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Old March 19th, 2008, 06:39 PM
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caharris caharris is offline
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Location: Atlanta, GA
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Working Moms of New Puppies - Crate Training

I’m new to this site and hope someone can help me. I just brought home an 11 wk old Cavachon (Cavalier/Bichon mix breed). He is super cute and I’d love to spend 24 hrs/day with him…but I can’t with work. I can’t imagine the only people to ever get puppies are the folks that work from home or don’t work at all.

We get up at 6am. Then potty, walk, play, eat and tire him out. He will sometimes go in his crate on his own while he watches me get ready (only once so far). Then, I have to leave for work. I put his toys and blankie in there and call him to his ‘Castle’ (crate). He goes in, I give him a treat, then close the door and that’s when the crying starts…very very loud crying. I will hide around the corner and shake a can of pennies each time he starts to try to break him of the crying. That works sometimes, but not all the times.

I come home again 3 more time during the day (every 2 ½ - 3 hours). I only have about 25 min max to let him out to go potty, then we are back up in the apartment and I have no time to really play or exercise him (to tire him out). That’s when it’s the worst. His cries are so bad. I don’t go back in. But I come back in the office with tears rolling down my face. I feel like I’m failing as a mom to my new puppy. I tear up just thinking about it.

When you have a puppy and you work, what is the routine that has worked for you? How long do you spend with him/her? I know others had to have had encountered this, because I know working puppy-moms/dads are out there. I could use anyone’s help. This is breaking my heart and I feel like I’m taking 3 steps back with crate training, instead of 3 steps forward. I do all of the tips: toys, treats, crate in the high-traffic area, eating in his crate, slowly training of closing the door….everything. But when have such little time when you run home….it’s potty…then go right back in the crate.

I’d love any advise. Am I totally doing this wrong??
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Old March 19th, 2008, 07:02 PM
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Chibi Chibi is offline
One day at a time
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Location: Alberta, Canada
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I just got my puppy 2 weeks ago, so I'm fresh from the crate training experience. I did take time off to be with the puppy, but I don't think it's necessary and the only option. Here is what I did:

From day one, puppy slept in the crate. I know how tempting it is to let the poor thing snuggle with you, because he wants to so bad, but you need to be tough. In the end he will be happier.
Also, the crate can't be too big. Don't feel like you're being mean, but he should have just enough room to stand up and turn around - if it's too big he will mess in one corner and sleep in the other. If it is small enough it will encourage him not to mess in his bed, because his Dog-mom has been teaching him since birth it's not allowed to mess where you sleep/eat. If it is too big use something as a divider that isn't porous, in case of accidents.
Another bonus to crating him at night is that he will not associate being in the crate ONLY with you leaving him. If you can have the crate by your bed, and if he starts to really whine, give it a rap on the top and say "Quiet!" or whatever you want. It'll become a command eventually (My puppy never cries unless he needs to go pee, and it's only been a couple weeks).
Never let him out of the cage if he is crying, because that will teaching him that he can whine and get out. Only let him out if he is calm and quiet.
If you haven't already, start doing crate practices during the day. Leave the crate open in the area you are, and throw in some treats or kibble a few times throughout the day - he will sniff them out and begin to learn the crate is a nice place where nice things sometimes happen. Positive reinforcement.
Sit down with him beside the crate, and lure him in with some treats. Close the door. Sit there and talk to him, nice and quietly, put your fingers through the grate and let him know you are close. When he is quiet, give him a treat (be quick, cause the quiet moments don't always last long), and let him out once he is quiet. Do this for a few minutes at a time, bring him out, cuddle, put him back. You can add your command word "Go to your castle" or something, each time you set him inside.
On your days off, if you are cleaning or something, lock him in his crate somewhere where he can see you - again, so he doesn't associate the crate with you going away. He will whine, tell him to be quiet, and ignore him if he gets whiny. Go about your business.

