View Full Version : Puppy Refresher Course Needed Here!

10th December 2006, 05:44 AM
Hello! I have been lurking about this site for quite some time. Shame on you all! You are all to blame for me falling in love with Cavaliers.

We recently put down our 15 yr old lab (she will always be missed :( ). We wanted a smaller breed this time round - the more I hung out here, the more I just had to have a cavalier. "Kody" our boy black & tan puppy was just born last wk (why yes my daughter has not only named him, but we've been puppy shopping - can we say we're EXCITED!. I make her sound little, but she's 19 and I'm just as silly being the one suggesting the puppy shopping trips this early!

Reading many posts here, has been my puppy refresher course, but I find I still have questions - or maybe I am just slow? :sl*p:

1. At 8 wks it will be a long haul to 18wks when they are more physically ready to go longer and at least attempt to make it to the door. Keeping this in mind, I am torn as to where to set up my puppy area. The kitchen works well for fitting the cage as well as a penned area around it. The only other option is in the laundry rm (our labs bed was there as we put up a child proof gate if she needed to dry off). But wanting the new pup to be near us to socialize etc.. I dont see the point to putting the crate there even if its right by the door. So with the kitchen scheme, he cant really GO to the door till he can be trusted to wander 75% of the downstairs (all tile). Is this going delay training matters - having to run all the way to the back door considering its out of his familar area?

2. That brings me to my next confused moment - pads. Is it really that bad to use them given it's Feb and he'll be only 8wks? If this was spring or summer, I would forgo them and use the patio kitchen door for a quick exit, but when its this cold if I open them, the whole downstairs is cold for 30min.

3. About our cold, Toronto, Feb weather and an 8wk old pup - is there a weight they should be at before braving such cold or should I just jump in with taking him out every 30min or hr and trust mother nature with his coat to protect him for a few minutes? At what age can he handle a walk for 15min in the winter?

4. Last on my lists of thoughts - crate size. I have read through all the posts and realize many have one of two sizes. The best fit for my kitchen area is the 18 x 24 midwest crate. But if he falls in love with it and wont give it up once he is full grown, will he still fit it? Or should I suffer putting the larger 21 x 30 which will hang out past the wall and make getting around it maddening?

Thanking you all in advance for answers to these questions, but also for having a site with so much useful information and tempting puppy photos that hooked me!

10th December 2006, 01:37 PM
Greetings fellow Ontarian (Kitchener here)

Congratulations on your new baby (though I'm sorry for the loss of your lab :( )

We bought one of those plastic gated pens (Pet Yard) and set it up in our basement. That's where she goes when we're not home. I still use training pads in the pen, and when she does go, it's always on the pad, but at almost 5 months, those are getting far and few between. At night we have her in a carrier-type crate beside our bed. I don't find using the pads have any negative effect on our housetraining efforts. She still prefers to go outside, and will do at every opportunity.. but for those times we're out and she just can't hold it, they're a Godsend to have in the pen.

I find Bella is far more bothered by rainy weather than she is the cold/snow. Save for the -12C temps we've had the last couple days, she's intrigued with snow and likes to frolick around and lick the snow, lol. I still don't leave her out there for any great amount of time, her little feet get so cold!

Have fun shopping for your puppy! I bet you both can't wait until he comes home :D

10th December 2006, 01:45 PM
I'll chime in on the pads - you will possibly get mixed opinions on it.

Lucky was pad trained for the first month or so until his shots were all done and the vet was confident he was vaccinated (I have no safe fenced back yard). It was great not having to take him out, but messy sometimes as his aim was usually in the right direction but sometimes he'd miss by an inch or so.

It took him no time to get used to going on the pads, but then when we took them away it took him a long time to get used to going outside. It used to be we praised him for going on the pads. As I am sure you know, Karlin frequently mentions Shirlee Kalstone's book on toilet training your puppy in 7 days -- I bought that after the fact and realized that she said that if you are going to eventually train your dog to go outside (which I assume you are) that you should NOT praise them for going on the pads inside. :oops: So that is why Lucky was so confused, poor guy.

I'm not saying not to train him on the pads - it might be a good solution for you with the frigid winters up there. I was fortunate to get Lucky in the summer.

