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  1. #1

    Exclamation indoor training not going well :(

    Hello,

    I just brought home my 12 week old Havanese puppy yesterday. Her name is Coconut (Coco). She has been an absolute darling and she loves people, and everyone loves her! Unfortunately, in the last 24 hours our housebreaking has been a roller coaster ride, and I'm kind of at my wit's end! Any advice will be great! (and I'm really sorry for the long post!)

    The way I have things set up is I have an ex-pen (“long term confinement”) attached to her crate in my bedroom. In her ex-pen I’ve put toys, water bowl, and her indoor potty. Her ex-pen is lined with linoleum flooring on top of the carpet in my bedroom. I’m hoping to train her using her indoor potty (Ugodog) right now because I want to keep her indoor option open (I live in an apartment with no back yard). Once we have this down, I plan to do outdoor training as well.



    But anyway, as soon as she came home yesterday I let her out of her crate and she went straight to the Ugodog to potty. I was so happy! (She’s been trained a little bit at her breeder’s place). After that, I took her out of her ex-pen with her leash on attached to me because I wanted to do some computer work but still keep an eye on her. First of all, she wouldn't stop chewing her leash (even after I try replacing it with food). Then, she started wandering around and then proceeded to have an accident. While I saw her do this, I was too slow to grab her and move her to the Ugodog. Bad me! So I put her back in her ex-pen. She was a little fussy at first, but then went to use the Ugodog on her own 10 minutes later. However, when my back was turned, she then did a #2 in her expen! I tried to keep to the schedule of taking her to the potty every hour and every time after she eats and plays, but I realized that this is a lot more challenging with indoor training--her ugodog is in her ex-pen, and even when I bring her to it and plant her on it, she'll just wander off and not use potty... she never consistently goes and will wander off her Ugodog no matter how many times I put her back, then have an accident elsewhere.


    This method of just keeping her in the large ex-pen wasn’t working, so I tried the crate training method. I put 2 stuffed kongs in there and lured her in, and closed the door. She was fine for 10 minutes, but then lost interest in the Kong and started to cry and bark for my attention! I felt so bad, but I always read to ignore the whining, so I didn't pay attention to her but she just kept crying for the next 20 minutes. Eventually when she was a little bit more calm and I let her out, and she slept for a couple of hours in the ex-pen. When she woke up, she went to use the Ugodog on her own again. I thought she was empty, so I took her out of her ex-pen to do some playing/training, but I guess she was really scared of the living room since she's never been here before and wouldn't move, then had another accident.... so back in the ex-pen she went. After this point, she went to use the ugodog a couple more times, but also had a couple more accidents in the ex-pen, all while I thought she was asleep. And all this while I've sitting here right next to her ex-pen! (She pottied >10 times in 5 hours... is that normal?)


    I’ve read a lot of things by Dr. Ian Dunbar, Dr. Sophia Yin, and Dr. Deborah Jones, and I’m really trying to follow what they say in the books, but I don’t think it’s working right now…the best way to housetrain her I think is crate training, but she really doesn’t like her crate. She’ll be distracted by her Kong at first, but then loose interest even though there’s still food in there and she will start crying. My dilemma is I want to keep her on a predictable schedule for pottying, and do to that I need to keep her in her crate, but she doesn’t like her crate and I’ve read crate training can take weeks and I shouldn’t force her in. I really want her to have positive associations with the crate and not negative ones. So then what should I do with potty training in the mean time before she’s crate trained? She has such an unpredictable pottying schedule and sometimes goes multiple times in an hour and sometimes holds it for a few hours.


    I also read on here another way to do indoor training is to keep her ex-pen small enough that there’s only room for her crate, her Ugodog, and her water. I’m trying that this morning, but she really doesn’t like being confined in small spaces and is still crying. She cried for 30 minutes straight (she’s also now using her ugodog like a bed, which I don’t even know how to begin to deal with). She’s not interested or distracted by toys or food at all—I think she just wants to be with humans and wants attention.


    I don’t want to start off her time with me with bad habits, but she’s already had so many accidents (7 or 8)! I know all her accidents are my fault and I feel like I don’t have a good system set up. I've tried different things—crate training, long term confinement, umbilical cord (attached to me with leash), and smaller long term confinement—but nothing seems to be working. I know for puppies having routine is super important, but I don’t know which system I should stick with. I think she knows what the ugodog is for though! She went to it by herself several times, but she still has accidents elsewhere because she doesn't know she can't go in other places. Which set up/training system do you think I should stick with? If I have some confirmation that I have a good system set up, then I think I’d fret less and just stick to it. Should I keep her in a large long term confinement (how can I keep a pottying schedule then)? Should I crate train her (but then what do I do with potty training in the mean time)? Should I keep her in a smaller long term confinement (but she really hates it and now uses the ugodog like a bed because she doesn't like her bed/crate)? If I keep her in the small long term confinement option, how do I keep track of when she potties? Her Ugodog is lined with pine pellets under the grate, so it's not always the easiest to see if she went potty. There will be no schedule then, since I can't really tell when she's pottied; I will only know that she hasn't made a mistake--is this ok? Then how do I know when it's safe to take her out to play? I also think it would be really wonderful to teach her to potty on command, but if I can't even predict when she'll use the bathroom, how can I train her to potty on demand?


