Frequently asked questions:
Q: We are registered for your Puppy Class and can't wait to get started. We are struggling with the potty training. Also we are having a difficult time with him nipping/biting our children, any tips?
A: Please read the attached document on Independence Training. The very first thing we should do when we get our puppy home is set up a solid prevention plan as explained in this document. You can put your puppy on a schedule and nail potty training within 2 weeks, and avoid so many future problematic behaviours from developing if you follow this. Go to my Resource section for further reading about Dogs and Children.
Q: House training isn’t going very well and we’re hoping for advice. She is very good at going both pee and poo outside. We follow the instructions with a word “do your business” and offer up a treat as soon as she is done. She doesn’t mess around and is pretty good at getting right to it. The problem is in the house. We try to take her out at least every half hour, if not more but she is still having accidents despite having just gone maybe a half hour prior. The strangest part is that she intentionally urinates on her own bed. I’ve read that is one place where dogs do not like to go, but not the case with Rosie.
My questions are,
1. Should we be scolding her for accidents in the house?
2. Should we be removing her beds?
3. Why do you think she is seeking out her bed to pee in?
4. At what age do dogs start to clean their privates. We have to clean her belly and private area every couple of days because of the pee build up on her fur and skin. Is this normal?
A: Very good questions and I’m happy to assist you. First of all:
Vet - we must rule out that health is not the issue. If she goes to her bed and lies down and pees then I would make sure she does not have a urinary infection. Especially about the pee build up. I don’t think that’s normal but you should ask you vet, then ask your breeder.
No do not scold her - or even startle her. She will only learn not to pee when you are looking and you will lose the chance to teach her to pee somewhere else. This could be why she is seeking the privacy of her kennel. So you don’t see her when she pees. Then she won’t fully eliminate when she’s out with you - because it upsets you when she pees in front of you!
Yes, remove her bedding she’s peed on. You will never completely wash out the smell and the smell will invite her to pee in that place again.
It’s hard to know why she is peeing in her bed. It’s possible this comes from her breeder environment. A learned behaviour that’s already imprinted. The breeder should have had an xpen with a whelping bed and a potty area and a play area. Puppies become familiar with certain floor surfaces to go to the bathroom on at this age. Often small dogs are hard to potty train because they came from puppy mills (even in previous generations) that did not allow the mother to have a place to pee and she was forced to go potty in her living/sleeping area. She then fails to teach her puppies where to go to the bathroom. This behaviour can get passed down to each generation until they relearn where to go potty and have the opportunity to teach their babies. It can last a few generations. Many breeders give up and resort to pee pads and that’s why people often think small dogs are difficult to potty train. This imprint age is critical for their learning forever behaviours and is often overlooked by the breeder. It’s an incredible amount of work to breed puppies and take the time to potty train them.
Did you visit the puppies at the breeder? Did you see the breeder set up? Did they use pee pads? Maybe she is looking for the surface that she is familiar with from her breeder environment.
Maybe she was a little scared while travelling and peed inside her crate and now there is pee scent on her bed/crate.
It’s hard to say but potty training can be harder with some dogs than others. Some breeders start potty training right away because of this important imprint stage. If your breeder did use a potty pad then you might want to put that in her play pen area and help her have a choice to pee on before she goes into her kennel. But if she’s been scolded before (even startled) she will prefer to pee in a private spot so you should set it up so that she can go behind a cardboard box or something like that.
When you are outside with her, continue to give her treats and positive feedback when she pees. But before she goes into the house, go back to her area where she has peed before and give her a chance to hover around that area so she can eliminate again. Dogs will pee on top of pee, if they are not distracted. Puppies get so distracted with their new environments smells and sounds that they don’t focus on eliminating fully. Give her plenty of chances to pee and if she drinks some water don’t put her in her kennel. Let he go outside again.
This is also why setting up babygates and xpens to limit access to the house can help. If she has a potty accident in the house and you pop up and run to her you can startle her. If she has a potty accident in her play area it’s not a big deal. Some people use a slab of flooring to put in the play area so that if there is a potty area it does not keep the scent in your flooring.
Dogs automatically love peeing on carpet so maybe blankets are her preference. You can put a pad in her kennel that is soft and a little different and add a pee pad in her play area beside the kennel If she has recently peed on her blanket you can rub it on a pee pad to put the scent on it. How big is her kennel? Maybe it’s too big for her. She should only have enough space to sleep in - get up and turn around comfortably. Any more space than that will invite an opportunity to eliminate.
