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New Mommy
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We will be getting our puppy July 30, 2016. I am trying to do all my research and get ourselves ready for his arrival.

But I keep reading conflicting information re: potty time and training.

I understand it is important to get puppy used to going on grass & outdoors. But also, for the first 2 months puppy is susceptible to disease as they are not fully immunized.

My dilemma: I live on the third floor of a low rise condo. We have many dogs in the building and the surrounding common areas of grass are where residents take most of their dogs to potty. This means that there is plenty of exposure to disease for our little one. I was thinking of setting up a grass potty box on our balcony. That way we can take puppy out to get used to grass and keep him safe from disease. But then I read that that will make him used to peeing on the balcony? Is this true? Is it really that hard to transition him from a grass box on the balcony to real grass lawn when he is older? I'd rather deal with the expense/mess now rather than have him get sick.

In addition, I keep reading that puppy needs to go every hour, sometimes every half hour? My spouse and I will be working, and even though we have arranged to have a friend come in during the day, it will be inevitable that puppy will be alone for an hour or two. We have set up our den to be his "playroom" I put down a cheap floating floor and we put up boards to protect the walls. Can I put a grass box in the room so puppy can relieve himself? I don't want him to get anxious about peeing indoors (since I know how fast they learn) and I want him to be comfortable. But again there seems to be so many opinions about this.

Can someone please tell me how they got through the first 2-3 months with puppy while still holding a job. I know it's doable because this city is full of puppies. I'm just very confused and want what's best for him!

Thanks in advance for your wisdom & advice!
 

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When your home the puppy will need to go out about every thirty minutes, after playing, eating and napping. I would advise you to get a crate on days you work. When they are crated they should be able to hold it a few hours. When we had Jake my mom worked for four hours. We used the kitchen with a puppy pad. If crating isn't a option I would use a puppy pad only at the times your pup is left alone.

Not sure on any advice in the balcony . You need to probably find a area where there aren't dogs and take it to that place. Also ask your vet about parvo risk in your area. I am not a fan of letting your pup go on the balcony but there has been a member of two here that did that until pup had all parvo shots.
 

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I also advise to use a crate, it will be your best friend.

I am not sure how a grass box would work. I know many service dogs are trained to use them.
 

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We will also be getting our puppy (our first) that weekend, so I feel your pain about all the information, some of which conflicts. I am also a veterinarian, so whilst being a puppy "newbie" I am also an "expert." It is very confusing being me, lol.

I think that Dr. Ian Dunbar's books (Before and After You Get Your Puppy) are the most comprehensive I have seen about the potty aspect of training. He is a bit doom and gloom about constantly saying if you mess up training your puppy it will be headed to the shelter in no time, but if you take that with a grain of salt and realize he's trying to make the point that training is the key, there is a lot of great, specific (which seems to be lacking in other sources) information. You can even get PDFs of the books for free (!) from his website https://www.siriuspup.com/resources.

You will see your situation addressed pretty well by Dr. Dunbar, but basically, yes, you can use the grass potty and then transition to outside. The key word is "transition" and I am not sure that that specific procedure is addressed (although as it is not relevant to my personal situation, I have to admit I may have skimmed over it). I, personally (professionally), would NOT recommend taking your puppy out to potty with the unknown big dogs until it is fully vaccinated and on a good parasite prevention plan. It is also not practical to go that far so frequently, and you will likely be inviting accidents on the way.

I echo the previous posters that a crate is the key, but perhaps as there will be no one there to hear if your pup gets desperate to "go," you might want to set up an ex-pen with the crate at one end and the "toilet" at the other so that your pup is not forced to soil his crate, which is the exact opposite of what you are aiming for. When you are home, though, crate all the way!

I hope that helps and I look forward to having our puppies grow up "together"
 

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Kate
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Really suggest instead of a play room - have a room that has a tile or concrete floor as the primary hang-out for the first couple months. Any messes are easy to clean up.

