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Old 05-14-2013, 03:00 PM
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Default Dr. Ian Dunbar's puppy book

Have you all read that? (sorry if this has been posted. I tried to do a search, but the search function malfunctioned and I wasn't able to pull anything up. Please excuse if this is a repeat)

Basically, it suggests that if you leave the puppy alone in the house during the day to get an ex pen (which I have), a crate that fits the puppy (which I have) some toys and some food (also which I have) etc.

My question is that it also suggests putting a potty area in the ex pen for the puppy to use for elimination.

I was thinking about putting some grass in a cat box so that she could use the bathroom and get used to having grass under her feet.

Have any of you used this method? If so, did it work? What issues did you have with it?
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Old 05-14-2013, 03:04 PM
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I haven't read the book, but that's what we did with Keira as a puppy.

She had a big expen, a crate without a door for sleeping in there, a few toys and a potty area. It worked pretty well I think. It was better than just crating her all day. Half the time she never even used the potty area, but it was there if she needed it. I don't think it hindered anything at all. She was difficult to make grasp the concept of housebreaking, but I don't think that had anything to do with the expen. Just a Keira thing. I liked having her in the pen during the day because I knew she could go to the bathroom if she needed to, could keep busy with her toys (Kongs, a Hurley, Nylabone) and walk around and stretch.

Just make sure you don't leave a collar on in the pen. It's something I didn't really give much thought to until people told me that some escape artist puppies have gotten hung up in expens with collars on.

ETA: We didn't leave food with her though. She had a stuffed Kong, but she ate scheduled meals.
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Last edited by Toller_08; 05-14-2013 at 03:59 PM.
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Old 05-14-2013, 03:30 PM
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This is what we did with Tucker as well (minus the food, he ate scheduled meals). For his potty area we just used puppy pads though. I was afraid he'd tear them up (since he tore everything up as a puppy) but he never did, and he did use them when he wanted to potty. You could use grass I suppose, just make sure you get a good amount of it in there so it's distinctly different from the floor, and make sure the litter box isn't difficult to get into. You could also do wood shavings or hay. Make sure the pen is on a hard floor so that the potty area, which will be soft and absorbent, is more attractive than the floor for potty time. Dogs will usually prefer a softer place to go over a hard place (though not always!). If you do have food and water in the pen keep them as far as possible from the potty area.


The only issues we had with it had little to do with the actual pen. He started out great, for a while actually, but eventually he developed some separation anxiety issues and started slamming himself into the pen and trying to force himself through it. He calmed down when we started letting him have free roam (he still had SA but wasn't at risk of hurting himself...he started stress pooping instead). We do still have the occasional poop accident, but only when his schedule gets thrown off for some reason, and not every time. I think that has to do with giving him free roam so soon, not with using the puppy pen.
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Old 05-15-2013, 02:31 PM
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Thanks for the responses!

I'm glad that you both have positive experiences with that method. I pretty much have everything ready to go for her, but was having last minute doubts on doing things this way.

Again, thanks!!!
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