how to train puppy for both outside and pads?
January 15, 2017 12:01 PM   Subscribe

Dakota is 11 weeks old. I have housebreaking questions.

First dog for my teen son & I. (divorced, he's nearly 100% w/ me). We got her at just under 7 weeks* and she was already going on the pad sometimes. She was reliable by 8 weeks then while staying with a friend who's better at reading the signs the friend got her to start going outside. Now she's 100% outside for poop and pretty good, if someone's around, for pee.
yes too early and yes from a breeder. No AKC papers. I'm aware of the issues. This is the only dog I'll ever have, but I'd take more time & try to find a dog needing a home if I did do it again.

At 10 weeks, the vet said we could stop rewarding her for going on the pad. I took that to mean she could still use the pads overnight and when she's alone for a few hours in her room (about 10x12). Nope, she started attacking the pads like she does towels and door mats & managed to eat (and pass) a bit of plastic.

My son doesn't want to crate her regularly. Besides once or twice at the beginning, she's never peed in the crate.

I take away water & food at night (at vet's suggestion) and take her out when I get up to pee (2 or 3 times) and it works if I don't sleep late. However, we need a solution for stints when we're both away from the house and she's left water & kibble.

I'm presently trying to re-train her to use the pad by spending all day (and tomorrow and Tuesday) in the room with her & only taking her outside to poop. I'm putting her on the pad occasionally and encouraging her to "go potty". She's given up tearing up the pad with me watching her.

Is there any way this'll work?

I think crating (we're able to limit it to these guidelines) and outside only is the best way, but she's my son's dog and I don't have enough dog experience to push my side well.

I could arrange the room so she has a smaller space between her bed & the pad.
posted by ASCII Costanza head to Pets & Animals (7 answers total)
How long is she alone? Where is she going? What room? (Sorry I am not getting a clear picture of the set up)

You want the dog to hate going inside. I am not sure why you want her to go inside, but I suspect you will regret it. She looks like she might be big dog and that is a lot of pee. Also, I suspect the dog will go poo inside as well if encourage to use indoors as a bathroom. A dog smells for where to go to the bathroom. You don't want the house to smell like the toilet to her.

I like having the puppy in the room with me at night. I would hear if it gets restless and gets up and then I know when to bring it out. Also it's den behavior. A pack sleep together. It's a nice way to bond with the dog.

A dog that age can hold it for a couple hours. (An ok rule of thumb is an hour per month). Take outside. When she starts to go pee or poo on her own use a command you have decided on. I just used "pee poo". Say it praise and make a big deal. She will learn that is what you want her to do. It was one of the best things I taught my dogs. Even when my dogs didn't have the urge (but I knew we were going on a long ride or leaving) I could talk them into at least trying to go.

If you are extremely careful in the next month or 2 and make sure the dog can go outside when ever she needs it, I think you will save yourself so much grief and work in the future. I can't tell you how nice it is to have a dog that is completely and reliably housebroken. It is a lot of work in the beginning but will save work and heartbreak in the long run.

Re: tearing up the puppy pads and other things. Is she getting a lot of exercise? Getting an hour run in the morning could stop her from having bad habits that she could retain all her life. The first few years of puppydom (especially with a golden type dog) means exercise for both dog and owner. I was always in the best shape of my life when I was in my dogs first 4 years of life. They need it. A tired dog is a good dog and a happy owner.
posted by beccaj at 12:37 PM on January 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

She looks like a golden retriever - if that's the case I wouldn't want to be training a dog that'll be big that it's ever ok to go indoors. It just sounds like this whole situation will be very confusing for her.

If he's concerned that crating is mean you can let him know that it's built around the idea that the dog wants a place they feel safe and that's theirs. Our dogs always loved going in their crates.

