Pets.ca - Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 

-->

Trouble Housebreaking - Are we doing something wrong?

Runner32
March 30th, 2010, 03:44 PM
Good day everyone,

My wife and I are proud of a new addition to our family - an 11 week old Norwegian Elkhound named Gigi. We've had her for about two and a half weeks and working through the typical housebreaking and puppy training. She's had her 2nd set of shots and a 100% clean bill of health. Great temparement so far, cuddly, playful, and is doing great at socialization with other pets and people. Our only real concerns is that she is still peeing in the house. We are with her almost all the time. We began crate training right away. Right now we have a wire crate and we've put a divider in there, giving her just enough room to lie down and stretch out. Anytime we are away, not looking or during the night, she's in her crate. She absolutely hates it, but after a few minutes of howling and crying, quites down and goes to sleep. As I mentioned, we're following the book and standard training to a tee, but simply cannot housebreak this young pup. We take her out before her meal (she'll go and pee), a few minutes after her meal (she'll go and pee), after all her naps, in the morning, right before going to bed, and even once or twice at night. Even with that, she'll still end up having an accident in the house.

We do not allow her the run of the house. We have a fairly decent size downstairs (kitchen, hallways, living room, dining room) and Gigi is only allowed around the kitchen and living room areas when we are around. The floors are hardwood with the exception of part of the living room, which Gigi is not allowed to venture out yet (but she tries, all the time). This morning for example, I took her out early in the morning, she peed in the same spot she does every other time in the backyard which we have for her. Went inside the house, put her down to play with her toys, turned around to make toast, turned back and there it was again. Another puddle. I of course, without any emotion or aggression, took her outside again, went back inside, and thoroughly cleaned the spot that she went onto. Same with all other times. It seems the first week we would catch her doing it and react immedaitely. Now its very sneaky and we don't even notice. It literally take a few seconds.

This dog has the smallest bladder I've ever seen. In the last few days, she's also been going in her crate. I was under the impression that given just enough space for her just to sleep in, they instinctively will not relieve themselves. Well that is not the case for Gigi. We've had to change her blanket at least 5 times. Originally had newspaper, then when we noticed she was doing better, gave her blankets. Just seems like we're taking one step forward and two steps backs.

Any advice would be most appreciated. I've read numerous other threads, but am not able to find anything to help our case.

Also, Gigi is quite vocal. This particular breed is definitely more vocal than others (Norwegian Elkhounds), but we just didn't know exactly how much. particularily when she's in her crate and wants to get out.

clm
March 30th, 2010, 05:51 PM
I'm not sure how it is with female pups, as I've only ever had males, but my guys would pee a number of times when I first took them out in the morning. I would stay out there with them for at least 20 minutes and walk around the yard with them and they would go at least 2 or 3 times. It's almost like they start to pee, see something that distracts them and forget to totally empty their bladder. :laughing:

clm

Rottielover
March 30th, 2010, 07:01 PM
welcome to puppy hood, LOL my guy is 11 weeks as well. never messed in his crate, but even with him being tethered he finds a way to walk and pee, LOL
No miracles will happen, just patience. Is she drinking a lot of water. Taz I have to take him out after any time of play, as well as after drinking too.

Stinkycat
March 30th, 2010, 07:09 PM
My pup did the same, I don't crate train though.

The best thing I found was limit her water intake each time. I'm not saying cut down her water, just everytime she wants water or everytime the bowl is dry, put only 1 cup of water in. They usually pee 15 mins right after drinking, then after any romp around the house and RIGHT when they wake up.

Try leashing her to you, our pup wouldn't pee if she was leashed to us or tethered to the couch leg (while watching movies).

Teach her to tell you she has to go. Everytime we took our pup out we taught her to bark, so before we opened the door we would say things to get her to bark! Then we open the door and say "go pee pee". Once she pee'd we'd make a HUGE deal out of it. She got plays, treats and run arounds (hide and seek), do everything that your pup LOVES so that he/she will automatically relate peeing outside = awesome play time and great food! So she'll ALWAYS want to. Now this is another problem , them ALWAYS wanting to go out and pee (I had this problem, our pup would want out every 15 mins cause she got so much praise from it), just ease off the praising once they get the idea but still give them rewards!

