View Full Version : jumping ahead of ourselves!

July 14th, 2008, 06:21 AM
aww... we've had a few setbacks with lucy's training and i find myself quite sad today because she was doing so well.

as a reminder, i had an exercise pen set up for lucy with wee-wee pads, an open crate, and food and water inside. she spends the day in there, but then hangs out freely in the room with the door closed and the pen door open when i get home. she had been doing great with that system -- she would scoot over to the pads when she had to go, even when she had full access to that room.

however, as of about a week ago, she figured out how to get out of the pen!! i think she's jumping over the top rather than squeezing out through the opening. i thought maybe this is perfect, because maybe lucy's finally ready to have full access to the room while im not home, too -- but it turns out she's not. im very sad because now, when im in the room she will still scoot over to the pads to potty, but when im out of the room she will really pee and poop anywhere she wants in the room. i dont know what im doing wrong.

i feel like a new, larger pen will be very expensive. but im willing to buy one if that's what's necessary to keep lucy on track... please help :(


July 14th, 2008, 06:41 AM
Sorry to hear you've had a little glitch in your training. Try not to be too upset, though... people rarely get their dogs housebroken without a few bumps in the road!

Sounds like your girl just isn't quite ready for access to the whole room... how old is she now? When you mention getting a larger pen, do you mean one that will give her more space so you can have an interim step between having her in the pen and giving her the whole room or did you mean a higher one that she couldn't climb out of?

If you want to give her a little more space, see if you can use your existing pen and just stretch it out across part of the room, attaching it to eye hooks in the wall or baseboard. This will allow her to have access to part of the room, but not such a big area that she's no longer compelled to use her papers.

If you're concerned about her climbing out, you can either put a "roof" on the pen by tying a tarp or sheet over the top of the pen (just be sure there are no loose edges she can reach or chew) or you can do the balloon trick to prevent her from going over the top of the pen. You blow up a bunch of balloons and tape them around the top of the pen (how festive!). You then hold one of the balloons and when Lucy's looking at it, you pop it so she thinks balloons are scary! One thing to remember... popped balloons are a choking hazard for dogs, so be sure they're securely attached to the pen so they won't fall to the floor if they pop.

Another solution one of my clients had great success with (but I can't quite bring myself to recommend!)... she put Vaseline all over the inside of the pen so the dog couldn't get a good enough grip to climb out. Can you imagine that slippery, sticky mess?? :eek:

It may also be time to start spying on Lucy when she thinks she's alone so you can catch and correct her when she tries to go potty off of the papers... some dogs seem to think they're allowed to potty on the floor when nobody's around, since they've only been corrected for making mistakes when people are there. When they're alone, having accidents works out just fine, so they assume it must be okay!

I hope this helps. Keep us updated and hang in there!!

July 15th, 2008, 08:40 AM
Hi, thanks for the response!

I did mean a taller pen, not a larger one, but I do like your "roof" idea. It just may work! Lucy's kinda fearless (despite her minute poundage), though, so I think scaring her with balloons may work less well -- the little terror :p

Lucy will be 4 months old in about a week. So she's definitely maturing a little bit and is doing better in quite a few aspects -- she hasn't had an accident in bed since her first week home, and has slept through the night for about a month!! Hooray!! But maybe as you said she's just not ready for access to the whole room when I'm at work.

How do you recommend I spy on her? It's a great idea and I'm intrigued.

Another random question -- in your articles you talk about letting pups have greater access to the house for short periods of time when they are well-supervised and when you know they've already emptied out. I do that with Lucy -- right after she empties, I sometimes open the door to her room and let her run around the apartment like a banshee. But if I let her go too long, she will eventually potty out in the living room. What is the right amount of time to give her this type of freedom? And what should I do with her when "freedom time" is over -- bring her straight over to her papers?

Thanks again!!

July 16th, 2008, 08:18 AM
When you're giving her more freedom when she's empty, I'd advise against letting her bust into the apartment like a banshee! That's going to teach her something I'm sure you don't want her to learn... she'll learn that it's crazy-girl party time every time she's outside of her room! Instead, I'd start out with her on leash, then, once she's used to being out in the apartment, I'd drop the leash and let her drag it behind her (in case you need to catch her in a hurry!). This way, you'll avoid that initial burst of insanity and you'll get her used to being calmer in the house.

