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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello!
In a couple weeks i will be picking up my toy poodle puppy (8wks) from my breeder. I plan on crate training him and getting him on a schedule ASAP. This is MY first dog but i do have experience helping my family train German Shepherds. So far I have bought a metal kennel ( basic MidWest iCrate with divider) and a 26 in diameter play pen (see image). My original idea was to use the kennel for sleeping (will continue using this kennel as he gets older) and using the play pen during the day ( i am a graduate student who is doing classes online from home so he won't be left unattended ; eventually will phase out the play pen as he gets older). I mentioned this to my dad (who is very by the book and only uses a kennel) and he didn't really see the point of the playpen and that the puppy may get confused with the play pen.

I am curious and open to suggestions on how others have used play pens in conjunction with the crate for their puppies. All advice is welcome!:)
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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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Welcome to Poodle Forum! Looking forward to seeing photos of your little one. :)

I hope you'll get some advice specific to toys, as I believe 8 weeks is quite young to bring one home, so you may want to just keep him close the first few weeks.

But generally speaking I love an indoor pen set-up. It was a real game changer with our spoo, Peggy. And even though she's now 15 months, I'm still rather reluctant to phase it out.

In our case, we've got an exercise pen attached to the front of her crate. Her water is accessible 24/7, mounted inside the crate. She's got an orthopedic crate pad (which we didn't introduce until she was reliably potty trained) as well as a bed inside her pen (also not introduced until she was reliably potty trained). Basically: No soft stuff on the floor until I was sure she wouldn't pee on it!

We used a divider in her crate to keep it strictly Peggy-sized as she grew. This prevented her from sleeping in one part and peeing in another, and allowed us to at least put a bed in there for comfortable snoozing.

Peggy ate all of her puppy meals in her pen. This was also the spot for indoor play. It allowed us to easily remove ourselves if she got overly excited/bitey.

The pen is still somewhere where she settles easily, so we continue to use it while we eat dinner, as well as late evening sometimes if she's having trouble winding down.

We spent many hours in there during her puppy months, holding chews for her or handfeeding her kibble. It and the crate are treated as 100% positive spaces. Our household rule is that Peggy must always go in willingly. (At times, this has required a little creativity on our part.) We never use her crate or her pen for punishment.

For a more detailed guide to this type of set-up and crate training in general, I recommend following the methods outlined by Ian Dunbar:


Also available online for free:


 

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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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P.S. Training a poodle is vastly different from training a GSD, and it might be helpful to explain this to your dad. Otherwise you're likely to encounter further pushback as you raise your puppy. I struggled to explain positive reinforcement (the best method for poodles) to some family members. But they're catching on better now as they see the results firsthand.
 

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Ah reality check it will take way longer to housetrain your toy poodle pup just because they have a teeny bladder and cannot hold as long as a larger pup. A pen is a life saver, safe place to put your pup when you cannot watch them, they are tiny and can get into a lot more trouble because they can get in places larger pups cannot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Welcome to Poodle Forum! Looking forward to seeing photos of your little one. :)

I hope you'll get some advice specific to toys, as I believe 8 weeks is quite young to bring one home, so you may want to just keep him close the first few weeks.

But generally speaking I love an indoor pen set-up. It was a real game changer with our spoo, Peggy. And even though she's now 15 months, I'm still rather reluctant to phase it out.

In our case, we've got an exercise pen attached to the front of her crate. Her water is accessible 24/7, mounted inside the crate. She's got an orthopedic crate pad (which we didn't introduce until she was reliably potty trained) as well as a bed inside her pen (also not introduced until she was reliably potty trained). Basically: No soft stuff on the floor until I was sure she wouldn't pee on it!

We used a divider in her crate to keep it strictly Peggy-sized as she grew. This prevented her from sleeping in one part and peeing in another, and allowed us to at least put a bed in there for comfortable snoozing.

Peggy ate all of her puppy meals in her pen. This was also the spot for indoor play. It allowed us to easily remove ourselves if she got overly excited/bitey.

The pen is still somewhere where she settles easily, so we continue to use it while we eat dinner, as well as late evening sometimes if she's having trouble winding down.

We spent many hours in there during her puppy months, holding chews for her or handfeeding her kibble. It and the crate are treated as 100% positive spaces. Our household rule is that Peggy must always go in willingly. (At times, this has required a little creativity on our part.) We never use her crate or her pen for punishment.

For a more detailed guide to this type of set-up and crate training in general, I recommend following the methods outlined by Ian Dunbar:


Also available online for free:


Thank you! Yes I have before i joined i actually founds some great threads on here with toy suggestions and have already gotten a few. Depending which one i decide to use i will have it set up right next to my desk (where I spend most of my time during the day for class and research) which you can see part of in the picture above. Do you think using the kennel for bed time and the playpen during the day when I am up will be a good idea in my situation. I have online zoom classes class and rarely leave unless to go for a walk or to the store (social distancing). I will be with him pretty much all day everyday.

