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A few days ago I adopted a 7 month old havanese/pomeranian mix (Mr. Dog). When I adopted him, the adoption agency lent me a play pen, and told me to set up his pad and bed in there. He's pretty much pad trained already (one or two accidents which were more my fault than anything) but I'm curious about housebreaking him.

I've been reading "How to Housebreak Your Dog in 7 days" by Shirlee Kalstone. However, I'm not sure how her advice applies to my particular situation.

I work about 10 minutes away, and I'm gone for ~9 hours a day. I'm fine with coming home for lunch but it's not something I'd like to do forever, and I also don't want Mr. Dog to get used to me coming home at lunch and then expect it.

Ideally I'd like to housebreak him (because I live in an apartment and it's not that big so the whole thing is sort of starting to smell like pee), but I don't know if that's "fair" to expect from him. In her book, Shirlee Kalstone mentions that pad training is good if you have a little dog and an apartment (yep) or you're gone for a long time during the day (also yep).

He's really good with the pads so far. Even when the pad isn't in his crate. He gets that's where he's supposed to pee (which he usually does a few times a day and once overnight), and he's pooped there the few times he hasn't pooped when I walked him in the morning.

Is this still a circumstance where it would be ok to try and housebreak him? Or since he's often going to be alone for so long during the day is a pad just better? Especially since he already knows how to use it. I have a feeling if I took the pad away he'd just pee on the floor, then go back to his side of the play pen, where his bed is. So it seems the only way to regulate his potty times would be to only give him his food and water for a limited time (as of now he has them both at all times). Is that ok to do with a dog that's alone all day?

This is the first time I've owned a dog of my own (we had a family dog for many years that my father mostly trained) and I'm sort of going a little cuckoo about what's "best." I'm projecting human emotions onto him ("He's all alone all day and he's probably SO SAD!") and I'm afraid taking away the pads would be even "meaner."

I hope that wasn't too much info. Any help would be super appreciated!
 

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I'd keep the pads around since you're going to be gone longer than the average dog can "hold it" every day. You can try using pads that have some kind of deodorizing agent in them to cut back on the smell. Some other devices like the "pet loo" might work for you but some dogs won't transition to them easily.

Our Chihuahua's pad is in the same area as the litter boxes for our 4 cats. Her smell can't compete with what the cats put out.
 

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If you want a housebroken dog, I would go ahead and do that. There's no law that says small dogs in apartments must be paper trained, and there are a lot of drawbacks to paper training, as you not.

But that is a long time to be away. Have you considered a dog walker or someone else to come in during the day? That would help a lot, and I think even with a bigger, older dog, it's the right thing to do if you can swing it.
 

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It depends on what your ultimate goal is. Do you eventually want him to pee/poop outside only? If so, I'd start working on that now.
If you're ok with pads, go for it. There are people here who have small dogs that are litter box trained, or pad trained.

I am not a big fan of pads, but that's my personal preference. I have a large yard, and our dogs aren't alone longer than they can hold it, now that they're older.

For your situation, I would prefer to train Mr. Dog to pee/poop outside, and take away the pads. I would also come home at lunch. The good news is, at 7 months, it (hopefully) shouldn't take long to train him, as he should have control of his bladder (for reasonable lengths of time).

However, if you do try to switch to outside pottying, you are likely to have accidents in the beginning, when you aren't home, until the dog learns what is expected.

When you ARE home: keep him in your sight whenever he's awake, so you can see if he starts to show signs of needing to pee/poop. And, take him out regularly, when you're home, every 1-2 hours. Of course, when you're working, you can't take him out that often, that's why it's important to be super vigilant when you are home. Prevent accidents by giving him plenty of outside opportunities, and keeping your eyes on him.
When you aren't home, you are likely to come home to a mess, in the beginning. If you can put his crate in the pen, and put the pen in an area that has easy to clean flooring, it can help with the mess part. If you keep putting a pad in his area, you're encouraging him to use it, so if you want to switch, take the pads away.

Good luck!
 
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