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I am bringing home an 8 week-old cockapoo puppy on April 19th and am busy preparing for the new arrival :)

I would love to hear about things you thought would work well (and didn't), or things you wish you had known to prepare for, or maybe something you did that worked really well.

A little bit about our situation:

Two very calm, easy-going kids ages 11 and 9 at home.
Two geriatric cats and one 4 year-old cat, all indoor-only

House is completely open, so unable to gate off rooms. Planning on doing an exercise pen with crate attached for the puppy to have a safe area to play.

Both of us work but have schedules that allow us to be gone no longer than 4 hours at a time. Have a dog walker to come in if puppy will be alone more than 2 hours.

Planning on puppy sleeping in a crate inn our bedroom at night and staying in exercise pen in living room during the day.
 

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Congrats on the new addition!

Here are my recommendations:

1) Do not use "potty pads". Teach your pup to go outside right from the beginning. Tethering worked really well for me!

2) As soon as you get your pup home and settled, start teaching a "leave it" command. I'm not being dramatic- this command has saved my pups life. I have 3 kids who drop things all the time- food, Lego's, etc.- and as soon as I say "leave it", my dog will not pick it up.

3) Find a PR trainer in your area and get into a puppy class as soon as vaccines are complete. Aside from bonding and establishing a good obedience foundation, it's a great way to socialize your pup early.

MOST IMPORTANTLY! You MUST post photos on DogForum! ;)
 

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I agree, leave it is very important. Since you can't gate off areas of the house make sure the cats have places they can get away from the puppy. Discourage chasing of the cats. It took some of my cats a little over six months to really get use to Freyja. You can start training from day one.
 

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Supervise, supervise , supervise.

Start training your puppy as soon as it comes home. Don't expect a competition level heel, but just do a couple of 2 minute training sessions throughout the day. Puppies are total sponges, there is no reason to wait!

I'm a big fan of having my puppy sit - for everything. Food - sit. Go outside - sit (this one comes as they gain bladder control!). Come inside - sit. Some pets - sit. Throw a ball - sit! This is a default sit, I don't ask for these.

Learn to leave the puppy alone. It is hard because they are so cute, but learning to settle on their own is such a crucial skill.

This one is a big one - don't beat yourself up for making mistakes. You'll make them, lots of them. The puppy will recover. :)

Oh, and just for good measure - SUPERVISE. Being in the same room does not equal supervision. :)
 

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I will second many of the above comments and add a few of my own:

1. Don't use puppy pads. It confuses the dog. Just do business outside every time. With a small breed, this probably means getting up once or twice during the night to take puppy outside.

2. Use kibble to train. Short training session at each meal (3 times a day). This will accomplish many things: regular training, build the bond, build the dog's work ethic, and keep puppy from inhaling his/her meal in 0.2 seconds.

3. Feed high quality food. The puppy is growing and needs proper nutrition. This could impact the health of your dog for the rest of its life.

4. Do not allow puppy to get away with any behavior that you don't find acceptable for an adult dog.

5. Reward quiet calm behavior (ignore whining and crying).

6. Make sure your kids handle the pup properly and do not scare the pup. I generally tell kids- don't chase the puppy, let him come to you.

7. Socialize! Meet other dogs, people, go places, etc (after all vaccines are done). But make sure your pup is only having positive experiences.
 

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Hunting breeds! Watch for prey drive & go at the cat's pace with introductions. Depending on your dog's level of prey drive, you might need to keep them separate for a while so you can better control their interactions.

Also..some dogs just love eating cat poop so keep an eye on that. And, if you can put the cat's food up high on a shelf where only the cats can access it, that's ideal.
 

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Also..some dogs just love eating cat poop so keep an eye on that. And, if you can put the cat's food up high on a shelf where only the cats can access it, that's ideal.

I completely forgot about the cat poop thing. Most dogs think kitty poop is yummy, yuck. And some dogs will even eat the litter itself and that can cause anything from an upset tummy to a full on blockage. So make sure your puppy can not get to the litter boxes. Also some cats will not use the litter box if they don't feel safe in it. If it's a covered box they may feel trapped. I have all my litter boxes were the dogs can not get to them. I used lattice and cut it to size to block off the main area.
 
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I completely forgot about the cat poop thing. Most dogs think kitty poop is yummy, yuck. And some dogs will even eat the litter itself and that can cause anything from an upset tummy to a full on blockage. So make sure your puppy can not get to the litter boxes. Also some cats will not use the litter box if they don't feel safe in it. If it's a covered box they may feel trapped. I have all my litter boxes were the dogs can not get to them. I used lattice and cut it to size to block off the main area.
Oh yeah, our dog used to love munching on the cat's litter too..thankfully, our cat has always been on Swheat Scoop litter (flushable organic, wheat based, chemical free and dissolves in water). The dog has definitely eaten some and it just passes through.

The cat's litter is still within reach but with training the dog has learned to stay away from it. We're also careful to clean her litter often so that the dog doesn't get a hold of any other gross snacks.
 

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I've used the wheat litter, it wasn't bad. Now I'm using that walnut litter and the cats seems to love it and it works well too. The problem I had with the wheat litter was that it seemed to stick to the bottom of the box. And I tried to use it in the bottom of my guinea pigs hayloft too. They ate it all overnight.
 
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I've used the wheat litter, it wasn't bad. Now I'm using that walnut litter and the cats seems to love it and it works well too. The problem I had with the wheat litter was that it seemed to stick to the bottom of the box. And I tried to use it in the bottom of my guinea pigs hayloft too. They ate it all overnight.
Oh my! haha they must have been pooping litter for days! Hopefully they were ok.

I should try the Walnut stuff. Wheat litter is great but it tracks EVERYWHERE and it really doesn't clump all that well. I only have one cat so it's not that big of a deal but a better solution would be amazing.
 

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There is always some litter around the boxes, but it doesn't track far.
 
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