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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Evening all,

Like many, this is my first time in this forum as my wife and I are getting our first puppy in June! I work from home permanently so it will be great company for me during the day. I've been used to animals (mainly dogs/cats) all my life but having our own puppy feels very different and I was wondering if I could get your thoughts on a few questions we have, especially those who have been through similar... We are getting a Sproodle puppy (or Springerdoodle)!

#1 - We are looking to get a puppy/dog crate for him to sleep in at night, especially for a few months at least. We've been going back and forth on the right size (i.e. dimensions) to make sure he has enough room, but not too much, so it dissuades him from going to toilet in there, for example. Any Sproodle owners that can suggest an appropriate size, please?

#2 - We have a house cat... She is a beautiful little thing but can be a bit stroppy, especially to those she is unfamiliar with, as she is a house cat and is never allowed out (unsupervised at least!). This is out of consideration more than anything else, as I'm aware people integrate puppies with cats quite regularly and i'm just after any tips you can provide, please? As I said I'm home all the time so in perfect position to support integrating them both.

#3 - Food! Where do I even begin?! This is probably one of the most tricky/most important for me, as we feed our cat the top stuff as I feel it is important to give them the best food/nutrients possible! Do you recommend a dry and wet food or just dry? Which brands should I be looking at, or avoiding? I've looked briefly online and have read good things about the 'James Wellbeloved' puppy branded food. I'm really not bothered about cost on this (within reason/sense obviously!!), so any brand you've found good for your puppy would be great! Also, are there brands that are better for puppys, but then as your puppy got older, more suitable for adult dogs, for example.

#4 - Flea and worming treatment. Can you order this online or is it best to always get it from the vets? From experience with the cat, i've found you can get the same product for a lot cheaper if you go and find it yourself online. If it's best to source from the vets when the puppy is young, to be on the safe side, then that sounds fair.

Thanks for anything you can help with above, really appreciate any thoughts/advice you can give.

L.
 

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Hi and welcome. To take your points in order -

The crate.

Crates can help with toilet training in so far as a dog will prefer not to toilet in there, but they are not a solution in themselves. If a puppy has to toilet, he has to toilet immediately. Think infant, with no bladder or bowel control. So the two things - toilet training and crate training - should be approached as two separate issues. I would go for a decent sized crate because if your puppy has an accident, you don't want him to have to lie in it.

So, the best guide to crate training I have read was written by the behaviourist Emma Judson and is shared with her permission.


For toilet training, this happens when two things come together - the ABILITY to hold the toilet, along with the DESIRE to hold it in order to earn the reward for doing so.

Ideally you want him to not be in a position where he needs to toilet before you have him outdoors, so that every toilet is outside - as far as possible, there will be accidents! So set him up to succeed by taking him out even more than he needs; for example every 45 minutes to an hour and always after sleeping, eating, playing. The time between a puppy realising they need to toilet, and being unable to hold that toilet, is zero. So your aim is to have him outside before he can't help himself. When he toilets outdoors make a huge fuss (never mind the neighbours, act like outdoor toileting is the best thing you have ever seen) and reward him with a high value treat. Do that immediately, don't make him come to you for the treat so he is clear that it's for toileting and not for coming to you. The idea is that he eventually wants to earn the treat enough to hold the toilet until he is outside - once he is physically able to control his toileting obviously. As he is actually performing the toilet you can introduce words he can associate with it (like 'do weewee' and 'busy busy') that later when he is reliably trained you can use these to tell him when you want him to toilet.

If you take him out and he doesn't toilet after five minutes, bring him in but don't take your eyes off him. Any hint of a toilet inside, scoop him up and get him out fast. If he doesn't try to toilet indoors (great!) take him out a second time and repeat until you do get outside toilets. You need the outside toilet to happen SO that you can reward SO that he learns.

If he has an accident inside don't react at all. If you get annoyed he may learn to fear your reaction and avoid you if he needs to toilet (by going off and toileting out of sight) - the opposite of what you want. Dogs cant make the distinction between you being annoyed at him TOILETING, as opposed to toileting INDOORS. Take a rolled up newspaper and hit yourself over the head for not having taken him outside in time. Not when he is there though in case you scare him. Then clean the area with an enzymatic cleaner to remove any trace of smell that might attract him back to the spot.

Indoors if you see him circling or scratching the floor, that can sometimes precede toileting so get him out fast.

