View Full Version : How to convince friend to crate train her pup

26th October 2006, 09:15 PM
I'm in a bit of a pickle and I want some opinions. I have babysat Chester's nephew Becket a few times now and he is 10 months old and still not housebroken. I am convinced the main reason he is not housebroken is because his Mom lets him have free roam of the house during the day AND he is not crated at night. I have told her that she should confine him to the kitchen during the day (it's a nice, sunny room with a nice view) but she says that would be cruel to confine him since he's used to having the whole house to himself. She just doesn't get that he's a puppy and that he needs confinement and structure. When he was really little she borrowed my X-pen and he stayed in that during the day for the first 2 months she had him, but after that he had free roam of the house. When she gave the X-pen back I suggested she keep using it until he was at least 6 months old but she assured me he didn't need it. sigh...

I watched him for 5 days last week and on the worst day he had 3 poop and 1 pee accident in one day and I am fed up. He is a sweet little pup but I have tried to give him a crash-course in crate training to try and straighten him out, but I have not had any effect.

I have talked to Lou REPEATEDLY about the crate training issue but she always has excuses like "my husband doesn't want a crate cluttering up the bedroom," or "I feel guilty crating him when he's been used to sleeping in the bed with us." Keep in mind, this is the same pup that jumped up on the bed and peed on his Mom when she was sitting on the bed talking on the phone. Lou also says he has at least 2 poop accidents a week during the day. I don't understand how they can allow that. Granted, they have wood floors, but they are instilling horrible habits in this sweet little pup.

He is a sweet, sweet pup and when he's here with me he seems very comfortable in a crate (he borrows Chester's when he's here) and he will nap in it during the day with the door wide open. My big problem is how to convince Lou and her husband that crate training is not really an option and that it will be for the best for everyone concerned. At this point I have decided that I will not babysit him again until he is totally housebroken and crate trained but I have not told Lou this in so many words. I don't want to piss her off, but I want to make her understand that she is doing her dog a disservice by not crate training him.

Any ideas on how to deal with her? I'm afraid she will ask me to babysit him again and as much as I love the pup I simply won't do it. Lou is a really sweet friend but it is my opinion that she is doing Becket a disservice by giving him too much freedom AND no one will want to babysit him if he is not housebroken. Plus, if she has to board him I'm afriad he'll freak out because he's not used to sleeping in a crate on a regular basis. Should I talk to her about it now or just wait until she asks again to bring it up?

Cathy T
26th October 2006, 09:49 PM
You know...there's only so much you can do. I would definitely tell her you won't be able to watch him anymore because of the potty accidents. Explain that you understand it's not his fault....hint, hint. I have a friend/client with a Cavalier. I felt I was beating my head against a brick wall :bang: after repeatedly telling her time and time again that she needed to get her girl spayed and not breed her. She's an adorable little thing but.....there was absolutely no reason to breed her just one time so everyone could have a puppy!! Guess what??...she finally spayed her...phew...my head was starting to hurt from that dang brick wall ;)

You do what you can and if someone won't listen and you are being logical...well...there's not much else you can do. Good luck though...maybe you'll break through.

26th October 2006, 11:54 PM
You could "gift" your friend with a book on house training; there have been many mentioned on the board. Perhaps if someone she sees as more credible tells her the same thing, it will sink in.

Aside from telling her you can't dogsit until the dog is housetrained, there's not much else you can do. Afterall, she's the owner and she's responsible. It's unfortunately, as that is how a number of pups are ditched by their owners. :?

27th October 2006, 12:18 AM
I'd buy her a book on housetraining, definitely. I'd not make a big deal about crating -- millions of dogs are housetrained every year without ever seeing the inside of a crate and no one crate trained when we had our first dog. I used it minimally and never crated for more than a 20-30 minute stretch. Of my three only Jaspar was actually crate trained. The other are both fine with being transported or sleeping in a crate but I never had to train them to this. Hardly any Europeans outside show breeders crate train -- it is very much a North American thing.

But she needs to confine him down during the day to a kitchen, say, and work more conentradely on housetraining, or her entire house is always going to be urine and feces stained -- which is a health risk for her and any visitors and certainly will not make her house a popular destination. And make it clear you will not be able to dogsit nor will anyone else be likely to and her dog will always be an unwelcome guest at anyone''s house -- very sad for the dog -- until she makes an effort to housetrain him.

27th October 2006, 01:25 AM
Thanks for all the input! She already has several books on housetraining and she really wanted to train him to ring the bell hanging on the doorknob when he needs to go out, but the first day she hung it her 3 cats discovered it and rang it non-stop! Silly cats...

I have decided I'm going to persue the safety angle and work on getting her to confine him to the kitchen. He has already chewed up a bathroom mat (which he could have choked on) and I worry that he may decide an electrical cord would make a fun chew toy.

