Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Sorry for the long novel of a post! Just wanted to make sure I included all the details! Here goes:

Ever since I got my pup when he was 2 months old I've kept him in an x-pen (metal fenced playpen shaped as a suqare) with his bed, food, water, toys at one side, and 3 pee pads at the other. I did not want to start crate training him to potty outside until he was a little older and can hold his bladder better since I work full time and wasn't able to let him out every 2-3 hours. We also have 2 days a week or so where no one is home so he is alone for 7-8 hours where I can't always come home during my lunch break.

He is 4 months old now and in the past 2 weeks we've given him more freedom to roam around the apartment more since now when he has to go potty he will jump into his x-pen and potty on the pee pads and come back out when he is done. It's been great since he no longer has accidents on the carpet outside his x-pen, but he seems to only want to potty INSIDE his x-pen on the pads and won't even go on any pee pad if it is outside of his pen. I also really want him to start pottying outside (I have a little balcony/patio area).

I recenlty got him a crate, which he has been getting used to. I crated him all last night for the first time (he used to sleep in his bed in the x-pen). Lately he's been holding his potty through the entire night so last night being crated wasn't a problem. First thing this morning I took him outside to my patio and put him on a pee pad stained with his urine and told him to "go potty". He refused to go. The minute I let him inside he dashed over to the x-pen and jumped in to potty. I'd stop him and put him back outside, but he still insists on holding it until he gets back inside to go in his x-pen. I did this 4 or 5 times until an hour passed and I gave up.

I thought if he smelled his pee on a pad outside, that he would go on it, but whenever he is out he will just hold it until he has access to potty in his x-pen. That seems to be his only "safe" potty place to him. Is it too late to reverse this behavior? Since I don't want him to use his x-pen as a bathroom forever, and it's difficult because he won't go potty outside ever or even on a pee pad anywhere unless it is inside his x-pen. It makes it difficult if I bring him to someone's house and he doesn't know he can go potty on a pee pad I bring because his x-pen isn't there.

Would it even probably be best to start getting rid of the x-pen too now that I have a crate for him? Though, I figured I'd still need the x-pen for times he needs to be home alone longer than 4-5 hours...

Any tips/advice greatly appreciated as I'm feeling pretty lost/frustrated now. He starts puppy training class where they are supposed to also help with tips onn housetraining, but that doesn't start for another week and a half.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,705 Posts
I would take him out for a walk until he goes outside, then give him lots of praise. Why do you want him to learn to go on your balcony? I have had puppies in the winter when it was just too cold for them outside and have retrained them to go outdoors once the weather is better. If the puppy is in a crate overnight and you take him out for a walk first thing, I think you will find he will go outside if you are patient, then give him lots of praise.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
740 Posts
I was actually in a very similar situation as yours, and this is what I found worked,

Only put the pee pad in the ex-pen when you're going to be away for a while. If you're home, you need to send her the message that you can let her out to pee, and she has no need to go to the ex pen to pee anymore. Leaving the pee pad in the ex pen while you're home gives her that other option and sends mixed messages. Eventually you can remove the pee pad completely so she learns it's never appropriate to pee in the house (i.e. around 8 months of age she can probably hold it for 8 hours depending on how big she's grown)

First thing in the morning, take her outside on the balcony with her leash on. Let her roam around for a bit to get her bowels moving. Place her/lead her on the desired pee pad and give the cue 'go potty! or whatever you prefer. Give her a full 3 minutes to relieve herself (both pee and poo) - believe me, this is longer than you think. If she doesn't pee during that time, put her in small crate that's small enough so she has to lie on top of her pee/poo if she relieves herself in the crate. If she can in any way get away from touching her pee/poo while in the crate, it's too large for her. If she starts screaming/whining in the crate after being quiet in the crate, she's telling you she's really gotta go! Take her outside again. When she eliminates outside, shower her with her favourite treats and really make a huge deal out of it. Play some games with her, and make her feel special :) she will want to go outside again knowing this is her reward.

When spring comes I am buying a patch of sod instead of the pee pad because it sends a better message that she needs to eliminate on grass only. This is from my experience as my dogs tend to prefer to go on grass rather than a soft cuddly surface that they'd rather sleep on. You'll find it's a much better alternative because the smell of soil will get her used to peeing outside while on walks as well.

