Thomas Terriers
Crate Training & Helpful Advise

Getting Started ! First you need to “understand” why it works. Puppies are just like children, they respond to Praise, Structure & Routine. Repetitive Habits make learning simple for them and you too. Puppies that are born, raised, and live in Safe & Clean Environment, have a great sense of cleanliness. They want to keep their bed clean and eliminate away from where they sleep. Your Crate Training is based on this principal, starting with the crate and extending it to more rooms in your home as the months pass and the puppy graduates to expanded freedom as he learns and understands the process.

    Routine & Simple . Each Hour ( more or less ) should revolve around this agenda. Short sessions allow the puppy to not have to endure long periods in the crate, and become bored or frustrated.

    Nap in the Crate. This “time” concerns a lot of people.. be flexible
    if the puppy is Tired, allow him to sleep as long as your schedule will allow?

        These answers have to be individual about your requirements for the day, as well as the puppies needs. It can range from 20 minutes to 60 minutes. Younger Puppies sleep more than adolescents, so the Nap will vary in time.

    Outside to Potty 10-15 minutes? It takes longer in the beginning, once the puppy understands the routine, it happens faster.

    Free Time , Play , Eat & Drink up to 30 minutes ( if indoors), in the beginning shorter is better, until you get to know the habits of the individual puppy you love. If you are going to spend time “outside” , or go for a walk, the time can be extended to an hour, followed by a “nap” when you come inside.

        Your TIMING & ROUTINE centers around an hour or more? . Each puppy is different and owners schedules will vary daily so the total minutes will vary.. the important thing is focusing on each category and teaching the puppy understanding about each step. If you work away from home, you will follow these steps evenings, weekends, any time you are home.

This “Routine” should be practiced over and over again during the hours you are at home. Puppies need lots of rest and will sleep a lot, just like babies do. Rest in the Crate is not cruel or punishment. It teaches him relaxation and confidence about his own space and ability to be alone. With your help, he learns, the Crate is his Safe Haven and comfy sanctuary for retreat and security. If you help the puppy get thru the first few days, you will see him learn to appreciate his crate instead of protest it. It is your responsibility to Crate Train in a positive way, so he learns to love his crate.

Do you Work? Most of us do. Simple RULE is if you are going to be gone More than 4 hours?, an Exercise Pen is a great solution. Like a “play pen” for puppies.

Sturdy, non scratch finish, easy to fold up and put away when not in use. Lightweight and yet durable and won't tip over . You can buy extra panels (always buy in 2s). Its one of those “tools” you wondered how you could live without?

The exercise pen allows freedom of movement to bounce , play and be active without him getting into mischief , hurting himself or being destructive without supervision. He is safely contained , in a more spacious area, with his toys, food & water and wee wee pads or newspapers to use if he needs . The exercise pen can be purchased at most pet stores, or ordered on line The height varies 24, 36, or 48 inch tall. You can order 2 extra panels for a little more spacious area.

The ex pen should always be set up in “Rectangular” format. One end for bed, toys, opposite end with newspapers or wee wee pads, because the puppy will go “away” from his bed to go potty.... (circles are unclear defining lines).  Food & Water can be left available if you plan to be gone all day.

    The ex pen can also be used safely “Outside” if you don't have a fenced yard, to allow play time unsupervised while you accomplish other tasks..

  • When you come home, you fold up the “exercise pen” put it away and go back to the Crate Training Routine with rotation of nap , outside & free time agenda.

RECAP gone “more “ than 4 hours use Ex Pen “less” than 4 hours use Crate.

Night Time should always be spent in “Crate”. Start immediately. The “Crate “ should be in hallway near your bedroom the first week, or near enough to him you can hear him early in the AM when he awakes.. later you can move it to kitchen or another room.

Differentiate between “Protests” at nap time, and early AM “Communications”.

Protests” are whining and restless behavior usually immediately after putting the puppy in his crate for nap or bedtime. This is an adjustment to sleeping “Solo” without his litter-mates and takes a few days of working thru. Always “ignore” the protests. No attention is the best response. Drape a towel over the crate in the beginning, so he isn't disrupted by sights and view of kids or family. Sleep is induced by dim light.

Communications” usually early AM or middle of the night is to be “responded” to. Immediately get the puppy outside. Never make the puppy wait. If it' not really Get Up time, place the puppy back in the crate without stimulation or play. Hopefully he will go back to sleep. The puppy will adjust to your schedule quickly and shift his sleep patterns around yours. Never make his nights more than 7-8 hours.

Be very Tuned in to communications of any kind, body language or the “look” or “area” the puppy is in ( such as near the door). This is what you “BUILD” on, for good “Crate Training “ & “Housebreaking Skills”.

