View Full Version : Desperate for Help..Crate-Train & HB simultaneously?

November 24th, 2010, 12:30 PM
Hi, my name is Herlina and i desperately need your advice on how to go about housebreaking my dogs and puppies but first I have to apologize for the long e-mail and questions as I just recently discovered your website and have lots of question to ask you.

So i used to only have 1 dog and 1 bitch. Both are pomeranians. and then she got pregnant with what I thought was 3 puppies (because the doc said so during the ultrasound) but ..i got 5 puppies instead. so i have a total of 7 dogs in my home (:

I am trying to keep all of them but the problem i have with them is how to housebreak them so that there's less accidents in the house and getting them to pee/poo outside of the house because the smell of 7 dogs' pee/poo is starting to bother my mum.

I know this might seem to be a crazy decision to keep all 7 dogs in the house but i love all of them very much and the puppies too esp since i've been nursing the pups since they were born and i would do everything possible to keep them all.

I have a helper who comes to my house everyday from 8am to 7pm so she can help look after my dogs while i work. also i live 5 mins away from my workplace so i can always go back and forth between home and office should it be necessary.

So the 1st Qn: My house is gated and it's not safe to venture outside at night so as much as I like my pups to pee/poo outside the house, it's not possible. N sadly I dont have a lawn/backyard either. So I put their cage near my balcony and put their toilet in the balcony. (the balcony is huge and complete safe, it's full concrete 1-meter high so there's no risk of my dogs falling, and sheltered from the rain). The floor is slightly different from the inside of my house so it should be distinguishable enough for the pups. Currently I'm using litter box as their toilet area and I take them out to toilet every 2 hours. I have to open the balcony door too because they donít sell doggy door in my city. Should I do the bell training like your website recommended?

also I might move to a house with a lawn in the near future although this is not a sure thing yet. Must I re-HB my dogs in order to get them to pee/poo on the lawn instead of litterbox if I move? How hard is the process?

So should I change the litter box in my current home to turf pad instead? The reason I ask you this is because I cant find any petshop that sells turf pad in my city so unless turf pad come highly recommended from you, I'm hesitant to fly overseas to get the turf pad.

2nd Qn : for the puppies. I've read somewhere that it's best to start HB when pups r 7-9 wks. My pups are all in their 8th week now so I've been taking them out from their wire crates every 2 hrs for pee/poo but it seems that even if they always pee/poo in the toilet area, that they ALSO pee/poo in their crate. This is probably because I only have 1 big wire crate to house 5 puppies. I plan to crate them. Already bout 3 plastic crates. But since it takes time to crate train them, I'm confused as to what I should do. Should I crate-trained them 1st and progress to HB only after they've mastered the crate-training? Or should I do both simultaneously? How do I go about doing it simultaneously if that's what you recommend?

During early stages of crate-training when they are still reluctant to stay in the crate and prefer being outside crate, can I put them in a fenced-area together with the other puppies? This is because it's hard for my helper to keep track of all 5 puppies if they're left to roam freely.

Since I only have 3 crates (since I anticipate 3 puppies), the other 2 pups are left in the big wire crate. How should I go about HB them because it takes time for me to get the extra 2 crates?

3rd Qn: for the adult dog. My dog and bitch is approx 2 yrs old. Due to my lack of knowledge regarding HB previously. They are not HB yet even if they sometimes pee/poo on their litter box. And they're also not crate-trained yet and have many accidents in the house. How should I go about breaking the old habit and creating a new good one? I've brought them to the toilet area after I put the puppies in the toilet area. And I do this every 2 hours. However, they rarely pee/poo in the toilet (even after I reward them with treats on the few occasions that they managed to pee/poo in the toilet) while pee/pooing all over their fenced area. And it's very difficult to catch them before they pee/poo while looking after so many dogs at the same time.

Thank you so much for reading this long email. Sorry for the many qns but I desperately need your help.


November 28th, 2010, 06:09 PM
Wow... sounds like you have your hands full! :ohmy:

There's not an easy answer for your situation, so I'll just give it to you straight, like I would if you were one of my clients in real life. I think the prospects for housebreaking 7 dogs at once are not good. I'm sure you've given your decision to keep the pups a lot of thought, but I have concerns about households where there are that many dogs, especially when so many of them are puppies that need a lot of time and attention. I'm sure you love them, but I think you should take all of them on as your pets only if you're willing to accept the possibility (maybe even probability) that they won't all be reliably housebroken.

I say that because I've seen very few people who are able to successfully housebreak more than two puppies at once, and the only way that people succeed at it is with a dog door and a lot of consistent training over a long period of time. I'd suggest that you go online to order a dog door if they don't have them in your area and have a dog door leading to the balcony. Then, just inside the dog door, create a small pen area just large enough for bedding, bowls and toys. You'll use this as their confinement area when they're alone or unsupervised and the area will gradually increase as the puppies get older and become more reliable with their training. You'll find complete instructions for this type of training in the dog door training article on our site.

I wouldn't advise bell or bark training to teach the dogs to ask to go outside... even if you're successful at teaching it, I think you'd be driven crazy with 7 dogs all asking you to go out at different times of day.

For your balcony potty zone, I think potty pads are fine if sod is difficult to get. Just be sure to make the area large enough, since one pad won't do it for that many dogs, since they won't want to use an already dirty pad.

