Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Housebreaking Starts

This puppy has left the box to pee on the papers and is now climbing back into the box.

So she can snuggle with her littermates and go back to sleep on a clean bed.

Linda has started the process of potty training the puppies. It is very important to start this at 3 to 3.5 weeks old, when the pups become mobile. The front of the whelpikng box is opened up to allow access from their sleep/play area to the potty area. The potty area is lined with long sheets of paper that can be rolled up for easy cleanup. This is roll ends of newsprint. Newspaper does work, but the ink can transfer onto the dogs and for white pups, this is not good. Maeve will feed the puppies in the sleeping/playing area.

Upon waking the puppies will naturally look for the potty area. It is not really a natural thing for a dog to pee or poop in his sleeping area. Wolf mothers are meticulous about keeping the "nest" very clean. So, once a baby starts being mobile, and the mother no longer cleans it up because they can walk at this point too, it is up to the breeder to keep the box/nest very clean. This causes an aversion to poop and pee. When this is done right, by the time the puppies go to their new homes, they will already know not pee in their crate or bed. They do not pee or poop where they eat or where they sleep. So believe it or not, what goes on from the time of birth to the time you buy the pup, plays a big role on the young life and what a buyer will be faced with.

They learn from the start, there is a place to sleep, a place to play, a place to eat and a place to eliminate and they will carry this concept with them after they leave the breeder. Puppies who are raised in cages where the areas are not separated do not understand this concept. They learn they can eliminate anywhere they wish at anytime they wish. Than, after you take them home, you suddenly expect them to understand they cannot pee and poo in the house.

Housebreaking is extremely difficult for puppies purchased from puppy mills and breeders who don’t make the commitment to start their puppies off right. Most of those puppies will spend their formative weeks in small cages with wire bottoms that allow wastes to drop through onto a tray. This teaches puppies that 1) it doesn’t matter where they eliminate because they never have to step in it, and 2) they can’t get far from the smell, so they’d better learn to live with it. The end result is a puppy that can’t be housebroken using a crate (cages are self cleaning!) and that doesn’t have any desire to eliminate outside of its home turf (no use trying to escape from that poop smell!). On the other hand, puppies raised in a large pen in a kitchen learn the difference between living areas and elimination areas. This makes it very easy to teach indoor/outdoor discrimination later.

Just another reason to buy from a good breeder and shows what a time commitment it is to raising a litter the RIGHT way!

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