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Housetraining (more on that seemingly endless topic)

Mel C
November 29th, 2003, 05:06 PM
Hello! I have a 9 week old Shih-Tzu. He is doing fairly well at housetraining. I keep him in a cat's carrying case beside my bed at night and in a crate when he is unsupervised during the day. I set my alarm to take him out twice during the night and he pees both times. The only thing is, when I let him out to run around the house, he still pees where-ever he happens to be. I have to pick him up from his box and take him outside. Today, I had just taken him out and he peed and then brought him back in and he peed again on the floor! Now that he gets that he has to "hold it" when he's in his crate, how do I help him "get" that he has to hold it until he gets outside?

Lucky Rescue
November 29th, 2003, 05:59 PM
You're expecting way too much from a 9 week old baby. He has strong instincts to stop him from peeing in his bed, but those instincts don't apply to the rest of the house. Just as you would not expect a 1 yr old human baby to be potty trained, you cannot expect it of a 9 week old puppy!

You must never let him loose in the house until he is reliable (which could take up to a year) unless he is literally tethered to you by a leash. The point of housetraining is to prevent accidents, because each time he relieves himself in the house, this behaviour is reinforced.

When you take him out, make sure you stay out long enough so he can empty his bladder. If he does pee in the house, do not make a big deal of it or scold him. That will only teach him not to do it when you are present. Just snatch him up and take him back outside to the area you have designated as his pee spot.

After he eats, drinks, naps or plays, pick him up and carry him outside to the spot. At his age, the time between feeling the urge to go, and actually going is probably a few seconds.

Small dogs are often difficult to housetrain. Persistance, patience, and consistancy are the keys.

Here are bunch of housetraining links that should be helpful.
Housetraining puppies (

Mel C
November 30th, 2003, 07:55 AM
Thank you for your reply. Just to clarify, I am not expecting him to be trained at 9 weeks old! I am simply wondering how I can help him make the leap (over the next few months) that he ONLY pees outside. For example, if I catch him starting to pee in the house, I grab him and run outside with him--is this right? <it's definitely NO FUN in Ottawa in the winter, but what can you do?>

Also, our winters here are COLD and we already have a bunch of snow. He doesn't like staying outside for long, and is more likely to try and sit on my feet than go to the bathroom!

Thanks again.

Mel C
November 30th, 2003, 08:01 AM
Thank you for your reply. Just to clarify, I am not expecting him to be trained at 9 weeks old! I am simply wondering how I can help him make the leap (over the next few months) that he ONLY pees outside. For example, if I catch him starting to pee in the house, I grab him and run outside with him--is this right? <it's definitely NO FUN in Ottawa in the winter, but what can you do?>

Also, our winters here are COLD and we already have a bunch of snow. He doesn't like staying outside for long, and is more likely to try and sit on my feet than go to the bathroom!

Thanks again.

Lucky Rescue
November 30th, 2003, 10:55 AM
For example, if I catch him starting to pee in the house, I grab him and run outside with him--is this right?

Yep, that's what you do! It's better if you can catch him before he starts to pee - if you even see him sniff or circle. - but never ever leave him loose in the house unless you know he doesn't need to pee, and then make sure you can watch him. I live near Montreal, so know all about the cold. It does make it more difficult to housetrain, which is why many people plan to get puppies in the spring. No one - dog or owner - likes to stand around when it's -25.:(

Even my adult dog starts limping and hobbling when it gets really cold outside - her tootsies freeze.

In the meantime, maybe you can keep a patch of ground relatively clear of snow for when you take him out?

And sorry - the reason I thought you were expecting him to be housetrained is because you said this:

"The only thing is, when I let him out to run around the house, he still pees where-ever he happens to be."

I assumed anyone would know that's what a 9 week old puppy would do.
Take heart! soon he'll be able to control himself a little better and life will get easier!