Good Luck!!

10th December 2006, 02:05 PM
Welcome to the boards icon_welcome

Best of luck with your new puppy. I think you should have him in the kitchen. :D That's where we plan to have our new pup... in his crate with a little run. And we intend on having pads at the end of his run for nighttimes until he's a bit older. We will be trying to take him out roughly every hour for the first weeks of toilet training. This method has worked well for us before but I'm not sure it's practical for you?

As for the cold, unless canadian cavaliers are a whole lot hardier than the irish ones I don't think he'll relish it. :yikes And to be honest I don't think I'd be able to suffer the house being cold for a full 30mins every time you bring him out. It will be just warming up and you'll have to bring him out again! I guess it's an inconvenience either way but I personally would rather clean up wee wee pads periodically than put up with a freezing house. I would also rather longer training time than having to step out in -20 degree temperatures, but that may be just me ;) I know a lot might disagree with me on this but I'm a bit of a heat junkie. (thankfully won't be a big issue for us as we have MUCH warmer winters than you guys). That book that has been recommended by Lani is excellent though and will give you several options. It's down to personal preference then!

Good luck with everything! :flwr:

10th December 2006, 03:25 PM
Just to give you an idea, here's a couple pics of Bella's setup in our basement with the Pet Yard. I really love this thing. The side panels swivel and lock into different positions, so you can make it different shapes to suit your space. As you can see, she has plenty of room to romp, and her pee pad at the opposite end of her pillow. I just lift the pen up to fit the sides of the pad underneath to hold it in place.

You can't see it, but I have a plastic tablecloth under the blanket on the floor to protect the carpet, for the rare times she misses the pad.

Hope this helps!



10th December 2006, 03:42 PM
Hello and welcome!!

I just sent you a PM - it's so crazy that you literally live about 10 minutes from me!!!

I was thinking about getting Kos a brother but the breeder I was spekaing with would have them ready about the same time and I didn't want to go out in the cold.. :sl*p: I am a weiner, LOL. She told me that it's almost easier because once they get the hang of going outside, they wanna get there, get out, and get back in. I didn't use pads with Kosmo at all but I got him in April and it had warmed up by then.

If I were you I would probably consider using the pads though because it does get quite cold as you know. With Kosmo being 10 weeks in April if I took him out into the yard for even 5 minutes he would start shaking like he was cold. Quite a few people on here have transitioned from the pad to the great outdoors too. :)

As for the crate placing - I would probably put it into the kitchen. That's where ours is. Kosmo had an awful time when we put it in our bedroom as there's no traffic there. I moved it into our kitchen about 6 months ago and he goes there ALL the time now. It's great. Even when I am cleaning or doing dishes he'll want to be by me so he'll just go in his crate and plop down. I can't speak for sizes though. I did what everybody says "not" to do and bought a big crate. I surprisingly didn't have the same problem as some where the dog associates one area with toileting and one area with sleeping - thank God. ;)

Good luck and I look forward to getting to know you better! :)

10th December 2006, 04:23 PM
Welcome! My heart goes out to you for the loss of your lab. Having a Cavalier in your family wil be a wonderful experience for you. They are so special!

If I may be so bold, I would like to suggest that you ask your breeder to hold the pup for a couple or three extra weeks. Eight weeks is very young for a Cavalier puppy to go to his or her new home. Ten or eleven weeks would be optimum. They are much further along after those couple of extra weeks.

Night time pottying is no fun in the cold winter weather. Being a bit older makes a big difference in that area. My little Clancy was 10-1/2 weeks when I brought him home and he was able to sleep all night without going out.

For a crate, I'd suggest a traveling crate with a handle on top. You can easily take it along with you to different rooms of the house, and then park it for his/her nighttime location.

Lucy's mum
10th December 2006, 04:40 PM
I think that 8 weeks is an ideal time to have your pup. They have had time to learn dog behaviour from the bitch but are still coming to you at a time at which they can be strongly influenced by your ways. Our Lucy's breeder was an animal behaviour specialist and she very much favoured the 8 week handover. We have had all our pups at 8 weeks. Yes, they need a lot of attention then, but if you are home with them and available then that is fine. If you work, even part-time, then that would be hard with a baby 8 weeks old.

