Dog Training/Crate training
We are getting a 10 week old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in less than two weeks. I have a 6 year old son and almost 15 month old daughter. We are planning on crate training the puppy. I realize it will be tough especially with a toddler but I am up for the challenge. Could you give me some advice on how to properly crate train her? Thank you!
Sorry for the delay in responding, Laura. (I was unable to access the AllExperts site yesterday.) When bringing a new puppy home, plan for a confinement area consisting of a crate and either an exercise pen or a room dedicated to the dog - like a laundry room or bathroom that can be gated off. I prefer an exercise pen because it can be easily placed in your living area.
Hopefully your breeder has already introduced the puppies to a crate. Check with her to be sure! The crate should be where the pup eats meals from a stuffed, frozen Kong; where the puppy sleeps at night; and where she has down-time during the day. The exercise pen is used for when you can't monitor the puppy 100% of the time. During the day I will put the crate inside the ex-pen so the dog can choose to nap inside or play with toys in the ex-pen area.
Since you have young children you should "crate, gate, and rotate". Your puppy and children shouldn't spend unsupervised time together. When the baby is on the floor, the puppy should be confined unless you are there on the floor to manage her. She won't understand that she can't use her mouth on the baby, so you will constantly be re-directing her to a toy rather than biting the kids. When the baby naps, the puppy can be rotated into the living area for training and play.
There a good website called www.dogstardaily.com that has an online training textbook on how to prepare for a new puppy and what to do when you bring her home. Another great site for dogs and kids is www.thefamilydog.com. Great videos for your 6 year old. Check them out for more information.
Let me know if you have any questions and good luck!