It's all about patience, positive reinforcement, and being tough. I would suggest getting a KONG. Everyone here suggested it to me, and I finally did it, and it does keep the puppy busy! They have them at any pet store, and they are not too expensive.

P.S. What I do when I am leaving him by himself... I turn on the TV. The people voices comfort him, and he doesn't feel so alone. I also leave the bedroom door open, because if it is closed I think he might feel isolated and even more alone.

Good luck!
Owned by: "Guinness Draft" - Miniature Long-hair Dachshund - 12 Weeks
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Old March 19th, 2008, 07:43 PM
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Tommysmom Tommysmom is offline
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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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Old March 19th, 2008, 08:01 PM
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Ford Girl Ford Girl is offline
I gotz 2 babies now!
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
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Just wanted to say good luck, do your best to train and spend time with your pup, and have fun. It is alot of work..lots and lots, but worth it. I did lots of research, it's both confusing and informative...you will know what works with your pup and if it doesn't work, ask questions and try something new. Patience, Consistency and Routine helps big time! Exercise and metal stimulation will tire your pup out and make for a happier pup. Pictures please!
Momma to a pooch - Dazy the Dutchess of Duke Boyd of the canine kind

Pubert Wizzer Howell-Boyd III of the feline kind R.I.P my little guy!!

If you can't afford a vet, you can't afford a pet!

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Old March 19th, 2008, 10:14 PM
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doggie doggie is offline
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A different approach

An absolute must is an exercise pen. This piece of equipment is a portable dog run. They are available at a reasonable cost online or in stores. A small breed can be contained in the 24 inch high pen. Larger breeds can do nicely with the 36 inch high pen. The danger of jumping over the side usually comes from the owner's irresistible urge to pick up the pup and pull her over the side rather than open the pen. If the dog insists on escaping over the side, there are some options available to you. For total security, top panels for the exercise pen are available which can be attached with leash clasps. For the less determined dog, shade cloth or a sheet can be draped over the pen and secured with clothes pins or binder clips.

There is enough room in the ex-pen for food, water and a potty area. If you want to use a cat box for toilet training a small dog, tear some newspaper for the box. A shredder works great for this. Larger dogs that are not yet housebroken should have an opened section of newspaper. Two-inch wide masking tape can seal down the edges to give less interest in chewing and shredding the paper. The surface under the ex-pen should not be carpet. If you have no other choice, buy a piece of vinyl flooring upon which you can set the ex-pen. This also works well to prevent scratches to wooden floors. The puppy should be in the ex-pen whenever you cannot supervise. Young pups that start out in the ex-pen should have little difficulty in adjusting to it.

Children and puppies are extremely self-centered and want ALL of your attention ALL of the time. If they can get your attention by making noise, you have just reinforced the very behavior you want to eliminate. Whatever age the dog, your first plan should be to pretend you don't hear the noise. If a dog gets no response from you, there is no pay-off. In fact, if your schedule permits, you can speed this learning process by leaving the room every time the dog makes noise.

Dogs love creates while humans hate crates. In nature, the young pup remains in the den without child gates or fencing for the first several months of life during the mother's absence. This is instinctive and is for the safety of the pups. The further away from the "den" you insist the puppy relieve herself, the more anxiety you create. It is the owner who imputes a sense of claustrophobia to the dog. You also start to feel guilty about how many hours of the day, even when you are home, poor pooch is crammed into that torturous tiny box. Your first mistake was to think of the crate as doggy prison rather that doggy Hilton. Eventually you succumb to your own imaginings about the indignity of a very natural confinement. You chuck the crate and the chewing destruction begins.

The crate, with the door removed, can be placed inside the exercise pen. This provides a den-like accommodation with the ability to eliminate a small distance from the sleeping area. If the crate is too big, it is possible for the pup to actually go potty inside the crate. If so, put a cardboard box in the back of the crate to make it smaller. If the dog continues to eliminate in the bed/crate, remove the bed entirely for a period of time. As the pup matures she will instinctively go potty away from the bed, and eventually the entire living quarters.