Overnight he is unlikely to be able to control his toilet as his little bladder and bowel are underdeveloped and not strong enough to hold all night, so set your alarm to take him out at least once if not twice during the night.

I don’t know if you were planning to.use them but I really don't like puppy pads - they give mixed messages about whether it's ok to toilet indoors and confuse the puppy.

The cat.

I have to leave this to someone else, I have no experience of cats.

Food

Have a look at www.allaboutdogfood.co.uk It is an independent dog food comparison website which scores all types of foods (dry, raw, wet) out of 100. You can set filters for your dog's breed, weight, age etc. and for your daily budget; then you can add in any specific needs you have such as avoiding specific ingredients. The website will automatically show the foods listed in order of what the assessors believe is best quality, and it also will show daily feeding cost (calculated from your dog's age and weight) so you can see what gives you best value for money. It has its limitations but it's a decent place to start.

Flea and worming

Worming tablets need to be from your vet, flea treatments can be bought over the counter - but, fleas have developed a resistance to some of the cheaper ones, so go for a good brand like Frontline Plus. Your vet probably won't have a big mark-up on that so you might be just as well to get it from the vet.

And finally ...

Have a look at this article, we like it a lot.

 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi and welcome. To take your points in order -

The crate.

Crates can help with toilet training in so far as a dog will prefer not to toilet in there, but they are not a solution in themselves. If a puppy has to toilet, he has to toilet immediately. Think infant, with no bladder or bowel control. So the two things - toilet training and crate training - should be approached as two separate issues. I would go for a decent sized crate because if your puppy has an accident, you don't want him to have to lie in it.

So, the best guide to crate training I have read was written by the behaviourist Emma Judson and is shared with her permission.


For toilet training, this happens when two things come together - the ABILITY to hold the toilet, along with the DESIRE to hold it in order to earn the reward for doing so.

Ideally you want him to not be in a position where he needs to toilet before you have him outdoors, so that every toilet is outside - as far as possible, there will be accidents! So set him up to succeed by taking him out even more than he needs; for example every 45 minutes to an hour and always after sleeping, eating, playing. The time between a puppy realising they need to toilet, and being unable to hold that toilet, is zero. So your aim is to have him outside before he can't help himself. When he toilets outdoors make a huge fuss (never mind the neighbours, act like outdoor toileting is the best thing you have ever seen) and reward him with a high value treat. Do that immediately, don't make him come to you for the treat so he is clear that it's for toileting and not for coming to you. The idea is that he eventually wants to earn the treat enough to hold the toilet until he is outside - once he is physically able to control his toileting obviously. As he is actually performing the toilet you can introduce words he can associate with it (like 'do weewee' and 'busy busy') that later when he is reliably trained you can use these to tell him when you want him to toilet.

If you take him out and he doesn't toilet after five minutes, bring him in but don't take your eyes off him. Any hint of a toilet inside, scoop him up and get him out fast. If he doesn't try to toilet indoors (great!) take him out a second time and repeat until you do get outside toilets. You need the outside toilet to happen SO that you can reward SO that he learns.

If he has an accident inside don't react at all. If you get annoyed he may learn to fear your reaction and avoid you if he needs to toilet (by going off and toileting out of sight) - the opposite of what you want. Dogs cant make the distinction between you being annoyed at him TOILETING, as opposed to toileting INDOORS. Take a rolled up newspaper and hit yourself over the head for not having taken him outside in time. Not when he is there though in case you scare him. Then clean the area with an enzymatic cleaner to remove any trace of smell that might attract him back to the spot.

Indoors if you see him circling or scratching the floor, that can sometimes precede toileting so get him out fast.

Overnight he is unlikely to be able to control his toilet as his little bladder and bowel are underdeveloped and not strong enough to hold all night, so set your alarm to take him out at least once if not twice during the night.

I don’t know if you were planning to.use them but I really don't like puppy pads - they give mixed messages about whether it's ok to toilet indoors and confuse the puppy.

The cat.

I have to leave this to someone else, I have no experience of cats.

Food

Have a look at www.allaboutdogfood.co.uk It is an independent dog food comparison website which scores all types of foods (dry, raw, wet) out of 100. You can set filters for your dog's breed, weight, age etc. and for your daily budget; then you can add in any specific needs you have such as avoiding specific ingredients. The website will automatically show the foods listed in order of what the assessors believe is best quality, and it also will show daily feeding cost (calculated from your dog's age and weight) so you can see what gives you best value for money. It has its limitations but it's a decent place to start.