I hope this helps. Sorry I can't be more sunshiny and encouraging, but I don't want to give you a false sense that this is going to be an easy thing to do and I want to be sure you don't have unreasonable expectations for the dogs, since their training will be only as good as the time and consistency you put into it... most mere mortals simply don't have the time or patience to take on such a Herculean task.

Good luck! :)

November 28th, 2010, 07:46 PM
Hi, thank you so musch for replying (: i have some good news and bad news.. the good news is i've managed to take them out to potty every 2 hours and as such there's very very little accident or none at all in the area that i keep my puppy..

the bad news is that i seem to have trouble crate-training them as even if they are willing to get inside the crate to retrieve the treats repeatedly but when i put the last batch of treats in the crate and lock the crate so the pups cant get it (using your reverse psychology), my pups lose interest in the treats within 5 minutes and they forgot that there's treat inside the crate until i guide them to the crate (not forcefully shoving them inside).. how do i fix this?

should i've master acclimating pups to their crate before i start bringing them to potty? can i do this simultaneously?

i'm very thankful for your concern. even though every-2hrs potty trip is such a daunting task, i'm hopeful that the interval between potty trips will get longer as the puppies get older, so i'm willing to bear with it until that time comes..hopefully it'll be 4 hours or more in between potty trips (:..and for night potty trips,i understand that u said 6-12 weeks puppies can hold their potty for 3-4 hours? does this apply for uncrated puppies? this is because my puppies are still acclimating to their crates and i'm afraid if i just shove them to their crate at night that they will end up hating their crate..

Please kindly help me along the long way i have to go to potty trained all 7 dogs (:

November 29th, 2010, 08:52 AM
If you read our crate acclimation article, it will give you all of the steps to get your puppies used to being in the crate. They may not end up loving it, but they should at least learn to tolerate it, which is good enough!

If they're still having accidents in their crates, you can also check out our article on dogs who have crate accidents to help you resolve that issue.

Again, I think the dog door training with a pen would be a far superior method to crate training for your situation...

Potty training should always be started as early as possible, so you should definitely be doing the crate acclimation and housebreaking at the same time.

December 4th, 2010, 09:51 AM
Hi, it's me again.. i need more advice regarding the puppies confinement.. i've managed to get the puppies to stay in their crate by giving jerky treats n have eased into locking the crate door n leaving them gradually (10 mins then 20 then 30 then 40 then 50 then 1 hour) in between their confinement, i've let them play among themselves n me and get some exercise.. however, i dont seem to be able to the pass the 1 hour mark for their confinement. what should i do? and just yesterday, they seem to tolerate their crates just fine but today they are more reluctant into getting their crate n have to be coerced with more treats but still they bark a lot in their crate? did i not ease them into the crate enough (should i spent more time acclimating them to their crate)? or are they just acting up in trying to get me to let them out of the crate?

also, what do i do when i confine them to their crate at night and they keep on barking? i cant seem to differentiate whether it's the lack of acclimation or they are truly stressed when put to the crate or they are just trying to get out of being put in the crate? should i let them out from their crate at night since they cant be confined for more than 1 hour during the day? will letting them out at night reinforces their naughty behavior and will make future attempts more difficult?

please help ):

December 5th, 2010, 05:29 PM
Under the circumstances, I'd strongly recommend that you hire a trainer to help you in person... this is such a huge task that some hands on help from a pro would probably really be beneficial.

Generally, I'd say that you may just need to bite the bullet and leave them in for longer, whether they like it or not. You shouldn't do this if they seem super stressed (drooling, shaking or in danger of hurting themselves trying to get out of the crate), but you can do it if you've followed the steps for crate acclimation and they just aren't thrilled after being in there for a while. Not all dogs will end up loving the crate, even if you do everything right. For some dogs, all you can expect is that they'll tolerate it, which is fine.

You need to make sure they've gone potty and they haven't had anything to eat or drink before going into their crates, though... if they truly need to get out to go to potty, leaving them in would be a mistake. Check with your vet about how long you can go without giving them food or water... normally at least an hour before crate time during the day and about 3 hours before bedtime works, but you should always check with the vet to make sure that's okay for your individual dogs.

I think it would be a HUGE mistake to let them run free overnight if they have accidents when you do that. If you're doing crate training, you need to crate them overnight. But, again, I think that crate training isn't the best option for training multiple puppies at the same time... if dog door training is an option, that would be MUCH easier on you and on the pups.

December 7th, 2010, 11:52 PM
Hi, thank you very much for ur advices... I have good news.. so far, crate training has been wonderful :biggrin: (thank you so much for writing the crate acclimation article:thumbup:)..the puppies are already settled in their crates and only bark when they want to potty outside... and so far, there's no accident in the crates *fingers crossed..

i have a quick qn though..i'm using the air travel plastic crate as my crates. is it better to place 2 crates nearby each other or farther apart? is it better to have the door of 1 crate facing the door of the other crate (so the puppies can face each other) or is it better if the crates' doors are facing away from each other?

Thank you so muchhhh :)

December 8th, 2010, 09:22 AM
You'll need to experiment with that a bit... some puppies are soothed by being close to the other puppy and being able to see it, other puppies get frustrated by being able to see the other puppy and not get to it. No right or wrong here, just whatever works best for each individual puppy.

Glad to hear things are going well! :)