Use key words for potty time. I use "go pee pee", "go poopie", "hurry up". If I CAUGHT Luna actually peeing, she would be told "naughty puppy, no pee pee" for some reason she hates being called naughty :rolleyes: . And don't believe the saying, if you don't catch your dog peeing they don't know they did it. They know! I mean don't punish them if you don't catch them, but let them know thats a no no. If I saw a widdle on the ground, I would call Luna in a nice voice and just point at the ground where she pee'd, she knew automatically, ears go back trying to lick us in apologies, I didn't say anything or give any looks, she knew right by looking at it.

NOTE: 3 hours before BEDTIME - do not give water if she's peeing in her crate at night.

Don't expect her to be remotely housebroken until at least 3 1/2 months, by 4 months she'll be right on her way, and by 5-6 months she'll be house broken. Just don't give up and try to be with her or have someone with her alot.

Sib.HuskyMom
March 30th, 2010, 07:56 PM
Runner32, you're definitely on the right track, just keep it up!
I agree with the idea of tethering her to you. It's much easier to keep an eye on her that way and soon as you see her start to sniff the ground, walk in a circle, start to crouch, whatever her "signal" is, rush her outside. And then praise her like crazy when she's gone outside like she's supposed to.

I had the joys of house breaking 2 pups at the same time :crazy:
Since no one gave me the idea of tethering back then, I simply reduced the amount of freedom they had in the house. I blocked them off so they only had access to the kitchen, that way, I could watch them like a hawk the whole time. Otherwise, if they went down the hall and around the corner, not only would I not be able to catch them, but I wouldn't know which one of them did it! It was probably a good month or so before they had access to the full house, and as much as it was a pain to always walk around/over the baracades, they were a huge help and I'd definitely use them again.

If you do happen to catch her squatting inside, just loudly clap your hands or make an "ah-ha". Something that will startle her slightly and make her stop mid-stream. Then don't say anything, just take her immediately out side, let her finish, then again, praise like crazy.

Just hang in there. With a little patience and persistence, she'll catch on soon enough. Then you'll be looking back on these days saying "remember when..."

Longblades
March 30th, 2010, 08:48 PM
Puppies don't achieve full sphincter or bladder control till about 6 months of age. At 11 weeks some accidents are the norm. It sounds like you are doing everything right, you just have to keep doing it longer than you thought. :)

Re. Peeing in the crate. How long is she in the crate? A rule of thumb is one hour plus another hour for each month of age. At your pup's age that would be 3 hours. Perhaps she is in there too long? If it is happening ovenight, well, some just need to go overnight. Our first Lab girl was clean and slept through the night the minute we brought her home at just shy of 8 weeks. Our boy Lab came at about the same age and had to go out twice a night (winter and -30 too, little stinker) and then once a night till finally by 4.5 months he was clean all night. They are all different. Patience is the key as I think everybody else said.

Cuzzy
March 30th, 2010, 10:12 PM
I totally agree with the leashing her right to your hip for awhile. Not only will it allow you to watch her but it also helps her figure out you're the pack leader. She has no choice but to go where you go when you decide it's time to go. By doing this you are commanding respect as the leader, which will help tremendously when it comes time for trainign with other things as well.

You're doing everything right, as others have said it takes patience and persistance. Just be sure to praise her when she does do it outside...treats or her favorite toy and a good ear scratch works best I always found.
Good Luck

luckypenny
March 31st, 2010, 12:01 PM
We began crate training right away. Right now we have a wire crate and we've put a divider in there, giving her just enough room to lie down and stretch out. Anytime we are away, not looking or during the night, she's in her crate. She absolutely hates it, but after a few minutes of howling and crying, quites down and goes to sleep.

You've already gotten some great advice, Runner32. I just wanted to add that it may help if you desensitize her to her crate as well if she really doesn't like it. You can feed her meals out of stuffed Kongs and give her favorite chew toys (we smear ours with peanut butter or canned green tripe) while she's in the crate. You can also play all sorts of crate games with her. Google "crate games" (youtube also has some videos) for some fun ideas. There's also a wonderful DVD called Crate Games for Motivation and Control by Susan Garrett that you and your pup are sure to enjoy.

