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Leerburg Dog Training Q&A Archive Housebreaking Q&A

Housebreaking Q&A

Housebreaking Q&A

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Question on House Breaking:

Having the worse time housebreaking my puppy - have tired recommended time outside, diapers. She stills pees and poops in the house - I watch her like a hawk but she beats me, and is quick about it - we don't put her in a crate - because she also does it in there, she pee's in her diaper. She doesn't pee on a regular time intervals, I tracked it by time and sleeping patterns - I am confused and trying to patience with her. I know she isn't acting out and trying to be disobedience but I can't figure out what to do - I am not mean, I say no when she does something that I see her do, I put her outside after she does something, I bought the spray that shows dogs where to pee. I am doing something wrong and I can't figure out what.

Please help me I really need some advice.

ANSWER:

I recommend that you go to my web site and read the article I wrote on my philosophy of dog training. I think you will get some good ideas there.

I am sorry to say this is more of an owner problem than a dog problem. You can't reinvent the wheel.

Read the article I wrote on house training on my web site. Then read the Q&A on house training.

You need to change the way you are living with this pup. All interaction must be outside. When the dog comes inside it goes in the crate – there is no free time. None at all in the house. Not for months. If the dog is out of the crate in the house it's on a line – your eyes are always on it. Take the dog out every hour in the beginning.

Diapers are crazy. Really crazy. Whoever told you to use them is an idiot!!!!

I would recommend you purchase the dvd I produced titled Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months.

I have owned and trained German Shepherds for 40 years. In the past 30 years I have bred over 340 litters of working bloodline German Shepherds. I give this video to all of my puppy customers and never get questions on how to raise a pup.

Read the description of the tape on my web site. Dog training is not rocket science its simple common sense ideas on how to handle and train a dog, The DVD has 2 ½ hours of training information along with 15 puppy training articles that I have written.

You should also consider my 4 hour DVD on Basic Dog Obedience - The fact is you have way more to learn than your dog. I always recommend the handlers start studying this DVD right away even though you won't train a lot of the work until the pup is 4 to 6 months old.

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QUESTION on House Breaking:

I have a five month old male Chihuahua I have had him for several months now and I have taken on the mothering role, I have him on a routine that I thought he had gotten used to, but there are times that he urinates in his crate even after I have taken him out. How old should he be before I give him more freedom, I love to have him play but I have three children and can't always keep as close an eye on him as I would like. How do I know he is done relieving himself?

Toni & Gizmo

ANSWER:

As long as this dog is peeing in the crate he does not come out. Clean the crate with bleach water – I would not be letting this dog have freedom outside the crate for a long time. When he does come out – treat him like a 14 month old child - YOU NEVER TAKE YOUR EYES OFF HIM. Not ever. It takes him 5 seconds to pee in your house when you turn your back.

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QUESTION on House Training:

We have an 8 month old female pug (Dande) and a 7 year old female pug (Daisy). We are having difficulty house breaking her. Our vet indicated she was closer to 7 or 8 weeks of age (instead of 10 weeks as told when we purchased her) and this may be our problem. Dande is crated during the day when we are at work and other times when she will not potty outside. Our biggest problem seems to be getting her to let us know when she needs to go out. She is very skittish about everything – empty bags, anything new we bring into the house, leaves blowing across the yard, etc. We can’t seem to get her on a regular schedule with her potty habits. She is taken out twice in the morning before we leave for work (the same time every day). Between potty walks, she is fed. Some mornings she will potty after being fed, some mornings she will immediately poop in her crate when she is done eating and some mornings she won’t go at all. Like I mentioned, she is very skittish. We scold her verbally when she potties in the floor and in her crate and she cowers down and uncurls her tail. We have tried blocking off part of the crate and she doesn’t seem to mind being in a small area with her own waste.

Any suggestions you can offer on how to deal with her would be greatly appreciated.

ANSWER:

Read the article and the Q&A I wrote on house training. You can find these if you go to the list of training articles and scroll down. http://leerburg.com/articles.htm

I would recommend you purchase the dvd I produced titled Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months

I have owned and trained German Shepherds for 40 years. In the past 30 years I have bred over 340 litters of working bloodline German Shepherds. I give this video to all of my puppy customers and never get questions on how to raise a pup.

Read the description of the tape on my web site. Dog training is not rocket science its simple common sense ideas on how to handle and train a dog, The DVD has 2 ½ hours of training information along with 15 puppy training articles that I have written.

You should also consider my 4 hour DVD on Basic Dog Obedience - The fact is you have way more to learn than your dog. I always recommend the handlers start studying this DVD right away even though you wont train a lot of the work until the pup is 4 to 6 months old.

When we raise a puppy to be a house dog I follow the work in my article GROUND WORK TO BECOMING A PACK LEADER. The pup is never loose in the house without having a leash on it which it in our hand, tied to our belt or its in a crate. We don’t expect pups to tell us when they have to go outside. We take them out a lot – if they pee on the floor – well we screwed up because we did not take them out enough

I also recommend that you go to my web site and read the article I wrote on my philosophy of dog training. I think you will get some good ideas there.

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QUESTION on House Breaking:

Hello. I have an 8 week old Goldendoodle puppy who I have been crate training. When I first got him he was perfectly happy going to the bathroom in his crate and then sleeping in it. I got him on a routine of going outside and he is doing better. I put a litter box in his crate for him to use during the night and during the day when I am at work. He does a great job using it, and not going on the floor of his crate. My question is, is this preventing him from learning to hold it? Is it ok for him to use the litter box in his crate during those times? I'm afraid if I take it out he will go back to just going on his crate floor.

Thank You!

ANSWER:

You bought a dog not a cat. Dogs don’t use litter boxes.

Read the article I wrote on how to house train a dog. Read the Q&A section. If you think you are going to reinvent how to house train a dog you are going to be sadly mistaken.

If you want to learn how to live with and raise a puppy get my DVD YOUR PUPPY 8 WEEKS to 8 MONTHS.

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QUESTION on House Breaking:

I have a 12 week old boxer pup. I've had her almost 1 month and have her housebroken from peeing in the house, but sometimes I will find poop in the house or catch her in the action. How can I stop this because it is harder then the pee breaking is. A lot of the time I will take her outside to go to the bathroom and she will pee but not poop, then when we go back in the house she will go poop. Usually she will go in the basement and poop {and sometimes pee} but that is still unacceptable. Also I only put her in her crate at bed time, should I use it more in the daytime too? Sometimes she does pee and poop in the crate and sometimes she won't, but if she does go in it, she will cover it up with the blanket I have in there for her. Please give me your advice.

Candice

ANSWER:

You may want to read the article I wrote titled The Ground Work to Becoming a Pack leader. This is the protocol we use in our home when we raise a puppy for ourselves. It is also the part of the protocol we use to solving behavioral problems such as dominance and/or house breaking problems.

I would be using a dog crate and a leash – doing exactly what I say in the article. There should be no blankets or towels in the crate.

I would also be doing serious obedience with the dog.This does not mean jerk him around. I would be teaching him right from wrong and I would use marker training.

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QUESTION on House Breaking a Puppy:

We just got a puppy this past weekend. I have barely slept and ate, but it's getting better, especially after I found your web site today. We have been using a crate (made it smaller yesterday so it's more den-like) and today is my first day back at work. It's a short day today and tomorrow and then Thursday I'll be gone 8 hours but we're going to hire a dog walker for a few months.

Anyway, he's very good with going outside, because I take him out often. He only needed to get up once last night, which was ok because I have to as well (being 11 weeks pregnant). He's in his crate in our room for now, but I plan to move him out to the living room as he can hold it longer and is used to be on his own. We ignore his whining (unless he needs to pee).

Now that I feel better about crate training, my question is how to get him to tell us. When I take him out, I tell him to "potty" (I know, kind of lame, but my parents used it and it stuck), and he always goes right away. I don't let him run around in our small fenced yard until after he goes, and I just kind of repeat potty until he goes, and then tell him how good he is when he goes. But I thought about it this morning that when we're inside, and about to take him out to pee we say "Want to go outside?" I wonder if this is confusing to him because outside we say "potty." Would it help if I start saying "potty" inside before we go out so he makes the connection? I thought of the bells thing but I'd rather him respond to me than have to ring a bell.

Thanks in advance and I really like your web site and it has put me at ease, and I don't feel like the next few months are going to kill me anymore.

Ginger

ANSWER:

I get a great many emails from people who have problems house training their dogs (both puppies and adult dogs).

So many that I recently created a web page that is a resource center for house training. It's a directory of house training information.

If you spend some time reading you will find the answer to your problem.

To put things in perspective a little, I compare pups to babies - little babies. How old does a baby have to be before it tells you it no longer wants to pee and poop in his pants? The answer is that this varies but older than a year and probably close to two.

People fall into the "TELL ME TRAP" when they should be in the mode of "TAKE THE PUP OUT EVERY HOUR OR SO" so the dog learns that if he holds it a little longer he will be able to go outside. And when he goes out - KEEP HIM ON LEASH. Teaching a dog to pee and poop on leash is a HUGE thing. In later life you will appreciate it.

Also - thanks for your business. I would strongly recommend that you get the 4 hour BASIC DOG OBEDIENCE DVD when it fits your budget. You have more to learn than your pup and I recommend that you start to educated yourself now rather than when the dog is 4 or 5 months old. I compare that to a teacher who tries to do a lesson plan the night before teaching a class. It just does not always work.

Here are some articles to read to help you: (I also mention these on the house training page)

I recommend that you go to my web site and read the article I wrote on my philosophy of dog training. I think you will get some good ideas there.

You may want to read the article I wrote titled The Ground Work to Becoming a Pack Leader. This is the protocol we use in our home when we raise a puppy for ourselves. It is also the part of the protocol we use to solving behavioral problems such as dominance and/or house breaking problems.

I recommend that you visit my web site and read a training article I recently wrote titled THE THEORY OF CORRECTIONS IN DOG TRAINING.

The reason I wrote this article was to help people understand how to motivate their dogs in training. Most people either use the wrong kind of correction or over correct dogs in training. I am not a fan of "force training" (although I most defiantly believe that every dog needs to go through a correction phase). By exploring corrections in training you will become a better dog trainer.

Good Luck with your pup.

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QUESTION on Crate Training:

I have a quick question. I have a almost 2 year old Lab/Pit mix and I crate her while in work since she has what I am assuming separation anxiety since she chewed my furniture each time I tried to leave her out of the crate and I left the house. I emailed before questioning that problem but she is fine when I am home, does not destroy anything, so I don't know how she can break from it if it is done when I leave the home. Besides that, I want to know how long is too long to leave her crated. I don't like to leave her in the crate more than 5 hours, but wanted to know your advice.

ANSWER:

This is an owner problem not a dog problem. Your 5 hour limit is foolish. Dogs can easily stay in a dog crate overnight – 8 to 10 hours.

If I had your dog it would live in the crate 24-7 until it stopped being stupid. The only time out of the crate would be when I took it outside – all my interaction would be outside the house.

If the dog breaks out of the crate you need a better quality crate.

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QUESTION on House Training a Puppy:

Dear Sir,

My Japanese chin puppy is 11 weeks old. I am trying to teach her to eliminate outside. So far she is doing OK when I am with her as I take her out every 1-2 hours and after her naps. She will go when I am outside with her. At night, we have to go outside once every 2-3 hours as well. Can she hold for more than 1-2 hours at her age as I read several advices that she should be able to? If I leave her in the crate for more than 2 hours, she will eliminate in the crate. I left her in the garage in the exercise pen, her crate and the pee pad. She knew to use the pee pad. to eliminate when I am not there to let her out. This is working out great for me but I am not sure if I'll confuse her. I have to work and can only take lunch break (after 4 hours) to let her out. Do you have any advice when it comes to housebreaking a puppy and a busy owner? Your advice is greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

ANSWER:

First pee pads are the dumbest house training product on the market. Think about it. You are trying to teach a 11 week old puppy to go outside - then you put down a pad and tell her that its OK to pee and poop in the house as long as its on these stupid pads. Sorry - this NEVER WORKS.

You are doing the right thing. Take the dog out all the time. The average dog can hold it by 16 weeks. There are ALWAYS ACCEPTIONS TO THE RULE. This does not mean you did anything wrong, it only means you continue on the right path and eventually the dog will come around.

A couple of years ago it took one of our dogs 6 months - that would be 6 VERY LONG MONTHS for us. But she is fine now.

I would recommend you purchase the DVD I produced titled Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months.

I have owned and trained German Shepherds for 40 years. In the past 30 years I have bred over 350 litters of working bloodline German Shepherds. I give this video to all of my puppy customers and never get questions on how to raise a pup.

Read the description of the tape on my web site. Dog training is not rocket science its simple common sense ideas on how to handle and train a dog.

You should also consider my DVD on Basic Dog Obedience. The fact is you have way more to learn than your dog. I always recommend the handlers start studying this DVD right away even though you won't train a lot of the work until the pup is 4 to 6 months old.

I also recommend that you go to my web site and read the article I wrote on my philosophy of dog training. I think you will get some good ideas there.

You are always going to be exposed to people who offer advise on how to fix your dogs behavioral issues. The problem is that most of these people don’t have the experience to offer sound advise. I have a pre-written script I send people to make it easier to place some faith in my advice. It goes like
this:

"Everyone has an opinion on how to train a dog – just ask you barber, your mailman and your neighbor."

The problem is very few people have the experience to back up their opinions. This results in a lot of bad information being passed out on how to deal with behavioral problems.

Pet owners like yourself need to figure out who has the experience to warrant listening to. Dog training for me is not a hobby. It’s a way of life. I have been training dogs for over 45 years. I have bred over 350 litters of working bloodline German Shepherds, I was a police K9 handler on a drug task force for 10 years and I have produced over 120 videos on dog training. Many of them directed towards professional dog trainers.

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QUESTION on House Training a Puppy:

I have a pomerianian / poodle mix puppy who is going on 7 months old. My husband and I have tried to house train her and she still keeps peeing everywhere. If she gets excited she just pees all over everything. Second of all, she has a huge chewing problem and we don't know what else to do. She chewed a hole in our couch arm and ate all the stuffing and the other day she chewed a dollar coin sized hole in our love seat. We put a sheet over it and we left today for maybe 1-2 hours and came home, she had chewed completely through the sheet to the exact same hole and ate more stuffing. She always chews on stuff, but she does the "big" damage when we are gone or asleep like chewing on the couch and love seat. She has also dug up the carpet in one of our bedroom doorways and seems to "enjoy" eating it just like she enjoys eating couch stuffing. We had a comforter in which she chewed a hole through to eat the stuffing in as well. I really love her and don't want to have to get rid of her. Is there anything we can do to control her behavior? My husband is determined to put her asleep and I can't stand the thought of it. This is causing us marital problems and everything because we always fight about keeping her or putting her asleep. I want to keep her! I just don't know what to do with her, please help us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! please?????

Erica

ANSWER on House Training a Puppy:

This is 100% an owner education problem not a dog problem. You know little to nothing about the correct way to house train a dog or how to train a dog.
You're not alone so don’t take this offensively. You can learn how to do this or find a new home for the dog - I assure you that if you continue what you are doing you are headed for WORSE TIMES.

Read the article and Q&A on I wrote on house training.

Get a dog crate and learn how to use it.

TRAIN THIS DOG - I believe you can benefit from my training program. You need to understand the foundation of correct obedience. There are so many people out there teaching obedience and messing it up.

Dog training is like building a house with building blocks. The blocks have to be put down in the right order or the house falls down. I recommend that you get the 4 hour DVD I did on Basic Dog Obedience.

There are four phase of training:

The learning phase
The distraction phase
The correction phase
The maintenance phase

My DVD shows the proper way to motivate a dog through the learning phase. It teaches owners how to apply distractions in the correct way and it explains corrections and how to apply them. I strongly recommend a prong collar for training – dogs with pack issues need firm corrections and a choke collar is not a training collar. (I explain why in my DVD)

Get this DVD and a prong collar and learn how to use it effectively.

You can go to my web site and read a more detailed description of the DVD.

Your husband is a dumb ass - find a new one.

