SETTING UP FOR SUCCESS
SLEEP, HOUSE TRAINING & SOCIALIZATION
CREATING A PUPPY SPACE
Consistency, patience and a calm environment are the keys to helping your puppy transition smoothly into his new home and life with you. Creating a space that resembles his environment here at Juniper Ridge will also help your puppy be successful in going potty in the right place and sleeping well.
Ideally if you can set up a puppy area in your kitchen or main living area it is best. Use baby gates or an X pen ( links on our supply list) to create a space (4X6 or larger) with a bed, or an open crate with a bed inside. If you use a crate, leave the crate open when you are around, so puppy can go in and out freely and have access to his bed. Have fresh water in puppy's space, a few feet from his bed, and feed him there too. Also place a potty station a few feet away. Puppies do not want to potty on their bed or by their food and will use their station if they know where it is :) There are a variety of potty stations that work well. Puppy pee pads are convenient but unless they are anchored in some fashion or covered by a grate they will be shredded! So for most families the grass mat in a tray (supply list) or a large shallow litter pan with wood pellets work well. This is only a temporary/transitional tool if your puppy will be going potty outside, but works well long term for families living in high rise buildings without quick access to outside.
Puppy does not need to stay in this area of course, but does need access to it; to retreat to when he is tired and needs a nap, or to retreat to when he simply needs to feel safe and secure. Remember that puppies are little, they can get lost in your home just like a young child in a grocery store. Remember that feeling? Therefore introduce puppy to larger spaces and different rooms gradually, over a period of several days. Puppy needs to know how to find his way back to his potty station and bed, and he may need to get there quickly :)
But I want my puppy to sleep by my bed...
That is totally up to you! Of course puppy will love that too! But sleep lightly because puppy may still wake and need to go potty some time in the middle of the night for a few weeks:) Just set up a potty station close by and direct him there if needed, no fuss and back to sleep! If your bedroom is upstairs be sure puppy is set up with a nap time retreat bed, potty station and water downstairs where he spends most of the day.
(aka Eating, Potty, Playing & Napping Schedule)
Keeping your puppy on a schedule is so important! It will help your puppy's little digestive system and help you to anticipate when he will need to go potty. A puppy on a consistent schedule is a relaxed and confident puppy; and a puppy that makes very few potty "mistakes".
Our Juniper Ridge Puppy Schedule looks like this at 8 weeks:
7:00 am Puppies wake and go potty, then eat Breakfast and play and may potty again in 20 minutes
8:30 am Sleep - most puppies have wandered back to bed for nap time and they are all crashed out by 9 am. They generally sleep about 2 hours.
11:00 puppies wake from nap and go potty, then play. Some may crash for a short nap from 12-1
1:00 pm - Lunch and potty then play
3:00 pm wake, potty and play; again some may snooze from 6-7 pm
7:00 pm Dinner, play and potty
9:00 pm Puppies have sought out their bed and are fast asleep. Depending on activity level some puppies are asleep by 8:30. As puppies get older the play time lasts longer and the naps shorten. Keep the feeding schedule consistent and continue to feed 3 X/day until puppy is 6 months old. After 6 months puppy can eat twice a day, just breakfast and dinner.
A NOTE ABOUT CRATE TRAINING
Crates can be helpful to keep your home safe from your puppy and your puppy safe from your home while you are away. A crate should be a safe, snuggly and secure space for a puppy - NEVER a place of punishment. Take puppy's collar off for safety in a crate, and give a treat inside the crate when you leave. Be calm and do not fuss over puppy or treat when you return as this encourages anticipation for your return and associated unwanted behaviors. (Believe us, puppy will always be happy to see you:)
Crate time should be limited to 1 1/2 hours at first ( during natural nap time) and can gradually be increased to up to 4 hours maximum when your puppy reaches 6 months of age. Crates can be used (with a closed door) at night, but puppy will need to be let out to potty during the night/wee hours of the morning for several more weeks.
LEARNING TO GO POTTY OUTSIDE
You have a smart puppy. Take him to the place you want him learn to go potty when you think he may need to go. Praise him when he does! We say "go potty, go potty" every time we see puppy going potty in his potty station. Puppy associates this with going potty, so pretty soon just by saying the phrase puppy will "try" to go. Say this same thing when taking puppy outside; and after a few weeks of consistently going outside you can eliminate the indoor potty station.
Never, ever, ever scold puppy for going potty- even if its on your best rug. (What were you thinking leaving your best rug (or shoes) out when you have a puppy anyway?) Control your emotion and realize you have made the mistake, not your puppy. Your puppy will not associate the scolding with "where", he only will associate the scolding with his "going potty" action. He will then hide and be afraid when he has to go potty and then you have a mess - a sad and confused puppy, and poop piles behind the sofa. Set up for a Win-Win situation with praise and consistency, and be prepared for a few "oops"; don't worry, you'll get there!
WHAT ABOUT PLAY TIME?
Obviously you did not bring your puppy home to keep him in a pen! Your puppy needs to do life with you! Take your puppy with you, share life with, play with and socialize your puppy!
We recommend keeping your puppy home and just with your immediate family members for the first 2-3 days after bringing your puppy home, so your puppy can begin to bond with you. Talk to your puppy, look at him in his cute little puppy eyes and have a conversation. This breed is born for this! They love to engage and will become your devoted follower for the rest of their life when they know they can count on you!
After a few days have passed invite your friends over to visit and begin taking your puppy with you places; keeping in mind his eating, potting, playing and snoozing schedule.
Healthy socialization is a must for young puppies. They have a very limited window of time to learn social skills, to gain confidence around all sorts of people, animals, sites, sounds activities etc. This window is often referred to as a "fear period", we like to call it an "imprinting period". This period usually lasts from 8 weeks old to 12 weeks old, but can be much shorter. During this time you may notice your puppy suddenly acting fearful towards something that he was fine with the day before, do not worry, just ignore it and move on. If your puppy was a wild dog he would be learning what is safe and what is not in order to survive. Wild dogs need to avoid people, run away from cars, loud noises, bicycles, skateboards, etc. Our domestic puppies need to learn that these things are good and a part of a happy life. So let puppy experience them - in a manner that is easy, non-confrontational and in a setting that he can obviously handle. If puppy is upset back away from the situation but keep it in the background at a further distance. DO NOT reinforce fear behavior by sheltering puppy or sympathizing ("poor puppy"). Puppies will mimic behavior so if you are happy and okay, puppy generally will be as well, within reason.
True, your puppy is susceptible to catching diseases until he is fully immunized - two weeks after his last vaccination ( until about 16-18 weeks old) so be smart about where you take him and who he touches noses with! Do not go to dog parks, do not let him walk thru pet supply stores, do not stop at dog rest stops when traveling. But still get him out and about. Try to meet "100 people in 100 days", take along organic dehydrated beef liver (puppy supply list) and have strangers offer your puppy a piece when he engages with them :)