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Hello all,

My husband and I don’t actually have a puppy yet but we hope to bring one into our home sometime in the near future. In the meantime, we're trying to acquire as much knowledge as we possibly can. I've been reading "Golden Retrievers for Dummies" (which prompts a laugh from everyone I've said this to) and I've found it to be quite a straight-forward and informative read. That being said, I have a few questions about the infamous puppy schedule that I was hoping you may be able to answer for us.

In the book, it recommends feeding your puppy at around 6 or 7 in the morning, again at around noon and dinner no later than 5 or 6.

My husband works from 4:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. and I am presently unemployed. I always wait up for him and we do not typically go to bed until at least 2:00. Consequently, we tend to sleep later than most in the mornings.

I can handle the recommended puppy schedule but my husband is wondering if we can adjust the puppy's schedule to mesh with our schedule. I said that I would ask the great lot of you but that I would tend to think that we need to adjust our schedule (well my schedule, haha) around the puppy.

If we do follow the recommended schedule, when should puppy’s bedtime be? I would imagine if I put him in his crate around 11:00 or so, that he may be bothered by us being up and about.

Our home has a walk-out basement and is virtually a three story home in the back. While we have a deck off our dining room on the main floor, it has no stairs leading to the backyard (our builder must have a thing against constructing stairs because none of the homes in this subdivision have them). We have a very large backyard and we hope to use it for the puppy but the only access to it currently, is to go down through our basement. I’m worried that it may be too much to expect him to catch onto the fact that he needs to essentially associate the door leading to the basement to going outside to relieve himself.

Any thoughts? Feel free to ridicule, throw knives, whatever. J
 

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What do you think about putting a leash on him and going out the front door to potty? I don't think you have to follow the books, "ideal" timeframe. Plan his potty times around your schedule, and be aware- they need to go out a lot! Taking him out thru your basement might get old fast. The bottom line is- the pup lives in YOUR home and you have YOUR families schedule to consider! Dogs are very accomadating once they get used to the program!
 

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aka Ali, Oscar's mom
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We also bought that book!!! I read it like 20 times before Oscar came home ;)

We also often go to bed late (1-2am) and get up 9-10am (we are students, work from home a lot of the time). Oscar has adjusted to this schedule just fine, so long as he is let out to potty one last time when it's bedtime.

When Oscar FIRST came home, we did actually switch to a slightly earlier schedule (bed by ~midnight, up by 8am), I think because we were all SOO tired from Oscar playing all day! LOL Also Oscar would bark to get up as soon as he saw the sun or heard other people outside, around 8am (and of course when we turned back the clock, he wanted us to get up at 7am!!!!). I think we probably could've extended this time had we all been going to sleep later. If we did want to sleep later, we'd let him go potty and then put him back in his crate to sleep for another hour or so. He didn't always like that so much...LOL! but they get used to it. When they are very little, they probably can't "hold it" all night, so you might find yourself having to get up during the night a few times. I HIGHLY recommend "crate training" -- dogs naturally don't want to soil their sleeping space, so they will bark or cry to let you know they need to go out... otherwise if they are sleeping in a larger space (i.e. your room), they'll just get up and pee in a corner and then go back to sleep.

NOW that Oscar is older and can "hold it" in the morning, we just bring him into our bed for some more sleeping if he wants to get up before we do. That's a personal decision (not everyone wants a dog in their bed), but he's pretty good with it... he loves to snuggle in the morning!!! You just have to watch out for "stretching dog legs" kicking you in the face!! LOL ... I laugh but yeah that is definitely a hazard!! haha

About the basement exit situation... I would think this would work fine. But for "potty training" trips (JUST outside to potty, no play time) it is best to bring them out on their leash anyway, so you can be right there and ready to praise them while they "do their business". So maybe for that you could just bring puppy out the front door? It might be quicker... sometimes you need to move FAST when you see them sniffing!! LOL For playtime you guys can go out back to the yard... and then maybe when puppy is older you can train him to "ring some bells" at your basement door so he will signal you he needs to go outside.

