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Discussion Starter #1
I am waiting and waiting and waiting for my new baby, 3 more long weeks to go:) I started this long wait 6 months ago, so at this point I can hardly stand it. I am wondering how you spent your first days and nights with your pups while starting to crate. The need to introduce the crate slowly and positively means that for the first few nights at home, how did you get pup to settle down? Where did he sleep? How did you keep him confined while introducing his kennel? I am planning a week at home on "baby leave" from work, but am not sure how to accomplish the crate introduction while not creating bad habits. Any thoughts or personal experiences greatly appreciated.
 

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Living la Vida Loca!
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Crying and thinking we made a big mistake! Only half serious here;)

We had the crate in the living room the first night and Coco screamed when we went upstairs to bed. It was so loud you could hear it outside. We waited a bit and then moved the crate and Coco into our bedroom. As long as she could see us she didn't scream. She was always good about letting me know when she had to go outside at night every few hours.

About a month later we moved the crate into the hall and she was fine. I made the crate fun from day one with treats. She would put herself to bed until she was 18 months old and she got to sleep on her bed in our room.

I kept a leash on her in the house for about 6 months and kept my eyes on her constantly. I took her outside to pee every 20 to 30 minutes so we didn't have accidents in the house.

I never wanted a dog...my hubby did. She quickly defaulted to me and I wasn't prepared but we made it! She was a very good reliable girl by about 18 months.

Good luck!
 

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Lol, yes the screaming:) This is where I am afraid of making mistakes. This is my first Doberman, but not my first pup. I have caved in the past on those first traumatic nights, and have lived to pay the price of creating bad habits that take a long time to correct. You were most fortunate to have her calm down just being near you. I hope I am this lucky. This time around I will opt for sleeping in the crate with him before I give in and have him in my bed....
 

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am the law
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I like having my dogs in my bed so that's where they go from day one. I am a light sleeper and always wake up when they stir; even at 8 weeks they obviously do not want to soil where they sleep.

It has its pros and cons--sometimes I wake up with a foot in my face or no covers--but hubby and I love having the dogs in bed with us.
 

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I picked up my baby and drove home with her in a small kitty/small dog plastic crate and used that as her "place" until she grew out of it. I put a small stuffed teddybear in there with her. I'm retired so was home with her all the time - she was either in her crate, leashed to me in the house, or sleeping on my tummy while we watched tv. Outside to pee, on leash, every 20 min or so. She cried a little in the crate at first, during the daytime, but I DIDN"T GIVE IN, and after 5 min or so she settled and I would always give her a treat. At night the little crate was by my bed,and by the second night she slept til morning (Oh thank you thank you!!)
She's 8 months now, still sleeps happily in the crate at night, in the livingroom, until I get up around 6 am. She'll also just go in there sometimes on her own during the day for a nap, the door is always left open.
 

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How we spent our first nights? Awake. :p But only for two nights. By Grizzly's third night, he slept soundly in his crate and never screamed again. We never gave in...it was hard (harder for my husband), but it paid off. We had his crate in our bedroom and played instrumental music on Pandora for him for the first few nights.

We picked him up on a Saturday and had to go to work on Monday. We were all set up with a dog nanny who came to the house twice a day. We put him in the crate when we left at 7 AM on Monday and that's where he stayed until 5 PM, minus the two hours that the nanny spent with him. I imagine he screamed his little heart out that day while he was in the crate, but at some point he realized that it wouldn't get him anything...no one was there to give him anything anyway! And then we never had a problem again.

It doesn't have to be some terrifying thing, I promise. But you need to be consistent from the very beginning. Consistency will make everything solidify so much more quickly!
 

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Our first day with Kelly pup, was a 15 hour drive home - through 3 States and back into Canada.
- we drove in our driveway, at 2:00 am the next morning
- potty outside
And straight to the masters bed, fur-baby between mom & dad.

