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Hey everyone,

We recently got our 9 week old Australian Shepherd puppy last week and can't seem to keep an actual schedule. I'm afraid that she is in her crate too much during the day and I don't know what to do. She loves her crate and even gets in voluntarily after play sessions (when she actually chooses to play), but I don't want to be causing hyperactivity or doing anything negative to her health. The problem is she absolutely hates going outside and she will only go if we carry her for potty breaks. Shes has had a few accidents, 3 in total since she's been here (last Monday). Not sure if the training is working?

She also is a very fussy eater. I put the food out and she'll nibble a little then will be done. Shes been constipated though, so that could be why. I recently added a tablespoon of pumpkin and water, that seems the ONLY way she will eat a significant amount. She's on Blue Buffalo Wilderness Puppy.

So, my question is how long is too long in the crate during the day? She'll be up at 8-9ish and then breakfast. Then I'll try to get her in the backyard to play but she immediately runs back to the door after using the potty. After 15 minutes of trying to get her to play I will take her inside to do a small training session and then will leave her out supervised until around 11-12ish. Then she'll go back in for nap/rest until around 1-2ish. After that I'll take her out for potty and attempt to feed and offer another walk/play session. I'll crate her again from 3-5pm and then attempt to feed her and play with her. She will usually play the majority of the time around 7-8 outside and then when she gets back in she's pretty tired and will be crated again until 9. Then I'll try and walk her before 10pm. At 10:30pm she's crated for the night and usually sleeps. I like to take her out though at 3am and again at 5am. She never whines/cries in the crate, so I take that as she likes it, I'm just worried she's in there a lot. Is it bad she never whines about it? :/

My 2 previous dogs were not crate trained and their house breaking took several months. I thought crate training would be beneficial this time around.

By the way, she can ALWAYS see us from her crate. She's stationed right on the side of my bed.

I know the schedule is messed up and I would love any suggestions offered. Thanks!
 

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You're lucky she's not whining! I don't think that's too much time in the crate, she sounds like she's pretty used to it by now. Ammy was a super picky eater until literally about 2 weeks ago. She would just not eat her food when she was a puppy, I switched 4 times. And after finding one she liked I would put her food out and she'd take 4-5 hours to eat it. Now when I put it down she eats it pretty fast within 15-30 minutes. In the early days I'd put some yogurt in to convince her to eat, I also add a Stella and Chewy's topper now to her food.

It took a solid 3 weeks before Ammy got used to her crate, probably because I didn't crate her as much as you. I also in the beginning let her out when she did whine before I knew better. Your crating schedule now is similiar to mine as well. Ours goes-

Wake up between 7 and 10, if I know I'm going to sleep in past 10 I'll take her out around 8 to go to the bathroom then she'll sleep in bed with me until I get up. Depending on the weather, we usually go on a walk or to the dog park between 12-2. Come home from the walk and feed her, she never wants to eat before she's done any exercise in the morning. Then I'll either hang out or start some work. If I'm working I'll crate her from about 2-4 then let her out with a chew toy to hang out with me. If we went to the dog park that morning, we go on a long walk in the evening, or if we went on a walk in the morning we'll go to the dog park in the evening. We go between 6-8 and then we come home and I feed her again. She hangs out until 10-11 and I'll let her out to go to the bathroom before putting her in her kennel for the night.

With your pup I would skip the crating after play and keep her awake to put her to bed at 10. Ammy always gets riled up after a nap, so if you just keep her awake she'll probably sleep better through the night and you won't have to make 2 night trips. I think you're doing a great job overall though! I never felt like Ammy slept as a young puppy, no matter how much work we did. I'm jealous your pup seems to settle so easily :)
 

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It doesn't sound like much time in the crate at all. At that age, my pup was in for 3 hours, out for 1 hour, back in for 3 hours, then in over night. So a total of 14 hours in the crate every day. At a year old he's still in it for 8 hours a day while we're at work (I do come home at lunch), but he's able to be out at night.

And it's a good thing she doesn't whine! You definitely don't want a puppy who whines for 10min every time you put them in the crate. It sounds like she likes it.

At her age, she is still young and needs a lot of sleep. She is also getting used to a new home, so being in the crate is probably her safe place where she can relax and nap. My pup went out once a night until he was 4 or 5 months old, so it really varies.

If she isn't interested in going outside right now, it's ok to keep carrying her. We carried our pup out quite often when he was little, just to get him out there quickly and minimize accidents.

If she's had 3 accidents, then you just need to take her out more often when you are supervising. I didn't use the crate for potty training really. Most of the time if I was home, the pup was out of the crate running around, heavily supervised. So you don't need to let her out for an hour, crate for an hour, etc if you don't want to - you can have her out of the crate for a few hours at a time, but you need to be taking her out every 30-60 minutes while she's out, or more often if she's having accidents.
 

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Thanks for the replies guys, it makes me feel a lot better knowing I'm not keeping her in there too much.

@Kyndall, I went ahead and "nixed" the last two naps and it seems like she was more tired tonight which was awesome! I think I will do that more often.

@elrohwen, Sometimes I worry if it's counter-productive that shes in there all the time and not really learning she is not supposed to potty in the house. She definitely will NOT potty in her crate, but the few times she has had accidents it's been once in my bedroom and twice in the kitchen. The first time was in the kitchen and she was barking, I couldn't figure out why... Then it happened! The 2nd time was on the way too the potty area with her walking by herself, I guess she couldn't hold it. The 3rd time which was in my bedroom, we let her out the crate and she went to a side of my bedroom she hadn't be for a split second and just peed. I guess that it's good she did it in front of me so that I could stop her in the act. Thank God for the Nature's Miracle stuff, no smells! :D
 
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