Flea and worming

Worming tablets need to be from your vet, flea treatments can be bought over the counter - but, fleas have developed a resistance to some of the cheaper ones, so go for a good brand like Frontline Plus. Your vet probably won't have a big mark-up on that so you might be just as well to get it from the vet.

And finally ...

Have a look at this article, we like it a lot.

Hello @JoanneF, thanks so much for this. I’ve had a read through and some brilliant advice which I’ll read through in more detail, including the document and link, tomorrow. Really appreciate you taking the time to provide your advice and experience! Especially around the toilet training, some really good tips in there. Thanks!
 

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The cat --I can address this from my own experience.
If your cat is the type to stick up for herself, everything is likely to turn out fine. If your cat is one who runs from the unfamiliar, it will take more work to get it to be fine. I cannot tell from your post which your cat is.
But in my experience, getting a puppy when you have a full grown cat usually turns out OK if handled right.

If your cat can stand up for herself, leave it to the cat to set her boundaries, and very likely she will do the job on her own. Just be sure that you don't leave them alone together and always, without fail, supervise all interactions between them so that you can remove the puppy if the pup is aggravating the cat too much or if the cat is getting angry to the point that she might scratch the puppy. A scratch might put a puppy's eye out, so take care. (might not hurt to get the cat's nailed trimmed just a bit, too)

Additionally, make sure the can always has an escape.
Something the cat likes to get up on that is too high for the puppy or the grown dog to get to (like the refrigerator or a cat tree) , or a room she can get into that the dog cannot, etc. (Use a baby gate - the cat can jump over it. ) The cat is a lot less likely to harm the puppy if she can simply remove herself by getting up high or into a safe place, and it's only fair to the cat to have her own space.

Remember the cat will understandably see this as an invasion and may not be happy about it. Give the cat space. Never, ever force interaction between them. Give the cat extra treats and attention, and protect them from ever hurting each other. In most cases the dog learns from the start that the cat has the upper hand and by the time the dog is bigger than the cat the dog has learned respect.
This does not hold true for hunting dogs or dogs with high prey drive. For the dog you are planning to get it will probably be OK.
 

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#1: Crate size
I'm not really a power-user when it comes to crates, I mostly just use them for traveling and for dog-dog and cat-dog introductions, but here are my crate size tips. I usually use IATA guidelines for travel crates sizes to calculate the absolute minimum, and I would upsize from there if I was planning on using the crate indoors and/or often. Also, puppies grow so fast, so unless you are thinking of changing crates frequently, take that into consideration too.

My clients have a 7 month old Sproodle: he is currently 24 inches tall, 30" long, 8" wide, 10" leg height, and he will still grow at least a little bit. The minimum for a dog of his current size would be a crate that is 35" long x 16" wide x 24" high (a bit higher if they add a dog bed to the crate floor). Looking at typical crate sizes, that would usually mean a "Large" (an Intermediate would be just a bit too small in most brands and models). That way the dog can stand up, turn around, lie on his side, tummy or back with paws stretched out.


#2: Cat
I like the advice above, especially high safe spots for the cat and supervised interactions. I just thought I would add a slight variation: I have high prey drive dogs, so I prefer to not let animals work it out on their own, but teach the dogs very early on, even as puppies, that cats are off limits, period. They are just a part of the environment and they should be ignored. That means I prefer to prevent or redirect the puppy from any staring, chasing, playing with the cat. I want my animals to be calm together as their default behavior. I use a "crate and rotate" method a lot, until a puppy learns enough impulse control to be calm around the cat. That means that when I have the cat and the puppy in the same room, either the puppy is crated and the cat moves around freely, or the cat is in a carrier or in a safe spot if the puppy is moving around freely. Teaching calmness around one another makes everyone safer, happier and in the long run, everybody can have more freedom.

My client's Sproodle is very interested in cats and is pretty high in prey drive (my understanding is that many Sproodles aren't, but some can be, since they have origins in hunting breeds) - although not cat aggressive, he is definitely showing some prey drive behaviors, like staring, hyper-focus on the cat and a desire to chase moving objects. He is also very curious, has a big desire to approach and interact with cats, sometimes not in a very polite way. He is eager to please and easy to redirect, so he is easy enough to train. If he were my puppy, I would err on the side of caution and actively teach him to leave cats alone from early on. He seems very, very smart and trainable.
 