And to your last message i agree and have already vocalized that to my dad, but he trusts me to make a good decisions based on my research
 

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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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Thank you! Yes I have before i joined i actually founds some great threads on here with toy suggestions and have already gotten a few. Depending which one i decide to use i will have it set up right next to my desk (where I spend most of my time during the day for class and research) which you can see part of in the picture above. Do you think using the kennel for bed time and the playpen during the day when I am up will be a good idea in my situation. I have online zoom classes class and rarely leave unless to go for a walk or to the store (social distancing). I will be with him pretty much all day everyday.

And to your last message i agree and have already vocalized that to my dad, but he trusts me to make a good decisions based on my research
I think that's a great idea, but I'd probably also put him in the crate occasionally during the day, once he's old enough. Mix up how long he goes in there, too, so it's not always marathon overnight sessions. Even though Peggy is already crate trained, I do little "tune-ups" occasionally, where I'll ask her to go in with a yummy treat. Then I'll cover the crate and putter about for 15 minutes before letting her out. I want her to be comfortable in there even if she can hear me nearby.

This is also important if you plan to crate him while you're out. You'll want to do everything you can to make him excited to go in there and not associate it with the stress of your absence. Leave little treat surprises in the back corner, that sort of thing, so he'll confidently venture in on his own. Consider using a lightweight blanket or cover to reduce stimuli. (I leave Peggy's uncovered on the wall side for airflow.)

One thing to check before your puppy comes home is the smell of the tray in the crate you've chosen. I assume it's plastic, as the excellent old metal ones are increasingly rare.

Peggy's smelled so strongly, we tossed it. No amount of washing or airing out helped. We replaced it with a smooth wooden base, cut to fit at Home Depot. But that might not be ideal during potty training.
 

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Definitely a vote yes for a pen, huge sanity saver when trying to get work done! I also had baby gates. But I would suggest looking for a metal one - that one looks pretty chewable, and I think has a soft floor that might get peed on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I think that's a great idea, but I'd probably also put him in the crate occasionally during the day, once he's old enough. Mix up how long he goes in there, too, so it's not always marathon overnight sessions. Even though Peggy is already crate trained, I do little "tune-ups" occasionally, where I'll ask her to go in with a yummy treat. Then I'll cover the crate and putter about for 15 minutes before letting her out. I want her to be comfortable in there even if she can hear me nearby.

This is also important if you plan to crate him while you're out. You'll want to do everything you can to make him excited to go in there and not associate it with the stress of your absence. Leave little treat surprises in the back corner, that sort of thing, so he'll confidently venture in on his own. Consider using a lightweight blanket or cover to reduce stimuli. (I leave Peggy's uncovered on the wall side for airflow.)

One thing to check before your puppy comes home is the smell of the tray in the crate you've chosen. I assume it's plastic, as the excellent old metal ones are increasingly rare.

Peggy's smelled so strongly, we tossed it. No amount of washing or airing out helped. We replaced it with a smooth wooden base, cut to fit at Home Depot. But that might not be ideal during potty training.
Great idea I may do something similar. I am home everyday 24/7 i may schedule some walks for myself, so when self-distancing is over and I am out and about more he is used to being alone and in the crate by himself!! My friend who trains service dogs mentioned the crate treat surprise/dog fairy thing to me today as well love that idea!

Oh I didn't think about that, thank you for the heads up!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Definitely a vote yes for a pen, huge sanity saver when trying to get work done! I also had baby gates. But I would suggest looking for a metal one - that one looks pretty chewable, and I think has a soft floor that might get peed on.
Perfect! I will look into a metal one. I have hardwood floors and am kinda hesitant to get one that was metal because i didn't want to scratch up the floors (I'm currently renting). The floors of the pen i have are water proof and based on reviews is pretty durable but time will definitely tell how it holds up. I may have to find another alternative if it doesn't last.
 

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I have hardwood floors and am kinda hesitant to get one that was metal because i didn't want to scratch up the floors
A flooring or home reno store will likely have remnants of vinyl or some other liquid proof/scratch proof flooring. Just look for or have cut something a bit larger than the pen to put under it. You might then need some sort of double stick tape to keep the pen from slipping around.
 

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We have a new shih tzu pup. At night he goes into a metal crate, his bed on one end the other has a p pad. and we cover it with a blanket. He is quite small right now about 2 lbs. He now sleep thru the night, gets up once does a p, and goes back to his bed, whimpers a few times as he settles and thats it. During the day I have a big pen, its plastic and it did come with rubber stick on as to not scratch a floor. We have a small variety crate kennel in there. That is where he goes when someone is not playing or watching him. We have a p pad on one end, which he uses. I've never really p pad trained a dog, but he is so small and its been so wet here I don't want him in the grass yet. I think we just got lucky with this pup, by night 3 he was already good. During the day he does want out more and once he is quiet someone scoops him up and plays with him. He will play et then run to his pad. I took him to the vet for a well check yesterday, he is fine and in 2 weeks we go back for another set of vaccinations. He was raised in a playpen similar to the one you have. Its fine for small pups and they run out of it to go potty. It was in a laundry room that had a gate at the door.
 

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Check out this free training series, it has some great uses for a pen.
 