    I’m fretting over this so much and I feel like I’m not bonding with her as I should, since I’m too scared to let her out to play and then have accidents. Even after she uses her potty, she'll still have accidents when I take her out to play. I’m just having a really hard time…I want to start having fun with her and start training her but this house training problem has me so frazzled that I can’t focus on anything else… any advice will be greatly appreciated!



  2. #2
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    I feel you... day one can be tricky! I know it can be frustrating when you're not confident about choosing a plan and sticking with it, but sometimes housebreaking takes a bit of trial and error.

    I'd strongly recommend that you talk to your breeder about what kind of training program the pup was on... do you know if the breeder was using a Ugodog, potty pads or something else to train the pup? If the breeder was using something other than the Ugodog, you might want to start out with that since the pup will be used to it and it may make your training easier.

    If you do stick with the Ugodog, you may want to line it with pads... as you mentioned, tracking when the pup has gone potty can be tough if you don't have a surface where you can see those puddles!

    It's more difficult in an apartment when you don't have a yard, but you might still want to use puppy airlift training for the first few days to minimize accidents. Since you don't have an outdoor area where you can play with Coco, you may need to modify the training a bit by doing umbilical cord training for short periods immediately after she's gone potty (maybe 15 minutes of supervised floor time after a successful potty in the right spot).

    Though I generally recommend a small confinement area that only has room for the pup's bed, bowls and potty pads, that may be overly stressful for her if she was doing well with potty training in a larger confinement area with the breeder, so definitely find out if that was the case... if so, I'd at least give the breeder's method a few days to see if the pup does better once she's on the same program at your place.

    If she continues to have accidents in the larger confinement area, you might try reducing the space a bit, but not quite to the point where she has no floor space (since she's starting to snooze on her Ugodog in the small confinement area). A larger potty area can sometimes help, too... using a larger Ugodog might make your pup more comfy with consistently going potty on it.

    In the meantime, you'll want to work on acclimating her to her crate, just in case the confinement area doesn't work out and you decide to pursue crate training.

    Again, step one should definitely be checking with your breeder... if the pup's used to using pads or sod, you may find that just switching from the Ugodog to the surface she's used to solves your problem!

    Oh, and you asked about whether pottying more than 10 times in 5 hours is normal and the answer is... maybe. Pups do go potty very frequently, but if it seems she's going with unusual frequency, you should definitely have her checked out by the vet, since a UTI or other medical issue can REALLY mess with your housebreaking!

    Keep me updated!!
    Rebecca
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  3. #3

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    Thank you so much for your advice and encouragement!

    I remember when I was at my breeder's I saw her using wee wee pads in pad holders, but she also put a grate on top of the pads, so essentially it was very similar to a ugodog. I think they also started her on outdoor training as well so she knows what to do outside. I still don't know the details though--I've contacted her so hopefully I'll hear back soon!

    What I did yesterday was basically what you said: I made the long term confinement smaller than the full ex-pen, but still a little bit bigger than just the ugodog and crate so there's a little bit of floor space. With this system, I don’t actually know when she’s going or how many times she’s gone (I will switch over to wee wee pads under the ugodog I think, so I can keep track better), but so far she's only had one accident with this system, and that's because she just missed the ugodog. She is going in the right place!!! This is great! However, this means I have no way of keeping a potty schedule though—since she’s not crate trained yet, I can put her on her ugodog every hour but she won’t use the potty and will just lay down on top of it. Is it ok if she’s not kept to a strict schedule? I mean, she is going in the right place right? Or is this a problem and I should watch her like a hawk? This system is sort of working, but the big issue I ran into was when I wanted to take her out of her expen to play and right before bed--I need her to potty right before coming out or going to bed, but I have no way of doing this—I don’t know when she last went, and I don’t have a potty command yet, so she didn’t know what I wanted. So, I brought her downstairs into the grass patch and she went, and we came back right away after that, and that worked great. Overall, I think she knows what the ugodog is for and what outside is for, but she doesn't know NOT to go in other places inside the apartment. So my questions are:

    1) is it ok that I’m not keeping her to a strict potty schedule and I don’t know when she’s using the potty? (she IS going in the right place… the downside to this is I don’t always catch her using her Ugodog and I can’t praise her and have a mini party with her whenever she does go in the right place… the other option is to keep doing this same long term confinement with no real schedule, but watch her like a hawk and praise her whenever she does go)


    2) If #1 is ok, is it ok then to take her outside to make sure she goes before bed, since I can’t crate her and can’t make her potty before bed any other way? This is kind of mixing indoor and outdoor training all at once… I was planning on first training her on the indoor method, and once that’s set then add the outside, but right now that’s not working out… will she be too confused if we do both inside and outside?


