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Second day home--need some advice!


Well-known member
We brought Cori home yesterday and love her already! She is 4 months old. She wasn't crate trained at the breeder's. I am working on that but have a few questions...

When I take her out to potty and she doesn't go after 5 min, I bring her back in and put her in her crate. I read that you wait another 10-15 min. and take them back out. Problem is, she yelps and cries in the crate. Do I use the waiting time when she doesn't potty to crate train her? What I read made it sound like what to do for a pup that is already crate trained (the waiting 10-15min.). What do you do when they aren't crate trained yet?

I've been using that time to crate train. She is *very* food motivated. She willingly goes in the crate (because she thinks she'll get a piece of kibble). I worked on closing the door for just a second, working up to a minute. Then I tried moving out of sight. As soon as I'm out of sight, she cries. I wait until she is quiet to come back into sight and treat her. Right now, she is in her crate and she can see me on the computer and she is whimpering.

This morning she at breakfast at 6:45 and peed and pooped at 7:00. She's had a lot of water since and I keep taking her out but she doesn't go. It's been 2 and a half hours since she last peed. Does that sound right?

I felt like I was so prepared for her, but now I'm totally confused and feel like I'm not doing anything right!

Any help is greatly appreciated!!
Amy :)
My first cav was also very food motivated. As a pup, I gave him a treat (usually a piece of kibble or carrot piece) each time he went to the bathroom outside. He quickly learned that the faster he went potty the sooner he got a treat! Also, for coming into the house, he would get a treat. This process eventually resulted in him running outdoors to go potty in the backyard and furiously running back to the house for his expected snack.

For the crate training, I used a liberal amount of treats in the beginning. Initially, he did not even want to go near the crate. I worked on rewarding him with treats initially going into the crate with the door open and then for increasing intervals of time with the door closed (a few seconds). When I finally worked up to longer intervals, it helped to sprinkle some kibble on the floor of his crate and simply leave the room. This allowed for some distraction and less anxiety seeing me leave. I made sure to always feed his meals in his crate and give a treat for returning to his crate, no matter how long or short he had been out (ex: potty breaks in the middle of the night always followed by a treat). With this regimen, it took about a week for him to adjust. Kongs filled with a small amount of kibble and topped with a little peanut butter helped as he got older for when my husband and I would leave the house.

For my second cav, he is more picky with food so I had to get a little more creative with the treat and meal options (he has to have some wet food with his kibble and I use dried, small duck strips when leaving the house. But, he also quickly learned with similar methods, also taking about a week to adapt.

I have noticed that with any dog, consistency is particularly important. You are just on the second day with Cori, and a new puppy is always an adjustment. With a good and predictable routine, she will get to know what to expect and you will get to know what to expect from her. For both of my dogs, there was some whining the first couple days when starting crate training, particularly at night when we would put them in to go to sleep. But, over time they both learned that their crates are supposed to be good, safe, calm places that they can rest and eat.
You're doing fine. Training takes lots of time, patience, and treats. If she wasn't crate trained, of course she will put up a fuss. She just has to get use to it.

I think you need to give a high value treat rather than a piece of kibble. Small pieces of steamed chicken work wonders. Also, I give mine dried lungs or liver treats.....when they see that come out, they race to their crate. I also use tiny training treats. They are the size of kibble, but soft and are only 1/2 calorie per treat and come in bacon, beef or chicken flavor. You can get these and the lung or liver treats at PetCo or PetSmart.
Thanks so much for your reply, cavalover. Sounds like I'm using the same method for potty and crate training. She's done a little better as the day has gone on. We'll just have to be consistent, like you said, and hopefully it won't be long before she's OK. I have to take my son for a Dr. appt. on Tues. and I'll be gone about 1 hour and 15 min. I guess tomorrow I'll work on leaving her a little longer a few times. I hope it gives us enough time before I have to leave her for that hour!

Amy :)
Thanks, Joyce. Yes, I need to be patient. It was so easy with our first Cavalier who was 6 mos. old when we got him. I don't remember him ever fussing in the crate.

I actually have freeze-dried liver treats but she goes crazy for her kibble, so I've just been using that. I figured since I'm using so many treats right now, I don't want to give her too many calories. Plus, I was thinking since she just came home and hasn't had anything but her kibble and some cream cheese a few times at the breeder's, I didn't want to introduce the liver quite yet. But maybe that will really help with the closed crate time. Thanks!

Also, I gave her a Kong twice now--filled with her kibble and some cream cheese and she emptied it in about 4 minutes! Then she starts crying like she wants more! I guess I need to stuff it more and use more cream cheese (or peanut butter)? But again, I don't want to overfeed her. Ian Dunbar makes it sound like a Kong will occupy them for SO long!

Thanks for your help!
Amy :)
Thanks, Joyce. I think I need to stuff it so it takes longer to empty. I'll check out that thread. Thanks again! :)
Hi Amy -

Like everyone said, time, patience and consistency. It takes a few days for a new routine to be established and it sounds like you are doing everything right.

Had to laugh about the pups ages. I got two of my dogs at age 6 months, and it was a snap to train. Bosco came at age 4 months, because we felt we missed the real "puppy" stage with the other two. Baaah.....learned too late there is a big difference in 4 months and 6 months! LOL! Hang in there, it will all come together.

Hi Joan! Thanks for your reply. Ha! Yes--I'm seeing a big difference between 4 and 6 months. We were initially supposed to get Cori at 5 months because I wanted an older pup, like our first Cav was, but when I started reading about all the developmental milestones closing between 3-4 months, I thought we'd better get her earlier! Even though our first pup was SO easy and didn't seem to be worse off because he was at the breeder's til 6 months. Although, in hindsight, he was afraid of new things and would bark at anything new that appeared in his environment (like a ball laying in the yard or a box on the floor). lol

Cori's first night she whimpered a couple minutes in her crate (in our bedroom) then slept through the night. Last night she whimpered a few minutes when we first went to bed then was quiet until 2am. She woke up crying pretty loudly so I took her out and she peed. She woke again at 4am whimpering and we let her fuss. She went on for about 10-15 min. then was quiet til morning.

I thought she'd be able to go all night without peeing at 4 months. We took her water up at 7pm (last drink was at 6:30) and she peed at 8pm and 10:30pm. I was surprised that she needed to go at 2am. If she cries at night, it's going to be hard to know know whether she needs to pee or just wants attention.

One day at a time... thanks again!

Amy :)