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We are so excited to be bringing home our Spoo puppy Sunday. I’ve been doing a lot of reading but am confused on a few things
We plan to have a large crate with a divider upstairs where we all sleep. I also have a pen set up in the kitchen/main area.
  • Do I also put a crate inside the pen?
  • Should I put down piddle pads when we plan to take him out as often as needed? I don’t want to cause confusion.
I have read that puppies should eat 3 times a day. It sounds like many only have water available around meals And also remove water for a long stretch during the night. Just wondering how long this stretch between feeding and watering should be?
Collars - should our puppy wear one all the time or just to go outside?
I’m sure I’ll have so many more questions. I’m really enjoy reading and learning on this forum and appreciate any advice you all have!
Thank you!
 

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I like to have a crate (plastic, not wire) inside the exercise pen. I put towels in it and a stuffed toy. This becomes the puppy's "den". It needs to be comfortable and welcoming. If you can, take an old towel or T-shirt with you when you pick up the puppy and ask the breeder to rub it over the mother. This will help the puppy adjust to its new home.

I have never used piddle pads. I put down a tarp, then newspapers, then put the crate and exercise pen on top of that foundation. The crate, water bucket, and food bowl are all in one corner of the pen - that encourages the puppy to eliminate in the corner farthest from "home". It's pretty difficult to take a little puppy outside often enough! I feed puppies under 4 months of age four times a day. By six months we are down to just twice a day and that continues throughout life. Water is always available.

I never, ever, leave collars on dogs because I am afraid the collar will get caught on something. Besides, I have mostly had show poodles that need the long hair on the back of the neck carefully preserved!
 

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Fenris (spoo), Sushi (old grumpy cat)
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So I am pretty new, my first spoo puppy (or any dog for that matter) came to me at 9 weeks old and is at 15 weeks right now. My answers are based on my personal experience with him and may or may not be the right way to do it. There are others who are much more expert in this. but I still wanted to share because I read a ton about raising a puppy, and then ended up shocked at how different having him was in reality than in books and on videos. I had to throw out a ton of stuff that became not applicable to him, improvise on others. I am sure I made plenty of mistakes, but i know I did some things right too (or he just did right without my intervention, lol). Your pup will derail the best laid plans and do his/her own thing, mine did.

I had the crate in my bedroom but no crate in the playpen in the living room. It just worked better space-wise for my home which is on the smaller side. But I have seen others recommend a second crate in the play area.

I've always had water available to my pup except when crated at night. I know some people say not to give water after a certain hour but I found it, the best word I can think of is cruel, to deny my pup water when thirsty, especially since we live in South Florida and it can get hot, even in the winter. He has had one accident in his crate in the first week, and it was a poop accident and completely my fault. By the time my spoo was 10 weeks, he was only waking up once at night, and by 12 weeks we rarely wake up at all these days. I think you'll have to see how yours does and then decide about the water before bedtime. During the day we'd be out there every 30 minutes unless he was sleeping. We had a few accidents in the first week, but at 15 weeks the only accidents we have these days are excited pee, lol.

About the food, I feed at 7:30 am, 12:30 pm (noon), 6:00 pm (the first week I fed him 4 times a day but he refused to eat the third meal before eating the fourth and I was worried he wasn't getting enough food so i split into three times and finally he started eating all of his portions). I was lucky enough to be able to take 2 weeks off from work and then to work from home so I never used pee pads, just spent a ton of time outside (we ended up having a tropical storm that first week too and my backyard was flooded with like 3 inches of water so I had to do a makeshift grass section on my porch, now we go out into the yard... if having an area inside is what works for you, have you thought of getting the grass pee areas? That way it still feels like grass...).

i put a collar on for outside only. Harness for outside or at first for indoor training. We have a cat, and the harness had a handy handle that helped me restrain him if the cat decided to come out of his cat room. At 15 weeks, he never wears anything at home. But especially do not leave a collar or harness of when crating, they can get caught on the bars and harm the pup.
 

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I would highly recommend Ian Dunbar's books, Before and After You Get Your Puppy. He answers some of these questions, plus a bunch more that most people don't think to ask.

I personally do not use piddle pads. They are one more thing for the puppy to shred, and I don't really want to encourage a large breed puppy to pee on soft surfaces in the house. Perhaps if I had a toy poodle and I lived in a 7th floor apartment I'd feel differently.

I always have water available. I fed my most recent puppy four times a day, as he was underweight when I got him. The previous pair got fed three times a day.

I used breakaway cat collars when my puppies were tiny. Probably not needed, but I felt better having some kind of tag on them in case I misplaced a pup. I used a Kurgo harness when I first started walking them, as I didn't want them hurting their necks with a real collar while they figured out the leash. They outgrew their cat collars and first harnesses within a few weeks. I went through three sizes of collar and harnesses on each dog within the first year. I'm now walking my current boy, Galen, using a martingale collar during the day (easy to put on) and a reflective harness at night.
 

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Agree on the collar. My poodle is the first dog that I don't keep a collar on all of the time. You could use a slip lead for potting, to save a little time on that dash for the door (especially first thing in the morning).
 

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Agree on the collar. My poodle is the first dog that I don't keep a collar on all of the time. You could use a slip lead for potting, to save a little time on that dash for the door (especially first thing in the morning).
I did at one point keep a slip lead in my car for emergencies. It didn't take much space in the glovebox, and I could use it on any size dog. For daily use I prefer a martingale to a slip lead. Same convenience, but the martingale collar can only close to the set point. The tiny pups are confused enough about how leashes work without accidentally choking themselves too.
 
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