We at West Twin Kennels honestly believe that crate and bell training by far is the best way of potty training your puppy in a short amount of time. Depending on the size of the puppy, normally at seven weeks a medium crate would be the ideal size. We do suggest getting the bigger crate with divider's built right in. This way you will have a crate for the rest of your puppy's life. The problem with getting a big crate with no divider's is that the puppy will sleep in one corner and go to the bathroom in the other. The crate size for your puppy should be just big enough so that the puppy can stretch out, sit and stand up. Never put water or food inside of the crate. We normally suggest one of those rag rugs to sleep on. They're tough and very easy to take care of.
Starting in the morning when you wake up, you should immediately take your puppy outside. Puppy's and adult dogs go by sense of smell. That is why we do suggest picking up your puppy as soon as you open the crate door. If you wait and try to call the puppy out of his or her cage it might be too late. This is also the time to do bell training. Hobby Lobby or Walmart is a good choice to start. A string of bells about two and a half feet long tied onto the door knob where you puppy will most likely go out is an excellent idea. So after you take your puppy out of the crate, say it's time to go out or go potty. Ring the bells and go out. Make sure you put the puppy down right away, because he or she will have to go. When the puppy is done, we believe that praise is the best thing for your puppy as a child. Ruff those ears up and say good boy or good girl so that they know that they really did a good job. This will increase bonding for all of you. You can never show your puppy enough love.
Now that you have returned inside, it is time to feed your puppy. Depending on the size and age of the puppy will determine how much he or she eats. Your puppy will be very hungry so make sure you feed and give them cool fresh water right away. As soon as the puppy is done, generally within fifteen minutes they will have to go outside again. We suggest taking your puppy out immediately after they are done eating. Pick him or her up, ring the bells and do it all over again. This will enforce a habit knowing that when the puppy is done eating they need to go outside and go to the bathroom.
Never leave the food dish out after the puppy comes in. This will provoke laziness and low self-esteem. You want to make sure the puppy knows that you are in charge and not the other way around. Besides all they want to do is be loyal and please their master's. If you can, try to eat when your puppy eats. This way they will know what is their's and what is yours. Just remember that some table scraps can kill and of course they do taste better then what they are eating also. There is nothing more embarrassing than a bagging & wining adult dog that wants dinner scraps from the table while guests are over.
Remember to keep fresh water out all during the day. You don't want your puppy to become dehydrated. Just like potty training a child, you should take the water dish away about three hours before bedtime. Unless it is extremely hot, or a lot of heavy exercising. The last time you let your puppy out, make sure someone goes out with the puppy and play with them. Get the puppy a little worked up and run around with them. They should go potty for the last time. Remember praise is the best for the puppy.
The most difficult time is saying good night. Put your puppy in your crate and walk away. There will be crying, wining and maybe some small barking. Just remember there is nothing wrong, they just want more attention. If you go back to the crate and give in, then they have you! They're not dumb, in fact very smart! If you would continue to have a puppy with wining or crying, then we do suggest draping a dark blanket loosely over the crate to darken it up. Not tight, loose...You are done! In the morning start it all over again and form a habit.
When you are home the puppy should be with you, not in the crate. Remember to always leave the kennel door open when the puppy is out with you. You do not want the puppy to think that it is a type of punishment. If you can't find your puppy, check the crate first. Lots of times they will use the crate as their safe spot and they know that is where they sleep at night. Besides everyone needs a little time away.
We do not suggest any type of rawhide, pig ears or horse hoofs. Just remember if it smells good they will gulp it down. This is just a precaution for your puppy. We do suggest carrot chips. They are excellent for their coats and neutralizes puppy breath. Remember praise is always the best reward!