Have I made a huge mistake with my puppy?

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Have I made a huge mistake with my puppy?

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Old 10-21-2012, 07:47 PM
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Unhappy Have I made a huge mistake with my puppy?

Hello all,

I am a new member to this site, and I'm sure what I'm about to say you have all heard before. I am seriously feeling like I've made a huge mistake by getting my puppy. I've had puppies in the past when I was younger with my family, but now I'm in my late 20's and have been living on my own for quite some time, and I thought I was ready for a puppy but I feel like I've made a terrible mistake.

I got a 9 week old lab puppy yesterday, because we always had labs when I was growing up. I love labs and it's the only kind of dog I wanted. I work a lot of hours, but my girlfriend is able to take care of the dog often for me when I'm not home. I work a lot of hours, but I also have a lot of days off in return for working so many hours. I just feel like I wasn't as mentally prepared as I thought I was.

I have tried to start the crate training method for my puppy. Yes I know it is early, but I am just really confused on what to do. He was so good about going potty when we stopped for him to on the way home, and only had 3 small accidents in the house last night. I had to work today, but my girlfriend stayed home with him and he has had numerous accidents. She has caught most of them in the act and taken him outside as soon as he starts to have the accident, but there were a few she was too late on, or didn't discover until after he was done. She has spent all day monitoring him and I honestly feel bad that she has had to dedicate every second of her day to him and it's only really day 2 of puppy life.

I don't know if this is the right way to handle things, but I have two different crates, well one is actually like a large pen. The small crate is where I put him to sleep in my bedroom at night and then I have a larger pen setup in my garage that I can put him in if we both need to be gone. We both have to work, and my dad can stop by sometimes to let him out, but he may be in there for 4 hours or so before someone lets him out. So I didn't think that leaving him in that small crate would be good since it might be 4 hours or a little more before he is let out. Someone told me that this could harm his housebreaking because he may go potty in the larger pen in the garage and therefore think it's ok to go potty in the house. I just don't know what else to do. She put him in the larger pen for about 20 minutes today in the garage and he went crazy, crying, shreaking, barking, like he was being killed. What do I do?!? This is about ready to make us lose our minds. I read all these posts where people say their dogs love being in their crates, but mine is freaking out and we can't even clean the house because he won't stay in his small crate without going wacko.

I just feel like I've made a terrible terrible mistake. I love him already and I know he's a baby, but what am I supposed to do???
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Old 10-21-2012, 08:20 PM
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It's a puppy. It takes time. Don't loose patience.
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Old 10-21-2012, 08:26 PM
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Breathe. You haven't made a mistake. Fearghas now loves his crate but mercy me he sure didn't when he first came home. I was afraid the neighbours would call the cops thinking for sure he was being killed. He hated that thing. Whatever you do don't give in. He will whine and bark and howl but don't let him out until he's calm unless you figure it's a potty emergency. Others will post links I'm sure but being in my phone I can't. Start feeding him in his big crate. So he will get used to the idea. We still feed Fearghas there in the mornings while I shower before work. How is he in the smaller one? Put a dirty shirt in there for him so he has your smell around and even a stuffed animal so he has a cuddle buddy. I would say Fearghas took about a month to fully love his crate.
Start taking him out every half an hour or so when someone is there and praise the heck out of him when he goes outside where you want him to immediately when he's done. We took Fearghas on a leash so we were right there when he went. Make no comments to him if he goes inside and no treats. He will learn outside potty=treats and learn to go outside. As far as leaving him in the pen when you have to work, we also had to do this and put down a pee pad in the same spot every time. When we picked it up we cleaned the area with an enzyme cleaner. He eventually will be old enough to hold it. We realized Fearghas was old enough to hold it when we found the dry pad in tiny little pieces.
You guys will get through this stage and maybe take your girl out for a nice supper as thanks! Lol
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Old 10-22-2012, 05:37 PM
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You are not the only one who feels like this when bringing home a new puppy! Me and my hubby were literally in tears by the end of week one with our pup when we first brought him home! We were told to give it two full weeks, and the feeling will pass around then... this is 100% true. You did not make a mistake, it sounds like you planned very well for this puppy with the crating arrangements and everything, and it's completely normal to feel flustered for the first few days. Even if it doesn't seem like it now, it gets way, way better before long, I promise!

To echo others' sentiments, if he potties inside, it is okay. Ignore it. If you catch him in the act, clap, say "let's go OUTSIDE!," and run him out to finish his business outside. Whenever he potties outside, make it the greatest party ever, with treats, as if he's just laid a golden egg - give him his favorite biscuits, tell him how great he is, etc. He will learn. It will become obvious that outside is the best place in the world to do his business, and inside is just not, and he will start going only outside (when he can help it) so that get can get your affection and yummies.

Our Goose is a lab mix, and he whined and howled and barked like crazy when he was in his crate at first. We thought we would have security called on us (we live in an apartment), and that we would have to take him back to the shelter because management would make us get rid of him. This made us panic, it made us upset, and depressed, and we wondered what the heck we'd gotten ourselves into...

