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Hello all,
We have had our pup, Chewie for a week. We are cage training him. So far we have been pretty lucky. He goes to bed with us at 10/10:30(cage in room) I started him right away on our work schedule even though I'm off. I get him up at 5:30, surprisingly he is sleeping all night without needing to go out and accident free. I take him out and he goes, then I feed him. I continue to take him out every hour, but have left him in his cage for periods of 1-3 hours and left the house to test him and my other dog, with no accidents. I don't lock him in the cage when we are home, but his preferred place to sleep is his cage over his dog bed. When he is sleeping in his cage I do leave the door open. We have a open concept ranch so while out I have our back sunroom blocked off and he is monitored there at all times. He gets lots of exercise with 3 kids playing with him and my other dog Andi who seems to tolerate him for 15 minutes before she goes off on her own. Chewie still eats 3 times a day so his second feeding is at 2:30 and again at 7:30. That will be how it works best with work. I leave for work at 7:30, my dh at 4:30 am. My dad is here to get my 3 on the bus until 9, but he is going to stay until 10 so that Chewie is only caged for 4 1/2 hours. My dd is the first one home at 2:30 and I am home by 2:45. She will take him out when she gets home and then feed him. If he isn't making it my dad said he can stay a little longer until he can hold it longer. Our dog Andi has free reign of the house and it hasn't been an issue with one dog out and the other in the cage. Here are a couple of questions/issues we have:

If Chewie went out if he is allowed to play in a room with carpet he squats and pees a little(I am thinking marking, but our other dog has never had any accidents on the carpet so not sure why). We have decided to restrict this area for the time being. Hopefully that won't be an issue as he gets older. I don't really understand why he is doing this because he doesn't do this on the tile. If anyone has any tips as to why, I'd love to hear them.

The other issue is signaling he needs to go potty. I take him out every hour, but he doesn't ever let me know he has to go. We are fortunate to have a set up with a mudroom that has a service door with a large dog run. That is where Chewie goes out. We built that with our first dog Allie who we lost several years back. Andi our other dog has never liked that dog run and refused to use it, so she goes out our back door off our sunroom(the same room we have Chewie restricted too). Every hour I take Chewie to the mud room and prompt him to ring the bell with a treat while saying go outside. I take him out and instruct him to go potty and monitor him until he goes, immediately praising and rewarding him when he does. My only problem with this is he cannot access the bell because he is blocked off in the other room. Should I use two bells and hang one on the door he doesn't use, but has access too to signal he has to go potty and then pick him up and take him to the mudroom door, or would this be confusing? The reason I do not want him using the same door as Andi is our yard has an electric fence only and when Chewie can be out for longer periods on his own I want him safe from any critters that can come in to our yard(coyotes etc.) Andi is much bigger and isn't at risk to the wild critters. I always want Chewie to be in the dog run(which is quite large especially for a Shih Tzu to blow off energy on a day with good weather). I'd love to know if anyone has advice if the two bell system would make sense and not confuse the dog. I hope I described the set up so that it makes sense. Thanks in advance for the tips and advice :)
 
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