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First time owner of 11 week old Shih Poo puppy - needing some advice!

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Summer Elsley, Jul 31, 2020.

Is 4 months too young to be left home alone for 4 and a half hours?

  1. Yes

    3 vote(s)
    75.0%
  2. No

    1 vote(s)
    25.0%
  1. Summer Elsley

    Summer Elsley New Member Registered

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    So me and my partner are first time dog owners and picked up our perfect little Shih Poo (Shitzu X Poodle) puppy Mila 2 weeks ago.

    We picked her up at 9 weeks and she is now 11 weeks. In the 2 weeks we've had her she has been an absolute angel and she's coming into her little personality a lot more now. She has never ever been an anxious pup, she loves people (everyone!), she is great with dogs (been introduced to my aunties vaccinated dog only), she is very obedient, she loves playing and cuddles and she has made our first time experience so pleasant - despite the breed apparently being known as stubborn.


    I really need some advice on leaving Mila alone while we're in work in the day.

    I decided to have a puppy during lock down as I am currently working from home and shielding, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to settle her in and potty train her ready for when I go back to work (partner also works full time and is still working normal hours). I don't have a date yet but I feel like I will be going back to work around September time when Mila will be at least 4 months old. I know its only been 2 weeks but I really want to do my best to make sure she's ready or put whatever provisions that are needed in place.


    The past 2 weeks Mila has been with me every single day, she sort of has her own routine but it's changing as she's getting a bit older e.g. she tends to need less naps now!

    Potty training - Because I’ve had the luxury of being with Mila all day everyday we’ve been able to make a great start on potty training. I would take her out every hour and after eating/napping/playing and would reward her with a tiny treat and lots of praise every time she would go outside. By week 2 Mila is taking herself outside to wee and poop when the patio door is open or running towards and standing in front of the door if its closed. I know we have a long way to go yet but I am so happy she’s picked this up so quickly. She will also wee and poo outside when at my relative’s houses and not inside which is also amazing. And I am so lucky that she has NEVER weed or pood in her crate. Only issue we have with toileting is her eating her poop! Every time! I always go with her when she goes outside anyway but you have to grab/call her as soon as it comes out or she’ll eat it straight away! I’m hoping she will eventually grow out of this.


    Sleep & crate training - So she slept in her crate for the very first time on her 4 hour journey home (I left the crate door open and sat next to her and she slept the whole time. So after researching for months the advice I received was to let her cry at night which was very hard but I was under the impression this was the least confusing way of doing it. So she would usually fall asleep in the evening on our laps (doesn't do this too often anymore) after a good play, we would let her sleep there then when we were ready for bed around 10/11 we would take her out for her last wee/poop and then let her settle down on our laps for a few minutes more before placing her in her crate sleeping. As soon as we would lock the door she would cry, we would try to calm her but she just wanted to get out, she'd been fed, watered, played with, gone to toilet and cuddled so we felt that she was fine to be left. She didn't cry for long, I'd say the first 2 nights she cried for about 10 minutes each time. Also for the first few nights we were waking her up at 3am to take her outside to toilet, it felt cruel doing this as she would take ages to squeeze out a wee and she wanted to play. So putting her straight back in her crate again was like we were teasing her. We trialled a night to see if she woke to go to the toilet and she didn't and she has quite a strong bladder for her age to be honest. So from probably day 4 we stopped taking her for a potty break in the middle of the night and she slept so much better without us disturbing her. She goes from about 11pm to 6am, has never soiled her crate and is happy to wake us up for her morning wee and poop. So although she was sleeping through the night quite quickly getting her in her crate at bedtime was a challenge. I started crate training her in the day and within a couple of days she was going to her crate on command and staying in there (door open) for short naps. She will also sit and lie down on command (which took her like 10 minutes to learn and she continues to sit and lie down when being asked without a treat present). So by week 2 she no longer cried when putting her to bed. Although she very rarely takes herself into her crate even though her toys and blankets are in there she'll go in and take her toys out to play with. If I take her in the car in the crate sometimes she'll cry sometimes she'll be fine, so we're not quite there with the crate yet but at least she sleeps all night in it and doesn't seem distressed at bed time anymore. She much prefers to either sleep on a slipper, on the hard living room floor, on the sofa with us or on her blanket which we sometimes put on the floor for her - anywhere but her crate basically!


    Being left alone - I've practised leaving her alone for short periods, first it was going into another room for 20 seconds and I slowly built it up. So now she's at a stage where she will quite happily sleep in another room while I leave and go about my day, every now and then she may come and check to see what I'm doing but she never cries when I leave the room. She will also sleep outside on her own too - although I usually make her come back in as I don't like her being out there when I'm not watching her - especially incase she poops and eats it. I've left her with my nan for a couple of hours when I had a hospital appointment and basically you can leave her with anyone and she's happy. Although when I return she always greets me with excitement and kisses - she does this to everyone though!


