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curlysue21 06-26-2012 06:34 AM

Housebreaking tips...etc.
So we are doing a trail run with a three month old puppy. She is very sweet and loving but we are having great difficulties with housebreaking her.

She was paper trained which in my mind means she has had no type of potty training and given that she is three months old is fairly set in her ways. We take her outside very often but more times than not she is not interested in eliminating but playing almost as if she does not associate outside with a bathroom (which may have been the case). When she does go we praise her and give her treats to let her know she did good. I thought maybe she may understand by watching my other dog and smelling his scent on the yard but no such luck.

However because she was never trained while very small she seems to have no ability to hold her urine and eliminates when the urge strikes. She even went inside her crate last night both urine and feces. That concerned me because I always thought dogs typically will not eliminate where they sleep. So I am wondering if she is having problems controlling the urge and if it may be possible to teach her how to control at all.

So I was wondering if anyone could offer me some advice or tips on how to go about the training process. TIA!

claudine19 06-26-2012 07:30 AM

I've always used the elaborate praise method: make a huge fuss when she goes outside, and reward her immediately.

It sounds like Lulu doesn't have any understanding of potty training rights and wrongs. Keep her crate clean, and try to get her on a regular going out schedule.

It may take a little while ---- Sadie still makes mistakes, but cheese makes a big difference in her motivation.

NetG 06-26-2012 07:30 AM

I think I've only had one puppy who was able to fully "get it" before 6 months old. Others who've had more can chime in, but I thought he was exceptionally good rather than that the others were slow. So at 3 months, I wouldn't expect some sort of instant potty training.

If she's paper trained, why not have paper near the door, and slowly move it out the door so she learns to associate outside with where to go?

I've never crate trained, so can't give feedback on that. I would actually like to try it with my next dog.

On Claudine's positive reinforcement encouragement: I once had a horse trainer tell me horses are always looking for the benefit of doing something. So if you reprimand them for something once but not always and they get a reward of being able to be lazy the times you don't, they'll just keep doing it. But if you reward them for doing the right thing, they will keep doing the right thing to seek the reward. I quickly discovered that applies to dogs (and humans!), too. Think of it as rewarding the positive and keep in mind you're teaching a non-human baby - and even potty training human babies can be hard!

curlysue21 06-26-2012 08:48 AM

I crate trained my former dog from a small puppy and it worked well. However I tried with my dog Yogi who is a small dog and it didn't work but he took to house training very well and it was quick. So I know every dog has different learning styles.

I'm thinking a walk first thing will help reduce her accidents in the morning and give her some time to get everything out. My concern is mostly her frequency and that she doesn't seem to hold it in for long. I feel like I'm hovering over her every minute!

ETA: I find that potty training a child is very close to potty training a dog. Vigilance, consistency, rewards and praise help tremendously.

mrspoppers 06-26-2012 02:45 PM

We adopted Zoe at around 13 months and she was damn near feral when we got her. I think she escaped from a puppy mill and then lived on the streets until animal control picked her up.

Anyway, she wasn't potty trained in any way, except to think rugs/carpeting were pee pads. (Puppy mill trait.) It took me a year and a half to get her trained but that was because I kept trying different things with her and wasn't very consistent. What finally worked was this:
  • Figure out when and how often she would pee.
  • Take her outside (leashed) consistently, ahead of her pee times. I started taking her out every 30-40 minutes.
  • Do not let her go back inside until she does something. Then praise, praise, praise. You can give a treat if you like.
  • It helped to get her used to peeing outside by taking her out to a place where other dogs went. Then she naturally wanted to mark the area.
  • Once she got the hang of peeing outside, I increased the time between trips. This wasn't even much of a gradual increase. One day, something clicked with her and she would rather pee outside than inside.
Obviously, it's hard to start a routine like this if you work. I started training Zoe the night before a 3-day weekend. At first she would have accidents if I was delayed at work by an hour. Now she can hold it almost no matter how long I'm at work.

The thing about puppies is that they really can't hold it very long. They need to go when they need to go, often up until about a year. And small dogs have a worse time with this than big dogs.

I hope this helps. It's pretty much what everyone says to do to potty train a puppy. The difference for me was the leash aspect. You can't just put her outside in the yard at regular times--you need to take her each time, preferably to the same spot.

roseannadana 06-26-2012 04:37 PM

Also if you are letting her free feed, you might try feeding twice a day at regular times and then removing her food. It's much easier to predict when she will poop if you're controlling her intake!