When she's having free time, I'd occasionally walk her over to her papers (don't carry her... we want her to get used to learning the path to her potty spot from other areas in the house), give her a chance to go potty, then take her back out into the house with you. It's especially important to take her back out and continue her free time in the house if she goes potty when you take her to the papers. If she goes, then you close her in her pen, she'll avoid coming to her papers when she's out in the house, since she'll think it'll end all the fun and she'll get locked in!

As far as spying on her goes, it's pretty simple... just find a vantage point where she doesn't see that you're watching and SPY! Usually the easiest thing is to close a door almost all the way so you can be hiding behind it and spying through the crack in the door. If you see her starting to have an accident, bust through the door, say NO sharply and scoot her over to her papers. Remember, she's a baby, so you're just trying to startle her enough to turn the plumbing off, not trying to scare her to death, so don't get too crazy!

If there's not a good place to hide, you may be able to use a video baby monitor for this... that way, you can have the door closed and still see what she's doing. Unfortunately, this isn't as effective with small female dogs, since it can be hard to tell the difference between sitting and peeing on that tiny screen! It'll probably only work if she's the type to sniff and circle a lot before going potty.

All that being said, I'd probably wait until she's 5 months old before trying free access to the whole room again... I think keeping her in her pen for a while longer is probably the way to go!!

July 17th, 2008, 07:58 AM
you're right about crazy-girl banshee party time -- definitely don't want to be teaching her that!! :laugh:

thanks for the tips & pointers. we will update you about how it all goes!!

in the meantime -- i know this is not really housebreaking related, but if you guys have an opinion on this i'd be totally indebted! lucy is just not a sleeper... she is getting better about sleeping through the night, but she wakes up SOOOO early and wants to play and go out for a walk. she sleeps in bed with me (cringe... i know she's not supposed to but i cant help it :blushing:) so i get woken up at about 5 am to yips, nips and pouncing!! is there any way to successfully encourage this girl to go back to sleep, and to let her know that mommy won't get up until she's ready?? (i already take her out for three long & fun walks per day, and she meets lots of other dogs and has plenty of play time... so could it still be an exercise issue?)

thanks rebecca & dana!!

July 17th, 2008, 09:23 AM
I am the queen of teaching dogs to sleep in. I'm a night owl, so 8am is an early morning for me :) When I raise pups I get them on my schedule right away. Give them plenty of exercise throughout the day, and especially in the evening so they are good and tired. Then, don't let them go to sleep too early. This way they are happy to sleep longer in the morning.

I raised a little rescue terror, oops, I mean terrier ;), and I used to carry her around and jostle her when she tried to fall asleep in the evenings. If I let her sleep in the evening, she would scream in the mornings. And I do mean scream. When Marco was young I used to take him on long walks about 8pm so that he would sleep through the night.

The next trick is teaching them that you wake them up, not the other way around. Set your alarm to take Lucy out to potty before the sun comes up, 4 or 5am. Make it a quick "business trip" and then bring her back to bed. When she wakes up with the sun, you have to refuse to get up so that that is not an option. If she's loose in the bed, that may be almost impossible. You can try tying her to you on a short leash so she can't pounce around (but only if you're sure you won't roll over on her in your sleep). Or, you could keep the crate right there and only put her in it when she wakes you. If she lets you sleep, she can be in the bed. Try to wake you up and she ends up in the crate.

The key is- you cannot get up when she is active, only when she is lying quietly. If she tries to wake you up, you have to stay in bed and ignore her until she is calm again. This is easy for me, bc I will sleep through almost anything as long as I know the pup doesn't need to potty (that's the reason for the 5am potty trip). If you have trouble falling back to sleep, read in bed until she is quiet and calm. It doesn't buy you much those first few mornings, but once Lucy sees that you are serious about not getting up, she'll give up on her early morning antics.

One more thing- make sure that she isn't starving in the morning. If you are feeding her her last meal at 6pm, she's going to be starving at 6am. Hungry puppies are active and noisy. You may try giving her a small meal right before bed or even after that 5am potty trip if you think that that is the problem.

July 17th, 2008, 11:46 AM
A couple of other things that might help... since a lot of pups wake up when the room gets light, heavy dark curtains or blackout shades can fool her into thinking it's still nighttime.

If the sounds of the rest of the neighborhood waking up might be waking her, a white noise machine will help to mask any sounds that may be getting her up early.

Good luck... hope you get to sleep in one of these days!!