Post # 1
We just adopted a Cavalier puppy, Winston about three weeks ago. He’s now three months old and we’re working on housebreaking him. We crate him when we’re not home or when we can’t keep our eyes on him. We take him out frequently but do have some accidents occasionally. My question to you all is — how do we get him to learn how to let us know that it’s time to go outside or for a walk so he can do his business? In the time we’ve had him, he’s only once gone to the back door and scratched to let us know he wanted out, but other than that we have to rely on frequent trips outside and watching him for the telltale “sniffing in circles” or the “butt dance” which is what I call his silly little routine when he’s just about to do #2 — his butt moves (usually in a circle) before his head and front legs do — it’s pretty cute actually. Unless it results in poo on the carpet!
So what I’m wondering is how do we go from watching/frequent trips out to him knowing how to let us know? Will he just pick it up one day? I don’t want him to think that going inside is ever okay … I know there’s the idea of the bell on the door, but I’m not sure that will work, because I don’t think the boy will have the follow through to do it every time. I’d prefer he hang out by the door or scratch on it or something. Do fellow pet owners have any thoughts/suggestions?
Post # 3
We got our dog in October when she was 8 or 9 weeks old, so we had a lot of accidents! We really liked the routine on the humane society’s site:
After a while, she just started going to sit by the door. She still only scratches if she’s feeling really impatient. But she’s not a very vocal dog in general. It works for us because we have an open layout apartment, so we can pretty much see if she goes to sit by the door.
Post # 4
Unfortunately, I don’t think this is something you can “teach” him. Eventually, when he figures out that outside is for potty, and it’s very, very naughty to do it inside, he will start to let you know when he has to go. Plus, he’s only 3 months! Most dogs aren’t fully housebroken until 6 months.
I guess I’m not really giving you advice, LOL. Until he learns how to “feel” when he needs to go, watching him and frequent trips outside are really all you can do!
Post # 5
Cupcake- Are you using a key word when you take him out? Every time he pees you should keep saying the same word, and it will become a conditioned response… So now everytime we say “Go pee!” Catch the Wonderdog will perform on command!
Reward good behavior! And if you need more tips, I can rustle up a whole exerpt on potty training…
Post # 6
It can be a little harder with a puppy, just because they tend to not realize they have to go until they REALLY have to go, (like with a potty-training child), but one thing that helps is to always make him do a “Sit” by the door, (preferably with a “Wait” command), EVERY time you go out. It will help him learn to associate sitting by the door with going out.
Alternately, it would be a good idea to have him leashed to you in the house whenever he is not in his crate. That will teach him more to come to you when he has to go. You’ll be able to better keep an eye on his so you don’t miss his potty signals. And if he STARTS to go, you can interrupt him and get him outside. This might be a little harder…if your guy won’t remember a bell by the door, he probably won’t remember to leash the little one to him.
There are lots of other ways you can train your puppy…I’m sure you’ll get lots of other great ideas here. Whatever you decide to do, be sure you and your guy are on the same page, and are CONSISTENT. If you do one thing for a day or two, then do another for another few days, you are just going to confuse your puppy and make it take that much longer for him to learn what you want.
Post # 7
I have a friend that trained her dog to ring a little bell hung on the door handle. She rang it herself everytime they went outside so eventually poochie associated and 2 (quite Pavlonian of him!) and now rings the bell when he wants out. It’s really cute to see and didn’t take long at all.
I personally am not a big fan of the dog telling me when he’s gotta go. I’m the Alpha, so they go out when it’s time to go out and had to learn to hold it in between. Our 2 dogs were both adults that were NOT housetrained when we got them, so we had to start from scratch. Fortunately, being adults, they had large enough bladders to hold it for awhile (there’s some hour/months old rule of thumb for how long to expect a pup to hold it) and now go out roughly every 6-8 hrs. However, because they know to wait till I take them out, they can go much longer if I accidentally get caught up at work or something comes up.
I too am having potty issues with our newest dog. We recently moved into an apt with a yard, and I want to teach them both to ONLY go in the same one area (to avoid the landmine situation). Romie picked it up the first day and has been fine every since. Jules on the other hand just can’t seem to get it. She seriously hasn’t peed since yesterday MORNING!! I take her out for 10 min in 20 min intervals and when she doesn’t go it’s back to the crate. It’s like we’re playing a game of chicken to see how gives in first. I’m getting REALLY TIRED off taking her out in the freezing cold!!!
Anyway – good luck with whatever you try!!
Post # 8
I know a lot of people swear by bells … everytime you take your puppy out the door, ring the bells, then wait for them to pee and praise as you usually would during housebreaking. If the puppy ever rings the bells (even in play or by accident) ring the bells.
Post # 9
Thanks for the advice! I know he’s still young and that we’re going to have accidents (we had 3 yesterday! But in Winston’s defense we had freezing rain/sleet last night — I wouldn’t want to piddle outside either) I try to always say “good boy!” and pet him and be very enthusiastic when he goes outside. I also use the word “outside” as his key word — “Do you need to go outside?” and “Winston was a good boy outside.” 🙂
Post # 10
BELLS! It definitely works.
Post # 11
we really wanted to try the bell, but we were so focused on getting pups outside that we forgot, so no bell for us. Our puppy is just about housebroken now. He has very rare oopsies (this morning) stay patient it can take a year to fully get it!
Post # 12
When ever he goes over to the door, praise, praise, praise! One other trick is to give him a treat ever time he goes to the bathroom outside. Have treats in your pocket. He may start going to the door and going out because he is associating it with a treat.
Post # 13
Oh! One more thing that might help, especially if you have an intelligent dog! Use a word of your choosing that means “pee” and “poop” (at our house “go potty!” means pee, and “go poopy!” means…well, you get it). I’ve heard of puppies that were only praised by saying “Good boy!” when they went potty, and then when they did something else right, such as sat on command and were praised with “Good boy!” they thought it meant they should go potty right then and there…in the house. So tell him “Go potty!” for example, WHILE he’s going, and THEN praise him, so he associates “potty” (or “peepee” or “hamburger” or whatever you want to call it), with the action, not just the praise. 🙂
Post # 14
After raising three puppies in as many years I’m going to have to say that there comes a time when the lightbulb just comes on. Eventually one day they wake up and realize they can hold it. Until then you just deal with it!