With a new Labrador Retriever puppy in the home, don’t be surprised if your rising time is suddenly a little earlier than you’ve been accustomed to. Puppies have earned a reputation as very early risers. When your pup wakes you at the crack of dawn, you will have to get up and take her to her elimination spot. Be patient. When your dog is an adult, she may enjoy sleeping in as much as you do.
At the end of the chapter, you’ll find a typical housetraining schedule for puppies aged 10 weeks to 6 months. It’s fine to adjust the rising times when using this schedule, but you should not adjust the intervals between feedings and potty outings unless your pup’s behavior justifies a change. Your puppy can only meet your expectations in housetraining if you help her learn the rules.
The schedule for puppies is devised with the assumption that someone will be home most of the time with the pup. That would be the best scenario, of course, but is not always possible. You may be able to ease the problems of a latchkey pup by having a neighbor or friend look in on the pup at noon and take her to eliminate. A better solution might be hiring a pet sitter to drop by midday. A professional pet sitter will be knowledgeable about companion animals and can give your pup high-quality care and socialization. Some can even help train your pup in both potty manners and basic obedience. Ask your veterinarian and your dog-owning friends to recommend a good pet sitter.
If you must leave your pup alone during her early housetraining period, be sure to cover the entire floor of her corral with thick layers of overlapping newspaper. If you come home to messes in the puppy corral, just clean them up. Be patient – she’s still a baby.
Use this schedule as a basic plan to help prevent housetraining accidents. Meanwhile, use your own powers of observation to discover how to best modify the basic schedule to fit your dog’s unique needs. Each dog is an individual and will have her own rhythms, and each dog is reliable at a different age.