December 1st, 2003, 09:13 PM
Also what you can do for now is put some paper down in one spot.Say the kitchen.Then this way if he has an accedent it will be done on the paper.I don't think it's fair that a puppy can't venture out around the house.I have done this when my dogs were pups and that's where they did their buisness.And if they were in the front room with me.They did it on the paper.They were still taken outside to do what they had to do.9 weeks is still young for them to hold it in.And there were times when I took them out,they did what they did and got in the house and 10 mins later they were on the paper peeing.And if you decide to do this,please don't think that he won't break the paper habit.He will.I have had a few of my friends do this with their pups.And once they were a bit older they where able to hold it in much longer and they didn't need the paper anymore.Try this.And to be honest,he seems to be confined to much.That's not good.And to be honest,you don't need to set your alarm for the wee hours of the morning to take him out.Try the paper training.See what happens ok.

December 2nd, 2003, 12:28 PM
Housetraining puppy article


There is also a good article on Housetraining with crate training on this site.

It's located here


Mel C
December 3rd, 2003, 06:03 PM
Mona, he is NOT confined too much, and I don't think it is useful to make such assumptions.

He sleeps in a cat's carrying case beside my bed each night. Each and every animal trainer that I have spoken to says that this is the best thing for him. It is small--he can stand up and turn around--so he is less likely to pee.

When is he NOT SUPERVISED during the day, he goes in his crate. I did not say that he was in his crate all day. YOU assumed that--wrongly. My partner is home during the day and Bubba (my puppy) is out of the crate when she can supervise him and catch him if he is having an accident. When she is in the shower, in the laundry room etc, Bubba goes into the crate. Ditto for in the evening when I am at home.

And you are also wrong that he does not need to go out during the night. He definitely needs to. In fact, he needs to so often that I am taking him to the vet to see if he has a urinary tract infection.

This is where I could use some more advice. He pees in his crate even though it is really small and he does this almost every night. I put him to bed at about 11:30 and take him out at 2:00. He's usually peed in his crate in those 2.5 hours. I take him out again at 4:00 am to 4:30 am and he's often peed in his bed again. We had one night last week when he woke me up by whining at 2 am and 4 am and 6 am, and I took him outside and he peed each time. I saw that as progress as he didn't pee in his bed!

I feed him at 5 pm and remove his water at 7:30 pm and take him out lots during the evening.

I know that I must be doing something wrong as I am aware that puppies have a strong instinct NOT to pee in their bed. He's almost 10 weeks old. If anyone could tell me what I am doing wrong, I would appreciate it. Thank you!

December 3rd, 2003, 08:09 PM
Mel.Yes I did assume.But that is only beacause that is how I read it.That's how it seemed to me.And I did not say that you didn't have to take the little one out at night.I said you didn't have to keep setting your alarm all the times to keep getting up in the wee hours of the morning.I have 2 German Shepherds.I went through all that puppy training.The last time I would take them out was at 11pm.Then they where put in their room.Paper on the floor.That is why I mentioned trying the paper training.I did not set my alarm every few hours to take them out.Don't get upset,but that is silly.You are loosing your much needed sleep.And I am sure you are dead tired in the morning.You just need to set a schedual for him.I'm sure he is a little scared.He is away from his mommy.Question.You said the cat carrier is a little small?Can he move around?Maybe you should get a bigger one for him.I know he is tiny.But he does need some room.Do you have a part of your kitchen that you can block off?If so,block it off.Put some paper down.And let him stay there.That is what I did when my guys when they where pups.And I got them a 8 weeks.Also.How many times a day is he fed?I fed mine 3 times a day.Morning,noon and night.But if you feel that he may have some health problem,then yes take him to the vet.Just remember,it will take time to house train him.Be patient.All the best.

Lucky Rescue
December 3rd, 2003, 08:30 PM
I know that I must be doing something wrong as I am aware that puppies have a strong instinct NOT to pee in their bed

You're right. If you are taking him out during the night, and he is STILL peeing in his crate something is wrong. Definitely get him checked at the vet.