Naps should not be allowed anywhere but the crate. This is very difficult rule for many families to accept.. no lap naps, no recliner naps, no taking the puppy to nap in bed. This is a big NO NO. Your Puppy is learning the “Routine” so he is asked to NAP often. If he has just been napping in the recliner instead of getting exercise and play, he will NOT be in the mood to nap. You have to HELP him get ready for a nap, by involving him in movement during free time, and not allowing him to sleep anywhere but his crate. This can all come later, but NOT the first few months.

A baby carrot piece or small chunk of apple (no skin) tossed into the crate will make a tasty reward for a nap, and for entering the crate with a Push. Small amounts are best when given often.

Outside should be almost like a “game”! Get excited! When you release the puppy from his Crate / Nap .. get animated, say “OUTSIDE?” this “Term” is very important and have everyone in the family use the same term. He will learn its meaning in a few days.. then after a week or so.. you say “OUTSIDE?” and he will run to the door, or bark , you are getting “communication” and you realize your work is being rewarded.. he GETS IT!!

When you get “OUTSIDE” your actions are very important! Do not give the kids this responsibility, until you clearly know that he is understanding the total BIG PICTURE. In a month one child can try it. First thing you go to the AREA you want him to go potty in. If its winter and you take him right outside the back door, he will probably still use this area in the summer? Think about it. Decide and stick with it. If you have a fenced yard, take OFF his leash.. if you don't have a fenced yard, use a very LONG expando leash or a lightweight cord. Its important he feels no constraint. Leave the cord loose, and encourage wandering in this “AREA” .

Do NOT Speak to him, let him “concentrate” on his needs. Walk, Pause, Action (we hope). If nothing happens, Walk, Pause, Action? Repeat until it happens..

Pee will usually happen rather immediately. Get excited, Touch the puppy! Good Puppy! 30 seconds of reward.. Then Walk, Pause, Action? Pooping takes more exercise to happen.. don't rush. After a few days, he will realize its a JOB to be accomplished and he will get quicker! As soon as he finishes “pooping” Get excited, Touch him, Reward him with your actions and Run & Play. He will so look forward to your “fun actions” this will promote his learning and ability to understand without confusion. Pooping usually happens first trip outside in the AM, mid day, and Evening.

Now you can go INSIDE for free time or stay outside, or go for a walk, what ever you want.....

Treats are not a good idea for housebreaking.. there are other times when its more appropriate.. Your Touch, your Voice, are all the reward needed for this accomplishment.

Long Range Goal is for the puppy to clearly “understand” each part of the “routine”. Slowly over the next few MONTHS (not days) you should work towards expansion of FREE TIME with more exercise, fewer NAPs and introducing him to other parts of the house, with limited periods of time and lots of supervision. Often the expansion of AREA is associated with more mistakes. Your GOAL is for very FEW mistakes, with a RIGID routine in the beginning.. so he doesn't have the time for mistakes! Gradually and slowly increasing his freedom about the house.

In the beginning, the puppy should only be in the main rooms of the house; Kitchen, Living Room (always supervised).

Mistakes will happen, but ideally not many of them. Keep a “rolled up” newspaper ( lightweight but noisy) in the main rooms, so you can instantly get it. POP the paper loudly right next to the puppy and so NO. Then PICK UP the puppy and say OUTSIDE as you travel immediately to the door. He will be “shocked” and a bit intimidated by this action. THATS GOOD ! Don't talk to him, just ignore. He probably will not pee again, since its been done, but the ACTION of you taking him outside is important. Stay for a minute, then come back in the house, and NAP time.

It's not really a punishment, but the PLAY stops, the FUN stops and no treat this time when he enters the crate. No talking.. your LACK of communication is a clear I'm not happy“ with this behavior. A few CLEAR, DIRECT ACTIONS as described are far more impressive, than 100 non expressive actions that he does not receive a clear message from. If this action does NOT seem to clearly get thru to him, then I would advise “smacking “ him with the newspaper. You have to send a Clear message, one way or another, to STOP the behavior and communicate your not going to allow this behavior. Be FIRM and TOUGH. You will be rewarded with a change in behavior. He wants to please you, but you have to send clear messages.

Treats In Training only your “actions” and “touch“ are needed. For instance, when you go outside, take a tennis ball, or a “special toy” when job is complete, throw the ball a few times, to communicate excitement and happiness. Only do this when potty training. Use other toys inside. He will look forward to it.

Many dogs (as well as people) have “wheat allergy” or “preservative allergy” so its best not to feed a wheat food or give treats with wheat or preservatives. It shows itself usually in skin problems and itchy disorders. Store Bought Treats and Rawhide chews are loaded with Wheat & Preservatives and in general NOT Healthy, and hard to digest. INSTEAD Give baby carrots , apple chunks peeled, sugar snap snow peas, raw sweet potato, cherry or grape tomatoes, Orange sections, dried or fresh banana, radishes, cauliflower & more! (* avoid grapes, raisins, chocolate) When teething, you can freeze the baby carrots slices and they work wonderfully to sooth sore gums.  Treats will require reintroduction several times as the taste buds develop and change. Don't give snacks while you are EATING your meal, or you will create a BEGGAR attitude & bad manners.