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QUESTION on House Training an Older Dog:

Dear Ed:

I have a huge problem (or it is to me anyway). I have a 3 1/2 year old neutered Chihuahua who is marking my whole house. I assume that marking is different then just peeing in the house. It's not like a puddle in the middle of the room but rather on the corners of everything. I searched your site for an answer and could not find anything on the subject. 3 family members have acquired puppies (and live separate and apart from us) but frequently visit and bring their puppies, or I have to watch them from time to time and vice versa. They are all between the ages of 8-10 months. 2 females, a lab and a boxer, and 1 male shepherd. I caught my dog raising his leg on the 10 month old lab and grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and shook him till he yelped, only because I caught him in the act. So I went out and purchased a black light and lo and behold my whole house has his markings on the corner of everything. I still cannot believe it! I feel I watch him pretty closely. I try to keep him in the room with me (unless he sneaks off and then I'll call him back to me) and I crate him when I leave the house, or when I can't watch him. Please tell me what I'm missing here. Something psychological I'm assuming. I'm bringing a male German Shepherd home in April (at the age of 8 weeks old) and I'd really like to get a handle on this before I do. Please help!! I apologize if this question seems stupid. I pray you can steer me in the right direction by telling me what is going on, and how I can stop this. Thanks so much! Bonnie

PS: By the way I enjoyed your DVD on puppies 8 weeks to 10 months. I plan to use your advice with the new shepherd. And I plan to purchase supplies and other DVDs as well. Thanks so much for your site!!

ANSWER:

This is a simple problem.

1- Get a dog crate and crate train this dog. Treat it like an 8 week old puppy. It is NEVER out of your sight and for 4 or 5 months when it’s in the house it is NEVER OFF a line. It takes a dog 3 or 4 seconds to pee on your floor. You may want to read the article I wrote titled The Ground Work to Becoming a Pack Leader. It is also the part of the protocol we use to solving behavioral problems such as dominance and/or house breaking problems.

2- I can guarantee you that this dog is not well trained. Obedience training is part of the solution. My Basic Obedience DVD has an excellent section on small dogs.

3- If this were my dog it would be in the dog crate every time another dog came to the house. Frankly with this much urine in your home you have a situation where these other dogs are also peeing in your home. When your family brings a dog it too should always be in a crate or on leash – no exceptions.


QUESTION on House Training a Pup:

Hello Sir,

I have a mini long-haired dachshund. I am following a crate training program, but during the day (M-F) I leave the dog in a gated play area in the garage with her den inside. In other words, the den is there, but the dog is not closed inside of it.

Since she is a pup (13 weeks), she cannot handle being crated for 10 hours without a break, so I leave her out in the small play area so that she doesn’t soil her den due to not being able to control her bladder. I have a paper area for her to soil on since I really don’t have any other option at this time. I plan on weaning her off of the paper as she gets a little older. Hopefully she will just hold it at this point until someone comes.

My question is, “Am I confusing her by crate training her in the house, but not in the garage?” I just don’t want her to soil her den and make things worse.

Thank you for your time and help,
George.

ANSWER:

I think you are doing as good of a job as you can based on your own circumstances.

I think you are doing it ok by putting the crate in there with her. When you need to get her to go outside, save some of the soiled newspaper and take it outside and put it on the grass. Maybe a SMALL piece. Then gradually reduce it and finally just rub it on the grass.

I would recommend you purchase the DVD I produced titled Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months.

Read the description of the tape on my web site. Dog training is not rocket science it's simple common sense ideas on how to handle and train a dog, The DVD has 2 ½ hours of training information along with 15 puppy training articles that I have written.

You should also consider my 4 hour DVD on Basic Dog Obedience. The fact is you have way more to learn than your dog. I always recommend the handlers start studying this DVD right away even though you won't train a lot of the work until the pup is 4 to 6 months old.

I also recommend that you go to my web site and read the article I wrote on my philosophy of dog training.


QUESTION:

Dear Ed,

I have been reading the many letters you receive and your answers, but now I would like to ask you this, I have three dogs a 5 year old female mixed terrier, and two year old jack russel and a one year on son to both. I crate them together and I still do not have housebroken dogs. I fenced in a area specially for them and they will come in and do their business on my rug. They refuse to go out when it is raining which makes it worse. I seem to understand from your responses that I should also crate them after I bring them in and not let them be in my house at all except for the kitchen. I got them for companionship and love having them watch tv with me and sleep with me but I am getting that I should not be doing that? I am really at fault here and at my wits end as my husband is ready to divorce me I have broken two carpet machines already and working on my third. I can no longer stand cleaning up after them and I cant get the smell out of my carpet. Any help and advice you give me would be taken and greatly appreciated. I really am at my wits end. HELP!

Gratefully,
Doris

ANSWER:

You are correct – this is 100% a owner problem and not a dog problem.

I assume each dog has its own dog crate. These dogs should NEVER be loose in your home and out of your sight. If they pee or poop in front of you they need serious obedience training with a PRONG COLLAR. In that case you need my Basic Dog Obedience DVD. This teaches your dog that some things are RIGHT and some are WRONG. It will also teach you about corrections

These dogs need to go back to square on house training. Just like a puppy. They must live in a crate or be on leash in the house. I explain this in detail on my web site.

If you allow these dogs to sleep with you – well shame on you.


QUESTION on House Training:

Dear Mr. Frawley,

First let me say that I enjoyed your article on housebreaking and want to move forward with your methods on crate training. I suppose my only question regards the pup giving signals when it needs to go outside (i.e. scratching at the door, barking at the door, etc.). In the process of crate training, is this something that will occur naturally? Thanks for the excellent online support. Keep up the great work!

Warm regards,
Marc

ANSWER:

We don’t expect this to happen. We assume this will not happen. We anticipate how often a dog needs to go outside and the dog is NEVER out of our site. Not even for 5 seconds – which is about how long it takes a pup to pee on the floor.

You may want to read the article I wrote on GROUND WORK BEFORE OBEDIENCE TRAINING. This is how we raise pups in our home.

Our goal is to teach the dog to hold it until we let it outside. Not give us a signal. We want the dog to learn that if it holds it just a little longer it will go out. As it matures (2 to 3 years) we may begin to trust it in the house. But one mistake and that’s the end of that

I would recommend you purchase the video I produced titled Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months. I have owned and trained German Shepherds for 40 years. In the past 30 years I have bred over 350 litters of working bloodline German Shepherds. I give this video to all of my puppy customers and never get questions on how to raise a pup. Read the description of the video on my web site. Dog training is not rocket science its simple common sense ideas on how to handle and train a dog,

You should also consider my 4 hour DVD on Basic Dog Obedience. The fact is you have way more to learn than your dog. I always recommend the handlers start studying this DVD right away even though you won't train a lot of the work until the pup is 4 to 6 months old.


QUESTION on Crate Training:

Dear Mr. Frawley,

I have just ordered your DVDs on puppies 8 weeks to 8 months as well as Dog Obedience, but while I wait for those videos, I’d like to ask your advice on the following.

We have a cross breed weimaraner lab (3/4 weimaraner, ¼ lab), that we have had for a week now. We took our vacation during this week to acclimatize the dog to us as well as his surroundings. He is now 8 weeks old, and tomorrow we will have to go back to work. We will be out of the house from 7am to 6pm, but we have people who will be coming by at lunchtime to let the dog out and take him for a walk. We also have a roommate who will be home mid afternoon who can take him out at that time also, but I’m not relying on him to do more than let the dog out at this time. Now, I have searched the internet for all my questions and can find an answer – and a conflicting one – to anything I can think to ask, but so far, your web site has proven to be the most effective to my ideas about dog training. I want a friend in a dog, but more importantly, because of this breed and the size he will get, I want an obedient dog that obeys its masters, therefore I have ordered your DVDs to get me to this point. Our dog had a real biting problem hid first couple of days, but after reading your articles on this subject and trying the method of grabbing the back of the neck and giving him a gentle shake while saying a firm ‘no’ really worked, so that’s when I placed my order.

I have read all that I can regarding crate training, but again, some “professionals” say to keep dog in crate, but not if you keep him in one overnight, and not for extended lengths during the day, and never as a punishment, etc., so I’ve pretty much wasted this whole past week when I should’ve been using the crate for this type of training as I thought since we keep him in there (in our bedroom) overnight, we shouldn’t use this type of training while we our home. Now I find myself at the end of my vacation, and tomorrow he’ll be left in the crate for an extended period and I’m worried about what that may do to my dog, especially a weimaraner which I’ve read are prone to separation anxiety.

Basically, here’s our schedule:

Mon-Fri 6am, take dog for a half hour walk, come back, feed him and then put him in the crate while I shower, then let him out back to relieve again before we go to work at 7am.

11am – friend/relative to come by to let dog out and go for a walk, get fed.

2pm roommate comes home, lets dog out.

5-6pm, we get home, extended walk with dog, eat dinner, then feed dog and start doing training exercises and play time.

10pm dog goes to crate in bedroom for the night

Milo whines like crazy when put in his crate (which I’ve only done over the last 2 days after reading your site), he howls and scratches at it until he passes out and that’s fine, I’m hoping through repetition he’ll get used to it. Except that now that he’ll be in it for extended periods during the day, do I still crate him while we’re at home at night, as well as overnight?

I’ve instructed our “dog minders” not to let him out of the crate until he is completely calm so he learns that whining/barking will not get him his desired result.

My question is, with our schedule, should the dog be left in the crate all day, or should we section off a part of the basement, and place the crate in this section, door open while we are at work during the day? Can you please help? I’m really worried about what I may be doing to his temperament by leaving him in the crate in the living room all day, and what your advice on how we should go about this would be. I know your views on “PetsMart type-training” so I’m hoping you will answer this for me so I can do it properly from the onset.

Thanks very much for your anticipated response!

ANSWER:

First I thank you for your business. Second I am including a pre written script I use quite a bit to people who get stupid conflicting advice:

"You are always going to be exposed to people who offer advice on how to train your dog or fix your dogs behavioral issues.

The problem is that most of these people don’t have the experience to offer sound advice. This results in a lot of bad information being passed out on how to train your dog.

Pet owners like yourself need to figure out who has the experience to warrant listening to.

Dog training is not my hobby, it’s a way of life. I have been training dogs for over 45 years. I have bred over 350 litters of working bloodline German Shepherds, I was a police K9 handler on a drug task force for 10 years and I have produced over 120 videos on dog training. Many of them directed towards professional dog trainers."

I am raising a GSD pup right now (12 weeks). They have to learn to accept the crate – so they stay in the crate until they do. During this period they are let out a lot but only on a leash. If I have to move the crate around to different rooms, put it in the garage, put it in the car while the car is in the garage I do it. The fact is this can take longer than a week for the dog to accept it. Dogs don’t work on your vacation schedule. Some are more difficult than others but if you remain consistent with a goal in mind they ALL COME AROUND.

The fact is if you have people that are going to let the dog out that often then this is perfect because he can scream like an ape when alone. Leave a radio on. Where I see problems is with the room mate caving in and screwing up. Let him read this.

My pup is currently tethered to the leg of my desk. HE IS NEVER OFF LEASH in the house. NOT EVER. I move the crate in my office when I work and slide it next to my bed at night. Last night I got up at 3:01 AM to take him out to pee and he pooped. By putting him in the crate where he can watch you he learns to settle quicker if you ignore him or tell him PHOOIE!!! when he screams. If that doesn’t work – get ear plugs and ignore him.

In closing - remember my prewritten script is on OPINIONS.


QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Frawley,

I have a 12 week old puppy that I I received two weeks ago from South Africa, and I live in Canada. I have been training him according to your method of house training, with lots of exercise and walking before and after meals. Until now his training has been flawless, with no accidents in or outside of the crate. He came in a wood crate, and I felt the crate was getting too small, because there is not enough room to put his water in without him knocking it over. I have tried different water dishes, ones that attach to the fencing part of the crate, and still he knocks it over. He is also biting at the wood of the crate. I decided to use a slightly larger crate, which was plastic (airline model). However, as soon as I did change the crate, he started to urinate in the new crate. I returned him to his old crate, and tried the transition again this morning. After his post breakfast morning walk, I put him in the new crate, and within 5 minutes he had urinated in it. Now I have returned him to his original crate again. The new crate is approximately 6 inches longer, 4 inches wider, and 2 inches taller. We are training this puppy for personal protection work, and as such, have not been giving any corrections to the puppy in fear of hurting his drive. I hope you can give me some insight into understanding the situation with myself and the pup.

Thank you,
Shawn

ANSWER:

Shawn,

Success in dog training means paying attention to details. When handlers miss details they often create problems for themselves.

There is nowhere in my writing that I tell you to put water in a dog crate. We don’t do it nor do we recommend it – for the same problems that you are running into.

Transitioning the dog to a new crate should not be much of an issue. If the dog pisses in the crate – then put the crate next to your TV or desk where you can keep your eyes on the dog while he's in the crate. If there is a 10 minute window that he will hold it for – take him out at 9 minutes. You need to think outside the box here. Then put him back in, then take him out etc, et,c etc.

Move the crates around so the dog is used to it being in different locations.

Here are three DVDS I think you need:

Your Puppy 8 Weeks to Months

Raising a Working Puppy (even if its not a working dog, this dvd is about socializing your dog correctly)

Basic Dog Obedience



QUESTION:

We have two dogs. A female German Shepherd (2 years old) & a male English Bulldog (1 1/2 years old). I have taken them both to puppy training, at PetSmart, and we have tried to crate train them. They both did well in the training classes and the Shepherd is fairly well house broken. However, the Bulldog still urinates, and occasionally does the other, in his cage, especially when excited like when we arrive home. He also "drips" when he is with us out of his cage. I would like to explain, both of us work and are often away from home 10-12 hours and feel as though this may be a large portion of the problem. However, the Shepherd almost never messes up her cage and it appears that the Bulldog messes up his cage when he realizes we have arrived home.

I wish to buy your DVD and just want your opinion/advice. We love our dogs very much and wish for their lives to be better as well as ours.

P.S. We lost both of our other dogs in 2005 and that is one reason these mean so much to us.

Bill

ANSWER:

I am working on a book on house training problems – I don’t have the title but it's going to be something like “If you think house training a dog is easy you're crazy."

Switch your dogs to an all-natural raw diet. They poop about 5 times less than feeding them crappy commercial kibble. This is not difficult, it's not that expensive and the dogs are 10 times healthier.

That’s a place to start – if this continues – then the dog needs more exercise in the morning and as soon as you get home. Obviously no water during the day and not a lot in the morning. 10 to 12 hours in a crate is a long time. You may have to find another way.


QUESTION on House Training:

Hello.

I am so thrilled to find your web site I have had an ongoing problem with my miniature dachshund, Greta.

She pees/poops in her crate when I leave her. I have been told to just leave her out in the house, or pad train her, but she always pees if I leave. I figured crate training is the best way to stop her from eliminating in the house.

BUT that is not so. I don't know what to put in the crate with her because she goes on it. For a long time, I just put something soft in there and put those things in the wash. Then, I put nothing in there with her. But she would pee and sit in it. Now, I put newspaper in the crate with her, but she shreds it...and then pees (or poops) on it.

At night, I put something really comfortable in there for her, and cover it so it feels like a den. But if I did that during the day, she would pee on the padding in the crate, and pull the covering.

So, I am at a loss. I hate that I cannot leave my place for very long without knowing she will pee in the crate. I am tired of cleaning up shreds of peed on paper, and tired of bathing her everyday because she sits in her own pee.

NOW, she is a pet store dog. The crate really is the perfect size, she has no health problems, I do walk her 3 or 4 times a day. I have started feeding her in the crate.

Do you have any other suggestions? Can she stop this behavior, or am is this what I stuck with?
Thanks so much for your help.

Joe

ANSWER:

A big misconception with people is that house training is easy. WRONG – in many cases it is but just as many times it's not.

What you need to do is make this dog a crate dog. It lives 24/7 in the crate. It must be taken outside a lot. Like every hour or so. So that it learns that if I hold it JUST A LITTLE LONGER I will be able to go outside.

Give the dog something to do in the crate. We sell these treat balls that the dogs have to work at to get the treats out. Put cream cheese inside Kongs (that works sometimes). Give the dog a knuckle bone to chew on.

