Puppy house-training plan: sound OK?

Posted by lacamps
Nov 28, 2010
My husband and I are planning on welcoming our first ever puppy into our family: a miniature English bulldog. We haven't had any children yet, so this will be our first shot at child-rearing (sort of) and I'm looking to absorb wisdom from the more experienced dog-owners on the forum before we welcome him home. I've read through the posts and just have a few lingering questions (I've described our plan below with intermitent questions... does it sound OK?)

My husband and I both work during the day, and we plan to crate the puppy straight off and line an enclosed area around the crate with training pads for wee and poo needs while we're sleeping and at work.

We plan to feed and water the pup in the morning before we leave for work and then take him out 10 minutes after eating to (ideally) take care of business, and then keep him in his enclosure while we are out at work. [B][I]Do we have to wait until the pup has completed his shots before we take him out for a walk? Should we leave the pup a bowl of water in his enclosure while we're gone during the day?[/I][/B]

We will feed and water the pup again when we get home after work in the evening and take him out 10 minutes after that. Then we'll spend our evening bonding/playing, change out the pads as needed in his enclosure, and repeat the routine the next day.[B][I] Is it enough to feed and give water to the pup before and after work? If that's not enough for a growing puppy, is it OK to leave water and food for him in his enclosure, or is there a danger of over-eating?[/I][/B]

Once the pup grows up a bit and is able to control his bladder, etc., we were hoping to take away the training pads and take him out when we are home before and after work. Is that possible once we've relied so heavily on pads while his puppy bladder is growing?

Thanks so much for the advice,
Posted by KOPCaroline
Nov 29, 2010
Hey lacamps,

Exciting! Good job on researching pups before you bring yours home.

As far as shots go, its better if you keep your pups exposure to the big wide world a bit limited until she's fully vaccinated, especially until she's fully vaccinated for Parvovirus, which can be really nasty. You can have her out in your yard and maybe up and down your sidewalk a bit, but not far at all until she's had her shots

Most people start out feeding puppies about 3 times a day, but 2 will do since you and your partner are gone during the day. However, it is important to always allow access to water, dehydration is something you definitely want to avoid. If you're putting pee pads down in her enclosure and can watch her the first couple days so you know she's using them, it shouldnt be a problem at all. I would advise to leave a full water bowl with her when you go in the mornings.

Food is fine to give her morning and night when you're home. Most pet foods come with charts advising how much to give depending on age and weight of the dog, so you can always consult those.

The rest of your puppy plan sounds good, I wish you luck with it!

Definitely let us know if you have any more questions, hope your new furry friend goes well!

Posted by lacamps
Nov 30, 2010
Thanks so much for your advice, KOPcaroline!

I've read that shots usually come in three rounds, so it's good to know what we should/shouldn't do before the final round's complete. And that's great to know about dehydration--we'll make sure the pup has plenty of water for the day.

We were hoping to transition the pup from using pee pads when he's a puppy to peeing/pooing outside during morning and evening walks when he's older and has more control over his bladder. I imagine that kind of transition is tricky--would you be able to share any pointers on making a successful transition, especially anything we can do in the puppy-pad phase to make the switch easier in the future?

Thanks, again, for sharing your wisdom! Hope you're having a great week so far!
Posted by KOPCaroline
Dec 3, 2010
Hey lacamps,

Transitioning from pee pads to outdoors a few times a day is just about watching her to see when she progresses to only really going a few times a day. I do worry a bit that without anyone to let her out in the middle of the day, you might have accidents, after all, she will keep drinking in the day and therefore need to pee!

Watch and see as she goes less and less frequently and you can start to let her out in the morning and leave her til midday, then try and get home at lunch to check? The problem with finding accidents after they happen is that there isn't a great way to correct the dog and have them know what it is they've done wrong. You might be better off to leave her without a pad overnight, let her out in the morning, and just keep a pad with her during the day in case she needs it and you can't have someone there to let her out at least once in the middle of the day.

Let us know how you go, and I'm sure other members might have more suggestions.
Posted by kjd
Feb 7, 2011

Has the puppy arrived? How is she doing?

Posted by lacamps
Feb 24, 2011
We welcomed Pretzel into our home on Dec 15th, and she's absolutely wonderful. She's such a lovebug and is doing really well with her sits, downs, and stays.

But we can't seem to convince her to stop peeing in the house.

