While writing a daily update would be ideal, as you can imagine, life was full even before the Potty Gang entered the picture.
Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
They settle in for the night a few hours before we do. It takes us by surprise sometimes. Surely, we think, they are going to want to go out one more time to do their business. But we let sleeping dogs lie.
In the morning, they let us know that they need to go out by whining at the crate door. If one of us was up before them, I’m sure we could get them out before the whining begins but for us that is usually an alarm clock. 😉
If the person who opens the crate heads directly for the back door and heads outside, the puppies will all follow. However, if there is any hesitation, one or more of them will scatter in our living room in search of a place to go. So, while these little guys are well on their way to being house-trained, due to human error, accidents still happen.
As I wrote in an earlier post, this experience is our first experience house-training. So, it is a learning experience for us as well. Routine is everything but that is a lesson that we have learned in child rearing, too.
One of the most difficult things for a dog is to be left alone. Many people have dogs with anxiety issues. They get anxious when their family (their pack) leaves them and they remain anxious the whole time they are gone. This separation anxiety can result in destructive behaviour or excessive barking or crying. When we left Toffee alone shortly after adopting her, she ate most of our shoes. We worked with her and gave her alternative chew toys when we were gone. Part of her desire to chew was that she was still in the puppy phase when we first got her.
We are doing our best to prepare the Potty Gang for their new families and the likelihood that these brothers will be separated. So, starting on day seven, during one of the nap times we are separating one of the puppies from his brothers and putting him alone in the small carrying crate.
As I have said before about crating, the crate should be a place of comfort and relaxation, a safe place like a den. So, crate time is associated with treats and relaxation. We try not to close the puppy in the crate until the dog is as Cesar Millan describes in a “calm submissive” state. Nevertheless, when the puppy realizes he is alone and unable to get back to his brothers or to one of us “hairless dogs”, then the whining starts. Of course, like allowing a baby to fall asleep on his or her own, it is difficult not to go and comfort the dog. However, we all managed to ignore the whining which in Powder’s case lasted about 15 minutes the first time. Roscoe settled and went to sleep within five minutes. I can’t recall how long Chewie took but they all successfully managed to self-comfort and settle off to sleep.
If they did not actually nap but were calm, then we would have allowed them to return to the pack after half an hour. End the exercise with success and calm, if possible. However, they did sleep and were reunited when all of them woke up and went out to the backyard to do their business.
How Not to Raise Marley
To make sure that we are doing the best for these dogs and their future families, we are reading Cesar Milan’s book on how to raise puppies. (Click the image to link to Amazon.)
As much as the Dog Whisperer enjoyed the book and movie Marley and Me, one of the themes of this book is how not to raise a Marley.
March 3, 2016