i fell in love with this breed when i opened up a dog calendar to the month of april (my birthday month) to find four cavalier king charles puppies in a basket. eleven years later, at twenty-three years old, i finally have one to call my own. we will be bringing home finn in early march, at which time he will be just shy of nine weeks.
i have ticked off nearly everything on my shopping list except for a crate. the pet stores i've been to do not carry crates with dividers and even the ones made for small breeds seem too large for a puppy who needs only enough room to "stand up and turn around". would it be better to purchase a portable carrier instead? i would gladly shell out the extra money for this plus a crate to use when he is older (and bigger) if it means less issues with housebreaking.
speaking of housebreaking, i have pored over books and websites and am now desperately in need of advice. i have managed to take three weeks off to ease finn into our home. tamar geller of "the loved dog method" fame suggests crating the puppy and taking him outside every two hours. i am considering adopting this strategy for the weeks when i can be with him all day and switching to shirlee kalstone's rigorous schedule from the highly-praised how to housebreak your dog in 7 days when i head back to the office, in which case he will be confined inside an exercise pen during work hours and let out when i get home. since consistency is key, would this change be too confusing? she warns that puppies under four months of age cannot hold their bladders for very long and i know that at the end of my time off, finn will still be far short of this mark, but it is honestly the best that i can do. i worry that starting him off in the pen, as kalstone recommends for "very young puppies", is not doing enough to set housebreaking expectations since he can comfortably relieve himself on one side. i thought that using geller's approach, even for a brief period, will at least give him an idea of what he needs to do.
i apologize for the essay! i have read a few posts with similar questions, but am hoping someone can help with specific responses. thank you in advance from one very anxious mom-to-be!