The key thing with potty training is to never give them an opportunity to pee in the wrong place. Always supervise, and keep to a schedule. Here's how I do with my 6 month old:
1. First thing in the morning (8AM) when I wake up, I take her to the balcony. She doesn't get to come in for 5 minutes or until she's peed and pood, and she will do it quickly! If she doesn't, back in the crate she goes!
2. She needs to pee at 12pm and 3pm. Take her out again. If you're not home, as I'm not, put her in the ex-pen :) This is okay, because unless you can hire someone to come by and let her out, you don't want her to have accidents. Eventually she will stop using the pee pad altogether if you train her right
3. 5-6pm take her for a long walk and let her pee/poo on the walk. Ideally, she should pee/poo some designated place outside before she gets to walk. This will ensure speedy elimination because they would really love to start walking and would start to see the pattern.
4. 9pm - take her out again just in case, particularly if she had a nap and just woke up
5. 11pm - bed time. Take her out again.

If you keep to a consistent schedule, she can predict when you'll be home and when you will let her out, and will try to hold it for that time. Dogs do have an internal clock, so she will remember when you come home, and will hold it for that time.

Be persistent! It may take her a while to have that 'ah ha' moment when she realizes it's much more rewarding for her to pee outside than inside. You have to make it worth her while so she feels she can cash in her pee for treats :) Use the absolutely best treats (her favourite) when potty training.

Hope this helps!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks! That really helps a lot. I will keep trying to put him back in the crate if he doesn't potty when I put him outside. I want to try that schedule you use as well since I do work full time during the work week. I will need to keep him in a playpen when I'm at work and there is no one to let him out to potty, though he somehow climbed out of the playpen the other day when I wasn't home which is a whole other story and issue to hash out!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Hi Chubby,

Wondering since you also need to be at work all day, has your dog ever gotten separation anxiety? Now that my holiday break is over I am back at work, but every time I leave the house my pup cries and even barks now. Even if I leave to run an errand. I've been reading all these articles on techniques to ease the anxiety, just wondering if you ever faced this problem as well? It is hard being a full time working pet parent :(
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
740 Posts
Aww I feel your pain :(

Fortunately, I haven't experienced separation anxiety with my dogs - I'm starting to think that some of it has to do with the general level of positivity/optimism of the dog in question as some owners do struggle still regardless of what behaviourists tell us to do.

Generally though, it's very normal for a puppy to cry/bark when you leave. That is because they don't like to be alone. That is different from a pup who truly has separation anxiety, which would exhibit stronger behaviours - evidenced by coming home to mountains of shredded paper towel, chewed shoes, chewed wires, pee/poo on the floor when they're usually good, etc. So I wouldn't jump the gun to separation anxiety quite yet until you get a professional diagnosis (in other words, it's probably not as bad as you think)

In terms of just learning to be independent, do some desensitization training with your pup. When you're home, leave in and out the door so often that eventually he doesn't care as much because it's just happening so darn often! Start with 1 second, and increase the time. Eventually do it randomly. Leave treats when you leave so his attention is briefly thwarted and he doesn't think you leaving is all that bad. I would scatter them all over the floor so it takes him time to find them, and I would hide the larger treats (ex. duck tenders) in crevices that she would have to hunt for. I.e. give them something to do while you're away.

When you leave and come back, ignore him for a few minutes to make it a non event. Eventually he'll learn that when you leave you will come back :)

If you've tried this method and it still isn't working, try to focus on having your puppy more independent while you are home. Ignore him when you're reading/watching tv, put him in the crate while you're cooking dinner - try to have some alone time without him always with you. Maybe this will help him learn to be more independent. My dog is too independent because I did this a lot, and now she doesn't rely on me so much for cuddles and attention - makes me kind of sad because I wish she was a bit more attached, but I think it went hand in hand with her being okay while I was gone.

Hope this helps!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Yes! Thank you. That helps a LOT! I've already started practicing these methods. Hopefully from that he can get used to being more independent and used to me leaving and see that I will always come back :)
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top