I totally agree with the leashing her right to your hip for awhile. Not only will it allow you to watch her but it also helps her figure out you're the pack leader. She has no choice but to go where you go when you decide it's time to go. By doing this you are commanding respect as the leader, which will help tremendously when it comes time for trainign with other things as well.

"Respect" can't be commanded, neither with humans nor animals. It's based on mutual trust, admiration, and the deepest of bonding. Asides from house training, umbilical training (tethering a dog/puppy to you) is meant to teach them that next to you is the best place to be. It's done gently and with encouragement/praise until a dog is more than happy to follow you everywhere without being forced.

Runner32
March 31st, 2010, 12:12 PM
Thanks everybody! Lots of great advice. We've began umbilical cord training with her, and although it is not exactly comfortable in the house, its going well. Gigi did really well last night. We monitor her water and food intake and do our very best to ensure we feed her at the same time every day. You are absolutely right about taking her out 10 to 15 minutes after she's drank and eaten. I also love that comment about distractions whilst they pee. They see something stop, then a few minutes later go again. That's definitely something we noticed with Gigi but she's getting much better. Last night was great. Took her out a few times in the evening, lots of play time inside and outside of the house (no food or water 3 hrs before bedtime), and no accidents. Took her out at 2am this morning and again and 7am. No accidents in the crate or in the house so far. Hopefully we're on our way.

We'll also try some crate games today. There are a couple toys she's fond of, but she seems to be ignore them while they're in the crate. We'll try some of the crate games yo have sugested.

And yes, we do believe it is too early for her to be anywhere remotely from being housebroken. Just a matter of time I guess. Hopefully the next few months can go buy quickly, but then again she's so damn cute as a puppy now right now

luckypenny
March 31st, 2010, 12:16 PM
There are a couple toys she's fond of, but she seems to be ignore them while they're in the crate.

Then the toys she fondest of (not the ones you use use to interact with each other) should only be given to her in the crate. Same with stuffed Kongs (remove them once you let her out). She'll soon be eagerly running to her crate because she'll quickly learn that fun things happen there :).

Runner32
April 5th, 2010, 01:59 PM
Hi everyone,

Just wanted to give an update on our progress. Gigi is doing just great! Absolutely fantastic actually with regards to housebreaking. Its been almost a week and not a single accident in the house. Spending time in the crate is getting better. We make sure to give her favourite toy(s) only when she's in her crate. Socialization with other dogs, puppies and people is going well as well. We've started going on walks around the neighbourhood and are very happy with the progress as well. Some pulling, but overall going well. We adjust our speed and sometimes even jog and Gigi follows without any hesitation.

Thanks again for all the great advice.

Skyblue
April 6th, 2010, 06:45 AM
Have to agree with the others - patience is the key. I've got a 6 1/2 months old pup that did exactly the same thing like Giga when she was younger too. (Had an accident 2 weeks ago but it was my mistake though as I forgot to let her out :D)

If she responds to food reward you can also try to give her her favourite treat once she goes inside the crate. She will soon learn going into the crate is not a bad thing at all. With the pulling, maybe you can try general leader or halti. It worked magic for my dogs.

Scijox
April 8th, 2010, 10:40 PM
Housebreaking:
You're on the right track! She's urinating fairly regularly outside. Congratulations!

Although it's already been said, I would also like to advocate that it's usual for a puppy that young to have some accidents. Mine is nearly 7 months old and occasionally, if we're not careful, will let loose a bit when overly excited. When we just got the puppy she was older than yours (3 months) yet had many of the same problems (English Cocker Spaniels are supposedly infamously hard to housebreak). To housebreak her, we maintained a pretty rigid schedule and praised her when she did her job outside. To expedite the process, although I didn't exactly support it, my pop sprayed some sort of spray that supposedly encourages them to pee on the sprayed surface (alternative to mats I'm guessing). Maybe that'll help?

Crate:
Luckypenny's right - crate training games are an awesome way to reinforce crate training. Quick note though, it's obvious and you probably already know this, but never, ever, let her out of the crate when she's barking. Let her out when she's calmed down, and don't keep her in for extended periods of time. She's still really young.

P.S: Congratulations on the update! Happy to hear she's doing so well!