    I'm so sorry for the long post I just wanted to give some very detailed background. So how do I go about training her to be okay to be left alone? Should I carry on with the crate training? I don’t really like the idea of her being in the crate for long and I only got one to make potty training easier but she seems to be doing well with that. Would I be okay to leave her in my living room (where her crate is, where we spend most of our time as a family, where she sleeps in the day and night) when we both go back to work. I will be leaving for work at 7.30am and getting home around 6pm and my partner leaves at 7am sometimes 8am and gets home between 3pm and 4pm. I can’t come home to see to her in the day because I work an hours drive away. I have family members who can come and feed her (at 12pm), let her out to toilet and play with her to wear her out. If we did this she’d probably be on her own for a maximum of 4 and a half hours at a time (7.30am - 12pm). Should I arrange to drop Mila at my relative’s for the day once or twice a week too? At the moment she usually sleeps 2-3 hours between 9am and 12pm. Do you think she is likely to wait to be let out or have an accident in the house? As she has not had any vaccinations at the moment (couldn’t get her booked in due to lockdown) we haven’t taken her on any walks, but by the time I go back to work she will be fully vaccinated. Would you suggest walking her before work, my relative walking mid day or her looking forward to an evening walk with us after work?

    So any general advice on training her to be okay with being left alone and what kind of routine we could put in place while at work would be great.

    Thank you!
     
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  3. lurcherman

    lurcherman Well-Known Member Registered

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    Such a long post so I didn’t read it all, 4 n half hours I’d say no, and read she goes from 11pm till 6 am, so if you treat it like a handbag dog and pamper it to hell and back then it might just hate it, I treat my dogs as dogs to be able to cope with stuff, so you as a owner will prob be the key, I’m old school and treat my dogs to act real , you will get different advice I’m sure.
     
  4. Summer Elsley

    Summer Elsley New Member Registered

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    Sorry about the long post, just thought it would help to give information on her current abilities and temperament. Sorry I don’t know what you mean by hand bag dog? And what sleeping from 11pm until 6am has to do with pampering a dog?? How do I treat a dog to ‘act real’? The reason why I’m posting is to be able to help my dog ‘cope with stuff’ and so you mentioned that 4 and a half hours is too long to leave her but you also mentioned that I’m ‘pampering her to hell and back’. Could you be a bit more clear please? I’m unsure what to take away from this reply.
     
  5. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    I'm struggling to understand Lurcherman's post too, Summer!

    Your pup sounds like a little star!

    I'm not a fan of leaving a dog to cry at night - it can teach the that nights (and crates) are scary, and you won't come and care for her when she's upset. It's better to let a new pup sleep close to you at first, and wean her away from you gradually. But anyway - it sounds like she's happy at night now, and sleeping through, so that's all good :)

    It's great that you've thought through what will happen when you go back to work. I would start leaving her alone now - with you leaving the house, not just being in another room - and record her (ideally video, but audio will do) to see if she seems content or not. Start with a very short time, and build up gradually. Your aim is always to stay within her comfort zone - if you notice she seems agitated after half an hour, you go back to leaving her for 20 minutes for a few days before building up again. If you're up to 4.5 hours by the time you go back to work and she seems fine, all well and good. If not, then arrange for someone to come in to break up the time.

    I wouldn't worry too much about toileting accidents, to be honest - she's clearly got the idea, and if she does have an accident then you'll know she can't last that long and can go back to not leaving her so long till she's older.

    I realise this isn't a great time to have to keep leaving the house for hours at a time, but it will be worth it in the long run - take a picnic!

    You can take her out the house by carrying her right now. Seeing all different sorts of people, vehicles and so on will really help with socialising - you want her to see tall people, children, people wearing hats, with beards, walking sticks, in wheelchairs, and also buses, dustbin lorries, motorbikes...
     
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  6. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    Oh, and just to add - long posts are great - the more info we have, the better advice we can give:)
     
  7. Summer Elsley

    Summer Elsley New Member Registered

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    Thank you so much for your advice Th is is really helpful. I was absolutely gutted when I’d read that leaving them at night could have a long term negative impact. All the advice I had read had recommended this and by the time I read otherwise she was already starting to settle in her crate at night so didn’t want to start putting her in my room at that point and confusing her. I’m glad she took to it well, it could have gone a lot worse!