But be aware that this is a breed that may be difficult to houstrain.

One more question and very important - where did you get this puppy?

Mel C
December 4th, 2003, 08:32 AM
I got him from a store BUT he had only been at the store for one day when I got him. Before that, he was at the breeder's farm house. He got to the store one day before his 7 week birthday and I got him right on the day that he turned 7 weeks.

Last night, I put him to bed at 11:45 after taking him outside to pee. He woke me up at 5:30 to pee--progress! We went back to bed after that but he woke me up again at 6:45 to pee.

I'm glad that he's waking me up BUT I am concerned about him. We're going to the vet tomorrow just to rule anything out.

Lucky Rescue, what do you think about leaving him in a room with papers? I don't really want to do that as I would rather train him to "hold it" and to understand that he goes outside to pee. Everything that I have read says that we should choose EITHER outside training OR paper training but that it is confusing to do both.

The cat case is exactly the right size for him. He can stand up, turn around and lie back down. It's definitely not too small.

We have a bell by the door that we use to take him out and each time we go out, we pick up his little paw and knock it against the bell and say "outside". Then we go immediately out to his toilet area and ignore him until he eliminates. We tell him what to do when we get there and then just wait a few minutes to see if he pees/poos. When he does, we act like it's the biggest miracle, play for a while outside and then bring him back in and give him a treat. He won't eat his treats outside!

We feed him on a definite schedule that never varies--three times a day. We remove his water at 7:30 pm. We take him out OFTEN during the evening. It seems that by bedtime, his bladder should be empty. His last meal is at 5 pm.

I guess once any physical problem is ruled out, I will be able to focus more on what I am doing wrong :confused: that is causing him to pee in his own bed. I'm really worried about him :( and I feel terrible as I KNOW that these kinds of accidents are usually the owner's fault.

December 4th, 2003, 09:52 AM
Mel.Did you know that the majority of puppies sold in a pet store come from puppy mills?They have been busting so many puppy mills here in ontario.The just busted a puppy mill in Port Elgin.It was on the news.A repritable breeder NEVER gives pups to a pet store.Puppy mills so called breed mothers with sons,sisters with brothers.They are in cramped cages and rarely cleaned out.Alot have worms and parosites.You definately need to get the little guy checked out.Also,maybe what you should do is talk to a Shi-Tzu breeder for some advise on the breed.I really do hope that there is nothing serious wrong with your little guy.If you want to know more about puppy mills,check it out on the net.All the best.

Lucky Rescue
December 4th, 2003, 10:03 AM
Sigh...I figured he came from a pet store. These puppies come from puppy mills, as Monab says.

Did you see this "breeder's farm house", or did the staff at the pet store tell you this is where he came from?

Puppy mill dogs and puppies are often raised in filth, or on wire and are forced to live in their own wastes. This very often results in dogs and puppies with "dirty dog syndrome" - that is, they have no problem doing their business and then sleeping it in.

I am going to look for a link I have about trying to rehabilitate pet store puppies. As soon as I have time, I'll post it for you.

And please - in the future don't get pet store puppies and tell your friends and family not to either. The only way to put the mills out of business is to stop financially supporting them.

Pet store Puppies (

December 4th, 2003, 10:19 AM
Call me bad,but everytime I do go to a pet store and I see people looking at these puppies,I ask them if they know what a puppy mill is and I tell them that is where these little ones come from there.I told them to go on the net and check out puppy mills.They had a Shepherd/husky cross.They were selling it for $800.Needless to say I was asked to leave.I said for what,speaking the truth and educating people.I took my dog food and left.So did a few other people.Once again Mel,I do hope your little guy will be ok.Question,where abouts do you live?

Mel C
December 4th, 2003, 12:47 PM
I actually *went* to the farm house. It was in Arnprior, ON. I went to Arnprior to visit a friend, and on the way back saw the breeder with "puppies for sale" on their sign. I drove in and they told me that they had just taken the last two puppies to the store. I drove to the store, met him, bought him, took him home the next day.