Leashes are important to understand.. A sturdy lightweight leash is needed to teach the puppy to walk “Properly “ by your side, (left side), right next to your leg, and slightly behind you (this shows your Leadership and Authority to the puppy). If you encourage him to choose the path or go anywhere he wants ahead of you, this is teaching him HE is the Leader and you will have behavioral issues to fix later. Teach him properly right from the beginning to “respect“ your leadership.

The Expando type leash has NO PLACE in training, but can be used if you do not have a fenced yard, for taking him out to “potty”. Allowing him no resistance to wander away from you to potty. HOWEVER When you go for a walk, Switch to the proper Short leash. Harness is NOT the choice in walking your dog. My hope is they stop Making the harness!! It only encourages LEANING into the movement and shows a lack of respect for the owner. A sturdy “thin” Collar is best, for a young puppy. It can be leather, plastic or chain. A puppy or dog that LEANS into the collar should be corrected to the proper position, by a JERK and when the puppy walks correctly by his side, relax the leash and put no pressure on him. When he gets ahead, quickly JERK him back to position. Repeat this exercise over and over until he is a good walker. A “pinch “ collar looks like a torture device, however it quickly communicates the message and used correctly its a good tool. Most dogs don't need it. Again, enforce the rules the first few walks, and you will be happy to have this behind you and SO PROUD when you encounter a dog that is pulling his owner like he is in a “SLED RACE “ that your dog is well behaved and respective of your body language and guidance. With in the first few weeks your puppy is ready for leash training.

Underground Fences or Radio Collars work great, but are always best when used during Adolescents not to say he can't or won't learn later in life, but he is always more ready to accept new things and respects authority in youth.

Bathing can be done every few weeks or more ideally monthly. Use Baby Shampoo or Baby Wash, as this is NON TEARING and also very MILD. Dog shampoos are too harsh, and drying for frequent use. Conditioner can be added for nice scent.

Vitamin Supplement we like is “ MISSING LINK” its powder you keep in refrigerator (no preservatives) and give hidden in peanut butter or vanilla yogurt.  It's available on line or in your favorite Pet Store.

FISH OIL / Cod liver oil is available at any pharmacy in LIQUID FORM.  Keep refrigerated, and give 1 teaspoon per 20 lbs. Pour over dry food daily. This keeps skin healthy, Heart Healthy, and has many benefits.

Spay & Neuter should be discussed with your Veterinarian. Most recommendations are for 4-6 months. Healing is faster with young dogs.

Heartworm Prevention should start at 4 months of age, and your Veterinarian can give you his suggestion for products he recommends.

Flea Protection “Frontline” is the best in my opinion.. but regionally certain other products seem to work better.. Frontline is safe and only a small percentage of dogs have reactions to it.

Food Many pet owners have their favorites. We prefer “Wheat Free” & “Preservative Free”. NUTRO ULTRA Puppy is what we recommend, there are many other great foods too.

Milk is upsetting to the digestive tract, however “cultured” milk products like yogurt or cottage cheese, are beneficial during young puppy feeding to add to puppy food, these actually sooth the digestive tract and add beneficial good bacteria.

By the time the puppy is 4months, this is no longer necessary; unless you are using it for vitamin supplement mixing.

Puppy Kindergarten is recommended at 16wks, as this is a time they generally still are very easily guided to do things “your way”. The older they get the more independent, so best to schedule this at 4months.

Biting, Growling & Rough Play are typical behavior, and this is how puppies interact with each other.. they love rough play. When your puppy gets excited and is getting overly aggressive, its best to STOP play and go for a walk or divert the activity to another game, throw a ball or change the actions. Letting the puppy know you are in control, and this behavior is NOT to be encouraged.

Professional Advise Occasionally you will need to consult a professional trainer to help you thru issues. Always act on this as soon as possible to get quick change in actions. You have to show the puppy to change his actions, ignoring the behavior will usually not work . Puppies need guidance, just like children and when you see them moving in the incorrect direction, you have to act quickly. Puppy Kindergarten often can expose a behavioral problem, and you can get advise from this trainer, or they might recommend another trainer, more specialized.

EAR GLUE and TERRIER PUPPIES Some puppies have strong cartilage in the ears or very lightweight ears; the ears may go up and stay up, so glue is required to bring them back down (to retain the correct fold that Terriers are famous for). These photos are of Skip, a wire fox owned by Carley Causey. He is a perfect example.  We use TEAR MENDER fabric flue and we get it at ACE HARDWARE.  It is non toxic and does the job well.

Keep in Touch. We love to see Updates & Photos of our puppies.

Some of our puppies we have had “birthday photos” and regretfully acknowledgment of life's end. We have been breeding for 25 years now, so we look forward to keeping in touch! We proudly display photos & updates on our website.

Joy Thomas
671 Hwy C
Ulman, MO 65083

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