Preparing for your puppy
The first few nights after you bring your puppy home can be a little hectic if you’ve never had a puppy before. Here’s a few tips to make the transition go smoothly.
- Remember that your puppy is still a baby. He is used to sleeping with his litter mates and will understandably be a little out of his or her element the first few nights.
- Prepare his or her crate by placing a towel or pad of some sort in it. You can put a disposable puppy pad underneath to save clean up in case of an accident. In the morning, if necessary, replace the towel and pads. In a few days, you will be surprised to see that there have not been any accidents overnight.
- If you are using a wire crate, you can place a quilt or blanket over the top, back and sides of the crate to make the puppy feel more secure.
- If the puppy seems to whine or feel insecure at night, you can put him within sight of your bed so he feels more comfortable.
- Adjustable collar — start with size small for Wheatens and size medium for Bouvier puppies. They will continue to grow but these sizes should last them a little while.
- 6 ft. Leash
- Food & water bowls
- Name tag (with phone numbers, name etc.)
- Dry food (and canned if you want)
- Crate with divider panel — size medium for Wheatens and size large for Bouviers. These will last the lifetime of your dog.
- Towels, crate pads or blankets for the puppy’s crate. And disposable puppy pads.
- Steel toothed comb (see the one we use here)
- Several toys — chew, rope, squeaky etc
The First Night
Be sure to take your puppy out right before you go to sleep for the night. Place the puppy in the crate, turn off the lights, and your puppy should lay down and go to sleep. If your puppy cries, you can talk to them but try to avoid the temptation to take them out of their crate.
If he starts to bark or howl in the middle of the night more then just the simple whining because he’s lonely, then you can take him out once. He may need to go potty at this point. Don’t give him food or water and put him back in the crate after taking him outside. He should settle down and sleep the rest of the night. After the first 4-5 days, he should be able to go 7-8 hours without a “potty break” at night.
Potty Training Ideas
Take your puppy out to go potty frequently. The key is to be patient and consistent, and this won’t take long! Consistent Potty Training should only take around 2-3 weeks. I often tell my customers, that it’s almost more a matter of training yourself to stick to a schedule as it is training the puppy! Being consistent and forming a schedule is the most important part.
Take them out every two hours or so during the first few days. Take them out by carrying them to the spot you want them to go potty. Make sure you take them to the same spot each time so they can establish a habit. Put them down and say ” go potty” or whatever word you decide to use. Puppies become very habitual quickly so it is important to teach them correct habits right away. Eventually once the puppy is getting used to this routine, you can start leading him from his crate to the door and building that habit instead of just carrying him out. Be sure you take him outside immediately after opening the crate door because puppies can wet on the floor within seconds of being let out!
Be sure to give your puppy a chance to take a drink each time you let him out. Around breakfast time, give him his portion of food. Once he’s eaten, he should feel the urge to “go” with 5-10 minutes. Take him outside and he should go pretty quickly. Feed him again around 5 PM. Try not to feed him any later then that if possible so he doesn’t have the urge to go during the night.
When they do go, be sure to quickly and excitedly congratulate them. For example, “Good Boy Tucker!! Yay! You went potty!” This lets them know that you are very happy with what they just did and they will want to keep doing it to make you happy.
If they do make an accident house, don’t scold them. If you can catch them in the act, say “No!” firmly but gently and immediately whisk them outside to finish. They need to connect that “going potty” and “outside” go together.
If you are crate training, (we highly recommend using this method of crate training with a strict schedule and moving to house training from there) start with a very small crate or a large crate with divider panel (more practical). You want the crate space to seem almost uncomfortably small. Just enough room to stand up, turn around, sit etc. No more. If you make it any bigger, they will feel free to go potty in one corner and still have their bed on the other side. If your puppy keeps having accidents in his crate, then you know you need to make the crate smaller by moving the divider panel. This crate will become your puppy’s bed and nest and the place he feels secure in. Every time you put your puppy in the crate, say gently “Go to Bed” and he will recognize his crate as his “bed”. After a couple weeks they should be staying completely dry in their crate at all times and you can begin to transition them into house training and having free rein of the house or parts of it.
6 am: Let puppy out to go potty and give him a drink. Put him back in crate and he should sleep for another couple hours.
8-9 am: Take puppy out to go potty. Give him his breakfast and a drink. Take him back outside since he will have been triggered to “go” again after eating. Once he’s gone outside, he can run around in the house under supervision for 15-20 minutes of playtime. Then he goes back into his crate. Repeat this step (take outside, give drink, supervised playtime) every 2-3 hours throughout the day.
5 pm: Take puppy out. Give him his supper and drink. Let him go outside and then back in for playtime. Try to avoid feeding him any later then this so he isn’t triggered to mess his crate at night.
9-10 pm: Take him outside last thing at night before bed. After the first night or two, he should be able to make it all night without needing to go outside.