... Also, Oscar STILL hates going down lots of stairs, where he can't run right down them, (and I'd also read somewhere it's not good for puppy joints to go down too many stairs when they are growing?? not sure if that's accurate), so we eventually had to switch to taking him down our elevator (we live in an apartment) once I couldn't carry him down the back stairway anymore.

Oh and one more thing... IMO, I still think one reason it took a long time to get Oscar potty trained was because he was confused that being "outside" our apartment was not the same as "outside the building" where it was okay to potty. He had many accidents in the hallway once he was too big to carry. When he stayed at my boyfriend's parents' house, he was suddenly VERY good with going and crying at their front door to go outside, I think because it was an easier inside/outside boundary to grasp... just a few steps to the front lawn. So maybe your best bet is to start with the front door, where you can get the pup outside the quickest? Just my thoughts based on Oscar... BUT some dogs really pick up on the potty training right away, so hopefully that will be your dog.

Good luck in your search for a pup... keep us posted!! :) Are you currently looking for breeders?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you so much for the great advice! :)

I think that we will go with the front door for now then. I figure we'll do the bell thing on the front door every time he uses it and when he's more mature (and has hopefully acquired the knowledge to ring it on his own) we'll begin re-directing him down through the basement. I don't really mind him using the front yard but I think my husband is worried about his precious grass, haha.

Where do you keep your crates? We were thinking about possibly keeping it in our office upstairs (which is across the hall from our bedroom). I know the book suggested that the crate be kept in the bedroom for the first few weeks, just wondering what you guys did. :)

Oscar is gorgeous and I love his name! :)

We have found a breeder that we're hoping will work out. She's hoping to breed in
March, so if all is successful, we hope to make her list. If not, we have a few others that we intend to research.

Thanks again for the information!
 

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Welcome,
I think you can adjust your puppy's schedule to your schedule. Mine are used to eating later since I am the only one home with my hubby gone for 8 months at the academy.
We kept the crate in the bedroom but if the room is right across from your bedroom that should work out well if you can hear him cry.
While he is little and you can carry him, I would carry him out to go potty training. When they have to go they really have to go so walking him might cause the accidents. Hopefully in time he will realize that the outside it down the stairs. The biggest thing is how to know when he has to go if he goes down the stairs. For while you want to keep most of the house off limits because they will go anywhere until they can learn to hold it. Is there any way you can have stair built down on the main level to the back yard? The bell system might work as you go down the stairs to take him by ringing them so he can start doing that. In the training section and puppy section there is some good information.
 

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aka Ali, Oscar's mom
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Thank you so much for the great advice! :)

I think that we will go with the front door for now then. I figure we'll do the bell thing on the front door every time he uses it and when he's more mature (and has hopefully acquired the knowledge to ring it on his own) we'll begin re-directing him down through the basement. I don't really mind him using the front yard but I think my husband is worried about his precious grass, haha.

Where do you keep your crates? We were thinking about possibly keeping it in our office upstairs (which is across the hall from our bedroom). I know the book suggested that the crate be kept in the bedroom for the first few weeks, just wondering what you guys did. :)

Oscar is gorgeous and I love his name! :)

We have found a breeder that we're hoping will work out. She's hoping to breed in
March, so if all is successful, we hope to make her list. If not, we have a few others that we intend to research.

Thanks again for the information!
Thanks! :)

We had 2 crates originally; a small collapsible plastic one (large cat-sized?), which is a good size for 2-3 month old golden pup, and a wire one large enough for an adult dog. We used the plastic one first, and kept it in the bedroom at night and moved it out into the rest of apartment as necessary. We would put it up on some chairs next to the bed at night so we could stick our fingers through the bars when he cried! That stopped pretty quickly, so it got moved to the floor. During the day we'd put him in the crate in the living room, but if he was really fussy we'd put it in the bedroom and close the door, so he'd go to sleep without hearing us walking around.