The most important reminder is to have realistic expectations for your canine pal. Remember! The learning ability of all dogs, from seven weeks of age, is that of the average four or five year old child of normal intelligence. The developmental / maturation equivalent ratio through the dog's first year is: 1 puppy month: 1 ¼ human years. Multiply each dog month by 1.25 to see your puppy's equivalent. For example, a six month old pup is the maturation equivalent of a seven and one-half year old child. Since, until the mid-teens, little girls go through their developmental stages faster than little boys, you must be more patient with a male puppy.

I hope this gives you some additional options.

Last edited by doggie; March 19th, 2008 at 10:31 PM. Reason: timed out
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Old March 20th, 2008, 10:47 AM
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caharris caharris is offline
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Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 15
Thanks for all your responses!! 'tommysmom' definitely seems like she is in the same boat that I am. Right now, Bailey can sleep thru the night without having to go out (about 7+ hours). Never wakes up, whines, etc. Talking to a few folks at work and friends, they also think I can extend my trips home to every 4 - 5 hours, since he's already good with 7 at night. I'm going to try that and see how he does. I'm also going to look into getting a dog walker for that 4pm out-time, to get him lots of exercise and outside time.

I've been trying to post muy pictures of Bailey for the past 2 days and it keeps saying 'upload failed'. Hopefully I can get some up there today so you guys can see my cutie-pie.

I'll keep everyone posted on how he does. Today was a better day, we did the 'go in your castle' and I closed the door as I was getting ready. He whined alittle bit, then settled down and watched me. I think I'll keep doing that every morning, along with doing it at night a few times. Baby steps, right? At least I can get a good 7 hours of sleep at night. If not, I'd be a total basket case!
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Old March 20th, 2008, 12:46 PM
Cory7 Cory7 is offline
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Location: Montreal, Quebec
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Just want to show my support and say Good Luck. I know exactly what you mean. Crate training is so tough.

We got our dog when he was 3 months (he's 4 yrs old now). Even though I was home at the time I still put him in his crate during the day (for short periods) and he would go NUTS!!! I mean he was so loud that you could have heard him from outside.

I was so sad hearing him cry that I would go in our yard and sit there and I would cry my head off. I think I was worse than him. I kept calling my husband at work telling him I was going to die that I had to go get him but I didn't and thankfully he would stop crying and he would fall asleep.

At night he ALWAYS slept in his crate but for some reason it wasn't as bad. He would cry a little and then fall asleep. Maybe he knew there wasn't anything he was missing out on.

Bottom line is that it does get better - PROMISE and eventaully he'll go in by himself - I never thought that my dog would go in by himself but he did!!


The more people I meet the more I like my dog.
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Old March 20th, 2008, 01:23 PM
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jessi76 jessi76 is offline
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I LOVE the you call the crate "castle"!!! and it sounds like you're doing a FINE job! we all have to make creative schedules with a new pup. generally the rule of thumb is to crate 1 hr per mth old, plus one. an 11 wk pup is nearly 3 mths old = 3 hrs. (I'd stick to 3, not add one right now).

pups cry - it's normal. they want to be with you. but crying doesn't last forever, or the whole time you're gone. if you think it might, set up a tape recorder or video cam and tape it. my trainer told me that most crying/whining generally stops after 15-20 min. and it's normal. yes, heartbreaking, but normal. as long as you provide potty breaks, food, water, toys, etc... there's not much more you can do.

you CAN put the pup in a doggy daycare, but not usually w/ a pup that young. dogs need to be FULLY vaccinated (even kennel cough vac) before going to daycare. and, it's not the most cost efficient solution.

coming home every 2-3 hrs sounds PERFECT to me. just be sure you take the dog out to potty before crating, and immediately upon coming home. always potty first and last, to prevent accidents.