Clean the crate with Clorox spray when it pees and poops in it. No rugs or towels to lay on.

Your only free time with this dog for a week or two should be OUTSIDE (even if it's cold out) The dog must learn to live in the crate or it will always poop and pee in your home. YOU MUST give this dog exercise. Good long walks help it relieve itself. Do this before you go someplace.

Pee pads are the dumbest idea in dogs!!! They teach dogs to poop in the house. Use them and you set yourself up to fail.

I recommend that you get the 4 ½ hour DVD I did on my Basic Obedience program.

You will probably find that you have not had the full picture on the training steps for training your dog. A dog must go through training steps before it can be considered fully trained.

When you read the description of the DVD on my web site you will find out why I am not a fan of taking an untrained dog to obedience classes. No professional dog trainer would ever take his dog to an obedience class with 15 or 20 untrained dogs and try and train it there. Dogs cannot learn when faced with this kind of distraction.

If you read the testimonials on my DVD you will see that my customers feel the same way.

I also recommend that you read the article I recently wrote titled THE THEORY OF CORRECTIONS IN DOG TRAINING.

While obedience training is not the solution to all behavioral issue it most defiantly is part of the solution for every single behavioral problem.


QUESTION:

Hi, I have a problem with my 11 month old neutered male cocker spaniel. About every 2 to 3 weeks he urinates in the house. He has stood by the door many times to go outside and then relieves himself when put outside. I give him the go potty command and treat him right after. Last night I had him in the same room as me, close by. I heard him start to urinate on the carpet. I immediately corrected him and brought him outside, he finished and I treated and praised him. But like I said, this happens every two to three weeks. Of course it sets the housetraining process back considerably. How can I effectively correct this for good? Thank you,

Diane

ANSWER:

Get a dog crate an keep this dog in the dog crate.

Read the Q&A that I wrote on house training on my web site-- DOGS LEARN right from wrong in obedience training – good obedience training.

If you would like to learn more about the principles of obedience training a dog, read the description for my Basic Dog Obedience video. You will probably find that you have not had a clear understanding of the steps of training a dog must go through before it can be considered fully trained. You can also read why I am not a fan of taking an untrained dog to obedience classes. I think if you read the testimonials on that tape you will see that my customers feel the same way.


QUESTION:

Hello! I am hoping you can help me with our Puppy……I have purchased the books, and taps and read all the articles you on your site.

We have had our pup for 8 weeks now and things are going well. The biting is calming down unless she gets in a hyper mood. Which is usually when we get home and let her out of the crate.

The house training is also going well….Except that after a few accidents, I did what your site recommended. We stopped putting her nose in her mistake, and I would grab her by the scuff of her neck and shake her….She is now a little scared of me. Good example being, when I approach her crate from coming home, she will pee in the crate and then out of the crate on the floor while I am putting on her leash. I take her out, and she still does her duty. Now, when I talk in a high pitch voice to her and constantly say, ”Good Girl” while I approach the crate, etc….The tendency is she will not pee most of the time.

She still wags her tail and approaches me when she wants and if I say, Do you want a treat,” I am her best friend again for about 5 minutes. Immediately after she eats her treat, she is hesitant to approach, so I ignore her until she freely will come to me.

Is there any advice you can add to build our relationship back up again….My fear is that she will never listen to me or come to me when I call her in the back yard, etc….She never used to leave my site until the few grabs of the neck and shakes..Now, she will at times pee uncontrollably when I approach the crate, etc… Another good example would be the other night: My wife and children went upstairs to get ready for bed, I was with the pup in the family room… She would not approach me whatsoever. I went into the kitchen where she came half way and sat under the kitchen chair. As I walked back to the family room and sat back down, she did approach me – I said nothing. But when I got up, and called her….She walked away, she peed a little and I approached her with no scolding but a high pitch tone. She peed a little more, and then stopped. I cleaned up the mess which is no big deal because it is on wood floors – She then took to me and wanted to be me….

One last note: At times when I do let her out the crate to go out, I’ll approach the crate, say good girl repeatedly, open the crate and walk away so she follows me. When she takes to me which is seconds, I’ll pick her up and put the leash on and take her out…This seems to eliminate the peeing activity.. But she will pee at the other times mentioned.

What else can I do – how long before she will stop this peeing?

Thanks

-George

ANSWER:

It takes a long long long time to gain the trust of a puppy you screwed up so bad (by rubbing its nose in the shit and piss). All you can do is continue to be a treat machine.

Now you need to work at rebuilding her trust.

Follow what I told you in the puppy video. Everything needs to be positive. No pup should every get a correction except for not coming when called an even then the handler should never put the dog in a position where he should have to correct for this. Have the dog wear a 20 foot cotton line outside.

USE FOOD with this dog to gain her trust. Give her all the love you can – that’s all you can do.


QUESTION:

Hello,

I want to thank you for the helpful puppy video.  It is great!

I do have two questions regarding our puppies.  They are both going to be 6 months old and are both crate trained.  We have to kennel them for almost a week and I'm wondering if this will undermine all of our housebreaking and crate training?

Next, our male puppy has started not eating out of his bowl.  He will only eat if the food is on the floor.  Any suggestions why and how to deal?

Thank you in advance,
Linda

ANSWER:

Thanks for the kind words; we are glad the video is helpful to you.

As for boarding puppies, it really depends on the pups and the set up at the boarding kennel as to whether this will set back your housetraining. If you can request more frequent potty breaks outside on grass for your pups, then I would do so. Some kennels will take them on walks for an additional fee.

I would be more vigilant when they first return home, and back up your training a few steps to refresh the rules in their minds.

As for the bowl, I wouldn't worry about this. I would let the dog eat from the floor or get a different type of bowl. It may be that the bowl you are currently feeding him from got tipped and made a loud noise and startled him so he is reluctant to eat from it. I can only guess about this, since I can't really see how your dog behaves at feeding time. Try feeding some really high value treat (like a hunk of steak or cheese) in the normal bowl and see how he behaves then.


QUESTION:

I am a new and very inexperienced yet proud Yorkshire Terrier owner.  I came across your site from doing a google search.  After reading your advice regarding puppy training and crate training, I immediately went out and purchased a crate for our 7 week old Yorkie.  I have been keeping him in the crate with the door closed and only coming out to relieve himself, excersize & play and to eat & drink.  My question is... when my dog is in the crate, should the door be closed at all times or is it okay for the door to be left open (keep in mind that the crate is located in the laundry room with both entrances that lead to the laundry room gated off so that Sam has a good area for movement between the laundry room and the hallway).  I have a co-worker, who has a very similar layout for her pet as mine, and she says she keeps her Jack Terrier in a crate but with the door open.  I'm confused but I trust you and your judgment and would love to get your input.

Also, when I purchased Sam our Yorkshire Terrier from the breeder, she stated that we should not put him on the ground (grass) until 3 days after his 3rd shot, in order to prevent Parvo, is this something that you've heard of?  Is there any truth to that regarding Yorkies?

Any of your wisdom and expertise knowledge would greatly be appreciated for I have really fallen for this little guy and I want to right by him by all means.

Thanks so much!

Daphne 

ANSWER:

If you are using the crate for potty training, then I would put the puppy in and close the door.  When he is out of the crate, he should be with you and supervised.

I would recommend you purchase the DVD titled Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months.

Ed has owned and trained German Shepherds for 45 years. In the past 30 years we have bred over 350 litters of working bloodline German Shepherds. We give this video to all of our puppy customers and we never get questions on how to raise a pup.

Read the description of this puppy DVD on the web site. Dog training is not rocket science its simple common sense ideas on how to handle and train a dog.

You should also consider the 4 hour DVD on Basic Dog Obedience. The fact is you have much more to learn than your dog. I recommend the handlers start studying this DVD right away even though you won’t use some of this training material for several months (usually not until the pup is 4 to 6 months old).

I also recommend that you go to the web site and read the article on “Ed’s Philosophy of Dog Training.” I believe you will not only learn something about dog training, I hope you will also adopt the same philosophy on dog training.

As for the vaccinations and putting the puppy on the ground, I totally disagree with the breeder.  As a breeder myself, I believe that in order for a puppy to be well socialized and well rounded they need to get out in the world.  Use common sense, don’t take him to a dog park or a pet store or a vets office (places where large numbers of dogs go to the bathroom)  there is nothing wrong with putting him in the grass outside or playing with him in the yard.  

We don’t vaccinate our puppies at all, educating people about the side effects from vaccinations and the damage they can do is something we are very dedicated to.  For information on vaccinations and the problems they cause please read our vaccinosis article.

I would also recommend these 2 books,  Shock to the System and Vaccine Guide for Dogs & Cats

For more information on natural health care and homeopathic treatment of your dogs (and cats), I highly recommend Homeopathic Care for Cats & Dogs  and Natural Health for Dogs and Cats.

Hope this helps.


QUESTION:

Is it possible to transition a dog from grass to gravel?

We just rescued a 5 month old Airedale and he knows to go outside, but doesn’t like to use the dog run. He prefers the grass of our yard.

Any suggestions on transitioning him to the gravel?

Thanks,
Aileen

ANSWER:

I would put some grass clippings in a thick layer in the gravel area until he gets in the habit of going in there.  Restrict his access to the other grass until he is consistently using the place you want him to eliminate.


QUESTION:

Hi Ed,

My name is Kyle, and am a owner and lover of dobermans here in NY. I love your website, all the training information and have ordered your DVD on drive building. Ed, I have two wonderful dobermans who I raised since pups, and are exemplary in behavior and demeanor. Both my eldest two were crate trained from day one, their personalities built on positive praise, I am alpha and have complete and total control over my animals with voice command- NEVER by corporal punishment.

Ed, I feel like I might be slipping ;-)  I have a new pup, he is 11 weeks old and is a product of pretty damn good Euro blood lines. I brought him home 11 days ago, he is completely crate trained(wow was he the hardest thus far but simple solution- he wants his crate covered) and a very clean dog (only one accident in the crate, and I am at fault for that, not the dog)  Here is my issue with a potty training problem. I feed my dog based on the same idea you teach of 15 minutes, etc. He is relatively very structured to two meals a day, with his early meal being a light one by his choice. When done, he is taken outside alone and on a leash and as of late, he is not going to the bathroom as he did the first 8 or so days. So I figured, perhaps his constitution is a bit longer, so I stay with him and most times he'll need to defecate 15-30 minutes after a meal.  The issue is that because he isn't going(and I don't believe he is bound up or has a medical problem) I have to continually bring him from outside, to the crate, then wait 45 minutes or so, take him out, then back to the crate, and so on. The reason is because- if I turn my back on him for as much as 5 minutes to have playtime, he will go in the house. Please know, I don't support turning even a minute of attention away from a pup, but it's the real world and sometimes so much as housecleaning or a phone call could have me turn away. Am I doing something wrong? Am I failing in structure? I dislike the potty attempt to crate, potty attempt to crate, as I do feel it's robbing him time that I know he wants to expel his puppy energies. I will not allow him the opportunity to decide when he will go to the bathroom and it will be on the floor.(He does NOT go to the bathroom in his crate).

As said before, I have raised two dobermans to exemplary standards - they are wonderful dogs who would be any person's desires to have in a home.  I feel a bit lost with my little man though.  He has much drive, is very confident, a bit stubborn but wins NO dominance over me.  He is treated no differently than I treated my other two.  Any suggestions?

Thanks Ed,
Kyle

P.S. Are males just more difficult in general? I really love the theories and methods of dog rearing as taught by you as well as others.  I love investing my time, energy and efforts into my dogs.  It just seems like boys are just a little more difficult than females in many aspects of puppy rearing- or am I way off base on this?

ANSWER:

You have only had this pup for 11 days, and I would not expect a perfect routine to be in place yet.  I would NOT ever let this pup run around and have play time or free time in the house or outside until he has gone to the bathroom outside.    You are making the mistake of not watching him 100% of the time, the pup is doing fine. Keep him on a leash and attached to you when he isn’t crated.

http://leerburg.com/housetraining.htm

I don’t think males are more difficult to train that females.  It’s more of an individual personality and temperament issue.  At 11 weeks old he may have started to form habits before you got him that will cause your training to be a bit slower than you would like. 

Be vigilant and control his environment, he will do fine!


QUESTION:

Good Morning!

We have just ordered the "8 weeks to 8 month" training tape to help us in training our 11 week old male Yorkie. We have read many of the free eBooks on your site and are very pleased with the progress we have made as trainers! We had a puppy two years ago and failed miserably as handlers.
That puppy went to live and be well trained by a woman who knew her stuff.
The obvious issue there was our poor training. We certainly don't want history to repeat itself here.

We are currently struggling with the fact that our puppy has a bladder infection. He is taking antibiotics and the vet is well aware of the situation. (He is about 2 days into a 10-12 day dose of medicine.)

Due to this, the pup pees frequently wherever he may be. When we are outside and he pees we praise him; however, when he is in the crate or under our watchful eye and he goes we do not know how to handle that. Sometimes he goes when he is walking without squatting at all.

We know this is a temporary situation, and he can't help it. I have read that these infections can be painful. We have only had him in our home for 1 week and do not want to encourage any bad behaviors. We certainly don't want the puppy to think, "hey, in my new home these people let me go wherever I want!"

Please help!

Thank you,
Lindy and Mike

ANSWER:

When a puppy has a bladder infection the best thing you can do is set him up in an area where he can go when he needs to. He can't help it and you do not want him to get in the habit of going in a crate. I would keep him confined in an area covered with paper or on grass outside as much as possible.

I would hold off on any crate training or housetraining until the infection is cleared up 100%.


QUESTION:

Dear Ed,

I have backed myself into a corner (handler error).  We have a 10 week old Ridgeback who is crate trained.  He does not need to “go” in the night.  He easily last 1 to 2 hours between each potty break and is once a week left for 3 hours alone in his crate while we are out, no problems.  I made the mistake of not taking him on leash to a “special corner” in the first two weeks, but just let him free range in our large back yard, its all grass (I think the breeder did that too).  I read your eBook “Common Sense Solutions”, now I have out some pebbles out, but he refuses to “go” at that spot (now always on leash).  He will “go” anywhere but there; I stand at the pebbles doing and saying nothing, (occasionally “Potty Time”) and he pulls very hard to move somewhere else, I am presuming wanting, to find somewhere else to relieve himself. 

He would always go pee and poop each time we go out; today he is “refusing to go at all, I am afraid of an impacted bowel or something if I push him to hard to go at that spot.  Do I just take him out regularly until he has to go at the pebbles, or should I ease him into this designated spot some how ?

Another question.  He has just had his second round of vaccinations, the Vets say we can’t take him into public, not even around the block to exercise until the shots are finished in early August, not a lot of exercise for a high energy puppy, what are your thoughts on this?

I am having trouble differentiating poop time and bonding time when we go out.  No matter when we go out, he still relives himself.  Can you point me in the right direction here?

Thanks for your time,
David

ANSWER:

David,

I think (and its only a guess) that you have a couple of things going on here.

  1. The pup probably does not like walking on the pebbles or stones. I would start to toss little treats into the stone area or toss a toy in there and play with him around it. Don’t force the issue but just keep trying. Bottom line is you may have to designate a corner of the yard where there is grass – we have a place called the grassy knoll that we use.

  2. The not pooping or peeing may be an issue with the vaccinations. DO NOT VACCINATE YOUR DOG AGAIN. Frankly not for anything and not ever. Read my article on Vaccinosis. Its also in free ebook. We don’t vaccinate our dogs for rabies – if your dog bites someone it will need to be quarantined at home for 10 days. Just don’t let him bite someone. The rabies vaccine is a terrible vaccine on dogs (contrary to what BS Vets tell you) The older and more experienced I get the more disgusted I get with the vast majority of Vets.

  3. To get him to pee you may want to try giving him a chicken broth. The more liquids the pup drinks the more they will pee.

  4. Don’t worry about the poop time and play time. What I do is take the dog out in the morning first thing AND THAT’S NOT PLAY TIME. If I come home after three hours and take him out THAT’S NOT PALY TIME. Bottom line is YOU are the one who determines if its poop or play time – if the dog poops of pees in play time – just tell them GOOD OUTSIDE and go on with the play.