Basically while she's little you all need to rearrange your schedule to make sure she can go outside often enough. She'all be able to hold more as she gets older.
posted by brilliantine at 12:39 PM on January 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

Why on earth do you want a golden retriever (?) to use pads? If you take her out frequently enough, she'll only pee outside like she poops inside. At 11 weeks, she can stay in her crate 2-3 hours if you all are away. I would not go longer than that. Be sure to take her out immediately before and afterward.
posted by shoesietart at 2:01 PM on January 15, 2017 [4 favorites]

That is a beautiful puppy!
Now, I'm going to tell you : your son should not get his way about the crate. He is wrong. You are the parent, and I know you want to make things nice because you're divorced and everything is not perfect, but trust me on this one. That beautiful, loveable furball loves to chew things. Everything. Cheap things, expensive things, family heirlooms, name it, there will be teeth marks on it. Probably on you as well! You will teach it not to chew, but it's a lengthy process similar to raising teenage sons. There will be times when people need to do things and puppy has to be safe, and that crate will be a blessing. Crates aren't punishment, they are SAFE PLACES. Honestly, I am telling you this for your now and future sanity.
I raise puppies for Leader Dogs for the Blind, and I wish someone had filled me in on the gospel of the crate when I brought my first pup home!

Ok, crate love covered. Now for potty training. Ditch the pads. Take puppy outside every hour and say your magic word. LD uses "park." Wait for the blessed event, and then you praise that puppy like he just won the presidential election and sent Chester the Cheeto back to whatever hole he came from. Go nuts. You have a breed of dog that thrives on praise, so take advantage! Set your alarm on your phone, and follow that schedule. I promise it works. Potty at night before bed, and maybe once during the night.
Remember to praise like crazy, and for everything good. One kibble is a great reward, and training is best done with positive reinforcement. MeMail me if you have any questions, I've got a puppy raiser squad that's aces!
posted by notaninja at 5:05 PM on January 15, 2017 [4 favorites]

On review I saw your puppy is a she, not a he. Apologies and belly rubs to all!
posted by notaninja at 5:06 PM on January 15, 2017

The general rule of thumb is that the puppy should be able to hold it for 1 hour per month of age, and will need to eliminate immediately after eating (which is one reason why you don't want to leave food out for them all the time). My retriever pup was actually fine for 6-8 hours overnight already at 3 months, and she didn't necessarily want to eliminate after eating, but always peed right after she woke up from a nap. She was housebroken within days once we figured out this pattern and took her outside immediately after she ate and woke up, every single time. Be very boring and don't talk to the dog until she does her business. THEN you can become fun and play with her. (This is basically paraphrasing Zak George, who has a lot of training videos on YouTube that you could take a look at.)

I have gone the pee pad route with smaller dogs, but would definitely advise against it for a big dog. Trust me, there are just so many ways it can go wrong!

I have a lot of sympathy for not wanting to use a crate, but you don't really have many alternatives right now unless you have a small and indestructible bathroom, and even that is pushing it. An exercise pen *might* work, but my retriever could basically climb/jump out of it immediately, which was scary, so we ended up getting a top for it, and at that point it's just a big crate. The thing is, the dog needs to take their natural "I don't poop in my den" instinct and gradually learn that all indoor spaces = their den. This, among other reasons, is why the pee pad is not a great idea.
posted by karbonokapi at 8:44 PM on January 15, 2017

In my experience as a dog foster... some dogs will chew the puppy pad, particularly as they get older. That's the sign that perhaps they're ready for regular crate training. I've never been able to break a puppy of doing this..even if they are provided other things to play with.

Big dogs have larger bladders, and can comfortably hold it longer than tiny dogs, who might need a pee pad to make it through a work day while people are gone.

Crating is safer for the dog, and safer for your house. It's not a punishment, which you can reinforce by making comfy and cozy, and giving the dog treats every time they retire to their crate, which is basically their room. If you won't crate, perhaps choose a laundry room or bathroom to be her space while nobody is supervising. But it's not as safe as a crate.
posted by answergrape at 8:28 AM on January 16, 2017

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