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For introducing my dog and cat, I tired the dog out first, then leashed her. I then brought her into a room and had her lie down calmly, (for some dogs this may take a while:)) and then brought the cat in. The cat was allowed to approach when she wanted, and was allowed to leave without the dog following her. Many people find that the first meeting goes better if you have a baby gate in between the animals to make that last part easier. For the first several weeks after this first introduction, the dog was always leashed when inside in order to prevent cat chasing. (leashing your dog may also be helpful for potty training) We focused on eye contact and calmness in the presence of the cat during that time.

To this day, we have the following rules:
1. No cat chasing, ever (including when she's trying to be helpful by stopping her from scratching furniture :))
2. She can remove the cat from her crate- and ONLY from her crate- using her paws or a brief pretend chase. But she may not chase the cat once the cat is outside of the crate.
3. The cat's room, where her litter and food is, is 100% off-limits at all times.
4. No playing with kitty toys
5. If the cat is chasing her, biting her, jumping on her (from around corners, from the top of a bookshelf, etc... this cat is crazy:)) or otherwise being an annoying sibling, she can leave, but cannot react to the cat. Humans are required to step in on her behalf to prevent this from being necessary.

Additionally, the cat is not allowed to steal the dogs stuffed toys of chew on the dogs feet/ears/tail...yes, she tries to do that- lol. If she does, the dog is allowed to stop her by taking the toy or by getting up, but we stop the cat for her if we are able. The cat is not allowed in the crate
They are never left alone together.

Some people choose to allow their cat and dog to play together with supervision. I tend not to do that, because my dog, being 45 pounds, could seriously injure or kill my cat without any intention of harming her, or even realizing it.

As far as crate size, you may consider buying one big enough for your dog's adult size that comes with a removable divider that allows you to adjust the size. They look something like this, if you've never seen them: The wire divider can be removed or hooked onto any part of the walls of the crate, so you can adjust it as your dog grows. The size you'll likely want will probably be labeled as L, but base it on the expected final height and weight of your dog, not the letter sizing.
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1). I would get one that is medium sized/large, just not the “xxl” ones

2). I don’t do cats

3). I feed Prey Model Raw

4). Work with your vet, and maybe supplement diatomaceous earth in the feeding
 

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I have always had cats and dogs. I have always done a more casual introduction with puppies. The cats are given free roam. I bring the puppy in and settle in the living room with him. I let the cats choose whether to check him out or not.

I always set one room as a "cat only" space. A baby gate allows the cat to come and go while keeping the puppy out. The cat food and box are in this room. NOTE: some cats aren't jumpers. My Looney1 will sit behind a baby gate and never jump it. Because of this, I got a baby gate with a small cat gate in it. Tornado-dog could get through it, but I could hear the gate rattle so I could stop his access.

I don't use crates. I teach my dogs to stay in the bedroom by using a tether. It allows them to move around the room but teaches them to stay in the room. It also allows the cats to get away from the puppy's reach. Once the puppy learns to stay in the room, I eliminate the tether.

My house is two story. I installed a glass door at the bottom of the stairs (originally to help with heat distribution issues). Whenever I go out without the dogs, I put the cats upstairs and close the door. The dogs stay downstairs. Having a solid door separation when you aren't there will prevent a tragedy.

Two things I teach ALL my dogs, regardless of age, is "let me see it" and "if you want it, sit". I teach this starting with toys. If they are playing with a toy, I will say "let me see it" and take hold of the toy. I do not pull or pry it out of their mouths, I just keep hold of it. Sooner or later, they release their grip (usually to get a firmer grip). At that point, I take the toy and praise them profusely. I make a big deal of showing interest in the toy - turning it around, squeaking it, and talking to it. Then I give it back to them - but only when they sit. As long as they are jumping at it, I keep it. As soon as they sit, I return it and praise them.

Over the first few weeks I always return the toy so they learn this is not a punishment. Later, I interperse an actual removal of the toy. After they release it, I say "no more" and put it out of reach and out of sight. This teaches them that sometimes they don't get it back - which is important when they have hold of something they shouldn't.

This teaches them not to jump at you when you are holding the cat. It also helps with resource guarding.

I will play tug of war with my dogs, but I intersperse the above into the game to teach them that when I stop pulling, the game is over. Having fostered kittens for years, it is extremely important that the dog release anything quickly.

You mention your cat goes outside for supervised outings. You want to be sure to teach the puppy that outdoors has the same rules as indoors. No chasing. Many dogs who are great with their cats indoors will do a 180 outside.
 
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