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Old March 19th, 2008, 07:43 PM
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Tommysmom Tommysmom is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Burlington, Ontario
Posts: 985
Congratulations on your new furbaby!

I was working when I got our little fuzzbutt and my hubby was working overseas, and I found that bending some of the traditional crate training rules worked best for us (NOT saying that you should, just offering my own experience!).

Tommy did better when I came home less often... it upset him to see me come home and leave again all the time. When I was gone he mostly slept. Instead of coming home several times, I kept it to once a day, which meant he was in his crate for about 4 to 4.5 hours at a time, and I gave up my own lunch to spend the entire half hour playing and walking him before rushing back to work.

I took the divider out of his crate and gave him more space... since I had no choice but to crate him, I didn't want him lying in any accidents he might have. I gave him a pee pad folded in half at the back of his crate and a bed, food, treats, toys at the front... he slowly learned to hold his pee longer and stopped using the pee pad at all, but at least when he needed to go in the beginning he didn't end up lying in it.

I also crated him periodically when I was home - small periods of time, just to keep him used to it and make him realize the crate doesn't always mean that Mommy is leaving. On my days off I still tried to keep him to the same schedule, or as close as possible... routine is a GREAT thing, they get very used to it and it helped him settle down if I kept the same kind of schedule on weekends, etc.

Long walks before work (although that meant being up hours and hours before I was really used to!) helped too, because then he was tired out enough to sleep the entire time I was gone. Stop playing for at least 10 minutes before crating to keep everything calm, and don't make a big deal out of crating or uncrating - keep it quiet and calm. I also leave the radio on for my pup to give him some company and drown out any scary sounds from outside.

LOTS of people (not really on here, necessarily) made me feel really guilty about having a puppy when I was working and not able to be home 24/7 for potty breaks and stuff, but my pup is an incredibly happy member of our family now and didn't suffer any undue hardship. This is what worked for us, and may not be for everybody, but you'll find out soon enough what works for you two!

Good luck.
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