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Hello,

My partner and I adopted our white german shepherd pup yesterday. She's a lovely, calm female, just 3 days shy of 8 weeks. We both work full-time and were planning on getting her today (friday) and not yesterday evening, but the breeder had to move our pickup date and we agreed to bring her home yesterday. We had already set-up a cage full of soft plush and chew toys, a comfortable waterproof mat and a pen that surrounds it. We put a water bowl available in the pen, but no food.

We were nervous about leaving her alone for most of the day right away, so we arranged to have two people walk her at 11 am, 1pm and 3pm. We walked her once this morning at 6 am, then handfed her, trained a bit and got her out again until 8:15 am. The person coming in will handfeed her at 1pm and walk her right after for 20 minutes until she eliminates. Another pee break at 3pm, and we come home around 5pm.

She was great about holding in her pee and poop until she was outside the first time at 6am, but when we showed signs of leaving her alone for the first time after her first night home in our room, she barked and peed after 10 minutes. We got her out again but she was already done.

We have a live webcam to watch her and I noticed she's peed once alone in her pen, and twice in front of my mom when she came at 11am. My mom said she wouldn't pee anymore outdoors, but did it again after coming in. We haven't been punishing her, only praising when she does it outdoors.

So basically, I understand this is normal for such a young pup and on her first day, especially since we can't be there to prevent anything. She is probably anxious, but the webcam shows she's looks totally relaxed in her pen, no whining. What can we do to prevent her from getting used to pee indoors? I don't want this to become a habit.

We will have a regular dog walker giving her two private potty breaks a day while we work for the next few months. Should we take the water out of her pen and only give her some before he potty breaks? I'm not sure this wouldn't be bad for a young pup.

Please help, advice would be appreciated. :redface:
 

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Basically, you're dealing with 2 issues right now, first, she's in a new environment that's totally different than what she's been used to, so she's scared and nervous (even if she seems to be ok), and second, she's just a baby!

FYI, puppies don't gain full physical control of their bladder and bowels until about 6 months of age, so you have quite a ways to go. Very young puppies like yours are like infants. Sometimes their bodies don't even give them signals that they have to pee, it just seems to happen out of nowhere. And, there's really no preventing that, because they don't even understand what's happening.

As they age, they will start to get signals from their bodies that they have to pee/poop, and they'll start learning what to do. But, for now, remember, sometimes it just happens.

A good rule of thumb is a puppy at 8 weeks can hold it about 2 hours, give or take. Some can hold it 1 hour, some 3. But, remember, sometimes, accidents happen, and they physically can't help it.

Also, it takes time for a puppy to learn the routine, what you want, etc. And, being nervous or scared in a new home doesn't help. However, at night, she will likely be able to hold it longer, because when she sleeps her bodily functions slow down, so she doesn't produce as much urine, and won't have to go as often.

Bottom line is, at her age, even with the dog walkers, accidents will probably happen for a bit, while she's settling in. Since you're having a dog walker every 2 hours or so, that should start helping, but in the beginning, expect accidents. Clean them up with an enzymatic cleaner, not just a regular household cleaner.

When you ARE home, that's when you potty train vigilantly. Take her out on a schedule, every 1.5 to 2 hours. Even if she doesn't have to go, it's not a wasted trip, because you are laying a foundation, and teaching her what you want her to do. Use the same potty words every time, and give lots of praise and a super yummy treat if she does it right!
When you have her out and about with you in the living area, make sure you keep your eyes on her constantly, so you can see when she acts like she needs to go, and you can rush her out. Watching her closely also helps keep her from sneaking away where she can't be seen to pee or chew something up! :)

No, I wouldn't withhold water during the day, young pups can become dehydrated easily. And, yes, it can be this bad for such a young pup! She's very young, in fact 8 weeks is the minimum age for a puppy to leave mama. Good luck, and be patient!
 

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FYI, puppies don't gain full physical control of their bladder and bowels until about 6 months of age, so you have quite a ways to go. Very young puppies like yours are like infants. Sometimes their bodies don't even give them signals that they have to pee, it just seems to happen out of nowhere. And, there's really no preventing that, because they don't even understand what's happening.

As they age, they will start to get signals from their bodies that they have to pee/poop, and they'll start learning what to do. But, for now, remember, sometimes it just happens.

A good rule of thumb is a puppy at 8 weeks can hold it about 2 hours, give or take. Some can hold it 1 hour, some 3. But, remember, sometimes, accidents happen, and they physically can't help it.

Also, it takes time for a puppy to learn the routine, what you want, etc. And, being nervous or scared in a new home doesn't help. However, at night, she will likely be able to hold it longer, because when she sleeps her bodily functions slow down, so she doesn't produce as much urine, and won't have to go as often.
I didn't know about the brain not processing the need to eliminate. How does this work in with crate training? I've had excellent results with crate training, though of course in the beginning there were some accidents.

