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I have reserved a Golden Retriever puppy and have been doing research. I have been reading up on how to housebreak a puppy and I was wondering if it is essential to have a long-term confinement area and a short-term confinement area? I was going to buy a crate but was wondering if I must buy a play pen also. I was also wondering what treats I should use to train my dog (e.g sit, stay, roll over, his name etc), and if I use treats do I deduct them from my pups daily food limit. I read that you could use the puppy's food instead of treats but I was unsure if this would actually work and whether or not it was harmful? How long should an 8week old puppy train for? I have watched multiple videos and read a number of articles that contradict each other. Some say 5-10mins some say 1hour? When I successfully train my puppy to eliminate outdoors is it okay for him to sleep in my bed? If so, how do I prevent the puppy from developing seperation anxiety when I am not there?


All help is appreciated, thank you.
 

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A play pen isn't really necessary in most cases. In fact, it could actually be detrimental if you leave him in it unsupervised for long periods of time. If he has to go to the bathroom and you're gone, he'll just pick a corner to use as the bathroom. If he's in the crate however, and it's small enough that he doesn't have the option of using a corner as the bathroom, he'll hold it for as long as he's able.

As for treats, I use Benny Bully's Liver Chops, but I don't know if they sell them outside of Canada. I wouldn't worry too much about the food and the treats, unless your dog has a super slow metabolism. Unless he's getting noticeably chubbier than he should be, he'll probably be fine when it comes to that. You can use kibble for treats, but just keep in mind that they won't be as motivating as actual treats, but the dog will still consider them a treat nonetheless, albeit one that doesn't taste nearly as good. I'd use only treats instead of kibble to start out with, just to really cement in his mind what the right thing to do is. Just don't go overboard, because they will make him fat if you give him too many.

An 8 week old puppy should only train for a few minutes per session. 5 minutes is the absolute max I would do with a dog that age. One hour is far too long, and you'll simply set your dog up for failure if your training sessions are that long. I personally would do 3 minute sessions 3 times a day, and then as his attention span increases, you can start slowly increasing the duration of the sessions.

I can't say for sure what you should do about the bed thing, because I've never let my dog sleep with me. Someone who does will have to give you some input in that regard.
 

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Thanks for your reply. The longest the puppy would be in the crate would be 4 hours and that is worst case scenario. If I do 2-3min training sessions and my dog learns to sit do I still continue to do that in training sessions so he remembers or can I move on? I don't want to overload him or something and he ends up forgetting tricks I have previously taught him.
 

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You shouldn't have to worry as much with a command like "sit", because if you make your dog sit for everything, like before he goes outside or before you give him a toy, he'll be doing it a lot anyway. Still, it couldn't hurt to throw a few sits into some of your training sessions. Dogs are like people in that if they neglect a skill, they won't retain said skill as well as they could have if they had practiced. You don't have to make him do every command he's ever learned in every training session, but make sure he still does all of them fairly regularly, no matter how useless the command or trick may seem. Not only will he remember exactly how to them if he does them fairly often, but it will also be very mentally stimulating for him. Of course, make sure you don't overload him, but Golden's are a smart breed. In a nutshell, don't push him past what he's capable of, but don't neglect any of his commands.
 

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I've never used playpens for my dogs. Some people like to use them but they aren't necessary. My puppies are crated when I'm not home and at night, until they're able to be out.

You can use the puppy's kibble for training if the pup will work for it. I use all sorts of people food for treats - chicken, steak, meatballs, cheese, hot dogs, etc. You don't have to buy treats made specifically for dogs (which can be expensive). For a young dog with a high metabolism, who gets a pretty consistent amount of training treats per week, you'll probably just figure out what amount of food works with that amount of treats based on body condition. If one day your dog gets way more treats than other days (like for a training class) you might want to cut out a meal or part of a meal to compensate.

An hour is WAY too long to train a puppy. No more than 5 min really. I like to work on something for 1 min, then play for 1 min, then work on a different behavior for 1 min, then more play, etc for a total of 5-6 minutes. You can do this multiple times a day, but don't try to do too much at once. As the puppy grows you'll get a feel for how long she can go and how much she likes to work, but it's always better to err on the side of frequent short sessions so she's not getting bored or burnt out. And you don't have to work on one thing until it's "perfect". Nothing is ever perfect anyway.

Sleeping in the bed is fine. Prevent separation anxiety by leaving the puppy with something to chew on (like a kong stuffed with food and frozen), and practice coming and going and not making a big deal out of it.
 

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A crate is very useful, especially for housebreaking and for when you have to leave. There are a ton of sources on this forum and on the web to help you learn how to use this properly. A playpen is not necessary, but it is useful if you want to keep your puppy in one area to play while you can't completely supervise, like when you are making meals or eating.

For treats you can use anything from tiny tiny bits of cheese, hot dog, or lunch meat to store bought "training rewards." If you search Amazon you can find some in bulk for cheaper than in the bet store. I like these: http://www.amazon.com/Botanics-Training-Rewards-Treats-20-Ounce/dp/B007VGE2X2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1460746205&sr=8-1&keywords=training+rewards

You can cut them in half for a puppy, though. And yes, you should include treats in daily caloric intake. You don't have to be exact, but you don't want to feed in excess every single day. You could use his kibble, as well, but I've found that high value treats make them more willing to work!

Young puppies have the attention span of a mosquito. 5-10 minutes is sometimes all you can get out of them, and that's fine. You can train, then let them play, and then another training session again, interspersing them through the day. A good rule for exercise if 5 minutes per month of age, twice a day. I can't get one hour of pure training from my 9 month old, haha!

Sure, your dog can sleep in your bed. It's your dog.

For separation anxiety, don't make a big deal about coming or going. Proper crate training helps. There are also lots of sources in this forum that can help with that. Of course, your puppy is going to howl and scream for a few minutes when you leave it, perhaps for a couple of months, but it will get over it.
 

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One important thing to remember about training is to change the location as soon as puppy understands the cue in one place. Sit when you are in the kitchen isn't the same cue as sit in the living room and performing sit outside is a huge jump because outside is so fascinating. Decide where new cues will be taught then take it 'on the road' as soon as you can.

Your puppy will decide what treats work. My Max wouldn't eat hot dogs! He preferred cheese or even bread to hot dogs. It's great if kibble works. Whatever you use it can be very tiny bits. As long as the dog regards the bit as a reward it's enough. My little dogs happily work for raw rice grain sized bits of cheese for instance.
 
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