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By Sarah Dixon, CDBC, KPA-CTP

Keeping a puppy on a schedule is very helpful for house training as well as reducing nipping. The following is a suggested schedule for you to follow with your newly acquired house shark to aid is house and crate training as well as ensuring your puppy has enough rest time. Puppies who do not get enough rest are bitey puppies!

Please note, I highly recommend using a crate for puppies for house training. If your puppy reacts negatively to the crate or you are opposed to using one, you can substitute a pen with pee pads inside. It accomplishes the need of providing your puppy a safe space to rest but isn’t as helpful for house training. If your puppy really struggles with crate training please contact us for help! With distance consultations we can help anyone, anywhere!

General rules:

  • Young puppies need to go out about once an hour, so you may need to add in more pee breaks. I keep a pee pad down for whoopsies.
  • Puppies tend to poop 3-4 times a day: first thing in the morning, and about an hour after eating
  • Your puppy is likely going to have to potty first thing in the am, pee and poop is likely. When they go pee, praise and treat (I don’t always use treats but it can help) and wait a good 10-15 minutes to see if they will poop if they’re due for a #2.
  • Take your puppy immediately outside for a potty break when waking up. Scoop them out of the crate and carry outside when they’re young.
  • Every time they come out of the crate, they go for a potty break.
  • if your puppy is REALLY wild, they probably need to sleep. Nap time!
  • Feed puppies meals in the crate or pen from puzzle toys. This keeps them busy and burns off a bit of mental energy.
  • Using a tether is a really helpful home management system. It keeps your puppy near you and unable to get into trouble but they don’t need to be penned or crated. It teaches your puppy to cycle into settling after being high energy. It’s also super useful if you have young kids!
  • .Play with puppy before bed so they are tired when it’s time to go to sleep

Schedule: My suggestion is to use a roughly 3 hour rotation schedule. You can have some flexibility here to fit it into your day, but in general we want to mix between crate/pen time, potty breaks, free/play time, tether/settle time and back to the crate/pen. Roughly one hour for crate, play, and tether times is a good guideline. However if your puppy wants to nap longer than 1 hour, let them. The more you get to know your puppy’s schedule the more flexible you can be with this. As they get older, they can gradually have more free time and tether time and less crate time – think of 10 minutes for each per week of age as a general rule.

Crate Training: Crate training provides a number of benefits to owners. A crate that is sized properly encourages a dog’s instinct not to mess where he sleeps, helping to teach the dog bladder and bowel control. This tendency to view the crate as a clean place is a huge benefit house training a new rescue dog or puppy, of course!

Using a crate prevents a dog or pup from getting into trouble when you can’t supervise directly. Those times might include at night, when you are at work (provided the work day is not too long and the dog gets exercise before and after), when you are busy cooking, or any other time when your attention is elsewhere than directly on your dog.

Crate training also teaches puppies and excitable dogs to expect and enjoy some down time, and conditions relaxed behaviour. Dogs and pups can be put into a crate with a yummy and safe chew or stuffed Kong to keep them secure, relaxed, and out of mischief for periods of time.

It works best for a dog to be introduced to a crate gradually, rather than just plopping him in for the night or long periods. It’s also REALLY important that your puppy doesn’t associate the crate only with you leaving, so make sure your puppy spends time in the crate when you’re home and sticking close by. If you only use the crate when you’re leaving your puppy, this can easily develop into confinement or separation anxiety.

Place a bed or mat that your dog already likes into the crate. This will help reduce any startling noises when the dog enters the crate. The dog will also be familiar with the bed, which could make him more willing to go into the crate. When you are not training, leave the crate open and place your dog’s toy basket or favourite toys inside.

Feed your dog meals in the crate, starting by leaving the door open and, as training progresses, closing it. If you give your dog any special treats, chewies, or bones, give them to him in the crate.

Gradually build up the amount of time your dog is in the kennel. If the dog starts to whine, ignore him, letting the dog out once he is calm. If you want to leave your dog in the crate for longer periods, try putting a stuffed Kong, a bully stick, or a safe chewie into the crate as well.

Using a tether is a really helpful home management system.

Tether training: A tether can be as simple as a leash or you can purchase cable tethers (recommended for chewers). Puppies can have toys and chews during tether time. Tether in the same room as you, so you can still keep an eye on your pup. When first starting tether training, stay close and reward your puppy for relaxed behaviour (sitting and lying down) on the tether

For more information and help with training your puppy, check out our self-study online dog training classes, our live online puppy classes, or contact us to book in-person or online private lessons.