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New 9 week old puppy - a few beginner questions


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Hello everyone :~) 

My wife and I got a new border collie puppy called Nala a week and a half ago (pic below!) and have found lots of really amazing help on this forum - thank you all for asking and answering questions, it's been amazing to see that other people are experiencing similar challenges haha! 

We do have some of our own little questions, mostly I guess related to what our expectations can be of a puppy that's 9 weeks old. Any words of advice and help are massively appreciated. 

In the last few days we've started understanding Nala's needs more accurately and we're definitely much better at telling when she needs to rest, when she needs to go potty etc. After seeing advice in another thread we've started developing a rhythm to her day too (wake up -> potty + sniffies outside -> breakfast inside, calming down -> morning is for resting etc. - very much inspired by this thread), which has been amazing. She feels much more settled and happy with us, even after just a few days of doing this. 

The first question we have for you all is related to her crate and sleeping. At this point basically all of her resting is enforced in a covered crate; without it, she just won't settle at all (too much FOMO if she can see us, even if we're both just working on our computers). Is this normal for her age? Do we just need to keep this rhythm up for a few weeks and will she pick up on it and instinctively rest at these times when she gets a little bit bigger? 

Question number two is related to her crate placement. Is it ideal to place the crate inside the x-pen and enforce closed crate time only when she can't deal with being in the x-pen alone? She's really quite jumpy and loud if left alone in her x-pen but settles quite quickly inside her covered crate, so we've removed the x-pen from the equation altogether, but we're reconsidering - we don't really like the idea that she's either in a covered crate or free to move around the whole flat and the x-pen is a natural solution, we just don't know where to best place it. (Side note: we're doing lots of crate training and she eats two of her meals in there every day too, so she's getting lots of positive vibes in that space, even though it's still not a place she'll go to hang out on her own - maybe we need to do something similar for the x-pen?)

And our last question - how do we combine potty training and x-pen/crate time at this age? We live in an apartment so we have some puppy pads that she's gotten quite good at using (there are some slip-ups of course), but we also try to take her out around 5-10mins after most naps/meals/play sessions and reward any outside peeing with nice treats. Is that just a question of her learning to hold it in for a little longer as she grows up and not something we need to worry about combining/being worried if an accident happens when she's in her x-pen? 

Sorry if these are super niche questions or things that are obvious to some of you - we're still very much figuring it out :~) 

Thanks in advance for any help! 

Adam & Adela (& Nala) 

 

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Can only comment with our recent experiences, 5.5 month old female.

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At this point basically all of her resting is enforced in a covered crate; without it, she just won't settle at all (too much FOMO if she can see us, even if we're both just working on our computers). Is this normal for her age? Do we just need to keep this rhythm up for a few weeks and will she pick up on it and instinctively rest at these times when she gets a little bit bigger? 

We enforced crate naps up until a few weeks ago, it was her 5 month birthday to the day. She suddenly started napping in her spots, and wasn't fussy and lays at our feet while inside. She gets her exercise and walks outside, and inside (so far) she has been a complete cozy pup. Give her the chances to settle with you, but she needs a lot of rest and will only pick up bad habits if she putzes around seeking stimulation constantly. She'll eventually associate household 'downtime' where theres no work for her and she can either settle next to her people, or be in the crate. I've known people who never had to enforce naps with their pups, some needed it throughout the first year. We may need it again come adolescence, it's a good skill to have and imo not 'bad' they need a break.

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She's really quite jumpy and loud if left alone in her x-pen but settles quite quickly inside her covered crate

I think it's very early, so long as the x-pens not totally isolated she can still watch all the action, crate inside or out of it won't really matter. Ours too, was the exact same way. We honestly don't use it a ton anymore, however its good management when she misbehaves or we need her out of the way, so we don't plan on taking ours down anytime soon.

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maybe we need to do something similar for the x-pen?

Try maybe spending some time in there? I spent 5 mins or so a day sitting in the pen with ours for somewhat random reasons like cleaning her paws after a walk or reading a book/ checking emails. You can also do some really short training sessions in there too. She's jumpy and whiny because you are the best!

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 We live in an apartment so we have some puppy pads that she's gotten quite good at using (there are some slip-ups of course), but we also try to take her out around 5-10mins after most naps/meals/play sessions and reward any outside peeing with nice treats. Is that just a question of her learning to hold it in for a little longer as she grows up and not something we need to worry about combining/being worried if an accident happens when she's in her x-pen? 

I think folks might be quick to say to drop the pads, but tbh in an apartment, I wish we had pad trained ours. A random health issue early on meant she was on meds for a week and couldn't hold it longer than 15 minutes. Tons of accidents in her Pen that week, didnt impact the pen at all, just a setback in potty training. Sounds like everything you are doing is great! TBH at 9 weeks I don't think they posses the physical ability to hold their bladders so just giving them lots of treats and success outside will make sense around 3.5-4 months when that association can be made. 

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Question number two is related to her crate placement. 

One thing, would be also playing with her near her X-pen. This helps if she gets bitey or starts nipping, for a quick 30-60 second timeout in the pen, its right there. Positive tone, 'oops' or 'timeout' word is used, they get placed in and you walk away. Honestly thats been the best use of the x-pen for us, and doesn't risk us putting her in her crate for a timeout with the wrong tone or attitude that she gets a bad sense of the crate. When your pup makes 5 mistakes in a row, thats 5 chances for you to do the exact same thing i.e. X-pen timeout and end the fun. She'll get it pretty fast. 

Good luck!

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Thanks for the photo....that is one adorable pup you have there. 

 Yep, normal for her age. Just keep it up. when she is grown she will choose her own time and place to take naps.

 Where to put the X-pen is up to you. Wherever is most convenient. If you are in a flat, there is probably limited room, so you know best where to put it. I like putting the puppy's crate in the bedroom at night, though, next to the bed. That way the pup is reassured, and also you can hear her if she starts acting as if she needs to go out to potty.

I don't recommend using the pee pads at all. All they do is tell the puppy that is is acceptable to potty in the house, and then you have to retrain that. Not a good idea, and not as efficient as taking the dog outside to potty and training her the right place to do it from the first. She will be able to hold it a little longer, and a little longer, as she grows. But for now, take her outside after eating, drinking, playing, napping, etc. and forget the pads in the house.

Such a cutie you have. More photos would be well received here. :-)

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@Enzsoundand @D'Elle, thank you so much for your words of reassurance! 

We've started using the x-pen separately from the crate since writing this post and it's been a nice way to give her some more alone time when we can't supervise (she has gotten less jumpy in it) and also the occasional "o-oh" when she's biting flesh. Once or twice she's had a snooze in there too, but it never lasts as long as when she's crated so we'll continue to use that to enforce naps when necessary. 

Pee pads are unfortunately quite necessary for us at this stage (even if we would really like to teach her to go outside as much as possible) because most nights she wakes up to go pee around 2-3am and it's impossible to wake up, get dressed and take her downstairs in time and without waking her up too much. With the pee pad you can just carry her there and she does her business and then heads straight back to her crate to continue sleeping for a few hours longer. During the day it's sometimes also difficult, because it's still quite cold where we are plus our current COVID guidelines ask us to wear a mask in hallways and outside, so it's just a very long process to get ready to go down 4 flights of stairs when we notice she needs to go. Way easier at this stage to redirect her to the pee pad (often, like 95% of the time she finds her own way over to them actually).

Thanks again to you both! Another puppy pic below :~) 

 

 

WhatsApp Image 2021-03-12 at 10.37.51.jpeg

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