I have an 18 x 24 crate and a larger one as well. Lucy is 10 months now -17.5 lbs, pretty much fully grown. If both crates are in the room she will go into the smaller one from choice and it is plenty big enough for her. We use the large crate for the 2 of them to sleep, and now mainly use the smaller one just in the back of the car - for both of them. When Lucy was small and we only had the large crate we boxed half of it off to make it smaller by inserting a strong cardboard box into it!

For carrying about and fitting into spaces easily I would choose the smaller crate. If you are going to have 2 cavs (!!!!!) eventually then maybe the larger one would be better although as I say 2 can fit happily in the smaller size. They just love bunching together even if they are on a huge settee so they will often curl up together in one corner of the crate.

Joanne M
10th December 2006, 04:43 PM
First, let me say how sorry I am for the loss of your beloved lab.

When I got Tucker at 4.5 months he was paper trained. I live in the snow-belt here in New England, so I can relate to the cold weather concerns in only allowing your dog to do his business outdoors. I am no expert on this subject. The piddle pads, as I call them work for me. He has no accidents anywhere else in my house. The worst thing that happens is he sometimes pees too close to the edge of the pad and it hits the floor. I wipe it up right away and wash the area with a solution of 1/2 parts vinegar & water, what I use anyway for my hardwood floor. I keep a large spray bottle filled with it and a roll of paper towel right near the pads. Tucker only uses these pads when I don't want to take him out. Otherwise he prefers the yard. For me, it's easier to change a pad, which I do each time he urinates, or take a sandwich bag and pick up a small poop (from the pad) than it would be to get myself bundled up and take Tucker out in ice, snow, rain. I reward Tucker for using the pads still. Not necessarily each time, but I think that is why he successfully uses them and not my floor. I lay two pads down at once. If I had carpeting, this might not be a consideration for me.

10th December 2006, 05:35 PM
I noticed a few Canadians and GTA members here but was stunned that Arasara was only 10 min away - your right near the obedience school I found. Have any of you GTA owners found stores with great selections like the U.S? Even Petsmart in Canada doesnt carry half of what there website has, or do some of you just order online?

Chelle, I didnt think of not using all 8 sides they come with, your set up would work great in our kitchen and my other daughter who is away at university has a rabbit so I know she will be so exicited to get her hands on it after I'm done. Mind you the rabbit (fuzzy american dwarf) was litter box trained from day 1 - he always hops in and out of his box for his business. I wish a puppy was so easy, but that is not what I remember!

Also, thank you to everyone on your replies - I feel like an international traveller hearing from people across the ocean!

I pretty much thought at 8 wks and with tons of snow, dropping a handful of fur into a snow bank might be expecting too much! I'm ok using pads and reinforcing by still going out. I guess on reflection, I am just frustrated I will add more confusion by the door being so far off too. But I should stop fussing as its the best spot for him to socialize with us and winter cant last forever.

Last thought - from a health perspective, how much should he weigh when I start just small trips outside - I dont want to make him sick going too early, but I am willing to tough it up if a in/out trip won't make him sick.

10th December 2006, 05:37 PM
If I were getting Lucky in the winter, I would probably do the pads again as I did last time ... Just be aware that it will make the transition to outside toiletting a little more time consuming. As with all aspects of raising a puppy, patience and understanding is by far the most imporant thing. :-)

I'd echo what Joanne said - putting down 2 pads will help a lot. I also got pad holders that had a solid bottom under them - you put the pad on the bottom of the holder and snap it down with a top piece that goes over all 4 edges. That helped keep the floors clean and kept lucky from shredding the pads. It was pricy ($40) but a good investment for that time period. I actually bought 2.

10th December 2006, 10:23 PM
I was reading your story,showed my husband.Your story is the same.We had a lab.he was a recue from England.He died about 4 months ago at the age of ten.I wanted another dog but not a big fella,so i looked around.Also my daughter had a poster it was cavs,i often looked at it and decided to look at that breed in more depth.Iwanted another gentle dog but not a large dog.So cav. it was .Had Alfie now for 4 months and wouldnt change a thing.Love him so much he is brilliant.He is very good with my daughter and fun to boot.

