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Old May 28th, 2006, 12:01 PM
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phoenix phoenix is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Peterborough, Ontario
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Hi Sherry,
I want you to understand that you really have your work cut out for you! I really commend you for taking in this little pup, but it is going to be a lot of work. Between 4 and 8 weeks of age, puppies learn a lot from their moms, and you'll have to take the mom's place.
How long do you have to leave her for at a time? The porch sounds like a reasonable solution if you are working during the day (is it locked to keep her safe?) Puppies can climb gates very early on in their lives, so is the gate safe enough to keep her in?
My lab/boxer cross was only 6 weeks when we got him. He was very challenging as a puppy, had no bite inhibition, etc. However he did housetrain fairly quickly... I mean, it took him about 4 or 5 months. I never crate trained him. he was great when we were home but of course couldn't hold it during the day when we were at work..
Take a little journal book and start jotting notes to yourself about your pup's schedule. You said that she eats 3x a day at particular times, that is great- it will make it easier for you. Write down every time she eats, poops and pees. You'll find there is more or less a pattern (maybe, 20 minutes after eating, right after eating, or right after playing... definitely right after sleeping). Then, once you have learned her schedule, start taking her outside a little before those times, and encourage her to go. Keep her on the leash, no playing. Once she goes, give lots of praise, maybe a treat, and let her play. Set your alarm and make sure that you go out with her in the night as well, maybe 2x... wake her up and take her outside. If she is sleeping with you/beside you, maybe she will wake you up.
The idea of the crate is that puppies usually** don't like to soil their sleeping place. So, the crate needs to become their safe sleeping area. As Jessxx said, at first keep the crate open and comfortable, give treats everytime she goes in, encourage her to lie down in there. After a while, close the door for short periods of time, only let her out when she is NOT crying. They become acclimated to it. Now, you can use the crate to start training her to hold it until she goes out. I do not believe in keeping dogs crated for long periods of time- I like your porch idea better as long as she is safe there (she can't get out, people can't get in..) But crates can be useful when a) you can't watch the puppy and need her out of the way for her safety or your sanity (vacuuming, etc) OR b) to help your puppy hold it until you go outside.

Good luck with everything, there is a lot of info on here to help and we'll all help when we can! I have had 2 lab/shep crosses and my lab/boxer that I have now... all three were terribly mouthy and very playful/mischievious as youngsters, so one of the things you might want to look up now is bite inhibition and start working on it early!... All three were smart and lovely dogs too. Post pics if you can!
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