BUT! He learned to love his crate in a matter of a week. Put treats in it with the door open, let him wander in to get them, and come right back out. Work up to closing it for a minute, then two, then five, etc. He just has to get used to the idea that it's totally fine to be alone, and that you will be back to come get him out before he knows it! I found that putting peanut butter in a Kong and freezing it and putting that in the confined area before closing it off helps a lot. Every time I leave him, Goose gets peanut butter, and he never gets it otherwise, so he now actually can't wait for me to leave, lol. Anything to keep the pup busy and having a good time while confined will help!

This forum has some phenomenal advice on crating and potty training and the whole shebang, so I don't want to draw out my personal advice more than necessary - people with much more dog smarts and experience than me have provided some great resources here, definitely check 'em out!

I mainly really just wanted to tell you that what you are thinking and feeling is totally normal. Your baby will pee and poo inside, will whine to be let out of his crate or gated area, and may be a puppy in a number of other ways. At first, you may get upset, having to clean up his messes in silence, wondering if he will ever learn, and you may sometimes just have to let him whine and cry his heart out until he learns it won't get him out (unless he has true separation anxiety, in which case, you don't want to just leave him sitting there, freaking out - but if it's whining only, no destruction or other signs of anxiety, it's probably just him trying to train you to let him out when he wants )... This is how it feels to own a puppy and have to raise it for the first time.

In two weeks' time, that thought of, "did we make a mistake?," that stress, will be gone. He may not be fully potty trained or quiet in his crate all the time - but he will be better, and you will fall in love with him, and you will know that whatever you have to do now, is worth it. It sounds cheesy now, I thought it sounded like a load of BS when I heard this same advice when we first brought Goose home, but wait and see. Things improve, and the stress just melts away...

Definitely post again soon, to say whether things have improved!
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Old 10-22-2012, 06:02 PM
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in the first two days, our puppy, Rudy, has adjusted to his small sleeping crate fairly well. Last night he only woke up one time to go to the bathroom, and I couldn't believe it. I wanted to take him out again but he didn't want to come out. He didn't whine barely at all, and slept through the night. However..... I don't feel that I can leave him in this small crate when we are at work, it just is too small and I can't convince myself that he's fine in that small crate for 4 to 5 hours. Therefore, I've been moving his small crate to the large pen in the garage, and putting him in there. This is what he doesn't like. He barks and whines and gets very upset when I leave him in there. I put my old t-shirt in his little crate inside the big pen, and his toys, and have begun feeding him in there so that he associates it with a good place, but he just doesn't care for it. Maybe time will tell, but right now it's not been good, and I feel really bad about it. But again, I can't convince myself to leave him in a sleeping crate all day long.
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Old 10-22-2012, 09:54 PM
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It may be being in the garage that he can't stand. He's away from all he's become familiar with and all the smells of you and your girlfriend when he's out there.

If you really don't like leaving him in the small crate when you are gone then maybe try getting one of the smaller X pens or block off a small area of a room and leave him there while you are gone.
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Old 10-22-2012, 10:12 PM
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my fear of putting the cage in the house is that he'll start going potty in the house then and think it's ok to potty in there when he's really doign well on his potty training so far
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Old 10-22-2012, 11:16 PM
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I'm going to say something people here might scold me for, but after three weeks, I chucked the crate. I literally couldn't take it anymore, I was about to rip my hair out.

Sophie was the model puppy, on schedule with her housebreaking, picking up basic commands quickly, with ease. But she refused to stay quietly in her crate. Everyone says they get used to it eventually, and that the what-have-I-gotten-myself-into feeling goes away in about two weeks. But for 21 nights, I put her in that crate beside my bed, and for 21 nights I got literally no sleep, because she would scream the entire time she was in the crate. She didn't calm down after 30 minutes, and hour, or at all. And this was every single night for three weeks.

So I threw the crate in the burn pile and haven't looked back since. Maybe I should have held my ground. But I didn't, and she turned out fine.

That said, I woke up ever 1.5 hours to take her out, to prevent accidents, which I wouldn't have had to do with a crate.

So my advice is to wait a few weeks, not days, and see if he adjusts. But bare in mind every dog is there own dog, and despite what people say, some just won't accept a crate.
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Old 11-14-2012, 03:24 PM
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Dont worry!! I just got my third dog a white lab pup he is about 11 weeks now! the first two or three days there were MANY accidents. Soon he would walk to the door and i immediately took him out. it will be okay. If u have any questions regarding labs please message me
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Old 11-14-2012, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by BAH84 View Post
I just feel like I've made a terrible terrible mistake. I love him already and I know he's a baby, but what am I supposed to do???
Pull up yer big boy pants and settle in for the haul, lol. You have a baby and babies need a LOT.

I would read up on the proper way to crate train to be sure you aren't inadvertently making the pup hate the crate, but even so, puppies will cry. Most dogs will accept a crate -- even grow to like a crate -- if they're shown crates can be good things, yummy treats and toys are in there, etc. You can't just put them in there and think they'll accept it. There's background work to be done for sure.

This is a cool page -- not really about the crate training, perse, but check it out, and especially watch the vid here:
Crate Games, it is not just for breakfast anymore. | Susan Garrett's Dog Training Blog

Potty training isn't fun for anyone, but if you are very consistent and forgoe lots of sleep for 2-3 weeks, you'll nip the thing in the bud instead of prolonging it for months.

Admittedly, I brought all my pups into bed with me from night 1 when they came home. But, I always woke up when they wiggled and needed to go pee.

Good luck!
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