I guess I'll say this... our puppies have never been alone longer than 2-3 hours at a time. Even as adults, they are not left home alone for hours. That said, in general puppies do sleep a majority of the time. As adults they do as well. You can encourage that early on by having a specific room or area where they sleep. If you crate, that's the whole point as well (except I don't really believe it's necessary to crate - a dog can be left in a room like a kitchen or bedroom with a tile floor and be potty trained just as easily).

*** Reason why the room works sometimes as well or better than a crate as far as a puppy who is potty trained pretty quickly... it's because the puppies who have a room to themselves will potty as far away from their sleeping area as possible. There's a very early/ingrained idea of not peeing or pooping in their sleeping/living space. Puppies who are crated may still have accidents, but similar to puppies who come from pet stores... potty training becomes that much more difficult because they've potties in their bedding often enough that they don't care. And you lose that natural instinct which helps you get them to potty only outside. That I feel anyway. Only reason crating may work is because the puppies are forced into inactivity and/or can't move around enough for their bladders to wake up. But even there, the puppies don't necessarily become completely potty trained or trustworthy outside their crates until months later....

The every 10-30 minutes rule applies when your puppy is awake and active. Playing - makes them have to go potty. Eating or drinking - it goes right through them. Stress makes them have to go potty (so if you have a puppy who is crying or barking and all worked up - they will have an accident and it's more likely to be diarrhea).

With me - if I did not have family at home during the day while I was at work.... I would have tracked down somebody else to help me really make sure that potty outings were being done every 3-4 hours, if I couldn't go back home and really cut the time in half as far as getting a puppy outside for potty, feeding them, getting them some playtime in - all before returning to work.

With both you and your spouse working - if you have flexible lunch breaks - you can work it out so that your pup gets potty/playtime in during the day.

I also think for the most part people are over-hyper about bubblewrapping their puppies to extremes prior to final shots. Unless you live in an apartment complex or something similar where you have to use a community potty area - it's not as stressful as some people make it. And actually potty training is helped out by certain little tricks...

When puppies are with breeders - a lot of breeders use wood shavings or something similar to help train the puppies to recognize that as a potty area. When the puppies come home with their owners, if the owners spread the wood shavings (or whatever) outside in the area that they will be pottying the puppies - it helps something click in the puppy's head as far as knowing that when you walk them over to this area and say "go potty" - that's what they do. It speeds up the potty training as far as having a dog who can go potty on command. You also should be able to deal with leaving a poop outside in this area for this reason. The puppies smell that and it gives them the idea when you tell them "go poopy" after walking them over where they smell the poop. Down the road, you should literally be able tell your dog to "go poop" and have him find a spot quickly.

All of this is really helpful down the road - particularly if you take your puppy to class and don't want them peeing or pooping in the class. Have them poop outside before class and that's one less thing to think about while you are puppy class.
 

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I would call a local vet and ask about parvo risk in your area. It was very, very low to nonexistent here in my Toronto neighbourhood. Also - do you live in an area where the dogs are well cared for, would have their vaccines, etc? That also brings the risk way down. I asked every single person with a dog we saw if they were fully vaccinated because my pup wasn't - and every single one was.

For me - I try to avoid not housetraining to outdoors from the very beginning. I did it from a third floor walk-up with my first puppy nearly 16 years ago, so I feel your pain. It's challenging, but worth it. They do need to go every 30-60 minutes when they are tiny. Tiny puppy = tiny bladder. Can you take any time off when your pup first comes home? Even having two weeks to get a good housetraining start will help, as will crate training from the start and a good dogwalker who can come once or twice when you first go back to work. My guess is Vancouver is like Toronto and dogwalkers are BIG business there! You will have many to choose from - but be very choosy. Interview them, and find someone you like and trust. To me, a crate is better than a small room, as the pup is not likely to pee where he sleeps (ie. a crate). Best is to buy a big one with a divider that you can grow along with your dog.
 

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New Mommy
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Thanks everyone. This is very helpful suggestions. Sometimes books are great, but it's good to hear actual experiences too.