Then he outgrew that crate, so we had the big wire crate set up in the bedroom. If you can, just get a large crate that comes with a divider so you can change the size as they get bigger -- since if the crate is too big, they can just pee/poo in one corner and sleep in the other ;) :doh: Eventually we moved that crate to the living room so he can come and go in there during the day, and he sleeps there now. He didn't seem to mind when we switched him from sleeping in our bedroom to the living room, I guess because he was used to sleeping in that crate already. He is right down the hall, so we can hear him if he cries during the night.

I think in the beginning, having the crate in the bedroom is a good idea, since s/he'll probably cry, plus might have to go out to potty during the night. But they are pretty quickly able to "hold it" through the night (we take away the water a couple hours before bed), so as long as the crate is somewhere you can hear if they are crying, it should be fine if it's not actually IN the bedroom. Of course you might find you want it there! :)

Oh yes, the grass... I feel like Oscar is single-handedly "yellowing" the lawn in front of our apartment building... ;) but we don't exactly have many options! BUT you could always direct your pup to some mulch or dirt in your yard, if you have the option... I've heard it's best to always bring them to a specific area to do their business anyway, so some people set aside a special area so their grass won't get wrecked.

Oh and about training with the bell... Oscar figured it out eventually, BUT instead of just hitting it with his nose, he was smashing it around on the door and scratching the door! :doh::doh::doh: I was happy he got it but geez!! :p::p: SO we gave up on that, since honestly we never let him run around without us right there, and our door is "right there" in our living room anyway. If you have a big house where you can't keep the pup in sight, it might be a great idea... but in the beginning you'll probably have some baby gates up or something anyway? But if you do use the bell, I'd put something behind it like felt or cloth, since doggie claws are really good for scratching up paint and wood doors... ;) Cuz Oscar still does this if he's really desperate to get outside... sometimes he tries to get right up and turn the deadbolt with his teeth...! LOL!! We are always like "where do you think you are going? you can't turn that doorknob without thumbs!" ;)

Keep us posted on your pup search :)
 

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My husband and I are anxiously waiting for a breeding to take place in March, too!! We hope that we're on the list and will have a male puppy, though we'd never pass up a female either!! I've been reading up on obedience books since I want to compete with our puppy. It seems like there is so much time between now and take home in June/July, but it will go by so quickly, or at least I hope so!!

We have two crates and intend on keeping one downstairs and one upstairs for at night. I'm also on the look out for an X pen on sale or on Craigslist.

My aunt has a home with three stories and a walk out basement. For the first few months their new puppy didn't quite understand that any door would be okay for her to signal to go outside. I'd recommend trying to keep it consistent and use one door for the first few weeks. Probably on whatever level that you are on most often.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Thanks for all of the advice, you're all absolutely brilliant in our eyes! :)

The Oscar stories make me giggle, that is one smart doggy! :) We lived in an apartment up until last August and just the thought of a dog trying to undo a deadbolt is very comical.

I think that I will definitely want puppy in the bedroom, I just have to convince my husband that he wants it as well, hehe. We'll definitely be taking your advice and getting one of the larger wire crates as they seem to be a better value than the smaller ones around here.

It stupidly never occurred to me that the bells may result in havoc being wreaked upon the front door, lol. Thanks for the tips, it will save my husband some sanity!

Poor guy has never had a dog before and after reading the Dummies book and doing research online, he's stressing about everything from parvo to hip displaysia to complete home destruction. I've admittedly been quite worried that his fears may cause him to think that the risk is far too great. I can appreciate his concerns and realistically know that there is no way that I can tell him that our dog will always be 100% healthy and that none of our furniture will bear tell-tale bitemarks. This, of course, terrifies me because I've been waiting for five years to bring a dog into our family.