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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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Mufar, your family's new puppy sounds like such a little sweetheart! Do be cautious about letting him pee in his crate, though. This can establish a lifelong attachment to urinating in inappropriate places, which may be easy enough to phase out as he matures, but can return in the senior years. He should really be encouraged to get as far from his sleeping spot as possible for pottying.

Could his daytime set-up possibly be used at night, as well?
 

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Mufar, your family's new puppy sounds like such a little sweetheart! Do be cautious about letting him pee in his crate, though. This can establish a lifelong attachment to urinating in inappropriate places, which may be easy enough to phase out as he matures, but can return in the senior years. He should really be encouraged to get as far from his sleeping spot as possible for pottying.

Could his daytime set-up possibly be used at night, as well?
I've housebroken small pups this way for over 40 years and have never ever had them go back to eliminating in their crates or any inappropriate areas in their senior years. It really depends on the pup you are raising. I wouldn't and didn't allow with my standard. This pup is particularly small and fragile for his age and still in need his 2nd set of shots in the next two weeks. He isn't sleeping in his mess and his pad is a distance away from his bedding. I've had to do this before. I am a bit concerned with him and am taking extra precaution . But I agree most novice owners should should crate train and not give them the opportunity to pee anywhere in the house. LOL. Normally with small breeds I would crate with door open to a open area where pads could be on one side, but not for more than the first week while you evaluate the health of the pup and get a sense to their needs. After that the crate gets closed and they hold it till morning , or to where you learned how long they can hold it. I aam concerned with this pup as he is being too good for a pup his age. I had the vet check him 2 days ago and he got a clean bill of health but I'm still not so convinced. I've raised so many puppies and he is very unusual. I haven't quite put my thumb on it yet.
 

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I definitely saw a difference between Galen and Snarky & Pogo. Galen was crate trained with pee pads. Snarky and Pogo started out in a whelping pen in their breeder's kitchen; as they became more mobile they got access to a doggie door leading into a gravelled dog run. Galen has been much more difficult to housebreak.

Apart from illness and submissive piddling, I had very few peeing and pooping incidents with Snarky and Pogo. They clearly understood the concept of taking their business outside; all I had to do was get them out often enough to ensure the tanks were empty.

Galen, in contrast, seems to have had zero concept that indoor surfaces are not potties. H didn't go in his crate, but any other surface was fair game. Even now, at 7 months, he still likes to sneak off to the privacy of my carpeted closet. (My husband has finally realized why I insist on walking Galen instead of just going into the yard. Outdoor time is for playing ball: why would he waste it squatting behind a bush?)
 

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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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I've housebroken small pups this way for over 40 years and have never ever had them go back to eliminating in their crates or any inappropriate areas in their senior years. It really depends on the pup you are raising. I wouldn't and didn't allow with my standard. This pup is particularly small and fragile for his age and still in need his 2nd set of shots in the next two weeks. He isn't sleeping in his mess and his pad is a distance away from his bedding. I've had to do this before. I am a bit concerned with him and am taking extra precaution . But I agree most novice owners should should crate train and not give them the opportunity to pee anywhere in the house. LOL. Normally with small breeds I would crate with door open to a open area where pads could be on one side, but not for more than the first week while you evaluate the health of the pup and get a sense to their needs. After that the crate gets closed and they hold it till morning , or to where you learned how long they can hold it. I aam concerned with this pup as he is being too good for a pup his age. I had the vet check him 2 days ago and he got a clean bill of health but I'm still not so convinced. I've raised so many puppies and he is very unusual. I haven't quite put my thumb on it yet.
I think my last girl just left her mark on me. She was a discounted petstore dog, who I got at 4 months, so she'd learned some bad potty habits on a very deep level. Peggy, on the other hand, from day 1 would go as far away as possible—something I hope to encourage with all future dogs. But I know "far away" is relative, and when you're talking about toy breeds, it doesn't take much to create that distance.

As for your little shih tzu, I'm sorry you're worried about him. :( My parents adopted one as an adult, and she was easy to the point of eeriness. She never wagged her tail. Never asked for a thing. Loved a cuddle, but was fine left alone. Would play with toys by herself and be perfectly entertained. Travelled across the country with them as though she'd done it her whole life, when in fact her previous owners never even walked her.

The vet found nothing wrong with her, but my parents never stopped wondering.

I won't hijack this thread further, but just wanted to say I hope that's the case with yours. Just the ultimate easy keeper!
 

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Well I am beginning to relax, he is just the easiest pup ever. I've periodically given him a smear of numerical to keep his levels up as he isn't a big ever. Our other shih tzu were much more difficult.
Tyraflenoy I actually love the crate, it is the same as what our breeder used for her pups. She left the door open and out they went to explore surfaces and to find a potty pad. I may invest in one as they are pretty easy to take anywhere you want and to move from room to room. This pup is only waking up 1 time a night now, my dauwghternow takes him out to the floor of her room and places him on a potty pad, he goes and then back to sleep. We have basically used the method of Susan Garrets puppy preoccupation. Puppy Preoccupation
Pretty much the methods I've done however I never placed a pup next to the bed before but this has worked quite well so far. We haven't quite learned his potty habits yet as he was unpredictable his first week on eating .
 
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