@Megora - Thank you for the reading suggestion! I will definitely be taking a look at that to see what he recommends. I'm glad I wasn't the only one confused. And I also look forward to our puppies growing up together! Is your puppy home with you already? I am counting down the days before we get to bring our guy home!

@Sweet Girl - Good idea. I will ask the vet what they recommend. In Vancouver, I know our local guide dog organization (PADS) recently had a outbreak of Parvo with their puppy kindergarten. It's the summer months too, and I'm not sure if warm weather helps or hinders the virus. We live in a newly developed neighborhood and almost everyone here has dogs. I would say that 80% of the dog owners are pretty responsible but there are always a few bad eggs. There is one particular owner who never picks up after his dog and leaves feces down one certain street in front of a row of townhouses. It's people like that, that have me very worried. Originally I was going to do a bit of both, take him outside in the day time, and then during the night we would just take him to potty on the balcony grass. But after some more thought, I realized I would be hard pressed to find a patch of grass that hasn't touched doggie poop. Given our real estate boom, land is scarce and they have built the buildings super close to each other, therefore that = not much green space left untouched by the big pooches.

I think my main concern here is weighing the pros and cons of outdoor potty while he's still unvaccinated. I have a dog sitter on standby if we need her, and we did build a crate for our puppy (out of a re purposed crib! Maybe I should post pictures?) Topher won't be alone at home for more than 3 hours. My fiance works early and gets home early, and I work late meaning I don't have to leave until later. Our friend will patch the in-between time. Thanks again for all the suggestions!
 

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@Topher, he comes home the last weekend of the month. I think I have finally finished shopping. Except for food. Still need food. And probably more toys. Ok, maybe I haven't finished shopping.
 

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I also will pick up my Puppy on that weekend....I'd like to add a question to the thread. I understand I cannot take her in the neighborhood for potty training. In my backyard, though I have never seen one there must be some rats, since my exterminator keeps putting poison and it disappears. Can the rats presence create a danger to the puppy? and if yes, what should I do then?

Thank you everyone. Can't wait to participate in a much more active way soon!
 

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Cooper's Mom
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I also will pick up my Puppy on that weekend....I'd like to add a question to the thread. I understand I cannot take her in the neighborhood for potty training. In my backyard, though I have never seen one there must be some rats, since my exterminator keeps putting poison and it disappears. Can the rats presence create a danger to the puppy? and if yes, what should I do then?

Thank you everyone. Can't wait to participate in a much more active way soon!
I'm not sure if a rats presence can create a danger, but if your puppy eats the poison or rat droppings you may be in trouble.
 

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Can you ask the exterminator why he uses rat poison, and what the disappearance of the poison implies as to population?

I would be terrified, terrified and would not for one minute let my puppy out without me at the end of the leash, and I would have to know exactly where the poison was set out before I would do that, even. You will have to worry about rat poops, carcasses, urine... I would probably not get a puppy if rats were an issue.
 

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Absolutely NO rat poison around pets! The poison can easily kill your puppy, as could eating an animal which has been killed by the poison. The newer rodenticides are very effective and there is no specific antidote.

As far as the rats themselves, they can carry leptospirosis, which can be a problem for dogs and humans alike, so simply giving up on rodent control is also not an option.

I would talk to your pest control person about your plans for a puppy and see what their plan would be, and run whatever that plan is by your veterinarian. However, I would also make for darn sure that all the bait has been accounted for ASAP!
 

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Rat traps work....don't need to pay a guy to put them out either. Skip the poison broadcasting.....not part of a smart pest control strategy with pets and things other than rats around.
 

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Thank you all for your input. I completely understand the dangers related to the poison, although it is place in a confined area where the puppy will never be allowed. Also, we have never found any rat, alive or dead, but I will check with the Exterminator as in what to do. I am sure there are many solutions available.

Thanks everybody!
 

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You can say it is contained and your puppy won't be allowed there but things happen. Just when you think everything is out of reach of a puppy they find a way to get it.
 

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True! I will call the exterminator and make sure everything is gone. Should I be concerned about squirrels, bunnies and raccoons droppings? Though she will be on a leash...
 
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