Would like opinions on housetraining options
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Thread: Would like opinions on housetraining options

  1. #1
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    Would like opinions on housetraining options

    I have a 7 week old Shih Tzu that I have had for 3 nights. He is doing AMAZING in terms of housetraining and loving his crate (thanks to the breeder doing some good work before I even got him). Thus far, I take him outside every time he gets out of the crate, shortly after eating, and basically anytime I see behaviors indicating he has to go. When I take him out, he does his business in less than a few minutes, I praise/reward and bring him back in. During the night, however, I carry him to a pee pad, give him the cue to 'go,' he pees and I put him immediatey back in the crate.

    My questions pertain to night training, as I am exhausted (getting up every 3 1/2 to 4 hours, based on when he wakes). Here are the options I can think of (would be open to others) and I would like to know what others think would be best.

    1. Continue as I am, perhaps trying to get him up during the night before he wakes, so that he comes to trust that I will get him out, vs. reinforcing his whining (although I have to say, he either doesn't whine or whines for less than 10 minutes after I put him in the crate, so I'm not completely convinced this would be teaching a bad habit).

    2. Take the divider out of his crate and place a pee pad in the back of it, so he has a sleep area and a pee area. My concerns with this are that he may inadvertently pee on his blanket/toy, the crate will smell like a pee area, and he may play/chew the pee pad.

    3. Use a baby gate to block him in the laundry room, leave his create door open and cover the floor with pee pads. This would be the easiest by far, but I'm not sure if it would be the most effective long-term (and he is doing so well thus far, I don't want to mess it up).

    As for the pee pads...I am fine with him using them at night, because I know he can't hold it; I guess I'm hoping to train him to use them at night before leaving him alone to do it, if that makes sense. In addition, I will eventually be leaving him at home while I work 3 days a week, so he will need them then (though for a while I will be taking him to work with me, because I think leaving him home by himself for that long would cause problems with the housetraining).

    Again, would love opinions/thoughts!

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  3. #2
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    Re: Would like opinions on housetraining options

    I would hang in another week or 2 on the middle of the night stuff. At least with the larger breeds I am familiar with, they are able to go over night before long.

  4. #3
    Senior Member Kyllobernese's Avatar
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    Re: Would like opinions on housetraining options

    I have some Shih Tzu and Shih Tzu x Maltese. I have raised most of them from puppies and what works for me, is having an exercise pen with newspaper down for night time until they are about 9 weeks old. At this time of year it is well below freezing at night and too cold for a little puppy to be outside. I have a 12 week old puppy right now. At nine weeks I started crating her at night with the crate beside my bed. I have never had to get up with her during the night, she sleeps right through and first thing in the morning, I take her to her newspaper and she immediately pees. I leave her pen open all day and when I am out and she has never gone to the bathroom anywhere but in the pen. She goes outside several times a day to play with the other dogs. I self feed all my dogs and have never had a problem with it, they have all been very easy to housebreak. I am lucky that I am a stay at home person but even when I go out and leave her home alone, she is loose in the house except for the living room as it has carpet down and she just turned 12 weeks old. If this was the first puppy I had raised I would think I was just lucky but Remmy and the others have been just as easy. They never fuss in the crate and willingly run in when I say it is bedtime except for the three that sleep with me.

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  6. #4
    Senior Member briteday's Avatar
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    Re: Would like opinions on housetraining options

    I'm not a fan of pee pads as they train a dog's mind that it is ok to eliminate in the house. In some dogs this can be a difficult habit to break.

    I would feed the dog on a regular schedule of 3 meals at regular times each day. Set an alarm to take the dog outside every 2 hours 24/7...yes, take the dog outside every two hours during the night, before he whines, on a schedule so that he does not start to equate whining with being let out of his crate = "I whine and I get out of the crate = dog whines every time he does not WANT to be in crate"

    You will also need to take the dog out every time it wakes from sleeping, about 10-45 minutes after meals, usually within 10 minutes after a play session, just before bed.

    I find that by training a dog on a schedule, as the dog gets older you just start to lengthen the time between potty breaks, and eventually you are only taking the dog out every 6-8 hours and the dog knows when to expect it. Also, by keeping the dog on a feeding schedule (3x per day until 6 mos of age, then 2x per day for most adult dogs) you will keep an elimination schedule to a predictable pattern.