10th December 2006, 10:38 PM
Sorry to hear you lost your lab. We too had a really big dog (dal) we lost at 15. Decided we couldn't be lifting a big dog in 10 yrs or so and viola a few years later here we are with 4 squeak toys (as my son calls them).

We got Casey as a pup in November and used wee pads during the worst of the winter. It took longer to eventually housebreak him in the end but it sure beat grabbing hats, boots, coats, etc. every hour or so. A really good tip we learned from this board is to buy a piece of linoleum as a floor inside the x-pen. That way accidents are easy to clean! have fun with your pup!

11th December 2006, 12:11 AM
hi there, welcome :)
when i read your post, i was thinking what barbmazz said, and i was thnking, mightn't you wait until the puppy is 12 weeks old, everything would be easier on the puppy and the family, they have way more social skills after another 4 weeks, and are better equipped emotionally to be separated from their mother.

But then when i read what lucy's mom said, i agree with that too--it depends on the situation. If someone is home with the puppy all the time and able to spend all the time needed, the advantages of remaining longer with the mother dog might be still attained by human mothering. It's that the mother dog knows, instinctively, how to socialize the babies, and the puppies also learn a lot by interacting with their siblings. humans vary a lot in how instinctive they are about it, but if the puppy still gets the kind of socialization they would've gotten from mother and siblings, the disadvantage of separating early might be avoided.

but about what lucy's mom said about 8 weeks being better for the puppy to learn your ways, i wouldn't think this was necessarily the case. i don't have anything to compare to because i got Zack when he was almost 4 months old and i got my previous dog at around 4 months. But a dog couldn't be more adapted to my ways than Frank was, and Zack is developing into the most wonderful companion, he's always been adaptable and is very easy to share life with, has been from the beginning He left his mother at 12 weeks and i got him a month later. He can go everywhere with me, he loves to go and he is not a pest or inappropriate when we're in all kinds of social situations out in the world. he is lovely at home.

but again, i don't have anything to compare to. Maybe if i had him at a younger age, he would be even better adapted, but i am a single mom with a day job so it would've been unthinkable to have a younger puppy. I was looking for one at least 5 months old, and was told at first that zack was 5 months old. but he was 1 1/2 weeks under 4 months.

i'm not sure i understood the question about whether to have the crate near the door or far from the door. I think puppies that young can find their way around, and whether they are near or far from the door, if they aren't going out because it's too cold, they are not going to know what the door is there for anyway, until it gets warm enough. From your description, i thought the kitchen sounded better, and away from the door would be warmer wouldn't it? warmer seems better.

I had Zack's crate under the kitchen table, i got a VariKennel deluxe intermediate size, and then after a few weeks, i found out about using an xpen around the crate from cavaliertalk peeps. That was just for during the night or when i wasn't home. The rest of the time, he was free in the living room with me, and didn't really try to go anywhere else in the house, all his toys were here, and me and the cat were here, so that's where he wanted to be. The room was puppy proofed and he was always in view, and was free to go outside too as the door was usually open.

If you're restricted from going outside, i don't see any choice but to use pads or a litter box. And if it's harshly cold, then i imagine it would be harmful to a tiny baby.

Anyway, i definitely used wee wee pads, even though where i live it's not cold and i have a backyard and a sliding glass door that opens onto it, right in the living room, and i left the door open a lot, with my heaters going strong, high electric bill. Zack had colitis when i got him and also he didn't fully get housetraining yet so i needed to use the pads. I put them by the front door and the door to the backyard. I didn't just put one pad. I put three or four to make a larger area, because he had diarrhea and he would spread the poop area around.

My place is all carpeted. I wanted to avoid getting the odor of the pee and poo into the carpet because then, if the dog can still smell it, they will not understand why they can't go there again.

He was definitely attracted to go on the pads. But he rapidly learned to go outside, right from the beginning. It didn't take weeks, just days, but with continued mistakes occasionally. I put the pads down for a few days or weeks, i'd leave them in front of the doors, but i'd take them away and then he'd have a mistake and i'd put them back for a while again. but i haven't put any out in a long time now. the rainy weather stopped.

