Puppy playing in the house.
We have a 10 week old Lab mix of some sort in a one bedroom apartment. She has her own gated off den (4 x 6 feet) with kennel and her toys etc. She does well during the day (my husband works from home) and doesn't cry or whine too much.
However when we are home at night, we are reluctant to bring her into the living room as she gets too excited and bites, pees, gets into everything.
She is very good in her crate area, and will only whine for 2-3 minutes if we are elsewhere. I want her to spend time in the living room with us at night but it seems to undo all the good training she learns.
Is it cruel to only play with her in her den and deny her the living room even though we are both home? I want her to be able to hang out with us, but i don't want my husband to keep suffering from it as he tries to work during the day.
She is walked and gets plenty of activity, as well as going out to potty every hour. She rarely has an accident. Any suggestions?
Irene and Danny
From what you describe I would say that the 'system' you're using right now is just fine for now, and not unkind - although obviously she would prefer to be with you both rather than be in her own space during the evening.
When you're potty training a puppy, limiting their access to the whole house helps to speed up the process and so far it seems as though your puppy is doing well with her housebreaking. She's also learning the 'house rules' and has accepted that her den is where she lives at this point.
Obviously though once she's a bit older and her bladder control has improved, then she should be allowed to spend time with you outside of 'her' area. If she only ever spends time in her own fenced off den she will never learn the appropriate behavior outside of that area and will inevitably get over-excited when she's free.
As soon as you can I'd suggest giving her just 5 or 10 minutes with you and your husband in the living room right after she's had a potty break so that you know she shouldn't need to pee/poop for a little while. Supervise her closely and try to occupy her with a favorite chew toy or bone that will keep her attention and prevent her from running around crazily too much. Each time she gets this playtime she will become more accustomed to it and will eventually find it less stimulating and will behave better.
As she gets older you can increase the amount of time she gets to stay with you. Once her time is up, put her back in her den with another favorite toy and ignore any fussing from her. She will probably complain but as long as you're consistent about following the routine and not allowing her to convince you to take her back into the living room, it won't be long before she'll accept this new state of affairs without complaint.
Puppies learn through repetition and by building up associations and habits, so be patient, consistent and loving in everything you do with her. Also, do still make sure she gets plenty of exercise both outside and inside your home to keep her happy and healthy.
Hope this helps. Best of luck with your pup.
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