Funny thing is: I'm typically a sound sleeper / I don't hear thunder storms or the alarm clock either.
BUT - take wee puppy to bed with me, and the second it stirs &/or stands up...outside we go.
- never had a puppy wet the bed ever, and raised 3 of them

I learned one takes pup outside every 20-30-40 minutes in the first few months, depending on the individual dogs bladder control.
And at 3:00 am in the middle of the night, first month to avoid bad habits forming.

Last 2 pups didn't have a crate setup in the house, they had a dog bed & a leather love seat to sleep on, their choice on daytime napping.
- former girl Amy had SA in a crate, and I'm not one to listen to a pup cry for hours & hours straight / or trying to escape
- but at 4.5 months young, she was perfect left alone in the entire house unsupervised
I also believe 24/7 supervision is critical in the first few months & early off-leash work, as much as safely possible...put the effort in early, pays off.

First month play, I will often sit on the floor with puppy / get my eye levels lower to it.
- play tug-of-war (pup always wins)
- teach fetch/come with a tennis ball, rolled on the living room floor
- all toys get named

MJ99 - congrats on the new puppy, in 3 long weeks...:D
 

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When I brought my boy home, he was very scared from a long flight so the first week I actually brought him upstairs to my bedroom at night, put his bed right next to mine and put a six foot leash around my arm closes to him. He didn't whine at all and was happy because he could see my hand and me if I leaned over the bed. By having the leash on if he got up to do anything other than turn around and get more comfortable I would feel the pull on my arm.

I did this because I didn't want him to have an accident in the house and also because when he's older he will always be lose at night when we sleep (what good is a Doberman at night if he's in a crate lol;). Kidding on that, I know some people crate and that's fine too, my preference is to have him loose at night.

He never once had an accident (had him 6 weeks thus far). Now when its time to go to bed he gets up I let him outside, he goes to the bathroom and then we go upstairs to bed. I don't use the leash anymore at all but I did for the first 2-3 weeks until I could trust him.

The first few weeks are very important for house training I believe. If you never allow them to have an accident other than an un-preventable one, they learn really quick to go outside. He goes to the door and scratches it now (bell coming soon;) or he comes over and puts both paws on me and says he lets go.

I think for me, watching him like a hawk the first few weeks and not giving him the opportunity to have accidents has helped immensely.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks to you all for sharing your experiences! I am sure I will be using every possible option to try and find the right balance for us. I have in the past carried a crying puppy into my bed, had early potty problems, and lived to pay the price:) I really want to get it right from the start this time, and I know how soft I am..... its very hard to say no to a sad baby lol. I love the idea of the leash, I'm sure I will be using that if he really can't stand staying in his crate right away. He too will be flying in and then a 3 hour drive home, so I don't really think he will see the travel crate as a happy place. After my week at home, I am fortunate enough to be able to bring him to work with me, (he will have a crate in the office as well) so between crating and tethering I'm hoping to have a successful potty training experience, just concerned about the first few nights and the crate. I really don't want to instill in him a fear of the crate! I agree, the goal is to get the early training solid so that he eventually is not crated at night, & I know it's just a matter of time before he will be choosing his spot in the comfy bed (with the Queen Beagle, 2 cats, and the 2 humans that are welcome to find a small available space if they choose:D
 

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The first 4 months, because I was afraid he may fall of the bed, my boy was crated, but I carried it to wherever I was (with him in it). He was great, when he woke up would whine a little, stray out to potty then a bit of food and play time until he got tired and back to crate with cuddles until he felt asleep.
 

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I was far too soft with my puppy girl...I managed to leave her down stairs screaming for about erm 10 minutes. I then went and slept in the sofa, so she was still in her crate but I was there. She went soundly to sleep. Unfortunately that didn't last and we bought the crate upstairs into our bedroom...she was always fine in it...until my electric blanket broke one night and I needed a warm, cuddly friend! 😁 she was about 4 months old then...she is almost 2 now and has stayed in my bed ever since! As for the rest of the first day, it was spent just playing, sleeping, playing, sleeping...

Please take lots of photos...my one regret with my baby girl 🐶👍
 
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