Zack hated the rain, at least if it was pouring. and i've been wondering how that is going to go this year, his second winter. Yesterday was our first rain day this season and i left the door open, i put Zack's hoodie on him and he went freely in and out, got a little wet, i was glad to see he didn't mind. But it wasn't pouring, it was fairly light.

11th December 2006, 02:08 AM
I was reading your story,showed my husband.Your story is the same.We had a lab.he was a recue from England.

Actually oddly enough there is another similarity to our stories. Our lab came to us at 6mths. She wasnt a rescue dog, but she was sent back to her breeder. A recently widowed woman bought her, but once she hit 4mths she became afraid of her as she couldnt control her. She was the sweetiest dog - I had a 4 yr old at the time so, she had to be. She just wasnt trained in anything. The breeder took her into her house for 2mths and put a crate right by our dog's mom who did most of the training. The breeder said he part was only the house breaking. We never had any problems with her, gentle as could be - just a little silly as labs can be and that is what attracted me to the cavalier, that playful character but oh so adoring love they get for you. The are similar in character.

Judy Thanks for your suggestions. I will be home all day so that is not a problem, I'm just worried about the cold mostly. As to age they should go home, I'm sitting on a fence still as I can see why in some cases 8 is good but in others 10-12. First its really up to the breeder to make that choice and I really trust my breeder. I feel if she thinks extra time is needed she would keep him, but its a little early to decide now. Alot has to do with how the mom is, whether she is still giving attention versus how much attention they will get at the new home. Plus weight gain and only time will tell which is best 8 or 10 or 12.

11th December 2006, 11:16 PM
I actualy took my lab in with his mum as well she was rehomed.My lab had never been walked ,he was about two stone over weight,fleas and wasnt keen on men either.We got him at 15 months old ,he was a handfull.He ate two cars and car seat,shoes,knives anything.But he was a brilliant dog.But i agree Cavs seem to be like labs but just smaller.Which is why i choose a cav.

13th December 2006, 08:18 PM
We have two 18 x24 midwest life stages crates...Our boys prefet to use one. So, to answer your question...that should be plenty big for your cav for him whole life...and in our case may be big enough for two!

13th December 2006, 08:37 PM
Thank you! Again I was at the pet store today and I had just made up my mind on the 18x24 when another sales person attempted to tell me it was too small, so I was just measuring AGAIN and sulking about the larger one. It sounds silly, but I'm trying to think long-term as it appears a lot of cavaliers still want their crates into adulthood.

13th December 2006, 09:07 PM
You will likely think this is hilarious...but we use our crate as an end table in our family room. And we found this tray(the medium size) and attached it to the top. Duncan and Arthur's crates are on opposite sides of the couch. Clearly this will change when we get our new house built and spend money on furniture but for our cozy little house now it is great!

http://www.potterybarn.com/products/p4714/index.cfm?pkey=xsrd0m1%7C20%7C%7C%7C1%7C%7C%7C%7C% 7C%7C%7Cbalck%20tray&cm%5Fsrc=SCH

14th December 2006, 01:25 AM
I think its brillant and Trading Spaces would be proud of your double duty creativity!

14th December 2006, 02:34 PM
Just to add comments on the crate size: I first used an 18" x 24" for Buddy who full grown weighs 21 lbs. It is on okay size for him and he was fine to sleep and hang out in it, but he loved to stretch out (as long as he can possibly make himself :) ) in our Clumber Spaniel's 24" x 36" crate (and they often nap in there together). Since I had the room, I got Buddy his own 21" x 30" crate and took the 18" x 24" crate to our house in the country (so I did not have to bring a crate back and forth). Buddy likes the new crate but - you guessed it - he still likes to stretch out in Hadley's 24" x 36" crate. :sl*p: If I were you, I would go for the smaller crate, particularly if it will allow you to have it in the kitchen area with you, rather than the larger one. There is some risk that if your puppy is really oversized when he is full grown you might want to switch, but it would be more a personal perference than a real need. Good luck to you!