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I'm sure you guys get tons of questions like these, but please bear with me. I'm a very anxious new puppy mom!!

We got Luna on 1/31/09 from the shelter. Her mom was a German Shepherd/Lab mix and her dad was an Akita. She is 12 weeks old, and up to this point I believe she has been in a pen with her brother and two sisters.

Here's a breakdown of how we're doing so far, potty training wise:

Day #1 (Sat): Wouldn't go outside at all (we took her outside every hour), went on the floor

Day #2 (Sun): Went pee outside for me once and for my mom once. She wouldn't go for my husband or brother.

Day #3 (Mon): I learned about monitoring water/food intake in order to predict when she'll go. Went poop outside for me once, pee a couple times, also peed and pooped on her piddle papers inside. When my brother or husband took her outside, she just holds it until she gets inside and then goes on the floor (does this sometimes for me, too, but not as often).

Day #4 (Tues): Wouldn't go for my husband when he went home at lunch time to take her out (peed on the floor when she came in). Wouldn't go outside for my brother when he took her out in the afternoon (though she did pee/poop on her piddle paper). I watched my husband as he took her outside when we got home from work, and he was kind of just letting her sit there. After he got in and she hadn't gone, I took them both outside and showed him how I get her to go (take her to spots she likes, encourage her to keep moving/sniffing, etc). She went for me, and the next time my hubby took her out she went for him (he was seriously so proud!)

Then, last night, she woke me up by whining in her crate approximately every two hours, so we went outside and she peed right away, no fuss. She's been peeing an awful lot... and I'm concerned about that. I didn't really restrict her water yesterday before bed... so that could be it... but I'm worried about a UTI. She was just spayed on 1/30/09.

Okay, after all that (whew, sorry so long!) here are my questions:

1) How do you guys restrict water? Do you offer it at only certain points in the day for limited timeframes, or do you have certain times (when you'll be home for an extended period of time) when your puppy just gets free access to water? She seems to be incredibly thirsty when we do restrict her water. :( How long should she be without water?

2) My husband and I work about 35 minutes from home. Most days, my brother is there (he's in college) to take her out, but there are some days when it's extremely difficult to have someone there every three hours to let her out. I was told that, although it would set us back a bit, it would be okay to put a piddle paper in her kennel for her to go on in case she can't hold it. So far, we've had the piddle paper in there and she's gone on it a couple of times (she also went on her bed once). It was in there last night, and she still whined to wake me up and waited to go until we got outside. Any thoughts/suggestions?

3) Should I be concerned that she's peeing so often lately? She seems to just make a small puddle each time. Should I take her in to the vet now to check for a UTI? Or should I wait a short time to see if the issue is that I've just been giving her too much water?

4) We live in Northern Wisconsin and the last few days have been COLD. We also have a bunch of snow, and while we are taking her in the plowed driveway, she does occasionally sit/lay down on the packed snow. Should we be concerned about her stitches from the spay surgery? Would it be better to simply commence potty training after she's healed up?

Once again, I'm sorry about the length and all the questions. :eek:
 

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They way I "restrict" water is to offer it after meals, after playing, and just at times during the day and taking up about two hours before bed. It doesn't really need to be down all the time for puppy to play with. You should never restrict the amount of water unless it's before surgery or something. You just control when the pup gets it so you know that you'll have to take her out to potty in short while after giving her a drink.

If you have any concerns it's always a good idea to have your vet eliminate any possible medical conditions pertaining to possible training difficulties.

Keep up the potty training but if you have any questions or doubts, ask your vet. When it comes to medical issues your vet is your best resource.
 

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Our last puppy responded very well to click training. We had her trained in a few weeks. I highly recommend it.

Get a clicker from your pet store and first get the puppy accustomed to it. Click it and give them a treat. Click it and give them a treat. repeat and they will quickly associate the click with good things.

Now every time they pee outside give them a click and a treat. If they go inside just take them outside to finish and give them a click and a treat when they do.

Pretty soon they will be holding it in so they can go outside and get a click and a treat.
 
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