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Barney is on our #PuppyProgamme and has been given his own little bit of the garden. It keeps him safe, keeps precious plants safe, and means that he learns to toilet in the same place (which makes clearing up easy) It also means that there are no crazy zoomies if his mums are in a hurry to go anywhere after he's been put out. There's nothing more frustrating than a zoomy puppy who doesn't want to go back inside when you're in a rush! Barney had made some good progress with his toilet training in his first few days of being home. Until he discovered soil and stones, which both took his attention instead of focusing on the job in paw!

His garden was an amazing place of sights and smells and, when he went out, he just wanted to play. His mums were on it straight away and barriered-off the stoney area, because there was a risk he may swallow them, but this had been the area he used as a toilet. They noticed a real slump in toilet-training, with more accidents inside and more distraction when outside.

So they made sure that his safe space is completely neutral and sterile when he goes out. He has a sand box for digging to redirect him from digging in the flower borders. The lid is closed when he goes out to wee and poo. He has potted grasses and dog friendly plants to sniff and chew when he's in the garden. They're removed when he's first put out.

He has an astroturf mat to encourage him to wee on, because it can be easily washed and is useful to take to family homes to encourage him to wee on it outside. Some puppies feel anxious or over-stimulated in new gardens and can't wee, so teaching him to wee on the mat, gives him a familiar object to use. Seeing it will cue him to wee and this stays down in his pen all the time. He has plenty of toys and sniff activities in his outdoor pen, but they're also removed when he first goes out. His mums always go out with him but they don't interact with him at all until he has finished weeing and/or pooing, because they found that he was going out and sitting and staring at them because he wanted interaction, which distracted him from what he needed to do.

The space is small and safe and takes up a fair bit of room in a small garden - it could be seen as inconvenient during the summer months when the family want to be in and out of the garden. Having a puppy pen in the home can also feel like an inconvenience and make the house feel tight spaced and cluttered. As all our #PuppyProgrammers have found, though, the inconvenience is worth it because pens are such an effective way of toilet training and keeping both puppy, home and garden safe. I love the way Barney's mums have arranged their home to accommodate his development 😊


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