For the first month and a half or so, we had Pretzel using training pads inside the house since we had to wait for the last batch of shots to take her outside. We put the pad on a towel and set it outside of her crate (crate door always open). At night, we would put a small fence around her crate and the pad so she couldn't wander about. During the day before heading to work, we'd take the fence down and restrict her to the kitchen and leave the pad+towel in the same spot, and we'd come home to a torn up pad... but at least it seemed like she still used the pad and towel for her business (no stray puddles or piles to clean up). When we were home and let her out of the fenced in area, she would do a good job going on her pads and soon she was going exclusively on her pads.

Then two things changed:
(1) We started to be able to take her outside. She's gotten really at going pee when we take her to her spot and say "Go pee".
(2) We bought a pad holder for during the day to discourage her from tearing her pee pads to shreds. Just a small plastic tray that has a frame that locks down to keep the pad in place.

Sometime after these two changes, Pretzel has started leaving puddles around the house. We take her out every hour when we're home (despite the fact that she's 4 months old and should be able to hold her pee for at least 4 hours, I've heard), and 95% of the time she pees when we take her out, but she still manages to go pee in the house. And there doesn't appear to be any warning when she doesone second she's playing with her toy, the next she's squattingnone of the tell-tale sniffing or circling.

After a few days of coming home from work with puddles and piles to clean up, we started leaving the fence up so she's restricted to her crate and her pad. Luckily it doesn't seem as though she's peed in her crate (thank goodness), so she has no choice but to go on her pad. Since she's restricted to her fenced-in area during the day, we open up the fence and let her walk about when we get home, and we make sure to take her out every hour. But like I said, even with the hourly potty breaks, she stlll pees on the floor.

Thanks so much for any advice you're able to share. Other than keeping her confined to her pad area or taking her out every 30 minutes, I'm all out of ideas.

Thanks so much,
Posted by lacamps
Feb 24, 2011
We praise and treat her tons when she pees in the correct place. And when she pees inside, she doesn't seem to pee in the same spot; and we make sure to use a pet odor neutralizer to clean her pee puddles.

Thanks, again!
Posted by KOPCaroline
Feb 25, 2011
Hey lacamps,

So glad things are working out well with your girl. Some dogs do take longer on these things, the key is to be consistent in your training and try to maintain patience.

Do you think part of the problem is the peepad cage? Does she seem hesitant to get on it and use it? It might be that Pretzel doesnt like the feel of the cage for standing on, so she pees elsewhere. Is there another way you can use the cage but remove just the top or something? Dogs can have adversions to substrates just like other animals, you might try a different way of keeping the pad in place, or work on training her to leave the pads alone.

It might be best to start over again with her housetraining, just to get the habit back into her mind. Its usually best to start over when dogs have relapses about housetraining, or at least backtrack a few steps.
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Feb 26, 2011
Hi lacamps,

I think Pretzel is totally confused - she was first trained to use training pads - then release herself outside - then the pad holder

Coincidently, I fostered a 4.5 mos old very timid puppy for a few days (she got adopted yesterday. Her previous foster told me that she was trained to pee on newspaper but she never did on newspaper in my house. Dogs cannot generalize things. She did pee in our yard but when she was inside she released herself on a carpet, rather than the newspaper.

On the other hand, she could hold for 7 hrs at night and 7 hrs during the day when I was at work. My husband who works from home tried to take her out for pee but she didn't go and waited until I came home, since she wasn't comfortable with releasing herself when my husband was holding her leash. We kept her in our utility room with a crate in it with the door open. I also had newspapers but she liked to lie down on the paper so the whole room was her living quarter and she didn't want to soil it. That's why she held it for 7 hrs.

When I was home, I let her out of the utility room and she was mingling with my dogs and cats, and when I realized that I should take her out, she had already gone (both pee and poop). That was totally my fault that I could not time it right.

What I want to tell you that dogs at that age can hold for a few hours so I don't think it's a good idea to take her out every half an hour. Instead, time it right (for example, 5 mins after she ate and 15 mins after she drank water, as soon as she woke up, etc.) and take her out and wait until she does business. Then, keep her in a confined area for a few hours and take her out again. This way, she will get used to do business ONLY outside. She will sleep through the night without pottying. (limit water intake at night).

Giving her chances to go potty so often and giving her different ways (outside, on the pad, etc.) will just confuse her, I think.

