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House/Crate/Potty Training Beagles

December 17th, 2006, 05:48 PM
This is my first time on the site and I my have the longst post ever but I have thessee two beautiful puppies and am trying not to go out of my mind! Eli-13 lbs, and Jemima-11 lbs are beagles. They will be 4 months old December 19. We got them about three weeks ago (the week before Thanksgiving). We are having difficulty with two things: A)the whole housetraining/crate training process; and B) eating their poop.

A) As far as the whole housetrainning/crate training process:
We have them on a consistent feeding schedule (2x per day at 6:45 a.m. and 5:45 p.m.) They each get a total of 1 3/4 cups of food per day, which is divided in half for each feeding.
We take them out every hour (unless we are at work or unless they are asleep then we wait until they are starting to wake them up and take them out immediately).
When we take them out we to to their "spot", which is an x-pen. We either carry them or walk them on a leash and they go inside the pen and do their business.
They almost alwasy go, and when they go, they get lots of praise and treats. I am sure the neighbors think we are crazy.
It is all working out pretty well except that we can't get them to unserstand that they should go in the pin and nowhere else. They see nothing wrong with peeing and pooping in their crate (we keep them in the same crate together. Sometimes we will take them out, they will pee and poop, then come inside and pee again as soon as they get to their crate. Then they turn around and lick/eat it up as if they just got bored and wanted a snack. We have noticed that they often pretend to pee, squatting and then running over to the door or the pen saying they are done, except when we go to check we notice that they didn't do anything. This is especially apparent when it has snowed and their is no yellow or wet spot in the snow. Silly dogs. Then they will come in the house and pee as soon as they get in their crate.
We no longer keep water in their crate and give it to them several times peer day prior to taking them out to potty.
Our schedule--we take them out at 5:30 a.m. Then 6:30 a.m. Then they come in and eat. Then wait about 10 minutes then back to the x-pen at about 6:45 a.m. Then we go for about a 1/2 mile walk. Then they come back, drink more water, go to potty again. Then back in the crate by 7:30. Then I go to work and come home at 12:30 to let them out to potty. Then back in the crate until 5:30. Then it is back out to potty, then eat, then potty again, then walk, then back for water, then potty again, then play on the deck or the pit in our walk-out basement (we have the stairs gated off so that they can play outside but in a contained area). We still watch them when they are playing on the pit or the deck and take them to the pin every hour or if we see them starting to sniff or squat.
So, what do we do to get them to understand keep going potty in the x-pen but not in the pit, on the deck, in the kitchen, or on the wood floor. When they do go somethwere other than they should, we scoop them up, take them to the pin, clean up the mess, spray the area with the enzyme stuff, and then just try again. It seems like some days they really get it and will even bark when they need to go out, then two days later they completely fall off of the wagon for a week.
Their crate: They are in the crate to sleep and while we are at work and then sometimes for short periods in the evening if we can't watch them on the deck or in the pit. Other than that they are in the house our yard playing with us our outside on the deck or in the pit. The size is 28" by 21" (Actually it is larger but we divided it off) and it still leaves plenty of room for both of them to stand up, turn around, and lay down. We didn't have the bottom lined with a towel, then we were told we were supposed to because their elbows would get raw, then we figured maybe we should take it back out because they are just getting used to peeing and pooping on it and then the towel just soaks it up. Actually, we don't know what we should be doing.
And it is just so hard when you take them out because you can nevere figure out if they need to pee and poop or just pee or just poop. Usually, they always poop when they go out at 5:30 a.m. and then again after they eat a meal and and again right before bed. In between those times sometimes they poop in the x-pen, sometimes they don't and sometimes on the times they don't they wait until they get inside and do it immediately adn try to eat it. We tried increasing their food just a little (2 cups per day per dog) but that made it worse--that extra 1/4 cup per day was too much food and they were pooping every 6 seconds and it was really green and really runny. So we took it back down to 1 3/4 cups and that seems about right. Are we supposed to be using different commands for potty/poop? We just say go potty but maybe I'm confusing them because sometimes I take them inside after they just pee and sometimes I am waiting for them to poop. Sometimes you can see that they clearly have to go poop but they are trying to hold it in until they get in the crate and they can eat it before I get to them I guess. I don't think they are doing it because they are scared to poop around me because I always praise, give treats, adn nevere correct them for an accident unless I catch them in the act, then I say AGGGGGHHHHH!!!! and do the scoop and run.
When they are in the x-pen if they want to be stubborn and not go they stand there and eat the grass and then go when you bring them back in.