Question:

Please help!  Our Boxer puppy is 5 months old and we have had him since he was 10 weeks.  We bought him from a breeder and we visited them a couple times, he was kept in a clean kennel with a doggie door to outside.  He has ALWAYS peed and pooped in the house, we cant get him to stop!  We take him for walks, take him to the dog park, take him out every 1/2-1 hour.  He will go outside and go to the bathroom and then come in and go to the bathroom.  I have been keeping him in the kennel frequently now because  he does not go potty in his kennel.  He has now jumped up on our bed 3 times and urinated.  We started out rewarding him with treats and praise, and no scolding. Then now as time has passed and it has gotten worse he is getting spanked, I know thats not the right thing to do, but we are so frustrated and I cannot and will not keep a dog that goes to the bathroom on my bed!  I don't know how to train this dog, I am so frustrated, and do not want to get rid of him.  Please help, we love him so much!

Andrea

Answer:

If you keep your puppy confined when you can’t watch him 100% of the time, then he would not be able to go to the bathroom all over your house.  Until he is house trained he should never be off leash or out of a crate, set yourself and the puppy up for success.  Because you have let this go on since he was 10 weeks it’s going to take longer to housetrain him than if you did it properly when you first brought him home, but it’s not too late.

I would recommend you purchase the DVD titled Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months 

Ed has owned and trained German Shepherds for 45 years. In the past 30 years we have bred over 350 litters of working bloodline German Shepherds. We give this video to all of our puppy customers and we never get questions on how to raise a pup.

Read the description of this puppy DVD on my web site. Dog training is not rocket science its simple common sense ideas on how to handle and train a dog, 

We have an eBook specifically for house training problems available also

You should also consider the 4 hour DVD on Basic Dog Obedience.

I also recommend that you go to the web site and read the article on “Ed’s Philosophy of Dog Training.” I believe you will not only learn something about dog training, I hope you will also adopt the same philosophy on dog training.

We have an extensive section on housetraining on our website. 

I hope this helps.


Question:

I am so glad I found the crate training solution for our 8 week old lab pup. We have been doing things wrong for our first 3 days but I feel they are correctable, all except one problem that I have not found any comments on at all. Our pup has started to eat its poop, and we find this to be quite disturbing, and we would like to correct this as quickly as possible. I think he was probably allowed to do this in his first home, with a litter of 8. If you know, could you please answer our questions:

Why is our pup doing this?

How can we correct this? (We will get a crate tomorrow and see what happens)

Thanks,
Ruth

Answer:

There are many reasons that dogs and puppies eat stool. 

Many times it’s because they are not digesting their food fully.  This is most common in kibble fed dogs. Other times it’s just a bad habit.

If you use the search function on our website and type in stool eating, you will find a lot of information. http://www.leerburg.com/search.htm

I would evaluate what you are feeding this pup, we have a lot of info on our page on Feeding Dogs.

The first step in solving this is keeping the puppy on leash and not allowing him access to his stool, clean up the poop immediately after he goes. 


Question:

Hello Ed,

I want to see if you can give me some advice with an american line GSD. I know you do not prefere American line GSDs and it is not what you specialize in but I respect your many years of exprience and would like your opinion on something. I am the owner of a 3 yr. old male american line GSD that is a SOFT dog. He is not a fear biter, but becomes "nervy" and has a problem with submissive urination. I have read about submissive urination and it doesn't seem to be very common in adult males. Am I wrong here? My main question that I wanted to ask you was whether I should have this dog neutered. I would like to calm him down some as he has an extreme prey drive and eats like a horse, but I didn't know if getting him neutered might make an already soft dog even softer. The last thing that I want to do is make this dog even more submissive. Pardon my language, but he needs to grow a pair and not lose them. Can you let me know what you would do in this situation?

Thanks,
Heath

Answer:

Having dogs neutered doesn’t change their prey drive or their temperament UNLESS both of those things are linked to their sexual hormones.

Dogs that are still submissively urinating as adults are extremely sensitive and have most likely been dominated a lot as young dogs, or corrected for the submissive peeing in the past. Realize that what you perceive as a correction and what this dog perceives as a correction maybe 2 very different things. This is why we tell people who have dogs
who do this to IGNORE it and not to lean over the dog, or greet the dog when he first approaches. At 3 years old it has most likely become a habit for your dog.

If you are annoyed with your dog for this behavior, you can bet he picks up on it and he will behave even more submissively so it’s a vicious circle.

He’s trying really hard to be a good pack member and be submissive to the leader. He’s doing what his genetics tell him to do - Be a follower.

I would ignore this dog, no direct eye contact and no leaning over him. I would not pet him except maybe occasionally under the chin when we were outside or when he is feeling confident. No stern tone of voice, no physical corrections. Just looking a dog like this in the eye can be construed as a correction.

Cindy


Question:

Ed -

My husband and I have watched your video regarding establishing pack structure, and we have some questions. Let me preface this by apologising for the length of this email.

John and I are somewhat new parents to a 9 month old male, altered Havanese, named Zippy. We got him when he was 4 months old, so we've now had him for 5 months - just enough time to spoil him and turn him into an undisciplined small doggy that everyone thinks is adorable. We, however, continue to see bad behavior that needs to be stopped, such as:

* Jumping on us, biting our pants legs, and being very 'mouthy' when wanting our attention, like when he wants to play and we're busy doing other things.
* Growling at us when we want him to do something that he doesn't want to do, like when we go to lift him to carry him up the stairs to his bedtime crate, which we keep in our bedroom.
* Barking incessantly when we try to make a phonecall.

After watching your video on establishing pack structure, we came to realize that we did everything wrong, and created this little monster ourselves! John and I are recent retirees, empty nesters for over 10 years, and this little doggy was meant to be the grandchild I'm still waiting for ... BIG MISTAKE - he's an animal, not a small child. I thought I had the skills to raise a dog from puppyhood, since I had previously done it twice - with Saint Bernards - who were naturally big lovable slobs and who were never allowed to rule the roost because we were too busy raising our two sons, and couldn't put up with any doggy-nonsence.

Anyway - now, as far as Zippy is concerned, we need to go back to square 1 and confine him to a crate 24x7 for a few weeks, or however long it takes, until he realizes that we are the boss - not him; we cannot begin to address and successfully correct his unwanted behavior until our household pack structure has been established. John and I have some questions about this technique that we're hoping you would answer.

At this time, we have a puppy playpen set up in our sunroom. The sunroom is a 4-season room off the family room (where all the activity takes place). When John and I both need to be away from the house, we put Zippy in this playpen, turn on the light (if it's in the evening), and turn on the radio. (When we're home, we have baby gates set up so Zippy is confined to the sunroom, kitchen, and familyroom.) We're assuming that the crate should be kept in a place that is away from the household activity, but ideally not in some dark, dank basement or garage. Does it make sense to keep his crate in this sunroom, replacing the puppy playpen with the crate?

You mention feeding the dog in the crate. Zippy is a picky eater, and we have been adding dry kibble (puppychow) to his food bowl 3 times a day - allowing him to graze and nibble whenever he wants. I'm guessing that we'll have to stop that, not leave his food bowl in his crate all day, but only feed him 2 or 3 times, removing the bowl after 20 minutes. Is that correct? Also, he's now 9 months old and weighs ~ 12 lbs; should we be feeding him twice a day now, instead of three times?

Zippy is great when we get him upstairs to his bedtime crate. We keep it in our bedroom, and he knows that it's time for sleep when we put him in it. He usually sleeps for a good 10 hours up there. It's a small crate that's big enough for him to lie down, sit, stand, and turn around. We keep a folded bath towel on the floor-tray; works great and is easy to wash and change. There's no room for any food or water bowls. The crate we'll get for the sunroom, the one that will replace his puppy playpen, will naturally be larger with enough room for food and water bowls. My question is this: at bedtime, when we take him out of his daytime crate and outside to relieve himself, is it ok to move him to his bedtime sleep crate in our bedroom, or will we have to keep him in his larger sunroom crate at bedtime also? My initial inclination is to bring him up to be with us where he'd be a lot happier, but I'm afraid that I'm, once again, treating this dog as a human child and not an animal, and continue to send him mixed messages.

Thanks for your help.

Holli and John

Answer:

I will try to answer your questions as well as I can. Good for you for recognizing that you all created a little monster, you definitely have the right attitude and I have high hopes that your little Zippy will respond in no time.

I would replace the puppy pen with the crate for now, once he is farther along in the program I think you will be able to put the puppy pen back up and use it. For now the crate should be used.

I would feed him twice a day, leave the food in his crate for 15 or 20 minutes and take it away. Don’t be surprised if for the first day or so he doesn’t eat much because he is used to running the show. Once he realizes that if he doesn’t eat the food leaves, he will begin to eat when you put his food down. A healthy dog will not starve to death.

You can try letting him sleep in his normal bedtime crate but I might move it right outside the bedroom or into an adjacent area. Again, once he is becoming more of a follower I would think his crate could be moved back into the bedroom since he sleeps well in there and isn’t demanding of your attention. Right now he needs to have all his privileges restructured and sleeping in the room with you (the leader) is not allowed until he becomes more of a follower.

There is nothing wrong with having more than one crate in your home for him as long as you are putting him in the crate YOU want him to be in, not the crate HE wants to be in.

I hope this helps.


Question:

Hi Cindy, can you tell me a time frame on how long it takes a puppy to be house trained? I have followed the recommendations of crate training. Our GSD puppy is 19 weeks old. He is not free fed. He is crate trained and is not allowed out of the crate without our watchful eye. I take him, via leash, to a designated area to potty and use the word “go potty”. He will potty and then we are done. He is not allowed in the house until he has “emptied” himself. Unfortunately, while he is in the house, should he need to pee, he does not give us any signs. He is so quick, when it comes to urinating, that he just does it right there. I am quick to bring him to the designated area. At that time he does not continue. When he has to poop, it is obvious, and we take him to the designated area. Now I know Ed is not fond of “bells” to alert us if the dog has to potty. We have a bell on the screen door and every time I take the pup out I have him touch the bell with his nose and I say “go potty”. I am trying to teach him to ring the bell when he needs to go out. However, he has not caught on.

How long will it take for him to alert us if he wants to go out. In your experience, what was the longest it has taken any of your home pets to become house trained?

Thanks,
Jennifer

Answer:

Is he off leash in the house? At 19 weeks, I don’t let any of my dogs loose in the house yet. They are either tethered to me or to my desk. This means they can’t be more than 6 feet away at any given time. If I go to the bathroom, they go with me. If I go to the kitchen, they go with me. If I go somewhere that I can’t watch them, they go in their crate. If your pup is having accidents then you are making some mistakes and rushing the training process.

I try to prevent accidents as much as possible while the puppy is young, and praise like crazy when they get it right.

There is no magic age when puppies learn this, they are all different. I have had pups that take to being clean in the house right away and others that I have struggled with for a year. I think you need to back up your training and keep him attached to you or in a crate. If he is having even the occasional accident then you have given him too much freedom.

You are right about the bells, we are not fans of those. My thinking is that if the dog is housetrained he will wait till I let him out to go. I am very good about trying to keep my dogs on a predictable schedule so they learn to wait till I ask them if they need to go out. I don’t want my dog dictating to me (by ringing a bell) when he gets let out. I am the one who determines this, not the dog. It’s part of the whole leadership issue.

Cindy


Question:

Hello. I have read many of the articles you have here and I understand you are a strong believer in crate training. I am a strong believer in whatever will work to solve my problem. I have a St. Bernard that is about 11 months old. No matter what I do he pees where he should not. I began by crate training as you recommended but this soon failed as everytime I would go to the crate he would be laying in a puddle of his urine. I would have to bath him everyday and it wouldn't stop. I moved to leaving him in the bathroom when I was away and he began going there as well. Finally I moved to letting him have the living room with the air conditioner on and he goes on the carpet. I don't kow what to do and the articles and videos you have are not really addressing this specifically but instead just keep saying crate train. I would love to do so but for some reason this dog will pee right where it sleeps and have no problem laying in it. What should I do? Thank you. Matt

Answer:

The first thing I would recommend is to get your dog checked out by a vet to make sure he doesn't have a UTI (urinary tract infection). If there is not a medical reason for him to urinate in inappropriate places, then I would suggest our housetraining eBook.

I would also look beyond just the housetraining aspect of this and evaluate that he is getting enough structure, training and exercise.

I would implement our groundwork program and Basic Obedience DVD.

Get the dog checked out medically first and take it from there. I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

I am not sure how to proceed with Bailey and her potty training. I got Bailey at 7 weeks. She is an 11 week old female Doberman. She came from a good breeder and a clean environment. She has a great personality, learns quickly and is an all around happy, playful puppy.

She is crate trained. She is exercised, walked, trained and I play with her every day.

At first I thought the constant peeing was her age. After about a week and a half of the relentless peeing I began to realize that this wasn't normal behavior and not just her age. She peed in her cages, walked in it, sat in it and slept in it. Her sleeping area is so small that she can't get away from it.

A typical morning for me was to clean her up because she peed in her first cage, take her outside for potty-she always went-and then put her in her other cage so I could clean up the first one. By the time I got that one cleaned she had peed in the other one. Again, clean her up, take her out and put her in a small area on the tile so I can clean up the second cage. Within 10 minutes she had peed on the floor. Usually by 1pm I would have cleaned up after her at least 10 times and taken her out to potty about every 30 minutes.

I took her to the vet because of my concerns and she had a very high white blood cell count and a bladder infection. She was 10 days on antibiotics. The problem got slightly better. I didn't have to clean up the cage every time. She could go sometimes 2 hours without soiling her cage. Most times not. I must add that I do follow your house training rules. She is either tethered to me, caged, or out on the deck supervised. Also she can go
6-8 hours at night sleeping in the bed without peeing. Some evenings I will let her nap in my lap and she can go 2 hours without peeing. She doesn't leak when she is sleeping. All this just adds to the confusion about what is going on.

There are times that she goes and doesn't realize that she is going-like walking or playing with her toys. She doesn't seem to be aware of the fact that she just peed. It just comes out. She doesn't acknowledge it, didn't squat to pee and I really think she doesn't know. At this point I believe she doesn't have much, if any bladder control. When I have her tethered to me most of the time I don't catch her in the act because there are no signals.

Since the problem wasn't getting better I had her to the vet again yesterday. She still has a high white blood cell count in her urine. I had blood work done and an x-ray to make sure there wasn't a stone. Both came back normal. We have put her on another round of antibiotics in case of an infection. In 15 days, if it isn't better she goes in for a sterile urine sample which will be sent off to a lab to see if we can figure out what the problem is.

I tell you this to give you the background of what is going on. Thanks for hanging in so far.
Here is what I would like your advice on:
I have started correcting her when I catch her. She must be a soft dog because my corrections must have been too hard. I yell no-no-no-bad dog-shame on you-potty outside -in a very loud voice. Now what is happening, she has done this twice, is when she knows she has gone she tries to hide from me. An example is yesterday she peed while I was standing at the kitchen sink-she was tethered to me. I didn't see her do it but looked down and she was cowering behind my son's legs. She had just gone potty behind me. There must be some awareness that she shouldn't be doing this. I don't want her to be afraid of me so I need to change what I am doing.

At this point, since it is a medical problem I don't know how I should correct her since she really can't help it. But then I don't want her to think it is okay either. What would you recommend for a correction?

Also, since she is soiling her cage anyway I was thinking that maybe I should take out the dividers, give her the whole length of the cages and put papers in a corner. I would hate for her to think it is okay to potty in her cage and don't want to encourage this behavior but also don't want her laying and walking in it. What would you recommend?

I do know that she is still very young and that plays a part in this. I don't want to do anything that will negatively impact future potty training or my relationship with Bailey and have to believe that when the medical issues are resolved this will pass. Meanwhile I just am not sure how to proceed. The vet, really trusted and very good with all my dogs, seems to believe that there is still some infection and this is behind the lack of bladder control and frequency issues. Any help or thoughts would be most welcome.

Thanks,
Patricia

Answer:

It's really unfair to correct a dog with a medical reason for peeing in the house. You will end up damaging your relationship with your puppy permanently if you don't change the way you handle this.