    3) I’m afraid whenever I do catch her pottying in the right place, I’m not making big enough of a deal for her—she’s not very food driven, so sometimes even if I get a treat to her in time she won’t take it (not even the freeze dried livers!)… if food isn’t really a prize for her, then how else can I convey to her that she DID THE RIGHT THING and we’re making a big deal out of it? I mean, my voice gets super happy whenever she does right and I try to praise her a lot, but she pretty much just ignores me and go on to do whatever she was doing.

    4) Along the same vein, I'm trying to acclimate her to her crate, and she's eating her meals in there and even went in there by herself a couple of times (!!), but she's really not food motivated so even when I left 3 kongs in there stuffed with cheese and hotdogs, she lost interest after a 3 minutes and began crying... how can I train her to love her crate if she doesn't care about food???

    ...man, at this point I feel like it would be so much easier to just train her to the outside since we can keep a schedule that way, and I'm almost ready to give up the indoor training, but I really need her to learn the indoor potty as well! I'm going back to work in 1 week and I'd hate for her to have to hold it for 4 hours at a time (I can come home at lunch, but that's still a long time)

  4. #4
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    Glad to hear you've had some encouraging developments!!

    To answer your questions:

    1. No, you don't need to worry about keeping her on a strict schedule. Indoor trained dogs can go anytime they want once they're trained, so it's not as important to teach them to go on a specific schedule. What IS important is giving her sufficient opportunities to go potty in the right place and preventing her from having opportunities to go in the wrong place!

    2. I actually prefer to do the indoor and outdoor training at the same time, so this is no problem!

    3. I generally prefer not to use treats for housebreaking. Just keep praising her, even if she doesn't appear to "get it" yet... that will improve as your relationship develops.

    4. Just keep it up with the Kongs/treats for crate acclimation... some dogs take longer than others and some dogs will never love their crates. As long as you can train her to tolerate being in the crate, that's good enough! You might also want to try some chew-type treats... bully sticks, pig ears, etc., since they may keep her occupied in there for longer than the food does.

    Keep up the good work!!
    Rebecca
    Please help us to continue to provide this free source of housebreaking information by bookmarking our products page
    and buying your pet supplies through our product partners!

  5. #5

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    Once again, THANK YOU so much for all your advice and encouragements!!! I REALLY REALLY appreciated it!

    I've included a picture of my set up and I wanted to give you some updates:

    In the last 4 days, Coco has done REALLY well! Whenever she is in her ex-pen, she almost always uses her Ugodog (I say "almost" because she had actually not made any accidents at all in her expen until 5 minutes ago when we had an accident during a training session It was completely my fault too since she went right in front of me but I didn't realize she was going! EGHH I'm so angry at myself). But basically the only times she's had accidents is when I'm playing with her outside of the expen. Even after walking, when she comes back and we do playing sessions she’ll make accident within 5 minutes. I think it's because I just assumed that she was empty, and I didn't have her indoor potty in the room with me. This pretty much happens without fail--every time I take out her of her expen to play, she will make an accident, so now she spends most of her time in her expen and I feel really guilty about it I don't want her locked up! But I've been doing more training/playing sessions next to her expen, which I hope is ok. This just means we don't get to spent time in other rooms and we don't get to play games where she runs around, since there's no space... is this ok?

    I have a really big question regarding this housetraining method of keeping her in a small confined space and eventually giving her more space. Right now she's basically using her Ugodog pretty reliably, but like I mentioned in a previous post, I don't always catch her using her Ugodog, so i don't always get to praise her in time. Once I give her more space, will she really learn to only use her Ugodog? Her biggest problem since the beginning is that she knows to go on her Ugodog, she just doesn't know not to go other places. I feel like with the current system there's no active learning--I'm not actively teaching her to not go other places, and since I'm not catching her using her ugodog I'm not actively teaching her to use her ugodog either. Is there anything I should do in addition to what I'm doing now to help her understand? Will she really know not to potty other places once I give her more space?

    Otherwise, she is going outside really well! She does great on her walks and definitely knows to potty outside I'm super proud of her! She's such a good girl

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  6. #6
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    I think it's perfectly fine at this point to do her playtime close enough to her confinement area that she can get back there to go potty. She's still a new baby, so I think it makes sense to let her get a little bit of a clue before having her out in the rest of the house too much, so let's just keep her near her potty spot when you're interacting with her unless you have her up off the floor (so you'd be holding her/having her in your lap only when you're indoors and too far away from her Ugodog).

    As time goes by, you'll almost certainly see her going potty on the Ugodog so you'll be able to get some praise in there when she does a good job and once she's out and around the house with you more, you'll likely catch some accident attempts that you can correct, as well, so she'll start to notice the difference between going in the right place and the wrong place. However, I've had many clients whose dogs have learned to use the papers just because it becomes a habit even if nobody's there to praise them. Once she's a bit older, you'll start to very gradually give her more space so she eventually learns to go back to the Ugodog from anywhere in the house.

    Keep up the good work... sounds like you've had a lot of improvement!!
    Rebecca
    Please help us to continue to provide this free source of housebreaking information by bookmarking our products page
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