    Good luck!
    Being smart is learning from your own mistakes. Being wise is learning from others' mistakes.
    Cally- 14 yo papillon, Moose the puppy, McKenna 8 yo pomeranian grand-dog, and chickens

  7. #5
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    Re: Would like opinions on housetraining options

    I totally agree with not doing the outside AND indoor potty thing. It really does create confusion and you will never have a fully house trained dog.

    Even though your pup is small, and it is cold outdoors, I agree with the others. Stick to a schedule of every 2-3 hours. Stcik with this consistently until your puppy is perhaps 10-12 weeks (depends...some pups learn to hold it faster than others).

    I promise you will soon have a full nights sleep. It doesn't seem that way now, but you will. And this early training and getting up to take puppy out, will be so worth it when puppy is older.

    Trust me, you don't want a confused puppy. Now is the time to establish good habits; they will create what will be the habits of your dog for life.

    Early sleepless nights are small price to pay.

    Bella, my pug, was great. We did the every 3 hour routine for one week (we got her at nine weeks). Then, we went to every 4 hours....before we knew it, she was sleeping through the night. We also crate her at night. Her crate is right by my bed, so I know she was not awake crying...she just ultimately going longer and longer without having to go outside.

    She is so funny. She will be 5 months on January 8th, and she can sleep like a champ. She goes in her crate for bedtime at 10pm. On weekdays, when I am getting ready for work, she gets up at about 7am. My mom moved in with me, so she is home with her during the week when I am working. She will start getting sleepy on weekdays around 10am. Mom puts her in her crate and she naps until 5pm! Lazy puggie!

    On weekends, get this. She goes in at 10pm. We keep that consistent unless she is falling asleep a bit earlier, but as a rule, we put her in at 10pm to stick to a schedule. Anyway, on weekends when we don't have to get up for work, this pup can sleep past NOON. And there have been times when she slept until 2pm! I am not kidding!

    I actually talked to our vet about it. I knew pugs were a but lazy in terms of their overall breed/temperment/personality traits, but wow! 2pm?!?

    She is a healthy, happy, lazy pup! Actually when she is awake she is a typical energetic thing, but she loves her cozy crate, with her donut bed and fleece blankies.

    Anyway, my point (wow, I tend to ramble!) is to stick to a schedule. In a few weeks you will very grateful you did. Do your best NOT to do the indoor and outdoor thing....it is a disaster waiting to happen later in life.

    Good luck!

    Denise
    Last edited by DeniseV; 01-02-2010 at 08:21 PM.

  8. #6
    Senior Member lucidity's Avatar
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    Re: Would like opinions on housetraining options

    I don't know about everyone else, but my dog did absolutely fine with indoor/outdoor training. He was paper trained by the breeder, so he had totally no problem peeing on the pee pads.

    I sectioned of the kitchen (yours would be the laundry room) and lined the corners with pee pads, and placed his crate and water dish on one end. I slowly decreased the amount of pee pads and at around 4 months, he stopped having to use them altogether. He now only pees outside and would hold it for as long as possible (the longest he ever held it was for 9 hours, and he's only 6 months old).

    He hasn't deliberately peed inside the house on the floor/carpet since he was 3.5 months old. The only times he's peed on the floor was when I didn't bring him out in time, and he whines for a good couple of minutes before he has an accident. (I know, my bad. It takes me a while to put on my shoes and I live in an apartment, so not an ideal situation)

    I completely understand your not having enough sleep. I was a walking zombie for a month or so. If you feel like you're just about to fall apart from the exhaustion, I'd recommend sectioning off the laundry room. It's better than taking out the divider, since letting the pup pee in the crate might tell it that it's ok to pee in its sleeping area. And bedding is harder to clean up than the floor anyway!

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    Re: Would like opinions on housetraining options

    Thanks for the comments. Kyllobernese...he already loves his crate (will whine if the door is closed and he wants to nap), so I don't want to go 'backwards' with removing the crate until he is older. I also do not plan on giving him free run of the house for a long time--if ever (time will tell on that one).

    Briteday...As a working professional, I can't get up every 2 hours during the night and still function during the day...getting up once or twice I can handle for awhile. I have to say, though, he did not whine one single second last night (which is the 4th night we've had him). He would wake, I would hear him stirring/licking and I would take him out of the crate to pee, then right back in. This morning he was awake and didn't whine...just laid there until I got out of bed, then he sat up and looked at me. Last night he also sat in the crate while we ate dinner--without a single whine! So, at least so far, I'm thinking I don't have to worry about inadvertently reinforcing whining.