I would set the puppy up in a pen either outside on the grass or with some absorbent material so she can urinate when she has to. I would try not to use her crate. I have only had one UTI in my lifetime and it's no fun. She can't control what's happening and by punishing her you are only teaching her that you are scary and she should be worried about you.

I may also have the vet do a culture sooner rather than later to make sure the antibiotics he chose are the right ones to clear the infection. These UTIs can become chronic and hard to clear up.

Cindy


Question:

Mr. Frawley,

I looked through all your topics and didn’t see this one.

P.B. is my 7 month old Chihuahua, a Father’s Day gift. I am at home 24/7 recovering from brain surgery, but this is not about me.

P.B. sleeps by himself in the laundry room with full access to the backyard which he uses faithfully. He always goes outside and never on the floor between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.

While in the office/spare bedroom, P.B. was advising me when he needed to go outside by jumping down off the bed. I found this to be the only reason he jumped down (in other words he trained me). The problem is he will not go outside on his own. He is used to me taking him out. The doors are left open all day and he has free access to the backyard, to his food and water.

I take him outside and wait. He runs to me when he is finished for his praise!! When visitors come (he adores my granddaughter) he loses it and urinates. The other night he jumped up on the bed and urinated and looked right at me while doing it. Outside he went. One evening he urinated almost on my feet in the kitchen. Outside he went.

When he urinates in the house, he is quickly escorted outside along with a scolding. I use a rolled piece of copier paper and whack my arm which is holding him. The noise scares him so much that he yips as if he’s getting the beating of his life. My arm is getting smacked, not him. I am sure he knows why is being put outside.

He follows me everywhere, even to the bathroom. He curls up at my feet.
Yes, I accidentally step on him regularly.

My stepchildren (18 and 22 years old) play the BOO game (they jump at him when he comes around the corner) which startles “it” out of P.B. I have asked them to stop, but watching P.B. jump almost a whole foot in the air is just too entertaining to them.

I apologize for this going long. Any advise you have will be greatly appreciated and I thank you in advance.

Sincerely,
Rick

Answer:

What you are doing when he has an accident is not teaching him the lesson you think it is. You are teaching him to be worried and afraid of you at times, which in turn leads to urinating out of submission or fear. Whacking your arm with a paper AFTER the fact doesn’t make sense to a dog. He DOES NOT know why he is being put outside. Dogs don’t think like that.

I would suggest this recently finished a project I have been working on for years titled COMMON SENSE SOULTION TO HOUSE TRAINING PROBLEMS.

This is a 160 page eBook that that is based on how we house train pups in our home (I have bred over 360 litters in the last 45 years). It is also based on 10 years of emails on house training problems from people like yourself.

In my opinion this eBook is the best collection of information on how to housetrain a dog that’s ever been put together.

I have reviewed your email and this eBook along with the DVD titled YOUR PUPPY 8 WEEKS to 8 MONTHS will guide you through the issues you will face in solving your problems.

If you spend some time using the search function (located in the upper left hand corner of the website) you will find many useful articles and posts that address all the problems you are having. I would type in submissive urination or submissive peeing to find more advice.

I would also forbid the kids from teasing this puppy, it’s not funny for the puppy. It’s actually quite upsetting to me to hear that these kids are that old and they find it funny that they are terrorizing a puppy.

If they were 4 or 5 years old, I could understand it but they are supposed to be grown ups! I am an advocate for the dog, so I don’t have a lot of patience for people like your stepkids who cause anxiety or stress in a dog. :-(

Cindy


Question:

Hello,
We started our puppy out in a crate that was just big enough for her to lay down,stand up and turn around in and of course she out grew it so we purchased a wire crate with a divider so that we can adjust it as she grows.We did not have to many problems with her in the last crate and when we got the new crate today we took her bedding and her toys and transferred them into the new crate.The problem that were having is that shes been crying all day long! Were not paying attention to her when she crys,ive tried to cover the crate because the last crate was plastic and im guessing felt more secure to her because the top was solid with vents but nothing is working...is there something else that we can do or do you think that she will just get use to this?
Tara

Answer:

Dogs typically feel more secure in a crate that has solid walls (like the plastic one she had before). Keep the crate covered up and continue with what you are doing. I personally prefer the plastic airline crates to wire, because they contain the dog hair better and dogs seem to feel more relaxed in them.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Cindy, can you tell me a time frame on how long it takes a puppy to be house trained? I have followed the recommendations of crate training. Our GSD puppy is 19 weeks old. He is not free fed. He is crate trained and is not allowed out of the crate without our watchful eye. I take him, via leash, to a designated area to potty and use the word “go potty.” He will potty and then we are done. He is not allowed in the house until he has “emptied” himself. Unfortunately, while he is in the house, should he need to pee, he does not give us any signs. He is so quick, when it comes to urinating, that he just does it right there. I am quick to bring him to the designated area. At that time he does not continue. When he has to poop, it is obvious, and we take him to the designated area. Now I know Ed is not fond of “bells” to alert us if the dog has to potty. We have a bell on the screen door and every time I take the pup out I have him touch the bell with his nose and I say “go potty.” I am trying to teach him to ring the bell when he needs to go out. However, he has not caught on.

How long will it take for him to alert us if he wants to go out. In your experience, what was the longest it has taken any of your home pets to become house trained?

Thanks,
Jennifer

Answer:

Is he off leash in the house? At 19 weeks, I don’t let any of my dogs loose in the house yet. They are either tethered to me or to my desk. This means they can’t be more than 6 feet away at any given time. If I go to the bathroom, they go with me. If I go to the kitchen, they go with me. If I go somewhere that I can’t watch them, they go in their crate. If your pup is having accidents then you are making some mistakes and rushing the training process.

I try to prevent accidents as much as possible while the puppy is young, and praise like crazy when they get it right.

There is no magic age when puppies learn this, they are all different. I have had pups that take to being clean in the house right away and others that I have struggled with for a year. I think you need to back up your training and keep him attached to you or in a crate. If he is having even the occasional accident then you have given him too much freedom.

You are right about the bells, we are not fans of those. My thinking is that if the dog is housetrained he will wait till I let him out to go. I am very good about trying to keep my dogs on a predictable schedule so they learn to wait till I ask them if they need to go out. I don’t want my dog dictating to me (by ringing a bell) when he gets let out. I am the one who determines this, not the dog. It’s part of the whole leadership issue.

Cindy


Question:

Hi,

I am writing because I need some input about a potty training problem.  I have 2 of your videos and I have a 7 month old chi/pom.  He has been doing good potty training in his crate. I started that when I got him at 9 weeks.  He just recently started to cock his leg up to pee and now for some reason when he is in the house he will some times just stop and do that on the couch or on any of the legs of the furniture and pee.  We don't always catch him but we have a few times and I just wondered what to do about this or if this is a common problem with male dogs.  Obviously it has to stop but I just wondered what we need to do.

Thanks,
Julie

Answer:

If you are letting your dog off leash in the house and not watching him then there is no way you can stop this.  He needs supervision at all times.  This is a leadership issue.  He’s reaching his “teenager” stage and trying to mark his territory.  If you don’t intervene now this can become something very difficult to correct.

You have the house training ebook, so I would refer back to that as well as our Groundwork program. If this was my dog I’d go back to strict rules 24/7. I’d also suggest this video Pack Structure for the Family Pet.

Your dog is only 7 months old, and that’s WAY too young to be running free in the house.  Go back to basics and control him when he’s out of the crate. 

Cindy


Question:

I have a 5 year old Boston Terrier. Most of his time in the summer is spent outside so it is not an issue. However, now that the weather has gotten cooler, he is pooping downstairs by the back door. I have never caught him in the act unfortunately. It doesn't happen every time either, maybe 2 or 3 times a week. Also, sometimes we will let him out and he will come back in and pee on the floor. I should also mention that he has never whined at the door to go out. We have always just let him out every 3 or 4 hours. Any suggestions on what I could try would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
Joanne

Answer:

This dog is not housetrained. I would start him over like a puppy and teach him what the proper behavior is. I would recommend our housetraining eBook.

We also have a section on the website on housetraining.

Cindy


Question:

Hi!

I have been to your site and really enjoy reading your advice. I have two questions that I am hoping you might be able to answer:

With regards to potty training- I live on a three floor walkup and whenever I am about to take the dog outside for a potty break, he never makes to the door without peeing in the lobby first. He is able to hold his bladder for 7-8 hours so I know it is not a matter of control. I just don't think he understands the difference between peeing inside and outside. How can I get him to hold he bladder until we are OUTSIDE without having to pick him up so that he won't piss on his way out?

Also- is it ok to crate my dog at night if he has already been crated during the day? I am just afraid that he might spending too much time in the crate. I leave him crated for about eight hours during the day and let him free when I am home during the evenings. I want to continue to crate him over night so that that he doesn't piss while I'm asleep. Any suggestions?

Thanks for your help!

Daniel
New York, New York

Answer:

In reality, the only way to impress upon your dog that he has to wait until you get outside to pee is to make sure he doesn't practice peeing in the lobby. This means carrying him. Every time he gets to rehearse peeing in the wrong place it makes it harder to reinforce the correct behavior.

Keep using the crate as you have been. At 6 months old, this is fine.

Cindy


Question:

We have a 16 week old puppy, who has just become house broke; however, she will only "do her business" outside if we are standing out there with her. We also have two small children who can't be left alone while we are outside with our puppy & it's too cold to take them out with us. If we put our puppy outside by her self she just stays on the steps & whines. She will not step foot onto the yard unless we're with her. We've even thrown toys & treats out for her, but nothing seems to work.

Do you have any suggestions?

Answer:

At 16 weeks this is normal.  I would not expect a 4 month old puppy to go out alone.  I go out with my puppy and stand out there with him every time, to make sure he’s doing his business (both 1 & 2) outside. 

I have a one year old dog that is just now going out by himself, and I watch through the window to make sure he’s not just messing around.  I still have to step outside with him occasionally and remind him to “hurry up.”

This is part of the housetraining process, and I’m afraid there isn’t any way around going out with her if you want a reliably trained dog.

Cindy


Question:

Hi!

I have a male Black Lab (3 years old). I'm trying to train him to go poop in a certain area of the yard so my kids (ages 4 and 1) don't step in his messes when they are playing. I've tried a lot of positive reenforcement when he goes where I want him to. I've even tried putting a temporary fence around our yard so he only has access to the areas I want him to go. The positive reenforcement worked when I could take him to the spot, but the first chance he got to go in the yard, he would. He's broken through the temporary fence 4 or 5 times and gone in the yard as well. I can't figure out why he prefers the yard so much as the area I want him to go also has grass. Any suggestions? ...or should I just learn to deal with it?

Thanks!
Paul

Answer:

Unless you can retrain the dog to a different surface (say wood chips) he likely thinks that anywhere that there is grass (his desired bathroom surface) is a great place to relieve himself.

I have trained pups to go on pine shavings and then when I send them to their new homes, the people sprinkle pine shavings in the areas of their yard that they want the dog to use as a bathroom.

With a 3 year old dog, I'm not sure this is possible.

In the meantime, it may be less stressful for everyone to just pick up the dog's poop a couple times a day.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Cindy,

I really enjoy the newsletters, but have a question I have not seen addressed before. I currently have a Great Dane, my 5th of the breed and the 4th that I got as an adult from rescue. Now that I am working a business from my home, I am thinking that when my dog passes (he is very sweet, but 6-1/2 with very poor conformation, a crooked back, and cardiomyopathy, and they generally average only 7 to 9 years) I may see about getting a puppy. I have not used crates for my big guys just because that size craze in the house would just dominate a room. Instead we used tether training on a big bed, with just enough leeway for them to stand and turn around. The beds quickly become "their spot", without monopolizing a room. It has worked beautifully for our adult dogs through the years; however, what do you think about using that method for a puppy rather than crate training? And if I started with a puppy crate initially, what would be the appropriate age and method to then remove first the top of the outgrown crate, then the bottom. We love having well trained dogs and having them in the room with us, but the beds are enough without monster size crates in the room. I have to say that you cannot be shy and own a Great Dane because they always get attention, but to us there is no greater joy than being complimented on their perfect behavior and calm demeanor rather than their size!

I really appreciate your suggestions. I am just trying on ideas in advance since getting a puppy again after about 25 years would be a big step.

Proper training from day one is especially important since I am a small woman, 61 years old, but one who works harder than most 30 year olds! I am confident of my ability to train and handle these dogs, but have to be realistic since I am older than many puppy owners.

Thanks so much for your help.

Sharon

Answer:

We do cover tether training in our housetraining ebook. I think it's fine for some dogs but I would always still use the crate first. Puppies can still chew and do other behaviors that a crate prevents. With some dogs the tether is ONLY used with direct supervision, and the crate is used for times we can't watch them.

I'll add that if I didn't have enough room for a crate to comfortably fit my dog as an adult, I would probably not get that breed of dog. I feel that a crate is SO important, many times more so for the dog (like when there is a lot of company in our home or being with a dog sitter or on vacation) than for the humans. I have also found that dogs that are comfortable in a crate as adults do much better if they would ever have to be boarded or hospitalized.

I feel a crate is one of the most important pieces of equipment you can have.

Cindy


Question:

Dear Cindy,

I have a house training problem with our Bichon Frise who is 2 years old. Since she had her first litter this past July, there are times she will not potty outside. We have a huge backyard, so we let her out when we see her signs of needing to potty. We leave her outside plenty long enough and wait for her to paw at the door before letting her back in.  But since the litter, she will come in after being outside, sometimes even an hour or more, depending on the weather and her signals at the door, and she will poop right on the carpet! I just don’t get it! She knows she’s done naughty because when we catch her or see it and clean it up, she hangs her head and runs under our bed!  When we see her potty outside, pee or poop, we give her a little treat. It’s hard to “punish” her now because she has a new 3 week old litter to take care of. Before this litter, I had begun to put her in her kennel if I found her pooping in the house. That didn’t work, so now we are at a loss of what to do. But with 3 children at home, we can’t have a dog pooping everywhere! But get this, we have hardwood floor in the kitchen and foyer, and she has yet to potty on it. It’s ALWAYS on the carpet! I don’t understand!! Thank you for any help you can give me.

Deborah

Answer:

I would treat this dog like a new puppy.  She would not get any freedom in the house at all. 

I would recommend our housetraining eBook

You will need to keep her on a leash when she’s with you in the house, or in a crate.  You will also need to go outside with her to make SURE she’s eliminating out there.   If she has an accident in the house, it will be YOUR accident because any dog that is going to the bathroom in the house is not truly housetrained and should not be given the opportunity to practice the unwanted behavior.  If she’s been pooping in the house since last July she’s had a lot of practice doing the very thing you don’t want her to.

You’ll need to be consistent and observant, and set you and your dog up for success.

Cindy


Question:

Hi,

My wife and I got your puppy DVDs and religiously followed what have been suggested in your DVDs, eBook, and articles. We understand by now a puppy choosing to pee in the crate is a hard problem to solve. We have a situation where our puppy would not pee ourside after good 15-20 min waiting. Then, when she gets in the house, she rushes to her crate "TO PEE." Just today alone, she peed in her crate 2 times and in the kitchen one time. When she did that in the kitchen, we stopped her immediate and took her out. But, when she was outside for good 20 mins, she stiffed around a bit and then sat down. We didn't play with but only asked her to "go outside" and walked around a bit when she sat done. Then, she (and we) again repeated the same pattern. So, we took hope her after feeling hopeless. Then, as I mentioned, we put her in the crate. And, 3 mins after we noticed a pee stained on the towel. So, we followed your advice by being calm and just taking her out and cleaning the crate and putting her back in. Btw, she got a plenty of exercise today and is not Embark feeding. We walked her for 45-min this morning and played toy with her for at least 1/2 hr before the kitchen incident happened. She did pee outside this morning though when she woke, and we praised the heck out of her also with a Mini treat. She is now sleeping in the crate. We are feeling exhausted and hopeless, we are second-guessing if her house-breaking problem would even be corrected. Your comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Pat

Answer:

Do you have our housetraining ebook?

If you can give me the information on how long the pup has been with you and how you interact with her when she's not in the crate, it would be helpful.

Did you see how the breeder had the litter set up for potty training? I've dealt with puppy owners before who had purchased puppies from breeders who keep the puppies crated with shavings in the crate to encourage them to use that as their bathroom. Kind of like a litterbox. It makes crate training very difficult, for sure.

