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Can housebreaking go too well?

August 11th, 2010, 02:55 PM
We have a 14 week old Bichon, and I'm starting to wonder if housetraining can actually go too well. I know it sounds funny, but I've housebroke before, but not this easily. We got the pup from a very good breeder, and up until we picked it up, it was paper training and doing fine. Brought him home and I opted not to crate train, and (reluctantly) decided to maintain what was happening by short-term paper training, followed by total house breaking. I spent the first few nights sleeping on the kitchen floor (lol, true!), and the pup would use the paper. After, I left him alone in the kitchen and it went pretty well, all on the paper. After about 7 days, time to end the paper and move on to housebreak. Constant eye, a few accidents (including one on the couch), but frequent trips outside even if it produces nothing. When he went outside, he got a treat and "saved the world" praise. When he got caught, he got scolded. If he had an accident and he didn't get caught, we did nothing other than clean it up and Swiffer mop to remove the scent.

Now, it's been about two weeks since the last accident. Which I am now thinking may not be a good thing. Because I always believed it's important to teach what's right and wrong. So far, he only gets the praise for the right. Of course I don't scold unless I actually catch him, but if he doesn't do anything at all, he never gets the idea of going inside is bad because he doesn't get scolded for it.

Now for the last few days I am even letting him have total roam of the house when we are at work, and checking for accidents. None so far. I go home at lunch, take him out, he does his business, gets his treat and back to work I go.

This has never happened with the 3 other dogs I have trained, but this is our first Bichon.

My concern is that he isn't really getting it, and I could be in for a period of total regression if he doesn't learn right from wrong. I know it sounds funny that I actually want him to try and pee inside, but I think it's equally important in housebreaking. Am I wrong here?

On a side funny note (but maybe related for info), we are now going through a period where he tries to "trick" me into thinking he pees outside. We go outside, walk around, he will stop and go motionless for 8-10 seconds, but doesn't extend his legs back like he would normally for a pee. Then he will jump excitedly expecting a treat, which he gets none. Then after a few minutes he will really do his business, and get the treat. I just thought it's funny!

August 11th, 2010, 03:33 PM
He might just be a smart little cookie. :D We had a dog that was housebroken in about 5 days at the age of 9 wks--two accidents in that first 5 days, then none afterward. And stayed solid the rest of his life. (That one was too smart for his own good in other ways, though! :laughing:) So you maybe just ended up with a dream pup. :thumbs up

You don't necessarily have to teach him what's 'wrong' for him to understand...concentrate on teaching him what's right and he'll do well.

As for regression, in our experience, all dogs go through times in their lives when they seem to regress in behavior, but not necessarily in behavior involving housebreaking. We've had regression to paper-shredding, chewing shoes, digging, etc., but unless my memory is totally failing me here (always a possibility :D) it seemed like once they got the hang of housebreaking, they didn't regress to eliminating in the house unless there was a medical problem.

Floppy Dog
August 11th, 2010, 05:37 PM
I agree with HRP, the only time Lady regressed with her house training was when she had a UTI (urinary tract infection). She peed on the bed (she looked at me first to make sure I was watching) which I guess was her way to telling me that something was wrong with her plumbing.

BTW, I don't normally let Lady have the run of the house when we're gone. I usually keep her downstairs on the main floor by putting a baby gate across the stairs. It makes "accidents" much easier to find and clean up. It also gives Lady the idea the bedrooms are off limits unless one of us is with her.

August 12th, 2010, 09:21 AM
I have just experienced the pretend pee with my 2 yr old beagle. We adopted him in May and he would never eliminate in our backyard - only on a leash for a walk. Even after hours he would ask to go 'out'.
After weeks of trying everything - the other day he just got it and of course got praise and a treat. Now he lifts his leg on every shrub, pretends to pee and then sits for a treat! :laughing:
Okay, well he has almost got it...

Dog Dancer
August 12th, 2010, 01:59 PM
Don't worry about training going too well. Your dog will get the idea with praise. I agree though that at his young age I still wouldn't give him run of the house. It's just too much temptation for a puppy. There will be occasional setbacks and there will be teething in a while as well when he's going to chew everything - you probably don't want him to have total access during that stage! He may not pee on your couch, but he may well chew on it! Puppies - it's what they do. So consider trying to confine him to one or two connected rooms with no carpets and few things that he can destroy as his curiosity starts to control him.