    I will definitely try to start leaving her in the house now, is there a specific video camera you would recommend? I did see one that was nearly £200 but haven’t looked other than that. Thanks again for your advice, I’ve found it really helpful❤️
     
  8. lurcherman

    lurcherman Well-Known Member Registered

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    Look ok it’s simple , hand bag dog, prob just my term but thought it was easy, ok I’m not a great believer of pampering a dog, lifting a dog in your arms everywhere, 4 n half hours isn’t that bad as LONG as you treat a dog as a dog, the new readings of books of which I think is P C nowadays isn’t to my liking, now is the 4 n half hours more like 6 plus then it be hard, right pamper the hell out of it means doing everything for the dog instead of letting the dog find it’s on feet in most of things, most people nowadays In my view we do too much for the dog which is a waste to the breed .
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2020
  9. lurcherman

    lurcherman Well-Known Member Registered

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    Right I braved myself and read the full post, dog seems fine, hours seems fine, can’t see a fault apart from poo eating, my main point is don’t create a problem, too much pampering gives you a baby not a dog, there is plenty of time for a cuddle but not in every moment of the day.
     
  10. Ari_RR

    Ari_RR Well-Known Member Registered

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    Lovely long post, and lovely little dog! Great!
    As for leaving alone, my 2 cents - what would I want the dog to do while he is alone? I only have 1 good answer - sleep. So when training for "home alone", what worked for us was to take him out on a long or eventful walk, come back, and then leave. This is a bit of a pain at the beginning, but eventually sets the pattern of sleeping when no one is around.
     
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  11. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    I'm not going to add to the advice but someone I know bought a little video camera from Curry's for about £30.

    I'll see if I can find the details.
     
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  12. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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  13. Hemlock

    Hemlock Active Member Registered

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    It's sensible to start leaving her for short times now, building up to the 4 and a half hours and including family member (fm) coming in while you are there to supervise. It isn't a case of spoiling your dog but of building on the good start you have already made. When fm comes in, no lively play or noisy greetings but straight outside for a time spent quietly together. You need pup to be calm not excited when fm takes her out for potty break and company. It can be quite hard to get this across to some people who think puppy = running about barking and playing, but the excitement hormones take a while to dissipate and pup needs to be calm when fm leaves.
    It IS a long time for a young pup to be left, so I suggest you make lots of puzzle toys (ask for details if you'd like them) so she can do lots of calming chewing (chewing releases endorphins) in a safe environment.
     
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  14. excuseme

    excuseme Well-Known Member Registered

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    I'm sorry but I have not read your l-o-n-g post thoroughly, I will try to do this later today.
    May I please ask if your puppy is crated all night, and where will your puppy be kept while you are both at work :confused:

    Will we be getting a picture of her? We all love pictures:rolleyes:

    .
     
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  15. Summer Elsley

    Summer Elsley New Member Registered

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    Thanks for reading the full post, this reply is a lot more helpful for me. I understand what pampering meant but I think you assumed what kind of owner I was before reading the full post. I certainly don't carry her round with me all the time, I train her and we have a lot of rules in place. The only reason I am giving her so much attention at the moment is because she is a baby and she was only just taken from her mother. I feel there is a big difference between pampering and having a handbag dog (not that I have a problem with this as it's down to what the owner wants) and ensuring the dog is raised to be a well balanced dog. I also think it's down to the breed as some dogs are more social than others and don't tolerate being left alone well and so the owner's responsibility is to give it the best quality of life possible. I definitely don't want to baby my dog though so I will ensure I don't pamper her too much thanks for your advice.
     
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  16. Summer Elsley

    Summer Elsley New Member Registered

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    Thank you for this, she seems to already be falling into this pattern so it will probably be best to carry this on and train her to sleep while no one is there. As she is so small it doesn't take a lot for her to want a sleep so I'm sure when she's fully vaccinated a walk before work would be perfect before we leave. Thank you!
     
  17. Summer Elsley

    Summer Elsley New Member Registered

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    Great thank you! I'll take a look too.
     
  18. Summer Elsley

    Summer Elsley New Member Registered

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    Thank you this is really helpful information, specifically the keeping her calm when a family member comes. As she does get extremely excited when she sees people. I will take a look for some puzzle toys too she only has a treat dispensing toy at the moment which is a bit too easy for her to get the treats out within a few minutes.
     
  19. Summer Elsley

    Summer Elsley New Member Registered

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    Sorry I went overboard on the post, once I started I couldn't stop! I should have put a shorter version straight to the question. Yes she is crated all night, she sleeps in there from eith 10pm or 11pm (depending on when we go to bed) and sleeps all the way through to 6am when she is taken straight outside for a toilet before starting her day. Her crate is kept in the living room where we all spend most of our day, she spends 90% of her time in this room and is very comfortable there. I can't upload a picture sorry it keeps saying security error, I will keep trying :)
     
  20. Tinytom

    Tinytom Active Member Registered

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    How long will family stay with her when they come in. ..i also think leaving her with relatives one or two days a week is a very good idea if they dont mind ..:);)
     
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  21. excuseme

    excuseme Well-Known Member Registered

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    Leaving your puppy with relatives a couple of times a week is a good idea, as long as she does not get shut up in the cage again (as security), I think a whole night in a cage is quiet long enough to be fair to any dog:oops:

    .
     
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