    Lucidity...after your post I got to thinking about the family dog we had when I was growing up. He was trained to paper at night, but NEVER went anywhere else in the house, and only used the paper at night (my mom was a stay at home mom who could take him out during the day). After about 11 years my parents moved to a different house and there was nowhere convenient to put pee paper (we had a basement in the first house, so the paper was on a tile floor in a part of the house that guests rarely saw). He had no problems with the transition to the new house, and never had accidents (until health problems set in at about 17 years of age--but to me, that doesn't count).

    I'm also thinking it's not fair to ask a dog to hold it for a full work day--which will eventually be the case (I will take him to work for a few weeks so I can continue the training during the day). Pee pads seem a little more humane.

    So for now, I think I will crate him in the laundry room, wake him to put him on the pee pad in the laundry room, put him back in the crate, etc. at night. After a few nights I will try leaving the crate open to see if he can use the pee pads independently. I hope having more free roaming space in the laundry room doesn't contribute to whining (as it may not be as 'den' like as the crate.

  10. #8
    Senior Member Westhighlander's Avatar
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    Re: Would like opinions on housetraining options

    My dog is trained to go inside or outside. Here is what most people do wrong with pad training and why many give up. You need to train indoor only first or you risk confusing the dog. What will make it faster is if you start clicker training it to use the pads. I use the set up in the following link and set up her ex-pen/crate in the same manner.

    http://www.dogstardaily.com/training...-housetraining

    When she goes on the pad, you must reward him. Now once he gets the hang of this and it might take you longer than most since your dog is really young, you start taking him outside. At that point stop rewarding him for going on the pads and only reward for outside. He will still go on the pads since peeing and relieving himself is the reward, but he'll start holding it until he gets outside to get the treat and relief.

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    Re: Would like opinions on housetraining options

    Quote Originally Posted by Westhighlander View Post
    My dog is trained to go inside or outside. Here is what most people do wrong with pad training and why many give up. You need to train indoor only first or you risk confusing the dog. What will make it faster is if you start clicker training it to use the pads. I use the set up in the following link and set up her ex-pen/crate in the same manner.

    http://www.dogstardaily.com/training...-housetraining

    When she goes on the pad, you must reward him. Now once he gets the hang of this and it might take you longer than most since your dog is really young, you start taking him outside. At that point stop rewarding him for going on the pads and only reward for outside. He will still go on the pads since peeing and relieving himself is the reward, but he'll start holding it until he gets outside to get the treat and relief.
    If he weren't so great at already peeing and pooing outside (we literally are outside less than 2 minutes most of the time...he does his business right away), then I would consider that...but I'm afraid to go 'backward' when he is so good at going when I take him outside.

    It is funny (could be frustrating) how many conflicting approaches there are. Some say only give rewards for going outside (which I've been doing...though I praise for using pee pad). Some say do not give reward for going during the night (as that will make getting up during the night too fun for them). My guess is that consistency has more to do with success than anything.

  12. #10
    Junior Member VanessaRich's Avatar
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    Re: Would like opinions on housetraining options

    How did you ever get him trained on a pad??

    Also how are you training him on the pad and outside??

    I am getting SO frusterated with mine.

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    Re: Would like opinions on housetraining options

    Quote Originally Posted by VanessaRich View Post
    How did you ever get him trained on a pad??

    Also how are you training him on the pad and outside??

    I am getting SO frusterated with mine.
    I'll be honest...the breeder obviously did a lot of work before I got him (even though I got him at 6 1/2 weeks). When I got him, he would use the pee pad...actually went to it independently a few times (other times I would put him on it when I saw behaviors that indicated he need to pee). I actually have stopped using the pee pad during the day...I take him out very frequently (someties 3 times in 20 minutes, depending his behavioral cues). At night, I put him on the pee pad, say 'get busy,' and he pees right away (probably because he has held it for 3 1/2 to 4 hours, and he really needs to go). I then pick him up and put him back in his crate. His crate is also divided, so he has just enough room for his blanket, his stuffed animal (which came from the breeder and has his mother's scent), and for him to turn around to get situated. As he grows, we will move he divider to give him more room, but I don't want him to have anymore than the minimal, until he can hold his bladder longer.

    I will say, that supervision is critical...I watch my puppy CONSTANTLY and I know his signs that he is about to potty. I keep him right beside me (or I follow him wherever he goes).

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