When I receive more info from you, I'll try to help you figure it out.

Cindy

Another Question:

Hi Cindy,

Thank you very much your response. It was the second day we had the pup.
And, after having worked with her our determination, we in fact figured out that the problem we faced was all "Handler Mistake" as often cited in eBook which we use as our bible.

And, after using your philosophy and owner's determination to work with our pup, we finally "got it" and would like to report a successful story that we turned "2-time crate-peeing and 1-time kitchen peeing within in first half of yesterday" pup to now "good outside" (which involves "going thru the apt door, another door elevator bank, then wait for an elevator, be in the elevator, get out of the elevator, go thru a building door for the now "spot) for the past 24 hours.

In short, I think our big (rookie) handler's mistake was not to be able to recognize the followings:

1) Bathroom vs. Attention whining when we put the pup in crate.

2) Her bathroom habit before we took her into our family which was that she was free to go outside without a leash. Then, our bulb light suddenly went off in a sense that she was only NOT on leash when she was let in the crate.

So, for the past 36 hours (and probably next few days), we were watching her closely when she went into crate and noticed how she acts. Yesterday afternoon after we did not have success of getting her to "go outside", we watched and caught at spot when she peed in her crate. And, we made clear it was not acceptable by choking her collar and giving her a firm "NO" and then took her down to her spot to continue her business. Although, she did not continue, we think that it was important she got the message. Since, we continue to watch closely every time she gets into the crate (even at 11 pm and 2 am) without assuming anything (like, she just went 1/2 hr ago. she can't do it again.). And, it has paid off. Also, the most important thing is that she has cooperated with us by going outside more and more easily. So, we are now quite happy despite being sleep deprived.

After all, we can't thank you enough for your invaluable work on training materials whether they are articles, DVDs, or eBook in addition to your follow-up on our email.

If you would please post our experience (especially in a sense that it's important to not assume that the pup whines in the crate only because he/she needs attention or wants to come out. Because it might very well be that he/she needs to "go outside" as in our case) in a form you find appropriate
so that others may benefit, it would be great.

Best regards,
Pat, Janelia (my wife), and Abbey (our girl)

Answer:

The most important thing to keep in mind is that this is a baby, uprooted from everything familiar. She's not going to know what you expect of her in a day or maybe even a week or longer. That's why I asked how long you'd had her. She doesn't know what you want, you have to show her.

I would also caution you about any physical corrections if she makes a mistake. If you catch her in the "act" then you can clap your hands and interrupt her and then quickly take her out. If you find a spot where she peed after the fact then you need to just ignore it. No choking or collar corrections!!! This will destroy the relationship you are trying to build with her. There is no place for physical corrections in housetraining. I can't stress this enough.

I'd take some time and review the housetraining eBook again.

Cindy


Question:

My boyfriend and I have 2 dogs, both small ~20 lbs.  We acquired both as adults, Robot from a pound and Diesel from an elderly couple that couldn't care for him anymore.  The problem we are having is with house training.  We have a doggie door, and tried crate-training them. Robot transitioned very well, and we never have any problems with him.  Diesel still has accidents in the house, although lately they seem less like accidents.  In the mornings, it's almost as if he forgets he can go outside by himself when we are still sleeping.  And now as the weather had turned colder, he doesn't go outside at all.  If he was our only dog, we'd just put the crate back up against the doggie door at night and when we are at work.  But it doesn't seem fair to limit Robot's freedom.  How can we retrain one dog without 'punishing' the other? We both work full-time, and actually I'm only there on the weekends.

Holly

Answer:

I would recommend our housetraining ebook 

Dogs don’t understand “fair.” It is our job as their leader to give them structure and training.  Using a crate is the best way to do this and there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing this.  Using a crate isn’t punishment, even for a dog that doesn’t have any behavioral problems.  You should consider changing your way of thinking about this because it’s actually hindering your dogs.  Freedom is something that dogs earn, they aren’t entitled to it.

Here is a directory of housetraining info.

I would direct you to the search function in the upper left corner of the website for any additional questions you may have.. If you type in your key words it will guide you to articles, Q & A’s and posts on our forum. 

Cindy


Question:

Hi,

We have purchased training items from you in the past for our german shephard. Well we have a new situation. We have a 10 week old Boston Terrier that is doing great he pees and poops on command outside, but inside his crate he gives no warning that he needs a potty break. During the day I take him out every couple hours and have stuck to the crate training. But at night, he pees in his crate without letting us know he needs to go, even though I wake up acouple of times to take him out.  He has not made any mistakes in the house, because we don't allow that situation to happen. What helpful advise could you give to help us out. Thank you for your time and wonderful DVDs.

Brianna

Answer:

The first thing I would do would be to rule out a urinary tract infection. It’s not uncommon for puppies to have a bladder infection that interferes with potty training.

If he checks out ok, you’ll just need to let him out more often during the night for now.  Every pup is different and some of them need to be woken up more often and taken out until they are a bit older.

You may want to check out our our housetraining ebook and Your Puppy 8 weeks to 8 Months (if you don’t already have it).

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Hi!

I want to thank you, your "8 weeks to 8 months" video has worked great for my newly adopted 6 month german shephed pup. I saw changes in days with the in-home leash trainsing! I am the first to admit it is me who needs more training then the dog, and that is why I'm coming to you. My dog I working on potty training. I say "working" because she will not poop in front of anyone. I was having problems with her going in the house right when I got her in sneaky places where I couldn't see her. She is not almost there. She hasn't had an accident in the house in a long time and is allowed to sleep out of the crate at night now. We still do leash work in the house to make sure she won't wonder off. But she refuses to poop in front of anyone. We don't have a fenced in yard so she is always on the leash out side because we don't trust her enough if someone with another dog walks by that she would mind us. But anyways she pees no problem but has not pooped once on the leash in over almost a month. The only way she will go outside is if we let her out on our very small fenced in courtyard which I do not want her messing in for that is where I and guests like to sit or stand and chat. I don't want large piles in our nice little courtyard. But the only time she will go is if we let her by her self and since that is the only place fenced in, it is the only place she'll go. I understand now I have started a bad habit of the first time she went outside I was so happy it wasn't in my house I didn't correct her. And I have let her continue to do it for worries she'll hold it until night and go in our room or some sneaky spot in the house again. We have tried taking her out every hour, waiting and waiting for her to not be able to hold it anymore but she always does. then she'll sit and whine at the courtyard door. PLEASE HELP fix my mistake!!!

THANK YOU!
Ashley

Answer:

You have 2 choices, you either need to let her poop in the courtyard and then just pick up the poop or you have to keep walking her on the leash until she goes.  She WILL go eventually.  Take her out for some vigorous exercise, this will stimulate her need to go. Try using a long line so you aren’t so close to her, give her a little privacy.

There really isn’t any quick fix, dogs are creatures of habit and you’ve basically trained her to go in the courtyard.  She’s only doing this because it is now a habit.

Cindy


Question:

Hi, I have a 9 month 3 1/2 pound yorkie poodle mix who goes in her kennel and anywhere else she can. I can't seem to find a kennel small enough where she can't find a corner to pee in. I have tried the small cat kennels as well as a nylabone kennel all are too big for her.

Answer:

I’d take her to the vet to rule out a urinary tract infection.  If she checks out ok, then I’d use a piece of cardboard or anything sturdy to block off the inside of a kennel so she doesn’t have a corner to go in.

Give her only enough room to stand, turn around and lay down. For a 3 pound dog this isn’t going to be a very big area.

I’d refer you to our housetraining eBook and I would direct you to the search function in the upper left corner of the website for any additional questions you may have. If you type in your key words it will guide you to articles, Q & A’s and posts on our forum. 

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Cindy,
 
I have a 7 year old dachshund (Maddie) who refuses to "poop" in our backyard. Maddie has always lived in an apartment until we recently purchased our first house. She has always been walked and rarely has accidents in the house. She doesn't seem to have a problem urinating in the yard, but refuses to poop. At first I thought she was just trying to force me to still take her for her walks, which I have no problem doing. However, I have gotten some really nasty looks from neighbors when she poops on their yard (even though I ALWAYS pick-up after her). I am looking for some training tools to get her to understand that she needs to potty in our yard, but that she can still have her walk. Any suggestions?
 
Thank you,
 Karyn

Answer:

Hi Karyn,

I would recommend our housetraining eBook

You are going to have to go through a “re-training” process since Maddie’s new potty routine is different.

I would direct you to the search function in the upper left corner of the website for any additional questions you may have. If you type in your key words it will guide you to articles, Q & A’s and posts on our forum. 

Cindy


Question:

Cindy,

We have a 10 week old Labradoodle puppy that is just about housebroken due to constant watching him.

He seems very intelligent (he actual like’s watching your training DVDs) but trying to watch him for signs of wanting to go outside does not promote a relaxed atmosphere. Is it possible to train him to come to us and let us know he needs to go outside?

Thanks.

John

Answer:

At 10 weeks old it’s not likely to be an option. That’s like expecting a baby that doesn’t walk yet to be potty trained. Until pups are 12 weeks old they have limited control and most dogs aren’t reliably housetrained until they are MUCH older. That depends on the dog and vigilance and skill of the trainer. I don’t trust any of my young dogs for months which is maybe why I have very reliably housetrained dogs. I control them and their eliminating SO MUCH as young dogs they don’t realize its’ even an option to go to the bathroom in the house.

What you are doing at 10 weeks is creating good habits; it’s not really possible for a 10 week old puppy to be truly housebroken. You guys have obviously been very observant and gotten him out a lot.

Until you have him eliminating on cue, it would be very hard to shape the behavior of coming to you and asking to go out. Maybe with marker training you can accomplish this but not for a while.

If you don’t want to watch him 24/7 then use a crate when you want to relax.

Cindy


Question:

Hello,

Your website is fantastic and full of so much information. I have many of your DVDs and have looked through many articles. You must be very busy but I was hoping you could help me with what seems like a very simple problem. I have a 6 month old mix and have had him since 12 weeks. He has been crate trained and has no problem going to the bathroom outside on command. In the past 3 weeks he has suddenly been going (once or twice a week) to the bathroom by the back door which he goes out, but with no warning and sometimes right in front of me. Am I wrong to think that my dog was housebroken because he did not have an accident in 3 months or can housebreaking take longer and he is not yet "fully" housebroken? I keep him in his crate when I cannot watch him or have attached to me by leash. Thank you for any information you may have.

Amos

Answer:

Whenever a dog has a sudden change in bathroom habits, I will make sure the dog doesn't have a medical issue (like a bladder infection).

I will say that I haven't ever had a 6 month old dog that I considered fully housebroken. I have raised lots of puppies in the house, and none I trusted off leash or loose at 6 months old. If your pup gets a clean bill of health, just get him out more often with no chance to linger at the door.

The fact that he's going at the door instead of just randomly around the house shows that he's getting the idea. He's made the connection between the door and going outside, he's just on the wrong side of the door. Accidents happen, just back up your training a little bit and continue with what you've been doing.

Cindy

Thanks:

You information is so helpful. You are quick to answer questions with only the dog's benefit in mind. The fact that you devote your time and energy to answering every stranger's question about their even stranger dogs is a testament to your devotion to these animals. This is truly outstanding and will make me a loyal customer for years to come. I cannot thank you enough, no need to respond again, I just wanted to send you a heart full thanks for a problem that has been on my mind.


Question:

Hi,

I so hope you can help me. I am at my wits end and I have not been able to find any similar questions about this problem. We have a three year old golden retriever. She is housebroken and goes during walks and in the fenced in area of our yard. About a year ago, we got rid of the grass and replaced it with gravel. At first our dog was a little hesitant to urinate on the gravel but then she got the hang of it and did it all the time. We recently covered most of the gravel with pieces of flagstone. Although she has urinated a few times on the stone since the work was done, now she will almost never urinate in the yard. The few times she did go out there we have lavished her with praise and given her treats. Although we take her out using the same schedule that she was on before, she just will not go. We have tried taking her out on a hourly basis without success. We have tried letting her go out by herself, going out with her and walking her on a leash in the yard.   She will look at us indicating that she has to go out but when we take her out, she will not urinate in the yard. As soon as we take her out of the stone area, she will go. We got a puppy housebreaking aid and put some on the flag stone in the area where she used to go but now she seems to avoid that area. We even collected some of her urine and put it in the yard but she still will not go out there. She will defecate out there although she seems reluctant to do so. We can not think of anything else to try except just keep waiting until she can't hold it any longer. But besides seeming like that would be abusing her, we are afraid that it would give her a urinary tract infection or make her ill. Any suggestions that you have would be gratefully appreciated!

Thank you in advance!
Marie

Answer:

You’re on the right track by taking her out hourly and waiting til she has to go. Any chance you could get a small amount of gravel and place it on the area you want her to go? I’d try that and gradually reduce the gravel (sweep up a little bit every day or so) as she gets used to the new surface. Dogs are acclimated to the surface under their feet, dogs raised on concrete seek out concrete, etc…

I’d try the gravel and fade it away once she’s got a new habit formed.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Cindy, 

We are house training our G.S. pup (13 weeks old) and he is doing quite well. Now, while in the house, he is either on a leash with me or in his crate. He has not had an accident since we began this practice but I’m not sure how to correct him if/when he does. In the past when I have caught him in the act, I would sternly say “No – Outside” and take him out to his potty spot. Should my correction be more firm than this or this appropriate?

Thank you,
Adam

Answer:

At 13 weeks I wouldn’t give a correction at all because a correction is only suitable is the dog is knowingly doing something wrong. No 13 week old puppy is housebroken, so in my experience they don’t warrant a correction for mistakes.

With puppies and housetraining, I’m more likely to make a sharp sound and clap my hands if they start to have an accident to interrupt them and then take them right outside to finish what they started. Since my pups are always on a leash attached to me, they can’t sneak off to go, so this works very well.

It sounds like you are doing fine.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Cindy,

My puppy, born Feb 3rd is a Rat Terrier.  She can't seem to get through a meal with out having to go outside to do her business.  I take her out before she eats. She starts eating and then has to go poop again in the middle. 

It's very frustrating as I have to stand in the area waiting or she'll go in the crate. She is on a raw food diet with Kibble on the side. She'll eat her meat, go the the bathroom and then want to finish her meal. 

I realize that she is still quite young and only 12lbs. Is there anything I can do to break this habit or should I just wait patiently for her to grow out of it?  

I have your weeks to 8 months and basic dog obedience videos.  

Thanks for your assistance.  

Phyliss

Answer:

I’ve never heard of this before. I believe your dog is on a schedule that I would definitely change.

I would ask why you feed her kibble too? And what kind of kibble? If your dog is on a proper raw diet then I don’t see any reason to feed kibble too.  

This is basically a re-housetraining issue, where you get the dog to eliminate on your schedule and not her own.   I’d act like she was a brand new puppy and start teaching her to go when and where you determine and I’d put her “potty” command on a verbal cue.  I would recommend our housetraining eBook

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Hello,

I'm a first time dog owner, and have just recently purchased a Morkie (Maltese/Yorkie cross). As to date, he is 14 weeks old. A week after I brought him home (6 weeks ago), he was diagnosed with Giardia. Unfortunately, the vet I brought him to was incompetent, and gave me the wrong meds. After finishing those meds and not seeing any improvement in his diarrhea, I brought him to another vet, and that's when they told me he not only had Giardia but also Coccidia. He has 2 more days to go with these new meds, so hopefully it will work.

My issue is that because this has been dragged on for so long, and since he has been having diarrhea for practically his entire lifetime (not all the time...sometimes the stool would be firmer like soft-serve icecream), that this has hindered his crate training. He is very smart and learned to go to the door and scratch whenever he needs to "go", by 9 weeks. However, when he has diarrhea, he is unable to hold it and goes in his crate overnight. Since his poos are so sparadic due to the diarrhea, I cannot anticipate when to wake up at night to let him out.

Lately, he's had about 2 accidents in the crate, but they seem more solid than usual (I do not think he had diarrhea). My fear is that even when he doesn't have diarrhea, he feels he can go in the crate. I'm scared the parasites have hindered his crate training. How do I re-train him when he already has the mindset that it's okay to go in the crate?

