Tulip has come a long way in two short weeks. I will talk about housetraining, first thing on every puppy owners agenda, and on ours as well.
Tulip has been more difficult than my previous three Standard Poodles from the same breeder. They were all housetrained in a week. This does not mean they could hold it for a long time, as they were only eight weeks with tiny bladders, and had to go out to wee frequently. They had only a few mistakes in the house, and after that they clearly asked to go out, and held it until they were outside. All three slept through a seven hour night in their crates which are kept in our bedroom, where all puppies are most comfortable. They never cried in their crates, as they were near us and felt secure. I could also hear them if they did have to go out during the night, meeting a puppie's needs is super important in starting a line of communication between you both.
Tulip, well......she's not so easy. One would think an older puppy would have better control, but Tulip happens to be one of the sensitive bladder types. If she has a tablespoon of urine in her bladder, she needs to relieve herself and RIGHT NOW!! The same with pooping. We had to adjust to a puppy who gave no signal at all, and had mistakes in the house before we could barely blink an eye.
Speaking of eyes, they are always on her when she is in the house. I do mean that literally, and yes, it is very tiring. We close doors, & use baby gates to keep her in whatever room we happen to be in at the time. Supervision is key, and one of the biggest places where I see owners drop the ball again, and again. We caught almost every mistake she made and intantly said a sharp "uh uh", and picked her up and ran out of the house with her so she could finish outside. Harder when the puppy is so much bigger, but I am getting a free workout, so I am not complaining. As she gets bigger, I just think of my muscles getting that much stronger.
The few times we did not catch her, we take a newspaper, roll it up, and hit ourselves repeatedly in the head, saying "Bad Owner". I think this has done the trick in making us pay better attention. It is our responsibility, after all, to train her. She is innocent and adorable, and we know the harder we work, the faster this process will happen.
When she does do her business outside, we click and treat the instant she finishes (clicking during could cause a pup to stop, and then they would not have finished). We also keep track of her water intake, and make sure we get her out for a scheduled walk within a half hour of a big drink.
We thoroughly clean up any accidents with a cleaner that contains enzymes made to clean up dog messes. We don't want to leave any scent to draw her back to that spot again.
She is now telling us very clearly, by going to the door and glancing at us, when she needs to go out. We drop whatever we are doing and take her outside, asking her repeatedly, "Do you want to go out" in a happy upbeat voice. This had been challenging for us as we are currently addicted to watching "Sons Of Anarchy" on Netflix. Our pause button on the remote control has gotten a lot of use. Our rapid response has increased her signal strength, as again, we are meeting her needs swiflty.
Once outside, we repeat, "Go Potty", until she does, and we do not respond to any play gestures from her, as we want to teach business first, and pleasure later.
I am blessed that I can make my schedule around Tulip, and I don't leave her for more than 3 and a half hours. Of course she is in her crate, with plenty of engaging chew toys, and her loyal protector and friend is kept in the same area, my male dog Kashmir. He is not crated, as he is a fully trained dog, but he seems to love his babysitting job.
Tulip also barked and cried in the crate the first few days we had her. She will still occasionally do this. I simply ignored it, as I knew all of her needs for potty, and exercise had been met. When she stopped crying and barking, she got to come out. I wouldn't want to inadvertantly teach her that barking and crying works, as that would increase that behavior. At night I covered her crate to make it dark and cozy, and that worked very well for her, as it does for many puppies. I also give her a treat in the crate, and click her as she enters to eat it, as well as giving her breakfast and dinner in the crate to form a pleasant association. All of this has made the barking substanially decrease, and I know it will soon be only a memory. She has also learned the cue "crate", and enters willingly when asked.
Stay tuned for the next installment of my dog trainer's diary, foundational skills for my new puppy, Tulip.