How big is her crate? If its too large they will go in the crate. 3 months is young! Bella is 4 months but she does great with her crate training, very few accidents.

curlysue21 06-26-2012 05:22 PM

Thanks everyone! She did great today despite the morning chaos that ensued. One accident but I stopped her mid stream and she finished outside. It was a beautiful day so we went to the softball field and the dogs ran all over and tired themselves out. She almost slept through dinner! We are about to head out for an after dinner walk to see if that gets some things moving. I only wish the weather could stay nice and I always had the day off ;). I plan to get up a little early tomorrow so I can walk her and might try to get up during the night once to see if that helps.

Rosanna I do feed her twice a day only because she is a chow hound and will eat constantly if I let her. This has been hard for my other dog though who is a picker. I haven't quite worked that out yet though. And her crate is a pretty adequate size and not very large. So the crate messing is still kind of a head scratcher.

roseannadana 06-26-2012 05:42 PM

I read that you can expect a puppy to hold urine for one hour per month of age. So three hours would be a guesstimate for your pup. Bella goes to bed at about 11 and I get up around 6. She immediately goes out to pee and goes back to bed.

If you take your pup out at night, don't talk or play with her so she knows it's strictly business!!

claudine19 06-26-2012 06:56 PM

Feel free to feed the dogs separately as well; I do (three and one).

Guess who dines solo?

mrspoppers 06-26-2012 07:29 PM

Since you have two dogs, try taking them out to pee together. It helped Zoe to have a role model. Plus, she tried to cancel out Sheba's pee with her own.

curlysue21 06-26-2012 08:02 PM

Its funny thinking of the no talking thing makes me think of when I would be up at night to breastfeed. I used that rule with them.

I do feed them separately but I have been able to get away with her eating outside for now. I should set up somewhere in my kitchen but its hard because I have little space.

I thought that she would take more interest in Yogi's peeing and pooping routine but sadly she seems to have a mind of her own. He is happy to be going outside more often though now that she's in the picture.

We had a good walk with two end results and again after I came back from an errand. I'm crossing my fingers on tonight that maybe a nightly outing may help although she is pretty stubborn and lazy when tired.

crimsonshedemon 06-27-2012 02:39 AM


Originally Posted by curlysue21 (Post 1982689)

I do feed them separately but I have been able to get away with her eating outside for now. I should set up somewhere in my kitchen but its hard because I have little space.

You can always feed in the crate. That way the other dog can't get to the food. Feeding in the crate also goes to teaching the dog that a crate is a safe, fun, relaxing spot.

Separate feeding is better for both dogs. No competition, no potential fights, no food aggression between each other, etc. I've found it to be the easiest way to feed multiple dogs.

A 3 month old puppy is a *baby*. I wouldn't expect her to hold it more than 2 hours at a time or so but I would start with 15-30 minutes and increase from there.
I'd also keep her tethered to you in the house so she doesn't have free range and you have control over her every moment.

Is parvo not a problem where you live? My vet doesn't recommend taking any dog out until they are 1 week past their last vaccination which is at 4 months or so. I've lost a puppy from parvo before so I'm super careful.

Puppyhood is like babyhood. You'll have accidents, you'll have successes. Baby steps.
I can't wait to get a puppy!

curlysue21 06-27-2012 04:50 AM

Oh yes I have bad memories of Parvo. It isn't prevalent as much here but when I lived in CA it killed many puppies and dogs of friends I had.

She did great last night! :) I woke up around two on my own and thought I would get up. I whispered to her to come as she is stubborn about going out and she peed and I put her back in her crate. I woke early this morning on my own and was worried she would mess herself if I didn't get up right away. So out we went and she went both ways and her crate was mess free. Its just killing me getting up this early when I don't have to but its worth saving myself the aggravation in the short run.

I am hoping she'll be okay after I leave for work. But I'm glad she is showing some improvement thus far.

kathymack 06-27-2012 08:40 AM

Haven't had dogs in many years. Read the guide dog training book before I got the last ones. If I remember correctly, dog's bladder is not "mature" enough for training until four months. Up until that time, it's you being smart and timing her (which is sounds like you are doing.)

I was the behaviorist for a big school district many years ago. I ALWAYS carried little training treats with me when we were going for our walk. The dog got a treat paired with a lot of positive attention when they went to the bathroom outside. That was done with any training.

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