Please help. Thank you!

P.S. I've read that you suggested a few people to make their dogs be outside dogs for a while (for those dogs content in pooing in their crate and lying in it). I live in Canada, and our winters are harsh. I can't do that. It's summer now, but it's been raining relentlessly. I do not feel confident leaving a little puppy outside. That, and our backyard is not completely fenced off, so I'd die if someone ever stole him.

Sincerely,
Evelyn

Answer:

I wouldn’t put him back in the crate until I was certain his digestive issues are completely cleared up. Don’t let him practice the wrong behavior. Use a puppy playpen or kennel run so he doesn’t rehearse pooping in the crate.

Once you are sure the digestive issues are cleared, then I would start him all over like he was an 8 week old puppy.  

I would recommend our housetraining eBook. 

If you don’t already have this video Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months. I’d recommend that as well.  

I hope this helps, good luck!

Cindy


Question:

Hi Cindy,

Thanks for all the great DVDs and advice. I wrote to you not too long ago praising how our dog had no problems or accidents in the house because we have been following your training DVDs religiously. We have a 5 month old Boxer that has been PERFECT (and I mean PERFECT). He is trained to go to the bathroom (on leash) on command in a specific area in the yard and has done so for the last 3 months without a hitch and will sometimes goes potty on walks, but not often. Yesterday we took a 2 hour drive to visit family (he has ridden in the car many times, the longest trip was 45 min). The dog refused to use the bathroom at anytime even though he was taken out several times and CLEARLY had to go. He eventually peed on the rug (while on leash). When we got home, he pooped by the back door on his way to his crate (ok, mistakes happen, I had been looking the other way) but then again today in the same spot without notice and on leash! Since the trip he will not go to the bathroom at all, not in his usual spot, not outside, not on a walk and seems VERY nervous when sniffing around to go. The only reprimand he got when making inside was a firm no and only when he was caught in the act. Any advice? For a large, outgoing, very social dog he has suddenly become very shy and skiddish. Do puppies go through phases like kids do? Outgoing one day, shy the next? Brats the rest of their lives? I keep comparing the dog to the phases my kids went through but I'm not sure if that is fair. He has since been back in the crate because he cannot be trusted, even though he is never off leash.

Thanks in advance,
Beverly

Answer:

Hi Beverly,

Dogs absolutely go through phases as they grow, some dogs more noticeably than others.

You are doing the right thing by going back to basics. He'll have to show that he can follow your rules for housetraining to be back out on the leash with you. You may also want to practice taking him on short trips and using your "bathroom" cue in different dog safe locations. This can be a lifesaver when you are traveling I take my pups in a crate in my vehicle when I do errands around town, and I'll stop at gas stations (if they have a nice grassy area) and work on our "go potty" command. If you do it when you aren't actually leaving home for a trip, it takes all the stress out of it.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Hello,

I have a 1 year old toy poodle and a 2 year old yorkie. They successfully use puppy pads during the day and they are gated in a sizable tiled area. When I am home, they have full run of the house and they always go downstairs to use the pad. However, if I leave them in the house for even 15 minutes alone or I am in the shower, I find poop and urine in my carpeted dining room upstairs. It seems as if they make an effort to go to the bathroom. I am also not able to figure out which one is doing it or if it's both of them. They never do this behavior in front of me. What can I do differently? I would really love to leave them ungated.

Thanks,
Shari

Answer:

Dogs that go to the bathroom in the house at any time are not considered house trained and in my opinion shouldn’t be allowed free access to the house.  Using pads in the house sends mixed messages to the dogs, so I don’t like them. 

Most likely your dogs are anxious about you being gone, so they inappropriately urinate and defecate.

We have a section on the website about housetraining.

If these were my dogs, they would be confined when I couldn’t watch them or I would start from scratch and housetrain them like they were new puppies.  There is no quick fix to this unfortunately.

I’d also direct you to the search function in the upper left corner of the website.  It will find posts, articles and Q & A’s that deal with your search terms.

Cindy


Question:

I have a 3 yr old staffordshire terrier. He's housebroken but pees on beds and couches. What can I do?

David

Answer:

A dog that pees on beds and couches is NOT housebroken. This dog needs to have all his freedom taken away while you retrain him.

http://leerburg.com/groundwork.htm

Pack Structure for the Family Pet

We have a section on the website about housetraining. While most of it is geared towards puppies, older dogs that use the bathroom inside the house can benefit from the same techniques.

If this was my dog, he’d never be off a leash inside the house and he’d be in a crate when I couldn’t supervise him 100%. There is no quick fix to this, because he’s got established habits now. You’ll have to change those habits and it’s always harder to retrain a dog than to teach them properly in the first place.

Cindy


Question:

I have spent a very large amount of time searching for answers to this particular issue, and so far I have not found the answers I have needed. I am hoping you can help me. 

I have 2 dogs that are approximately 3 years old. We adopted them about 6 months ago, and as far as we know, they have always been together, and it seems like they have very similar issues. They are fearful dogs, but once we started crating them and keeping them on a leash otherwise, they have started to become a little bit more secure, and have even started greeting us with a bit of enthusiasm. 

Their particular potty issue is that MOST of the time, they absolutely will not go potty in front of me.  This means that it is impossible for me to reward them at the time they do go, and I also can't teach them a cue word so they can go on command. On the other hand, if they feel the need to go while on a walk, obviously, they will go on leash right next to me, though it's never at a time or place that I have chosen. They just go at the moment they decide to go.  This never really had a major impact on whether or not they also pottied in the yard.  As long as I wasn't too close to them, or obviously watching them, they would go potty in the yard when they needed to. 

Last week, due to me having troubles with pregnancy joint/nerve pain, I hired someone to help me walk the dogs a few days a week. I gave her VERY specific instructions, which she obviously did not follow. After only 2 walks with this girl, both dogs are now "waiting" for their walk, to go potty. And during a walk with them now, they want to stop whenever they feel like sniffing or marking, and they try to go in their own direction. Even though it frustrates me that I already have to "retrain" the dogs, I know that I can retrain them easily to WALK on a walk, as I was the one that trained them in the first place. But how do I deal with them "waiting" to go potty till they get a walk? I think it would be easier if I had been able to train them to potty on command before this incident, but how can I do that if I can't even be near the dogs or watching them in order to link the potty with the command and reward?

I previously tried walking them around the yard where I want them to go, to try to stimulate their urge to go, and to keep them from just laying down, which they also do, when it's potty time.  It has never worked. They won't go while on the leash, and if I take them off the leash, they will just lay down. You could say, well maybe they don't really need to go, but if it's been all night or longer, they really ought to need to go pretty desperately. And if I were to take them out for a walk, they would want to go potty rather quickly!

I need them to start going potty in the yard again, not only for their own health and comfort, but I also don't want the dogs to "require" me to take them on a walk just to get them to go potty. I would like to train them, not the other way around. Practically speaking, I cannot possibly take them on a walk every time they ought to need to go potty. 

I did think of perhaps feeding them more often throughout the day, to try to trigger their need to go, but this is not always possible either, and I would like to maintain as steady of a routine as possible.

Anyway, I hope you can help me with this particular problem. How to get a dog to go potty when they just won't go is not an easy topic to find information on. Most people have the opposite problem, it seems. I'm glad I don't have to clean up messes (not yet anyway), but I would sure like to see them go potty more often than when they are desperate, or only after meals, or only on a walk. I would be most grateful for any help or references you can give me. 

Thank you for your time!
Laurie

Answer:

I’d follow our groundwork program.

Until I was certain these dogs would go to the bathroom when I took them out, on leash, in front of me they would be in a crate. I would use very similar tactics to what I would do when I bring a new puppy home. These dogs would get NO time out of the crate until they relieve themselves on my terms. This is covered in our housetraining eBook

They get a short break out in the desired bathroom area on leash, if they don’t go, back in the crate for them and try again in an hour. It’s a labor intensive exercise but there aren’t any shortcuts to this and an adult dog will learn quickly. If you break down and walk them or let them out alone, you’ll set back your training and TEACH them to hold it even longer til they get to go to the bathroom on their own terms. This is covered in the eBook I linked above.

We have a section on the website about housetraining.

I hope this helps.


Question:

Dear Cindy,

My Dogo (born May 2009) has a poop problem. I've tried many things but nothing seems to work.

1. After eating between 6-7 in the afternoon, I take her to walk for about half a mile and after that I let her play in the backyard for about 1.5 hours. At that time, her crate is quite big, 1.2m x 1.2 m. In the morning, about 5:45, she pooped in her crate.

2. After that I tried to put her in crate with the door opened. For a few days she didn't poop in the crate. This means she does that in the backyard. But this did not take long, about a week after, she does that again the crate even though the door is opened.

3. After that I bought a smaller dog crate made with fiber which can be used for traveling. She can only stand up and lay down in there. 4 days she slept in there without doing it. I was happy to see that, I thought my problem was over. But this morning, at 5:45 (it is always the time when I wake up and take my dogs out of their crates) she pooped in that small crate.

I was so angry so I cancelled the morning walk with her. I also ground her by not giving her food in the morning and noon.

I need some suggestions.

1. Is this normal? I mean is there a dog with those characteristics? She has lived with me for about 1.5 months. It didn't take long for my other dogs (GSD and golden retriever) to understand this house matter.

2. What can I do to teach her? And how is the correction on this? Because she knows it, I know she knows it that I don't like it when she did it.

Thanks and regards,
Damsi

Answer:

You need to teach her when and where you want her to go to the bathroom. Canceling walks, not feeding the dog and getting upset doesn't teach the dog anything. She doesn't understand what you expect.

We have a section on the website about housetraining.

You need to treat her like a little puppy and keep her in a crate and only take her out on a leash and catch her doing the RIGHT thing so you can praise her. You don't correct her for making a mistake because the mistake is YOURS for not teaching her. She doesn't know what you are upset about. Some dogs take longer to learn this than others, she doesn't KNOW why you are upset.

I'd recommend Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months and our housetraining eBook.


Question:

I have a one year old New Guinea Singing Dog, and I'm having problems getting her to go from using her puppy pads to going outside. I have tried to move the pads outside but she still doesn't go on them. The longest, continuous training time that I have tried to house break her was a week. I just need to know if I need more patience, or is there a certain technique I should use. She very domesticated for her breed, she picked up using the pad in about 2 days when she was 8 weeks old.

So I just need to know if I'm doing anything wrong that's making it so difficult on both of us, because I'm getting very frustrated. Any advise would help a great deal. Thank you for using your time on this.

Keri

Answer:

This is why we don't recommend using those pads for dogs that you want to use the bathroom outside.

You need to take the time it takes. Some dogs learn quickly and others take longer. If you've allowed her to use the pads in the house, it sends confusing signals to her that now she can't go to the bathroom inside.

I'd recommend this section on the website on house training. You'll find links there to other resources that will help you.

You need to use a crate and confine her when you can't watch her, and keep her under direct on leash supervision when she's out of the crate.

You can try using the search function on the website to find the answer to any additional questions. It is located in the left hand corner of every page on our website. Simply type in your search terms or key words and you will be directed to articles, question & answers, free streaming videos and posts on our forum.


Question:

Ed,

Great website. I have a question that I did not see covered in the Q&A section. My fiance and I have a 10 month old King Charles Spaniel. Before recently moving in with me she lived on the 3rd floor of an apartment complex and worked long hours. Therefore she trained our dog to pee on the pads. Now they have moved in with me and while my backyard is somewhat small it does have grass and I would prefer the dog use the backyard rather than the pads. Also, the dog poops on my rug and not the pads. My fiance thinks it's because the rug is ugly, which it slightly is, but before we get a new rug we have to get the poop outside.  

I have started keeping the dog in the crate when we are not home and taking it out first thing, however after two days the dog has yet to go to the bathroom outside. I have also tried putting a pad in the grass in the yard. We have also moved the only pad in the house near the backdoor and put a bell on the backdoor knob which we would like to get her to use to notify us when she needs to go out.  

So now that you understand more about our situation do you have any advice on how to get our dog to start using the yard? Any thoughts are greatly appreciated.  Thanks.

Eric

Answer:

Many dogs trained to those pads don’t understand that the house is not a giant bathroom. We don’t like these pads for just this reason, it can be challenging to teach a dog that you now want them to go outside.

The dog needs to be retrained exactly like a new puppy, and allowed NO freedom in the house. NONE. The dog should be in a crate or on a leash at all times and taken outside with supervision so if she does potty outside it can be reinforced. I wouldn’t worry about a bell at this point, because the dog doesn’t even understand what going outside is for. You are getting way ahead of yourself.

I’d recommend our housetraining eBook

We have a section on the website about house training.

You can try using the search function on the website to find the answer to any additional questions. It is located in the left hand corner of every page on our website. Simply type in your search terms or key words and you will be directed to articles, question & answers, free streaming videos and posts on our forum.


Question:

Dear Ed,
 
I have a Pit, Shar Pei mix that I rescued who is about three years old who is still intact. My wife wants me to get him neutered because she is afraid that he will urinate (mark) in the house and on the furniture. Would getting him neutered prevent him from marking in the house since he is already in the habbit of marking?
 
Kind regards,
Frank

Answer:

This is a training and leadership issue. Neutering MAY help, but if the dog is already marking in the house then it most likely won’t change anything unless you change the way the dog lives in the house with you.

A dog like this doesn’t deserve to be loose in the house, he needs to earn privileges and if he’s marking then you aren’t supervising him properly.

Start with our groundwork program. I’d also recommend this DVD, Pack Structure for the Family Pet.

There really isn’t a quick fix to marking, it’s supervising the dog and catching him when he makes a mistake at the exact MOMENT he thinks about marking. Dogs don’t know what we expect from them unless we show them. Supervising means keeping him on leash with you or in a crate at all times.

You can try using the search function on the website to find the answer to any additional questions. It is located in the left hand corner of every page on our website. Simply type in your search terms or key words and you will be directed to articles, question & answers, free streaming videos and posts on our forum.


Question:

Our 10 month old Cavalier is mostly housebroken. The problem we have is at other people's homes and when we take him to work. Even if he has just gone out, he will come back in and relieve himself within a few minutes.
Michele

Answer:

There is no such thing as mostly housebroken, a dog is either housebroken or it isn't. It's kind of like being a little bit pregnant. :)

If I knew that my dog was not totally housebroken, then he would not be allowed access to any areas with out being on a leash with me 100% of the time. He should be in a crate or on leash with you, period. Every time you allow him the freedom to have an accident in the wrong place, you are actually reinforcing the very behavior you want to eliminate.

I would recommend our housetraining eBook.

I would direct you to the search function in the upper left corner of the website for any additional questions you may have. If you type in your key words it will guide you to articles, Q & A's and posts on our forum.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


Question:

Dear Cindy,

Warm Greetings from Maryland!

I have a very specific question about Housetraining that only has to do with the time period in a puppy's life when it is very young from 8-12 weeks of age where it has very little bladder control. (I believe you said about 2hrs. or so is max. time between potty-breaks).  I know your #1 rule is to teach the puppy to stay clean IN his crate and Rule #2 is for the puppy to learn to go to the bathroom OUTSIDE ONLY.  Here is where I'm unsure what to do.  Although I will take my 8 week old puppy out in the middle of the night until that time when he can sleep through the night, I will be away during the day time.  I am able to go home for lunch to take my pup out BUT the amount of time between potty-breaks will be 4 hours, not 2hrs.  Do you consider it "acceptable" that TEMPORARILY, JUST for a few weeks until my puppy can hold for at least 4 hours, that I confine the puppy to my kitchen (easy to clean floor) with a puppy gate and put some newspaper down?  If  this is OK, MUST he have access to his crate (it's a very small kitchen - the crate would take up most of the space)?  Otherwise, I'd just leave a towel or small dog bed for him.

Thank you and Mr. Frawley so much for your kindness in sharing your wealth of knowledge with us "beginners!"

Regards,
Christina

Answer:

If you have to do this temporarily while the puppy is small, then I would use a small area as you have described with a tiny crate or a bed.

It’s not ideal but it’s better than teaching him to use his crate as a bathroom. 

