Puppy Training Diary

Potty Training and Crate Training

Kaylee pees everywhere and anywhere. My first plans were to have her sleep in bed with us at night, but when I realized she didn't have the bladder control to hold herself all night, I decided to have her sleep in her crate. Within 3 days I have gone from taking her out twice at night to just once. This morning she held herself until 4am! Her crate training is progressing nicely, but more on that later.

I have been setting a timer for every 45 minutes and taking her out to her new toilet area. This has been a challenge for me, but she is improving. Kaylee was accustomed to relieving herself on grass and I've decided her toilet will be gravel. Of course she hasn't a clue about that and naturally prefers the grass. So I take her to the gravel every 45 minutes. She plays with it, digs in it, barks at it, sits, lies down, rolls around and does everything but pee. If and when she does, it's merely coincidental. But she's relieving herself there more and more everyday. When she does, she gets enthusiastic praise and even a treat, but progress is slow.

I have done more laundry in the past few days than I have in the past month! Even with all my diligence she has managed to pee in her crate at least 3 times, on my bed, on the carpet in every room in the house, on several pillows, cushions, on two of her beds and of course on the floor in her pen and even on my lap!!

A friend of mine gave me a gallon of Natures Miracle and I secretly laughed because I hardly used a cup of it when housetraining my other puppies. But I ended up purchasing a 5-gallon jug!!! It borders on humiliating, but actually it's simply humbling. Kaylee is a young puppy and has minimal bladder control and no understanding yet of where she is expected to "go." Her instincts to keep herself, her den and dining area clean have not kicked in yet. But every day I watch her I see her developmentally maturing and more and more instincts emerging, so soon her "clean" instinct will also manifest.

On a positive note, she has defecated outside on the gravel 100% of the time. She gives huge intention signals, so it's easy to know when she has to poop. Then I can take her to her toilet and keep her there until she goes. She still doesn't give any intention signals for peeing and she isn't predictable time wise either. I thought after she emptied out she would be reliable for at least 30 minutes, but she's not reliable for even 10 minutes! That's how she ended up peeing on my bed, in her crate, etc. But everyday she's getting better and she's sooooo cute. I don't believe in using any kind of reprimand during housetraining as puppies have no idea they are doing anything inappropriate. Instead, I go overboard on the reward and praise when she does get it right.

I'm also chanting a choice word (mizu which means water in japanese) when she pees so that later I can get her to urinate on command. I trained all my dogs to urinate and defecate on command and it's makes life so much more convenient especially when we're out of our usual environment or routine. By the way, her #2 command is "unko" pronouned oon-ko, also a japanese word, just in case you wanted to know.

Day 6 : She's going to the gravel all by herself to do her business now. Yippppeeee!!!

As you know I had plans for Kaylee to sleep in bed at night but when I took her outside to pee and she emptied out (I thought) then 10 minutes later, she peed on my bed, I realized it wasn't such a good idea after all. Besides, she was so tiny that I was afraid she'd fall off the bed or try to jump. She's quite the daring acrobat (more on that later).

So, into the crate she went. Kaylee's breeder, Trudy and Ken, put teddy bears in with all the puppies before they left the litter so they would have a familiar scent with them to take to their new home. I put a thick foam pad, a blanket, a towel, her teddy bear and a few other toys in the crate. I waited until she was sleepy, then I sat on the floor next to the crate until she fell asleep in my lap. When she was sound asleep, I would transfer her to the crate but I stayed next to the crate door so if she woke up she'd see me right there. She did wake up many times and started to whine. I just stuck my finger through the crate and gently stroked her as I talked soothingly until she fell asleep again. We did this all night the first few nights and I took her out several times to pee.

The following day I brought her crate into the kitchen that I had set up as one of her pens during the day. She entered it and stayed in there without objection. Of course I waited again until she was on the tired side.

She was fine as long as she could hear and see me. If I stopped talking or it became too quiet, she would let out a few whimpers. When she was quiet I would occasionally drop a treat into the crate for her. She seemed to adapt quickly. So after a few repetitions of this, I decided to walk out of the kitchen. As soon as I was out of her view, she screamed bloody murder. Not just a whine or bark or howl, but a hideous noise that sounded like someone was being stabbed with a knife. It broke my heart, as this is normal for puppies to do when they feel abandoned. So I walked back within view and she immediately calmed down and became quiet. I practiced leaving and returning, leaving and returning, but I continued to talk as I left and returned so she could at least hear my voice when she couldn't actually see me. I think this helped her know she wasn't being completely abandoned. I also began to leave either the radio or TV on so she could hear voices. I've done this with all my dogs and whenever I leave the house, I leave the radio or TV on. The sounds are familiar so they feel more secure and the sounds also help mask outside noises that would be otherwise disturbing.

As a side note: I know many people leave the drapes open so their dogs can see outside and watch what's going on. If this works, it's a great idea, but I have found that this leads to barking and anxiety more often than not. So when I leave, the blinds and drapes are closed.

Within a few hours Kaylee became secure in her crate and convinced that I wasn't leaving her forever so she settled in nicely without me having to be within view. In fact at the moment I was first writing this chapter, she was in her crate in the bedroom and I was in the computer room completely out of her sight. I could leave her in her pen in the kitchen or in her outside pen without her howling or whining.

For another couple of weeks she would sometimes still whine or scratch and dig frantically at the door, but this happened less and less. I made sure I never rewarded that behavior by allowing her in or out when she was whining. I found a way to distract her (usually with a sound or a noise) that drew her attention away from the door.

I was pleased with the crate training. She adapted so quickly because Trudy and Ken put out a crate for the puppies so they became accustomed to it from the start. And I believe the teddy bear idea also helped her feel more secure when she was alone.

Potty Training and Crate Training

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