So I’ve mentioned how my friend Jeremy, owner of Happy Dogs dog-walking service, knows more about dogs than almost anyone in the world except my mom…..thinks she does. OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but he’s a pretty serious devotee of Ian Dunbar‘s method of training, which basically rewards dogs for every single behavior you want and punishes them (which does not mean being nasty or cruel to them) for behaviors you don’t want. Other tenets are “setting the dog up for success,” and “thinking from the dog’s point of view” and then setting things up, so he’ll want to listen to you and do the behaviors you are encouraging. Ian’s got lots of videos up on YouTube; ch-ch-check ’em out!
As far as living arrangements go, there are two of them. There’s the cage crate, which should have just enough room for him to sit and play with a Kong, which is a chew toy that you put his food in, with some smear of natural peanut butter to make some kibble stuck inside and then you seal holes up with a chewy treat.
I’m getting off on a tangent about the Kong, apparently: Basically, since puppies are gonna chew on stuff, you want them to chew on what you want them to chew on (and not your furniture or prized Picasso). Plus, if you’re going to be away for any length of time, having Petey work to get his food out of the Kong will keep him occupied and from going stir crazy. It’s pretty brillz.
So, back to the cage crate. (Haha, it’s really a cage, but among dog peeps it’s PC to refer to it as a crate. Sure looks like a cage to me.) He should have just enough space to in there to sit and play with the Kong, but that’s it. No extra room to go potty. This way, if he goes, he has to sit in it, and he won’t want that. So it encourages him to hold it. He is only in the crate when I am home. Even if I’m sitting at my computer working, he doesn’t get free run of the apartment now. He stays in the crate, and I take him out every hour. This sets him up for success to pee/poop outside. Even though he has a 3-hour bladder capacity (he gets another hour every month), it’s better to do this ritual every hour.
Dog-walking tangent here: So, I take him out every hour for a walk, and give him about five minutes to do his business. If he doesn’t do anything, we go back inside, back into the crate, and we try again in 20 minutes. If he does go, we don’t go right back inside. We stay and walk an extra 20 minutes. This gets him his exercise, but it’s also a reward for peeing/pooping. Plus, if you take him back inside right after he goes, he’ll learn that’s what happens after he goes. Because he’ll want to be outside enjoying the smells and outdoors, he’ll make you wait and not do it when you want him to. These Ian Dunbar methods are pretty cool, yah?
So, then there’s the pen. He goes in there when I am not home. He gets more space in there. A bed, a little potty area, and a water bowl.
I already mentioned he has a bladder capacity of about 3 hours right now. So, I don’t expect to be away from the apartment for longer than that. However, if I am, or if I’m wrong about the 3-hr-capacity, he has a little separate area to potty in here and not have to sit in it.
To make the pen, I started with two little doggie/baby gates. My friend Lawrence helped me screw them into the wall and then connect them to each other to make the pen.
Then today, Jeremy and I went back to ACE hardware. We were looking for fencing or mesh to extend below the gates. Petey’s so small now, that he could totally get under there and escape. We wound up finding the awesomest bamboo, which not only sealed off the bottom, but also made the whole thing stronger. We used little cable ties to attach the gates to the bamboo. Except for the very end of one side. The bamboo is pretty high, and I won’t be able to reach over it to pick Petey up. So we left one side un-adhered, but put two screws into the wall behind it. This way, Petey won’t be able to push it out and then get out under the fence. But I’ll easily be able to roll it away to pick him up. Ingenious, Jeremy!
Bring on Petey!
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