I want to add to your excellent post that it's important to clean up the crate (if you're using one) immediately. My puppies would cry if they had an accident in the night, and I'd get up no matter the time to clean them up. Since a dog will naturally avoid eliminating where they sleep, crate training works wonders, but if they get too used to laying in refuse, it's bad for their health and makes house training a nightmare. Even if your puppy is in an enclosed area, rather than a crate, it's very important to clean up messes immediately for the same reason. I have to admit that for the first 2-3 weeks I've brought puppies home, they always slept in bed with me. I've heard advice to let puppies cry themselves to sleep in their crates so they get used to it, but I just don't like that approach. I just grab a pee pad and a towel, and let them sleep around where my head/chest is so I can monitor them.
 

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Accidents are totally normal! when she has one, just take her immediately outside and tell her that's where you want her to go. Anywhere she had an accident clean it up REALLY REALLY good with a cleaner designed for pet urine. When you do take her outside, take some old pee with you (ex. old tissue with pee on it, newspaper with pee on it), and put it on the grass, so when she smells the pee she'll have an urge to pee.

My puppy used to give absolutely no warning when she peed, and her pee schedule was so irregular. She would hold it in 4 hours, and then go 3 times within 1 hour after that...just be patient and know that eventually they will gain bladder control and will hopefully start to whine/scratch the door when they need to go outside
 

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I didn't know about the brain not processing the need to eliminate. How does this work in with crate training? I've had excellent results with crate training, though of course in the beginning there were some accidents.

I want to add to your excellent post that it's important to clean up the crate (if you're using one) immediately. My puppies would cry if they had an accident in the night, and I'd get up no matter the time to clean them up. Since a dog will naturally avoid eliminating where they sleep, crate training works wonders, but if they get too used to laying in refuse, it's bad for their health and makes house training a nightmare. Even if your puppy is in an enclosed area, rather than a crate, it's very important to clean up messes immediately for the same reason. I have to admit that for the first 2-3 weeks I've brought puppies home, they always slept in bed with me. I've heard advice to let puppies cry themselves to sleep in their crates so they get used to it, but I just don't like that approach. I just grab a pee pad and a towel, and let them sleep around where my head/chest is so I can monitor them.
Usually, by the time a very young puppy goes to a new home (8 weeks being the youngest) they are starting to get those signals, but not every time. That's why, with a very young pup, sometimes they just walk along, and boom, they pee. :)
As for crates, as you said, in the beginning there are some accidents, but as a week or two goes by, they're usually processing those signals. Also, lots of puppies that are crated spend most of their time in the crate sleeping, and when they're sleeping bodily functions slow down, less urine is produced, and they have to pee less often... :)
 

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Hi,

Thanks for your advice, it does agree with what I've read in books and the like.

I have to admit I'm facing another type of problem now... She is really good about doing #2 outside, but there is still a big problem with urine. We brought her to a vet saturday for her first checkup, and it turned out she had a urinary tract infection. We are treating her with antibiotics, and the vet said it was 90% sure those would be the right ones. For 100$ we could make another test to be 100% sure to choose the right antibiotics, but we made a pass on that deciding that 90% was a good ball park.

However, it seems in the last two days that she's still peeing a LOT. I mean, like around 15-20 times a day. She does have unlimited access to her water bowl, and I won't take that away after the advice the vet gave me.

I noticed yesterday that the mat in her crate was completely soaked in urine. That made me freak out, since she does have access to go out of her crate and into her pen during the day, so I wonder if she still has an infection and just can't do anything about it.

We have a dog walker coming in and she never has to wait more than 3 hours to go outside. When she does, she really understands that we want her to pee because that's the first thing she always does, always. So she's good with that.

We will bring her to the vet saturday, we have to wait three days between different antibiotics. In the mean time, I'm really nervous that she's getting used to lay in her pee, she even doesn't seem to mind. We can only clean up when someone is home, twice a day with the dog sitter, asap from 5 pm when we are home and until she goes to bed, then in the morning when we wake up (she doesn't cry in the night). We do walk her about 5 times from the time we come home to the time she goes to bed, and three times before going to work in the morning. We are using water and vinegar to wash out the smell, and have put her mat and plush toys in the washer many times now.

HELP! I don't want to ruin her potty training!
 

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Well, at least you're treating the infection, so hopefully it will start looking up! :)
Be patient with her....UTI's aren't fun, and the antibiotics might not be doing the trick. Even if they're working at all, still having the infection is going to make the whole peeing and trying to hold it thing difficult for her.
Don't stress about ruining everything! As she gets better, you can start over!

I'd suggest putting vinegar in the washing machine when you wash her mat and plush toys, to get the smell out, too. And, maybe, don't put a mat in her crate for the time being. But, really, dealing with the infection is priority, and then you can get back to potty training!
 
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