Step One: Confinement areas

Step One: Confinement areas

Step One is to set up short-term and long-term confinement areas for your puppy. 

Dogs  are  naturally clean animals: if it were left up to them, they will do their business as far away from their sleeping quarters and dining area. However, it is not natural for dogs to understand that carpets and hardwood floors are inappropriate potty areas. This is something that you will have to teach them through this housetraining process by setting up the environment and setting up the puppy for success.

Short-term confinement

Short-term confinement is considered <4 hours. Many people choose to use a crate or kennel and if you choose to do that, be sure to work through the Crate-ivity course and let’s make your puppy comfortable from day one.

Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that dogs are “den animals” and that they should “naturally love their crate” – this is a myth and it takes much more than just popping your puppy in a crate to make them love it.

Long-term confinement

Long-term confinement is considered >4 hours. This is where we set up a room with a baby gate or an area using an exercise pen and we provide an enriched environment. This would include their crate covered with a blanket, a bowl of water, a variety of safe toys, and then as far away as possible from the bedding, water, and toys – a pee pad or potty park for relief. The long-term confinement area should be near natural light or at least have adequate lighting and you might choose to play music softly nearby; the top three choices are: soft rock, classical, and reggae – all have been proven to reduce anxiety in dogs. Rotate the selection of toys every day so that they do not get bored!

This is an area that you will use when you are unable to supervise your puppy even when you are home, so setting it up in an area that is near the busiest part of the home is a great idea!

Now, keep in mind that a puppy should not be left alone for long as they are developing and learning at such a rate and too much isolation can affect how a brain develops. This is a critical period, so take advantage!  If you are working an 8 hour day, for example, hire a dog walker who can come twice daily until they are 4-5 months so that they can have some social interactions, outside time, a break from the mundane environment, and a chance to burn off some energy.