when my pup was that young, I left for work at 8am. my fiance came home for break at 10am (for 15 min). then he came home for lunch at noon (for 1 hr). then i came home at 3pm and did more work from home to make up for my whacky schedule. we only did this until our dog could go longer in the crate... we slowly built up. then when he was 6mth or so, he started going to work with my fiance in the afternoons. and now, my fiance has a new job (not dog friendly) so we pay a neighbor to check in on him.

looking forward to more updates and pics!
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Old March 20th, 2008, 09:42 PM
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Harley's_Mom Harley's_Mom is offline
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Hang in there, you're doing great! My husband and I both work full time so Harley has been crated since we got him a year ago. It was tough at first but now he loves his "room". He sleeps in it at night as well, in fact everynight around 10:00 he automatically goes to his "room" curls up and goes to sleep. Somedays he gives me "puppy dog" eyes when I close the door but I think he's just figured out that that will get him that extra scratch behind the ears or the extra hug!
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Old March 20th, 2008, 10:03 PM
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BusterBoo BusterBoo is offline
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Just wanted to say i hope the crate training goes good for you! It isnt' easy but it works!

I was totally against crating a dog, never did, promised myself it wouldn't happen and then I got Buster! After he peed all over the carpet and we spent mega-bucks to get flooring put down, I decided to crate train him. well.....it was a rough first week to start, but now, when I say "Buster go in your house", he goes to his crate and knows that there are treats and kongs involved!. He is going on 2 yrs old and stays in his crate from 7:00-ish (am) until 4:30-ish (pm). He has only pooped in his crate once (my fault for not putting him out for the second time before work) and is quite content with his food, water, bones and a toy. Buster sleeps on my bed at night but during the day, his crate door is open and he enjoys going in and snacking on his kong or bone. You have to make the crate a good place to be, throw some treats in the crate while you are home, make sure Bailey knows it is not a punishment, just a good place to be!

Good luck!
RIP Harley Sept 7/02 - Aug 11/07
Buster (6 yr old Tzu/Bichon)


Don't let someone become a priority in your life when you are just an option in their life.
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Old March 21st, 2008, 06:43 AM
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caharris caharris is offline
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Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 15
I wish he'd go in his crate during the day like he does at night. Last night, walked right in and then out like a light. I think I'm going to go invest in that KONG with the treat space in the middle. I have the normal one, and he likes that, but the treats...he loves.

Also signed up with Critter Sitters to have a dog walker come at 4pm Mon - Fri. That way he's getting exercise, another time out and someone else to help with the crate training.

It's good to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. And, that others have gone thru the tears as well.

So, about how long did it take for your puppies to be ok with his crate? 1, 2 weeks or months?? I think I'm doing everything right, so hopefully it won't be long. It's just such an emotional stuggle for me, the thought of going thru this for another month..breaks my heart. But I will be strong and won't give in to his crying. Tough-love.
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Old March 21st, 2008, 08:55 AM
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Tommysmom Tommysmom is offline
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Within weeks Tommy claimed the crate as his own space. He learned quickly that it was the one place that was all for him, nobody would bug him when he was in there. To this day it's HIS - if there's too much going on, if he isn't feeling well, if he's tired or just wants some time by himself because we're annoying him he goes in there. I don't lock him in anymore during the day, we've left him out for the last few months, but nine times out of ten he spends his time snoozing in his crate anyway. Everybody I know was against crate training when we got him, but now that they see how much he loves his space they've changed their minds.

The dog walker is a great thing, he'll love that!

My only advice is to stop feeling bad... you're a great doggy parent, you're doing everything you can! If you feel bad putting him in there, then he'll sense that from you. I used to just find a treat that Tommy thought was irresistible, and then the only time he got it was when he went into his crate by himself. I'd say 'kennel', and hold the treat part way in the crate, and he learned reallllllllly fast that 'kennel' means 'go in there and get the really good stuff that she holds out on the rest of the time', LOL.

It DOES get easier, and you're doing really well.
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