Crate and Ex-Pen - when to use ... and Housebreaking too!
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Thread: Crate and Ex-Pen - when to use ... and Housebreaking too!

  1. #1
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    Crate and Ex-Pen - when to use ... and Housebreaking too!

    Brought home a now 12 week old yorkie about 3 weeks ago. We brought her home with a crate big enuf for a beds and wee wee pad. I have been off from work and able to be home with her and when I am not for a few hours she is crated. And she sleeps in the crate. The only time she pees and sometimes poohs in crate is overnight. I will be going back to work next week and have also now bout a (when set up rectangular) a 2' x 6' ex pen. I have never used the crate for potty training more for control and safety, but for most part by nature I see she would rather not pee or pooh in it if she has a choice. My main question is whether or not to use the crate or ex-pen predominantly when she cannot be supervised. I tried out ex-pen today while I was home and noticed she barked (rarely will bark in crate if I am at home) so I moved her to crate and she was fine and fell asleep for couple of hours. I guess she is just used to sleeping in crate and it helped her relax. Longest stretch she will be home alone for is 8 hours and this will only. Be two days a week other 5 days 6 or less hours. How do you suggest I use her crate and pen? Should I just always leave crate in pen now with door open in day time while I am out or cannot supervise, with wee wee pad outside of it in pen? Or should I close crate with her in it for when I am gone or can't supervise for shorter periods of time? I just want to know from others what their best experiences were using both crate and pen together (or separately). I know every dog is different, but want to try and do what's best for her and will make her happiest in my absence so hearing advice for those experienced would be much appreciated. By the way, the crate is not in my room she sleeps down one floor but can see where we sleep up the stairs and nighttime has never been a problem.

    As for potty training pee pee is pretty well mastered. However pooh is another story. She sometimes poohs on pad but a lot of times in other places so now I make sure never to leave her unsupervised. This is day one of my strict supervision and she just will not pooh. (She will also sometimes eat her pooh ... Yuck ... How do I discourage this?) Help! I don't take her out yet as vet discouraged it we live in an area with a lot of stray cats raccoons etc. and she won't get her rabies shots for afew more weeks. After that I want to revert to walking her outside and possible wee wee pads while we are not home for a length of time.

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  3. #2
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    Re: Crate and Ex-Pen - when to use ... and Housebreaking too!

    Additional Info
    I should add that I have a pretty big 1st floor so when I supervise her she has quite a lot of space to roam in. Should I use the pen as a gate and keep her only there when supervise? Cuz it is difficult for me to chase her and get to her everywhere when she is having a pooh "accident". Any tips or tricks would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again.

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    Re: Crate and Ex-Pen - when to use ... and Housebreaking too!

    If she's peeing and pooping in the crate overnight it means she needs a potty break during the night. Very young puppies can't always hold it overnight. It doesn't send a good message to let her pee/poop in her crate at anytime, even overnight. So, I'd suggest setting your alarm and taking her out for a bathroom break around 2 am. Yes, it's a hassle, but, it's better than cleaning up a mess in the crate, and it's better than letting her think she can continue to do that.
    When you do take her out of the crate for her 2 am potty break, don't fuss or cuddle or play or talk, other than to tell her "go potty" or whatever words you use.

    I would say put the crate inside the pen, leave the door open, and put the pads on the other side of the pen, opposite the crate.

    As far as supervising during the time you're home, you mentioned that sometimes it's hard, in a big open space, to chase her down. Here's what I would do: just as a parent with a toddler learning to walk/crawl, follow along beside her. If she's on the move, so are you.
    The other thing you can do is tether her to you with her leash, so she has to stay in your area. Just hook her leash to your wrist, waist, belt loop, etc. Or, you can tether her to a heavy piece of furniture, so she is stuck in one area. Or, you can use the pen.

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    Re: Crate and Ex-Pen - when to use ... and Housebreaking too!

