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Question
I just got a 5 week old blue healer border collie mix puppy. I would like help with more information as possible about this breed, how to train and have this breed as a pet. Also I am really struggling, and what not about housebreaking my dog, like potty training and crate training mostly. Any helpful, 'how to do' is much appreciated.

Thank you,
Emily

Answer

Hi Emily,

Five weeks is much too young for a puppy to be taken from it's mother and litter-mates. Though your puppy is eating solid food, it would learn important social cues (and would be easier to train and socialize) if it were left with it's mom and litter-mates until it was 8 weeks of age. Can you reunite your puppy with mother for another 3 weeks?

The time to investigate breeds of dogs is before you get a puppy. Your puppy is a mixed breed, not any one breed of dog, the basic training and socialization it requires is the same for any puppy. What separates your mixed breed puppy from other mixed breeds is, both Blue Healers and Border Collie are working breeds that are intelligent and need strong leadership from it's owner. This means as your puppy grows into an adult dog he/she may not be satisfied being home alone for long periods of time, it will require mental stimulation and activities such as obedience training and/or agility training to keep it's mind occupied, and a lot of daily exercise to keep it's body fit.

When your puppy is around 3 months of age enrolling in a "Puppy Kindergarten" class would be wise. Your puppy will learn basic obedience commands, and you'll learn how to be a strong leader. This is important because your puppy may be strong willed, and challenge you to be the "pack leader". You want your puppy to know it's place in the "pack" at an early age.  You won't get a second chance to do this right.

You said you're "struggling about housebreaking my dog", do you have a second untrained dog, or are you referring to your puppy?

A puppy is not physically able to control it's bowels or bladder until he is at least 12 weeks of age. Before this time, good housebreaking routines should be practiced to avoid having your puppy go to the bathroom all over your home. Your puppy doesn't know what house training pads are for, and he needs a large area to be covered, there is no guarantee that he'll "hit" the area you want him to use. For these reasons, your puppy needs to be contained in a small room or in a pet pen, that has a thick layer of newspaper covering the entire containment area. Newspaper is much cheaper than those house training pads, and you'll be using A LOT of newspaper! Clean soiled paper promptly, by removing it and putting down new newspaper. When you or a family member comes home, immediately take the puppy outside, and offer praise or a tiny bit of food as a reward whenever it relieves itself outside. Anytime you or a family member can't be supervising the puppy, it should be kept in the containment area, otherwise accidents WILL occur in your home!

A rule of thumb for how long a puppy can "hold it", is it's age in months plus one, equals the amount of time between potty breaks. This means a two month old puppy will need to go to the bathroom about every three hours. That said, this rule isn't set in stone, so you can expect a puppy to need to relieve itself more often than that, sometimes.

Puppies need to eliminate about 15 minutes after they eat or drink, and as soon as they wake up. Active play and chewing stimulate elimination, so keep a sharp eye on your puppy and dash him outside before he needs to eliminate. Signs he needs to go to the bathroom are: he starts sniffing the floor, he starts to circle around, or he squats. Don't expect a puppy to tell you when he needs to go outside to go to the bathroom! If an accident happens in your home, it's because the puppy wasn't supervised closely enough, or he wasn't in his containment area. Neither is the fault of the puppy, so the puppy shouldn't be punished! In other words, accidents can't be blamed on the puppy! Stay calm, and clean the mess up, and promise yourself that next time you'll watch the puppy closer, or if you can't be watching the puppy put him in the containment area! How well you supervise your puppy and prevent him/her from having accidents in your home, will be the deciding factor in how quickly your puppy will get house trained.

The keys to house training a puppy in as short a period of time as possible is constant supervision, containment whenever the puppy can't be supervised, get the puppy on a schedule of meal times and walks, and frequent trips outside- where praise and rewards are given for a job well done!

Once your puppy has gotten all of it's "puppy shots", it's safe to walk him in areas where other dogs go to the bathroom, and to interact with other dogs.  Until then, avoid going to places where there are a lot of dogs. Keep the puppy in your back yard (if you have one) or as close to your home as possible.

When you take your puppy outside, it should be on a leash. Whether you attach the leash to a harness or neck collar is purely a matter of personal choice. Because your puppy will be growing, it might be cheaper to buy the neck collar, since he'll be growing and will outgrow whatever collar you start with. Check to make sure the collar fits right, you should be able to insert two fingers between the collar and the back of the puppy's neck.

Most puppies do not need to go to the bathroom as often over night. Just the same, you don't want to give him the run of your home. As late as possible, before your bedtime, take the puppy outside. Over night, the puppy should be in it's containment area, or if you're using a dog crate, put the crate in your bedroom. If you are planning on using a crate, don't use it for long periods of time, when the puppy won't have a choice but to soil (like when you're out of your home). Crates are not to be soiled in, crates are for sleeping in or containment after the puppy is house trained.

Many people are frustrated by a puppy who does nothing during it's walk outside, then comes home and immediately soils in the house. Make your puppy’s walk a reward for eliminating. Bring the puppy on leash to your chosen elimination spot outside, and just stand there. Do nothing, say nothing. Give the puppy 2 or 3 minutes to eliminate. If he does, praise him warmly and take him for a walk. If he doesn’t, just bring him back inside without comment, and put him in his containment area or keep him on leash next to you (you KNOW he needs to go to the bathroom, and you don't want him to do it in your home!). Ten to 15 minutes later, bring him outside and try again. Sooner or later he’ll pee and/or poop and earn his walk reward. He will learn to relieve himself more quickly outside, because that’s how he gets a nice walk. Prompt elimination is a convenient habit for rainy days, or if you're in a hurry.

Read more about how to house train a puppy here:

http://puppyintraining.com/how-to-potty-train-a-puppy

http://www.dog-obedience-training-review.com/puppy-house-training.html

http://www.aspca.org/Pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/dog-articles/house-trainin


You also asked about crate training. Until your puppy is house trained, the crate should only be used for short term confinement. Crate training helps to teach a puppy to have bladder and bowel control, but as I said earlier just having that control doesn't happen until about 3 months of age or so. Until your puppy is house trained he/she should only be confined to a crate when you are at home, and over night. Here is some info on crate training a puppy:

http://www.perfectpaws.com/crt.html

http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/cratetraining.htm

http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?A=1129


I hope I've been a help.
Best of luck,

Patti  

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Patti

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To date, I've owned 7 dogs, all of which have lived into old age. Having cared for them in all stages of life, I feel I can offer sound advice to other pet owners, and people considering getting a dog. I am knowledgeable about the AKC (American Kennel Club) dog breeds, training and exercise, caring for sick and elderly pets, feeding, as well as many holistic treatments pets can benefit from. My only request is that you write me using standard English and punctuation.

Experience

My life experience in this field is more like "on the job training" rather than an actual degree in animal welfare. You may benefit from my experiences over the past 30 years. Aside from the dogs I've owned, I'm also involved in "breed rescue" and have fostered several dogs, all of which have been adopted to wonderful "forever homes". I find helping people who want a dog very rewarding.

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Real life experience, based on over 30 years of dog ownership.

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