The other day though, while pricing dog food at Petsmart, my husband rounded the corner of one of the aisles and was almost bowled over by a gleeful golden. My husband's eyes absolutely lit up and he stood there softly cooing to and petting that dog for what seemed like hours. When we walked away, he just grinned at me and said that he can't wait. It definitely made me feel a lot better. I think the problem is though that right now, the puppy/dog is such an abstract concept to us. Once he sees one and interacts with it, he's in love but until then, he has nothing to do but worry himself to death and (reject my name suggestions, lol). :)

Carolina, I hope everything works out for you. I'm already so impatient, it seems like it will be ages before we even know if the breeding was successful. I know it will be worth it in the end though! :D


I really appreciate your responses. The books are nice but it's always great to get people's first-hand experiences. :)
 

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aka Ali, Oscar's mom
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Poor guy has never had a dog before and after reading the Dummies book and doing research online, he's stressing about everything from parvo to hip displaysia to complete home destruction. I've admittedly been quite worried that his fears may cause him to think that the risk is far too great. I can appreciate his concerns and realistically know that there is no way that I can tell him that our dog will always be 100% healthy and that none of our furniture will bear tell-tale bitemarks. This, of course, terrifies me because I've been waiting for five years to bring a dog into our family.

The other day though, while pricing dog food at Petsmart, my husband rounded the corner of one of the aisles and was almost bowled over by a gleeful golden. My husband's eyes absolutely lit up and he stood there softly cooing to and petting that dog for what seemed like hours. When we walked away, he just grinned at me and said that he can't wait. It definitely made me feel a lot better. I think the problem is though that right now, the puppy/dog is such an abstract concept to us. Once he sees one and interacts with it, he's in love but until then, he has nothing to do but worry himself to death and (reject my name suggestions, lol). :)
Oh I totally understand these feelings... there's just always something else to worry about!!! And I found for us that the things we were like "oh yeah, no problem, we've read the books, if everyone can do it so can we!" were the things that ended up driving us the most batty... for us, that was (1) housebreaking (some dogs just don't "get it" as quickly, I guess!) and (2) the crazy biting/chewing of ME (not my boyfriend, just me! LOL).

And the things that we (okay, me LOL) actually spent the most time obsessively reading about, weren't actually the most important/relevant things when we actually brought Oscar home. For us, that was (1) how to train "tricks"/obedience stuff... he is actually pretty smart and picks up fast, plus we did puppy class at Petsmart, and (2) FOOD, because we knew we wanted to feed raw, we just didn't know where to start and were totally lost. So we ended up postponing feeding raw until we were a little less overwhelmed, and just started out feeding him what the breeder feeds her pups (Eukanuba Large Breed Puppy) until our big bag ran out after a few months :) ... Oh yeah and (3) what will his name be!!!!... that was an endless topic of debate. There were several rounds of voting... and veto-ing... ;) But once we picked him up and finally decided YES, he's an "Oscar"... well it just seemed obvious, of course that's his name!

So long as you are comfortable with your choice of breeder, then you have put yourself in the best position to have the healthiest puppy coming home!!!! Then the nutrition and overall health will be in your capable hands :) You are right that no one can guarantee a future 100%, but you are doing everything right so far!

My only reminder is make sure you check for the clearances on the sire & dam... you can check on k9data.com, or straight from the OFA records [ http://www.offa.org/search.html ] or OVC (Ontario Veterinary College, if the dog had clearances done in Canada) [ http://www.ovc.uoguelph.ca/cfmx/hip-elbow/search/ ] if you know all or part of the dogs' names. You can/should also search for the grandparens and great-grandparents, etc... it is not only REALLY FUN for looking for possible name suggestions (especiall on K9Data, where you can see pictures!), but you can see how healthy hips, etc. are in the lines of your potential pup. The breeder should also be able to provide the copies of the clearance documents. You will find LOTS of good info on the forum about the purposes of these clearances, all of which we had NO clue about before finding this forum!!

And about the furniture... Oscar has surprisingly left that alone! (can't say the same for many of my socks though...) We have one little chewed area on my easel, but he has left the leather couch & chair alone at least so far! :crossfing ;) ... but of course that crate is key! He did eat part of one couch pillow which fell down beside his crate, but I can't really blame him for that... it was full of tasty feathers... LOL!
 
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