    Quote Originally Posted by doxiemommy View Post
    If she's peeing and pooping in the crate overnight it means she needs a potty break during the night. Very young puppies can't always hold it overnight. It doesn't send a good message to let her pee/poop in her crate at anytime, even overnight. So, I'd suggest setting your alarm and taking her out for a bathroom break around 2 am. Yes, it's a hassle, but, it's better than cleaning up a mess in the crate, and it's better than letting her think she can continue to do that.
    When you do take her out of the crate for her 2 am potty break, don't fuss or cuddle or play or talk, other than to tell her "go potty" or whatever words you use.

    I would say put the crate inside the pen, leave the door open, and put the pads on the other side of the pen, opposite the crate.

    As far as supervising during the time you're home, you mentioned that sometimes it's hard, in a big open space, to chase her down. Here's what I would do: just as a parent with a toddler learning to walk/crawl, follow along beside her. If she's on the move, so are you.
    The other thing you can do is tether her to you with her leash, so she has to stay in your area. Just hook her leash to your wrist, waist, belt loop, etc. Or, you can tether her to a heavy piece of furniture, so she is stuck in one area. Or, you can use the pen.
    Thank you so much for replying!

    What if she doesn't do her business when I take her out at 2am or whatever time I decide? I'm telling you if I am right near her she does not go potty. Even when she uses the pad she usually waits till I'm out of sight.

    Well running beside her was killing me that's what I was doing before. I have too many pieces of furniture she can run around and under I just cannot be everywhere she is ... Good workout but not practical ... lol. I like the tethering idea, but how much time should she spend like this? Should I leave a wee wee pad outside of her pen as well? When I am home how much time at once should she spend tethered to me, how much time crated (not including overnight) and how much time loose in the pen? I want to try and figure out a schedule and not go in circles with her. Additional feedback would be great. Thanks again!

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    Re: Crate and Ex-Pen - when to use ... and Housebreaking too!

    Some dogs don't like to do their business when they're being watched! That makes it a challenge. Try to trick her into thinking you're not really watching her. Just stay a bit away and pretend you're not looking.....

    Some folks may say you can use a strict schedule, as far as how much time she is restrained (either in a pen/crate, or tethered). But, basically, it has to be what works for you and your life. For instance, if you need to cook, put her in the pen. If you need to work on the computer, tether her to you. If it were me, I'd probably stick to 20-30 minutes restrained, at one time, but that's because I really feel that puppies learn the rules of the house better if they're out and about.
    But, honestly, if you want to crate/pen for an hour or so, she'll be fine. If you need to crate her for 2 hours, she'll be fine. Heck, lots of working folk crate for 6-8 hours.
    Make sure that you give her lots of exercise, a tired pup will whine less when they're crated/penned. And, when you do crate or pen, you can give her a frozen, stuffed kong to give her something to do....

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    Re: Crate and Ex-Pen - when to use ... and Housebreaking too!

    Hello! Congrats on your new puppy love <3

    Doxiemommy's advice is really good. I would definitely do the crate inside the ex-pen with the door open, and the pee pads way on the other side - as far away from the bed and food/water. That way she can have the option of going in her crate, or playing in the ex pen.

    A lot of dogs don't like to poo on soiled pee pads. So if the pee pad was used once she may not want to poo on it. That's all I can say in terms of her pooing. Otherwise, if you're planning on having her go outside only, then I wouldn't really reinforce going on the pee pads in any way.

    If you have a big first floor, can you gate it off somewhere? Can you put a gate at your living room entrance, or kitchen? I agree that following them around everywhere is really hard, so when you're occupied, pop her in her small crate, and then when you're doing something at the desk, tether her to you. When you just want to have her roam around, you must be willing to be by her side at all times. Or just gate the room so you can always have your eyes on her. Puppies can chew wires and swallow objects so it's really important you supervise closely and make sure there's nothing on the floor or tables she can get to.

    Good luck!

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