Can you and your husband take turns to come home during the lunch to let her out on weekdays? I do, when my husband is travelling... I just don't think it is good for the animals to be left out for 9-10 hrs... Or, you can have someone come and let her out... I don't know how all the people who work are handling this kind of problem, maybe a doggy door???
Posted by shirley-muirhead
Sep 9, 2013
Having trouble housetraining my 3 and a half month old Coton de Tulear. He is ok all night, he sleeps upstairs with us, and he was using paper with about 80% success in the house and also going and being praised for it in the garden. He is now allowed out for walks but doesn't seem to want to pee whilst out on the leash, and tonight, after a long walk and a play in the garden he has come in and wet on the carpet upstairs - in the bedroom. I cannot understand what he is thinking when there was newspaper nearby that he didn't use! What are we doing wrong??
Posted by Preethi KOP
Sep 12, 2013
Hi Shirley,

Thanks for writing in to us.

You pooch is still quite young and so I wouldn't worry too much about occasional accidents like the one you have described. I would, however, try and change his habit of not toileting on walks. To do so, I recommend you pick a phrase that encourages him to toilet - 'Go pee x' etc. Ensure that you use it consistently and with the same tone. Once he gets used to using this cue, take some newspaper that he has previously used and place it on the ground mid-walk and use the same phrase to encourage him to urinate. It might take a few tries for him to change his behaviour, but with time and patience, I am sure you will be successful! Oh and another thing, please do not scold him for an accident unless you catch him in the act. When you do, give him a firm 'NO' and put him in the appropriate spot (paper/outside) and praise him when he does urinate.

You're not doing anything wrong, please don't fret about this. You're doing a great job! Also, I hope you have started him on obedience training. There is a great 12 week regime in the Secrets to Dog Training ebook that will guide you through this.

All the best Keep me posted!

Kind regards,
Posted by shirley-muirhead
Nov 7, 2013
Thanks for the helpful advice, Preethi. I realised what the problem was with the above 'accident' ! Theo had just come out of the bath the previous evening and went onto the newspaper, my husband moved him off it as he thought he would roll on the newsprint and he put him on the carpet where he instantly made a puddle. He was merely remembering the fact that he was taken off the paper to toilet. So now he won't use newspaper at all. He goes outside 99% of the time now, and I am aware that I will have to 're-scent' the newspaper to encourage him to use it again!
My problems now are firstly, he is confusing the games where he runs around the house and garden and we chase him with the times that we want him to come when he is called. Does this mean we cannot continue the chasing games if he is to obey the 'come!' command? Also he is eating everything in sight on walks and in the garden. Especially cat and other dog faeces. Is his diet deficient? I am feeding him a mix of chicken, rice, vegetables and a small amount of good quality tinned dog food at the moment, as he would not eat his meals if the dry biscuit (junior type) was added as his breeder suggested. I'd like to 'wean' him off home cooked food anyway, but I live in France and the varieties of dog food are quite limited in the local stores, especially the non dried type. Any advice would be welcome, thanks!
Posted by Preethi KOP
Nov 9, 2013
Hi again Shirley,

Thank you for your reply, I am glad to hear that the toileting issues are sorted out.

Yes, it would be best to stop the chase games if you are trying to teach him to 'come'; it will only confuse matters for him and inhibit his learning. It is unfortunate, but such is dog training, commands have to be clear to optimize learning.

As for the poop-eating issue, the best remedy is to pick up poop right away so Theo doesn't have a chance to get at it. A good poop-routine is an easy way to ensure this. Take him out immediately after each meal and encourage him to go. Lots of praise the minute he starts urinating/defecating is a great way to habituate him to this. You could also try adding pineapple/zucchini to his home feed to dissuade him, they are very distasteful to dogs once digested. Alternatively, you could consult your vet/local pet store for details of commercial products available to add to food in order to decrease the appetence of the poop (Yes, some dogs find poop appetizing, haha!).There are suggestions in the literature that this behaviour results because of a deficiency of some sort in their diets, but since he is getting premium wet food along with a healthy home cooked meal, I doubt it is the issue in your situation. Train him to understand the word 'NO' and startle him with a clap/throaty growl/firm loud NO whenever you catch him in the act,he should quickly learn that it isn't acceptable behaviour.

I hope this is helps you. Good luck