need to get your dog to go on command. When the puppy is doing his business repeat the command and then give him a treat and lots of praise. You should give your puppy at least 15 minutes to complete his business. If the puppy does not go then return him to his x-pen with the door closed and come back in about 10 to 15 minutes. Then try again. Repeat this process until the puppy goes. Followed by some type of reward, food and lots of praise.
Puppy Potty Training Schedule
A schedule includes times for feeding, potty, play/exercise, rest, and bed time. Start your puppy on a potty-training schedule from day one as soon as your puppy arrives home. When the puppy arrives at home take him to his designated potty area immediately. Let him sniff around for a while and usually the puppy will do its first elimination here. Praise the puppy when he does his business for the first time. From now on this will be the spot you always take the puppy for his potty. If you do this early on and consistently stick to this area then the puppy will most likely choose this spot over your patio or rose bushes.
An eight-week-old puppy is going to have to urinate every 1 to 2 hours so you are going to have to be diligent. As the puppy gets older you can start stretching this schedule out to 2 to 3 hours, 4 hours and then to 8 hours or more. A puppy that is less than 12 weeks old may not be able to go through a full night without a break but most puppies by the age of 3 or 4 months can sleep for eight hours without needing a potty break. This is where using the x-pen instead of a crate comes in handy!
Puppies will generally have 3 to 4 bowel movements per day depending on their feeding schedule. In order to control the puppy’s schedule, it is best to feed the puppy 2 or 3 times a day at fixed times. Free feeding does not allow you to control when the puppy eats therefore when he poops or pees. You should consult with your veterinarian and/or breeder on how much and when to feed your puppy.