B: Eating their poop

We tried using all of the stuff you can buy and home remedies such as Forbid, Deter, adding some pineapple, pineapple juice, or canned pumpkin to their food. Nothing helps.
It is really hard because Eli wants to eat the poop so much he can barely go comepletely because he is always trying turn around and see what he is dropping before he can get it out. Then, he knows that I'm going to stick the pooper scooper in the pen and scoop it up, so it is now like a race to him. If we try to deter or distract him by praising him for pooping in the right place and offering a treat he will either ignore the treat, most likely beccause the poop is a much bigger treat, or run over to get it but he hasn't finished pooping yet so he just finishes pooping inside and then he has essentially gotten both treats.
We also reallly watch the types of treaets we give so the poop isn't so rich by the high-in-fat puppy treats. We save those more tasty treats when we are training and learning to follow commands like sit, stay, come, etc (they are doing really good at following those commands). When they go potty we usually give cherrios, little crackers, etc.
The food that we feed them is Science Diet Puppy. Nothing else (except the treats we already mentioned).
So, do you have any words of advise for what we shoud be doing? What we are doing wrong? Should we get those house-breaking pads? Should we not divide the crate, let it be the full large crate size, and then put one of the puppy pads in there, then they can potty in one end and sleep on their towel in the other (maybe I just don't understand, but to me that just sounds counter-intuitive. I don't want them to go in the crate at all!! but they seem to like it and like it alot).

We would really appreciatee any help that you can provide. Some days I am just so tired running after them I feel like I am going insane, especially if I have taken them to the pin 4 times in 15 minutes and they still come in and pee in the crate!

Thanks so much!

December 17th, 2006, 07:01 PM
Aaahhh. The joys of puppyhood. First of all three weeks is not a very long time when house training. Some dogs get it instantly and others can take months.

I would strongly recommend that you get two crates especially because they are litter mates. They should learn to spend some time apart so they don't become so reliant on each other that they don't bond with you. Section the crate so that they only have enough room to lie down comfortably. Generally if they can pee at one end of their crate and get away from it there is no incentive for them to stay clean. Also, start feeding them in their crates because dogs don't like to potty where they eat.

Re: the poop eating thing probably has a lot to do with what they are eating. Science diet is not a very high quality food and has a lot of grains which pass through undigested and then are tasty to re-eat. Check out the dog food forum for some suggestions on some great puppy foods.

Good Luck

December 17th, 2006, 07:14 PM
I agree with TeriM.

Three weeks is not that lon of a time. So get it very fast others take a while to understand, and also it may take you a while to pick up on the cues. I have a beagle and even at age 3 her cues to go outside are very subtle. And I have to say that imo beagles are very stubborn, lol, but that is what makes them so loveable;)

I also agree that they should have their own crates.

The dog food may very well be the reason they are eating their poop. You may want to consider a switch to a better quality food. Also, some dogs are known for this behaviour as well. Cassie did it for one winter, but gave it up after that, and hasn't done it since:shrug:

Good luck with everything and I would love to see some pics of your puppies:D

December 17th, 2006, 10:50 PM
Thank you both so much for your support, comments and suggestions. It really helped alot. I will try a different brand of food as well as two separate crates. I will also send pics soon. I just took some of them playing in their first snow! Thanks again!

December 18th, 2006, 12:26 AM
Good luck. Remember when you are switching foods to do it slowly by mixing with the old food a little more each day.