Rick and Sharlee set up Echo’s area exactly like I recommended. Note the ex-pen surrounding the crate. Echo has two places to snooze; a bed inside the crate and a blanket right outside the crate. Her water dish is also right outside the crate. At the far end of the pen, not shown in this photo, is a puppy piddle pad.

This set-up provides three distinct areas. Sleeping. Drinking/eating. Potty. My puppies are exposed to this concept from the time they’re born. As the puppies grow, so does the area. At first the mother and puppies are in an airline crate (without the door, usually without the top), inside a 2×3 puppy playpen which sits in a corner in the bathroom. When the mother is ready to demote herself from her 24/7 job to…say 23/7…I set up a 2×4 in the same corner, adding another bed just outside the airline crate. Food and water are always available. When the new family outgrows this set-up, I move them to the end of the hallway, which is easily blocked off with ex-pens panels. The entire area is lined with newspaper, with the exception of the area with bedding, food and water. Over the next weeks, I make the newspaper area smaller and smaller, working towards the end opposite their bed, food and water. When the puppies have outgrown this, I make a similar, larger set-up in the basement. That area has light coming in large size windows on three sides, along with a window in the door. Think walk-out basement. The puppies come upstairs in the evening and weekends; again in the same area. At this point, they’re pretty good about finding the newspaper and are allowed more freedom in the house. I’m able to expand this freedom, this envelope, slowly first allowing them access to the bathroom, then the library, then the entire hallway, then the kitchen. And finally the entire house, which takes constant supervision. Right Vickie?!

Looks like one of Rick and Sharlee’s cats likes the set-up too! This photo they titled Sleepover.

And face to face…

Learning the stairs…which took 5 minutes!

Echo’s world has definitely expanded. As has her siblings’ world. Yesterday they made the big move to The Kennel. Gasp! Not the kennel! <g>

Siku and Whisper, in the past week or so, showed plenty of signs they were ready for the big move. Yesterday morning I prepared a kennel run, between the Girl Group and Edmund. The spaces in the fencing are 1″ wide and 2″ tall. For added insurance, I have temporarily snapped ex-pen panels to that fencing. When the kennel settles back down, current dogs accepting the newcomers as permanent residents the ex-pen panels will come down. And the puppies will be rotated between the Girls and the Boys when outside. Full integration will have occurred. At least until it’s time to separate the puppies or Whisper goes to her home.

Right now, even as I type, the puppies’ door is open, allowing them access to their outside run. It’s a whole new Big Dog world!


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