But a good enzyme cleaner at the pet store and clean her kennel. You will probably have to throw out her blanket or wash it with the enzyme and put it away until she is fully potty trained.
But go to the vet and rule out an infection. Nothing will change if she has an infection and needs to pee frequently.
Q: I am registered for your Puppy Class. I just wanted to confirm that it is OK to bring my two children to class?
A: Yes! For Puppy Class, the more the merrier. A big part of Puppy Class is socialization and having different people of all ages there.
Q: Our puppy will be only 10 weeks without a 2nd set of vaccinations, do you think it's too soon for him to attend Puppy Class?
A: If your puppy has seen your vet and is declared to be in good health then they are never too young to come to puppy class but this can be a highly debatable topic depending on the opinion of your breeder and vet. Please read through my RESOURCES section and my BLOG about Puppy Socialization and Puppy Vaccines. You should make an informed decision that you feel comfortable with.
Q: What would the Puppy Class cover? I have looked over your website. We seem to be doing pretty good with his mild manner, loves playing with other dogs, walking on leash is getting better, no signs of aggression - just some moments of stubbornness. Haha
A: Sounds like your puppy may be old enough for the Basic Manners Class. Puppy Class (should start around 2.5 months - 4 months and finish by 5.5 months) is very different than Basic Manners Classes (6 months+). The main focus in Puppy Class is on socializing your puppy to other dogs and people with an eye on your puppy’s response to them. Read Properly Socializing Your Puppy in my Blog. Many people underestimate the significance of the small signals a puppy gives that show they are anxious. I watch for any of these signs because fear or anxiety can grow into a difficult behavioural problem to solve in adult dogs. It’s very sad for a dog to live in a constant state of stress.
Allowing play with other dogs while watching for proper play styles and managing over arousal in a very distracted environment is important. Over arousal is a big problem when allowed to continue for long periods and then can be difficult to settle our puppies. Refer to Training an Over Aroused Dog in my Blog. I will also help interpret body language.
I will teach you some handling techniques to help your puppy calm before he/she can return to play again to avoid over arousal where a dog will make a poor decision. We will work on the foundation of teaching your puppy to recall away from play and being able to work around distraction. Distraction is often the downfall in training.
We will train in between play sessions in this highly distracted environment. I cover the 10 common behavioural issues that occur in the lives of dogs. It’s much easier to work preventatively with a puppy rather than having to ‘break’ bad habits that have slowly developed. Nearly all future annoying behavior problems are created during the "puppy stage" unknowingly by their owners by allowing too much unsupervised freedom in the house and how we acknowledge these behaviours.
To summarize, socialization, anxiety and over-arousal are easier to work with at this age. This class gives you all the tools to survive our puppy's next stage - adolescence! Read Adolescent Dogs - 6 Facts to Know.
Q: My puppy is starting to eat her poo, what should we do?
A: There are a few different ways to approach this. This article covers all issues:
Q: I would like to get some more advice on my puppy's attachment to myself. It is kinda of working into an issue and I would appreciate your help in nipping this in the bud before it becomes something worse.
A: This is a very common problem and should be your first priority along with potty training. Most breeds are not genetically designed to be alone. Teaching your new puppy how to be alone should start the first day you bring them home. Please refer to the Home Alone article in my resource section. The sooner you start the easier it is for your puppy to learn how to be alone stress free. Otherwise this can build towards separation anxiety and will grow into a very large problem that is very difficult to change later in life.
Q: I’m wondering if you have some advice for me. I’ve had my living room rug rolled up and out of the way since my puppy came home. He hasn’t had any accidents inside in almost a month. So I decided today was the day to put the rug back down and and soon as I had it rolled out he stared right at me and peed on it. Is that him trying to claim it? Should I leave it out or roll it right back up? Any tips on gaining trust with the housetraining?
A: I’m guessing he peed on it once before? You can never get the smell out of carpet. You can try with vinegar or another enzyme odor cleaner but once a puppy pees on a mat or carpet they are often hooked too. They love peeing on carpet, it doesn’t splash and it warms their feet! They can become instantly addicted to peeing on carpet. Often our adult dogs have learned not to pee on your carpet then you bring them to a friends house and they have carpet and you think your dog is potty trained and they pee on your friends carpet. Funny little creatures that way.
Get your carpet cleaned and put them away or throw them out. Back to Potty Training 101
The good news is that you didn’t get mad at him and teach him to do it when you are not looking. That’s usually what happens and then you don’t even know he’s peed there and miss the chance to teach him that it is more rewarding to go outside.
He's still a puppy!