When Bubba has peed while in his crate, he has HATED it and immediately wanted to get out--he cries like crazy. That is what has woken me up. I certainly would not say that he has "no problem" sleeping in soiled quarters.

Mona, I do appreciate the time that you have taken to respond, but I also must be honest. I am here looking for HELP. HELP. HELP. You don't seem to understand that. Your judgemental tone is not one that I find helpful. So, please--while I do thank you for taking the time to respond--I would very gently and respectfully ask you not to do so again. I am already feeling badly enough about failing my puppy without having someone compound that. I am looking for information such as the stuff that Lucky Rescue has provided in his/her NON-JUDGEMENTAL way. Thank you for that, by the way.

I am just now wondering if he has had a couple of bad days. He has been great today--in fact, he rang his bell himself to be let outside just over an hour ago. However, I take him outside about every 30-40 minutes, and he pees each and every time. And yes, I am controlling his water intake and he is on a very strict eating schedule. I just called my vet and re-scheduled his appointment for 2:30 this afternoon. Will post again when I get the results from her.

Lucky Rescue
December 4th, 2003, 05:17 PM
O.K. - your puppy came from a Backyard breeder - basically a puppy mill on small scale.

The very first thing you need to do is take him to the vet to rule out any urinary tract infections that may be causing him to pee in his crate.

I'm including a link that has advice on housetraining young puppies like yours, and an important point is that you should not put any blankets or other absorbant material in his crate as that will encourage him to pee there.

As I said, some breeds (toys in particular) can be difficult to housetrain, but it's possible with diligence, persistance and patience and NOT EVER giving him run of the house until he has better bladder control. Each time your puppy pees in the house, this behavior is reinforced simply because it feels good!;)

I would also clean any spots where he has had an accident with something like Nature's Miracle, which removes the odour and does not merely cover it up.

Let us know how he does!
Housetraining very young puppies (

December 5th, 2003, 08:31 AM
Mel.I'm a little upset.I did not judge you in any way shape or form.I don't judge people.I try and help.And that is what I was trying to do for you.We are here to help each other and give advise best to our knowledge.I'm sorry if you took anything the wrong way.I have been a dog owner since a child.We dealt with house traing our pups.So the advise I gave you was what we did with our pups and I was just try to share my experience with you as to how we dealt with it.And if you think I was judging you because of where you got the little one,you were so very wrong.I guess you just were not reading it right.Don't worry,I won't try and help you again.I just hope your little guy will be ok.All the best.

December 5th, 2003, 10:39 AM
Hey Mona

I do the same things when I see people at pet stores


December 22nd, 2003, 06:38 PM

My puppy used to be the same when he was little. What I did was I got a little dog pen, and put Bentley in there with some newspaper. There was no way he would have been able to hold it durring the night, because when I came down to let him out, there was always too puddles and one or two poops on the floor. He knew he wasn't supposed to, but after he was able to hold it through the night he was already with us more than four weeks. They just need time, and a regular scedual. I took Bentley out every hour, until one time, he didn't need to do anything. After a few of these times, we switched him to a scedual of being let out every three hours. A wire cage was really helpful, because we could make it into two "rooms": a bathroom with the paper in it, and the bedroom with the bed in it. Before that he always used to pee on or really close to his bed.

Whe Bentley was six months old, he could hold it for more than six hours! A really good book to get or borrow from a library is called How to Raise a Puppy You Can Live With.

Training a puppy takes time and patience!

Good luck with your puppy!

December 29th, 2003, 10:11 PM
Actualy, after thinking over my reply, I decided that since you taught him to knock a bell, you probably shouldn't paper train him. He might get into bad habbits if you do that, and learn that the bell isn't always around to ring, or that help doesn't always come when the bell is rung. Also I have heard that after wiping up the messes, you should put them in his bathroom spot. Oh, and I've also heard that you shouldn't clean up the messes while puppy is watching, because this will only make the problem worse.

Good luck!