Cindy


Quesiton:

Hello Ed,

I had a few questions about e-collar training. Do you think it is a good idea to use an e-collar to house train a dog? Would you simply correct the dog with the collar when they are actually in the act of using the house to potty with a stern NO! command and then place them outside in the area they need to go potty (then reward when they do go in the right place)? I am figuring that this would teach the dog, if you go potty in the house, you will get a shock.

Answer:

I think it’s a bad idea to use an ecollar in association with housebreaking. Housetraining is about creating good habits, not about punishing a dog when they make a mistake. If you want to use an ecollar for housetraining, then I’d recommend the human wear it and press the button & shock themselves every time the dog makes a mistake because housetraining problems are almost always human error. For sound advice on housetraining, we have a section on the website.

Cindy


Question:

Hello Ed,
 
I have a 3 year old Pitt/Shar Pei that I rescued about 8 months ago. About 4 days ago I was taking him out of his crate and before I could put the leash on him he urinated. He did that through out the whole day no matter how many times I took him out. After doing that for two days he did not go in the crate but went as soon as he got out of the it. Then the day after he goes when we are at the front door. I don't know why he just started it or how to retrain the habit any help will be appreciated.
 
Kind regards,
Frank

Answer:

I’d first get him checked over by a vet to make sure he doesn’t have a urinary tract infection.  If you have had him for 8 months and this is a recent change, then have him checked over for a medical problem before worrying about training.

Let me know what you find out.  If he checks out ok, then we can figure out a plan for retraining the behavior.

Cindy Rhodes


Quesiton:

Good morning, Ed.

I read your site, and especially your article on crate training. I bought a dog 3 weeks ago – she was a rescue. Overall, I think her training has gone pretty well. She doesn’t go to the bathroom in the home, but I believe that’s mostly because I’ve been watching her constantly when she’s not in her crate.

I put bells beside the door, and have been training her to tap them with her nose when she needs to go to the bathroom. She’s doing that MOST of the time now. Although, when it has been a couple of hours and she hasn’t judged them, I take her out anyway.

My problem is this. She’s been going poop in her crate almost every night for the past 5 days. The crate is small, in that she can hardly stretch out. It JUST fits her. The first night, she had diarrhea from her Parvo vaccination. I figured she simply couldn’t hold it. The next night, I took her out in the middle of the night because she still had loose stools. She didn’t poop, but she went pee. That morning, I discovered she had pooped in her crate.

The next night, she didn’t have an accident. The following night (two nights ago) she pooped before she went to bed, and I woke in the morning to poop in her crate. Same with this morning.

I’m feeding her a puppy dry dog food called Organix.
http://www.castorpolluxpet.com/store/organix/organix_puppy_formula

She is a Pekingese mix. We believe her father was a Jack Russel Terrier. She weighs 6lbs, and she gets fed ¼ cup of dry in the morning, ¼ cup dry in the afternoon, and ¼ cup dry in the evening. She also gets a minimal amount of boiled chicken or pork for her training. (I have her in puppy training classes).

My crate routine truthfully hasn’t been anything like your site, and I’m concerned because I may be doing it wrong. I’d love your opinion. Basically, I crate her all night. In the morning first thing I take her out. She usually pees. I bring her back in, feed her, and put down her water. I re-crate her and leave for the gym. I typically come back after an hour and a half, and take her out of her crate, and take her to the bathroom. She usually pees, almost never goes poo. I bring her in and play with her a little, and let her have the run of the living room area which is gated off. After about an hour, I take the gate down to see if she asks me to go out by ringing the bell. Sometimes she does, sometimes she doesn’t.

If she doesn’t, I re-crate her, and have my lunch. I then take her out of her crate and feed her lunch. Take her out again afterward, then once again allow her free time. By this time, she sometimes poops, but not always. I allow her a couple of hours of free time, and I take her out, then re-crate her around 3:00 or so for about a half hour to an hour. I then remove her from her crate and take her out again, then feed her about 5:30. She’s usually free all evening at this point.

She doesn’t pee in the house or poo, as I said. Just poops in her crate at night.

Is my routine with her the cause of this? I don’t know if she doesn’t care to hold it til morning, or if she simply can’t. What do you think? Just do you know, Sophie is 4 months old. Thank you so much for your time. I wish I could just hire you to crate train her… but I doubt you offer those services to dogs that aren’t your own.

Have a good day.

Carrie

Answer:

You need to stay outside with the pup until she poops, and if she doesn’t bring her back in, keep her on leash or in a crate and then take her out again at short intervals until you get success. The key to housetraining dogs is to be super persistent and do not allow a dog an opportunity to make a mistake at first. You want to set up a pattern of using the outdoors as a bathroom. I’m housetraining a puppy that is now almost 12 weeks and I’ve made it my full time job for the last 4 weeks to make sure she doesn’t have the opportunity to make a mistake. This means getting up with her in the night and making sure we stay outside until she goes to the bathroom. She’s now going to the bathroom on a verbal cue which is pretty good for a 12 week old! I really have dedicated a huge amount of time to this, because in my experience investing the time now saves a lot of problems later.

We have a section on the website about house training.

We also have a number of eBooks, which include topics that may help you. 

You don’t mention if she has loose stools or if they are normal now. I might recommend switching her to a food without fillers like grain, as that can cause more stool volume and more urgency to eliminate. You may also want to look at changing the feeding schedule you have her on. ¾ of a cup daily plus treats for a 6 pound puppy seems like a lot of food to me. Are you sure she’s not being overfed? If you feed her on a schedule you should notice a pattern of elimination, keep a diary of when she eats, drinks and eliminates if you need to.  This will help you see how long after a meal she needs to go.

I wouldn’t be too worried about expecting her to ring a bell, I would be more focused on keeping her clean in the crate. 

I’d read the article Ed wrote on The Groundwork to Becoming your Puppy’s Pack Leader. I’d also recommend Your Puppy 8 weeks to 8 Months and Pack Structure for the Family Pet.

We give these videos to all our puppy customers and rarely get questions on how to raise a pup.

This could be your routine, the diet or a combination of things.

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

I have two pomeranians female & male around 5 months old. The male uses pee pads most of time-he's more calm & listens better than female. She uses pee pads sometimes but loves to chew them up. I went & bought natures miracle brand which did help her to pee on pad more but still they want to chew them up. I'm very tired of this. I've told them 'no' firmly & corrected  them  over & over & over! What can I do? I have used the treat method also. I'm exhausted. I've never had this type of problem wth my rat terrier? What else can I do? I would like for them to use pee pad & outside but outside only in winter because of so many fleas in summer here, even wth revolution flea control on.

Thx,
Joy

Answer:

First of all, you send mixed messages to a dog when you allow them to use the house as a bathroom sometimes and other times expect them to go out. We don’t recommend pee pads for this reason, they are a bad idea.

Telling a dog no for something they’ve already done won’t accomplish what you want, you need to control your dogs in the house so they can’t make mistakes and then praise them when they make the right choices.

We have a section on the website about house training. I’d get rid of the pads altogether, get a couple of dog crates and start over house training them like they are new to your house.  

In my opinion, the risk of fleas isn’t a good enough reason to not take a dog outside.

I’d recommend Your Puppy 8 weeks to 8 Months and Pack Structure for the Family Pet as well.

For future questions, you might benefit from learning to use our SEARCH function, which is located in the top left corner of every page of the website. If you type in your key words or question it will find you articles, Q&As, free streaming video and links to threads on our discussion forum. Our website has over 16,000 pages and it’s very likely you’ll find the information you are looking for. I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

Hi,

My puppy is six months old, we got him over the summer and did not get a crate since I am off at that time. We used puppy pads and now I have a monster, he will go outside but not to potty. It don't matter how long I stay out, nothing happens, but as soon as we come in, on the pad he goes. Those pads cost a lot after a while, especially when the puppy already weighs 50#. Any ideas on where to start undoing this mess I made? Other than this bad habit, he is well behaved, just trying to get the potty business taken outside. Thanks.

Answer:

You need to start all over from the beginning, because you have taught him that the inside of the house is his bathroom. This could be a long drawn out process and you will need a LOT of patience. What you are experiencing is why we don’t recommend using those puppy pads in the house (especially with a large breed).

I would put a pad outside where you want him to go.  I’d also recommend crate training him. 

We have a section on the website about housetraining.

I’d also recommend Your Puppy 8 weeks to 8 Months and Pack Structure for the Family Pet.

We also have a number of eBooks, which include topics that may help you. 

Good luck!

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

Hi Cindy,

I made a mistake with the potty training with my  new pup. I had 3 ex pens for her, one outside for a potty area, one in the garage for middle of the night trips (necessary because I don't go out in the middle of the night due to wildlife and bear that visit our deck) and one in the kitchen area for containment.

I either have my 9 week old tethered to me, in her crate or in the pen.  I follow all the housebreaking rules as best I can.

Here is the problem.  
Due to wetness in the yard I had to change her potty area and I now walk her in the open part of the yard. She hates this and most of the time won't go even after 30 minutes.  Bringing her back in and then back out sometimes works. I am hoping that she starts getting the idea soon.

I do use the pen in the garage with pee pads for the middle of the night trips-not my favorite but don't have any other ideas. Since moving her to the walking area rather than an ex pen outside she has decided that it is okay, if fact preferable to potty in the ex pen inside the house. I think that she has made the association that the pen is where she is supposed to go. She goes almost as soon as I put her on the floor much like she did in the outside area. I do watch her and if she starts to make the going motions I take her out and some of the time she will go.

I put her in her crate but she will also go there. When she goes outside there is much praise and good food rewards. This problem started since I changed the outside area. Do you think I should remove the ex pen from the inside and try again at a later date since it seems as though she has made the association with potty and pen?

Thanks much,
Patricia

PS. Loving all the Michael Ellis DVDs and I do really enjoy the new 8 to 8 DVD.  I also want to thank you again for the videos of you and Endy. 

Sami can now sit on command and we a learning the touch pads. Great fun for her. I am also watching your luring with Endy and trying to with Sami. She loves the game. Training with food makes it all fun and easier.

Answer:

I would NOT use the expen in the house, I’d use a crate or a tether. By using the pee pads in the pen in the garage, it’s very likely she is thinking the expen is a bathroom, no matter where it is. 

For this reason I don’t use the expens for bathroom areas, if at all possible. I put the puppy on a flexi lead and take them out. The expens are for play areas in the house or yard. More time consuming at first but it pays off later when you need to take your dog out or when traveling and you need for them to go at rest areas while on leash.

9 weeks is pretty young, and is typically the hardest time frame for potty training. They are easily distracted and usually haven’t gotten the idea yet.

We have a section on the website about house training.

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

Hello Cindy,

I tried to find this on your site before I asked but I couldn't. When I take my dog out to go potty, I don't have trouble with him peeing, but when it's time to poop, he has to find the right spot. He with sniff around, and get ready to poop and stop and move around and sniff some more. This drives me nuts. It's like he has to find the perfect spot. Why does he do this? I didn't have a problem with this when he was a puppy. I would bring him to the spot I wanted him to go potty and he would go. He is 7 months now. I do have another dog and I wasn't sure if it had anything to do with marking. There are sometimes when he will find a place quick, but the rest of time he walks back and forward trying to find a spot. And the spot could be inches away from where he just was. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.

Respectfully,
Marcus

Answer:

Every dog is different and some are just like this.

If you use marker training with your dog you could try marking it with a YES when he poops and then either play with him or give him a high value treat. Of course, if your dog is taught to go to the bathroom on command this will make it easier too.

My 7 month old pup will go out and pee and poop in less than 2 minutes, because I've made a HUGE deal out of it when she goes when I ask her to. It took a lot of time at first, but it's paying off now (especially since we have about 30" of snow on the ground).

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

Hi Ed,

I've been following your advice for some time now; I have a 7 year old mini dachshund and a 2 year old smooth collie. The collie has been a no brainer to train - she could be your textbook dog. the dachshund is also very well behaved, non aggressive, obedient but it took a lot more effort except for one thing:

My specific question is on housebreaking.
The collie was housebroken in 2 weeks 100% using a crate. The dachshund is not, but just in my home. I take her to my office- 100%, my mother's house 100%, our lake house 100%, a beach vacation rental every summer 100%... you get the picture. At home, if I don't have my eye on her at all times, she will find a quiet out of the way place. Urination or defecation. She will eat the evidence. I have the living room, and den gated off. I close the bedroom and bathroom doors. I even have my hardwood floored dining room gated off so her access is limited. She is crated when I am not home. The accidents happen when another member of my house forgets to close off these areas.

So this is my life for the past 7 years. She is fed 2x a day, has free water access, and I take her out often. She does her business on command outside. I have stock in Nature's Miracle. Over the years I have reverted back to square one with the crate, but the result is only temporary, so we have cycles.

Is this it for her lifetime? Is it possible that some dogs can never be fully housebroken?

Thanks,
Deborah

Answer:

At 7 years old, it would seem that this is your reality with this dog unless you permanently change the way she is handled. Personally, I would NEVER let her off leash unless she was crated. She'd be on a leash (a short one) attached to me so she couldn't sneak off to do her business.

Dogs that do this don't deserve house privileges, unless you don't mind having your home used as a bathroom. I wouldn't even give her the freedom in a gated area.

Rules, structure and leadership are easy with some dogs. Others require long term management.

Pack Structure for the Family Pet. We have a section on the website about house training.

You can also search our site for more info. I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

Ed,

I have a GSD puppy just short of 5 months old and have watched your 8 weeks to 8 months video and looked at your website and Q&A, but I can’t seem to find an answer to my question. It seems that everyone has an opinion on how long my GSD should be able to hold her pee or poop. A friend told me puppies can hold it for 1.5 hours for each month of age…. Is this true? My wife and I continue to take her out almost every 4 hours and she performs satisfactory each time (strange considering she isn’t eating her full food amount yet, but that is another question). We feed her Royal Canin and give her treats regularly in training and pick-up the water bowl at 6:30pm. We take her out first thing in the morning and right before we go to bed. It sounds like we are doing everything right. When can I expect to get a full night’s sleep or be able to leave the GSD alone for a full 8 hours during the day? She doesn’t soil her crate, but she get extremely agitated when she needs to go and so we take her out right away.  Should we try to keep her in the crate for longer when she whines to go outside? Is 4 hours too short a time for 5 months?

My GSD is adorable and her good behavior is testament to your training video.

Thank you,
James

Answer:

There is no right or wrong answer, all puppies are different.  I’ve had some that I am still taking out in the middle of the night at 8-9 months old and others that sleep through the night by 12 weeks. 

She’s still quite young so I wouldn’t be too discouraged, especially since she’s staying clean.  As she matures she’ll be able to go for longer periods of time in the crate.

Cindy Rhodes


Question:

My 5 Year Old Lab has a problem with going to the bathroom. A good friend suggested I contact you. I hope you can help.

My Lab  poops in the bed of my truck everytime I load him up to take him to the river or for a run in the country. He just gets so excited, I don't think he can help himself. My Lab lives to hunt and retrieve! That's all he's interested in. He doesn't care for petting and playing, just working. He gets a good deal of excercise as he walks three miles with me each morning. He gets fed 4 cups of good dry dog food at 6 am and again at 6 pm. He is a very hyper and intense dog. When we are going hunting or retrieving, we forgo our morning walkcause we don't have time to walk and then go hunting.  I try to get him to "go" before he gets in my truck. Usually I am not successful. He goes any way. I never feed him prior to loading him up. He usually hasn't eaten in 12 to 18 hours when he gets in the truck.  I have tried loading him up and taking him just down the road and then letting him out to do his business but it doesn't usually work. I want to be able to just tell him to "load up" and off we go. No poop, no mess. Help!  How can I help my dog to learn that what he's doing is not acceptable?

Jim

Answer:

The only way to deal with this is to make the dog go to the bathroom BEFORE he gets in such an excited state. If you know putting him in the truck gets him worked up to the point that he poops, then teach him that he MUST go to the bathroom before he gets in.  If he won’t go to the bathroom, then he doesn’t go on a truck ride.

If you’ve allowed this cycle to become established for 5 years, it’s not going to be easy. The dog needs an elimination command too, so you can tell him what you expect.

We have a section on the website about house training. That would be the place to start.

Cindy Rhodes



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