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Training Tips

Trying to Get Your Puppy to Match Your Routine

August 17, 2014, 6:00 PM
Q: Hello doctor We have a morkie 11 week old. How long can we keep the morkie in a playpen 3 feet by 3 feet. With this size he has more area than the crate but not enough to run around or jump. So inside playpen when we are home he just resorts to sleeping. Is this normal ? When he is outside lkaypen , he will run around the home etc but inside playpen he only sleeps. I cannot monitor all the time and hence the playpen but this also seems too limited or are just over thinking ? Is it enough if every 4 hours he gets a half hour outside ? Is it too less or can you suggest how long can we keep him in playpen even when we are home at a stretch ? How much activity does he really need ? Is it okay to keep him in playpen for 4 hours and play outside for 30 mins and continuing that routine ? Thanks again
A: Your puppy selecting the play pen as his den/ bedroom is okay but it is not a substitue for exeercise. I have found that "baby" play pens with soft bottoms are not accepted by most puppies as an exercise area and it seems it also confuses them with respect to potty traininng. It is okay to use it as an enlarged bed but it cannot be anyting else. Try to have your puppy out and engaged with you whenever and as much as you can. Be glad he has identified it as his bed as the concept of a sleep area is diffucult for dome puppies to grasp. You may need to allow exercie in a small room or exercise pen on the floor. One other problem I have seen is if you use a playpen then as your puppy matures and learns your routine it is not possible for him to leave his bed area except when you help him.