27th October 2006, 06:34 AM
Well, my puppy is 16 wks now and the way I potty trained her is by putting her in her crate for a few minutes after she had drank some water... took her out and put her on her puppy training pads and BOOM! She did her magic-- both numbers 1 and 2. After each successful use of her pad, I immediately gave her a treat, so now she goes in the right place EACH AND EVERY TIME because she looks forward to that special treat. I know that your friend doesn't believe in crating, but this technically isn't crate training, due to the fact that it's only for a few minutes at a time, therefore it cannot be considered cruel. Now, if she (your friend) finds a way to argue with that... sorry, but she's just plain lazy.

27th October 2006, 07:00 AM
If you are using the crate in this way, I'm curious why are you then using puppy pads? If you train to pads, then you have to housetrain a whole second time to going outside; twice the work! The point of using a crate is usually to hasten training overall. Most puppies will automatically use a pad even if it is inside a large pen, as they tend to like going on a soft surface such as a pad. I'd be working to have the puppy go outside. At 16 weeks you'd usually want to be moving a puppy off pads anyway. :thmbsup:

On the friend's cavalier: Point out that leaving a cavalier of her's age alone at home is like leaving a 4 year old alone at home -- dangerous, prone to accidents, and just wouldn't be done and shouldn't be done. The dog is too young.

27th October 2006, 08:16 AM
I don't think crate training even existed when i had my first dogs, an episode which started in 1958 with my first dog Teddy, and ended in 1979 when my Frank died. When i was a kid, i had two consecutive dogs and they both stayed outside all the time because my mom was allergic to dogs so they weren't allowed in the house, ever. I thought that was sad but that was the way it was.

Then when i left home at age 18 in 1967, i got Frank and i never heard of crate training, she was about 4 months old, she wasn't house trained, but at first we lived in a place where she could go outside freely, it was on a dirt road near a lake, so i think she just figured it out, i have no memory of how she came to be trained.

then we moved into an apartment and she entered a chewing stage. We never thought about baby gates. It never occurred to us that there was any way of avoiding the problem, we just felt helpless when we would go out, we knew when we came back, something would be chewed, stereo wires, a jigsaw puzzle we were doing.

But that didn't last very long, and then it was over. Frank always had the run of the house, no other arrangement ever came to mind. and there were never any problems, she was completely cool and civilized, and i took it for granted, that it was completely natural for her to not soil or chew once she outgrew those stages.

I really don't remember much in the way of training. i know we put newspapers down, but i think she just matured and learned social skills and that was it.

Zack was already on his way to understanding housetraining when i got him at 16 weeks, and he continued to progress, it was never an issue. He has done very little chewing. He got gradually increasing freedom in the house over a period of many months. He probably could've been trusted earlier, but by now, he has the run of the whole house during the night and when i'm not home. He is 12 months now and has had this freedom since he was about 9 or 10 months. No housetraining accidents in months. No problems with him having the run of the house.

I don't know why dogs differ when it comes to these things, i guess it would be a combination of the dog's innate traits and the owner's approach to socialization.

Tonight i visited a client at their home. I've visited once before. They're rich. (most of my clients are not rich, i work in the child protective services/dependency court system). They have a large home, beautiful pool, rolls royce, and they have a little purebred dog, something like a lhasa apso or kind of a yorkie sort of thing (i'm not very up on purebred dogs), very sweet and friendly, his name is Lucky.

what i encountered the first time i visited was a dog who has his own large room in the house that they have given to him and have resigned themselves to allowing him to use the whole room to do his business in. They watch him closely in other parts of the house, which is immaculate, but the dog's own spacious room stinks with that kind of odor that will never come out. In the room is a large crate or cage which is elevated off the floor so the pee and etc will fall through and not get on the dog. But the dog stinks too, although he's obviously professionally groomed. Clearly these people just didn't even try to house train this dog. I guess there are all kinds of situations in which dogs live. The clients are elderly. If anything happened to them, i don't think this would be an easy dog to find a foster home for, although he's very sweet and affectionate and docile.

27th October 2006, 08:50 AM
I am curious as to why people think it's horribly difficult to pad/litter train AND outside train. My family has done this with 3 dogs, maybe we were just lucky. In all 3 instances, the dogs prefer going outside but will use a puppy pad/litter box if they need to. Why do we do this? In case a dog gets sick when we're out, for those times when a dog refuses to do his thing in bad weather, as an emergency back up plan.

Also, leaving a pup alone in a non-chew proofed house is dangerous! If she's OK with having the dog potty in her house, then there's nothing you can do about it. It's your friend that needs training, far moreso than the dog!

27th October 2006, 09:35 AM
I have never used a crate to house train any of my dogs...it's just time and patience and a routine. I find limiting them to a certain area of the house like the kitchen with a door directly onto the garden the best.

Then it's the routine and patience bit...out after every feed, out after every wake from sleep etc etc. When they have had a wee I then let them have a bit of freedom around the house for an hour then back into the kitchen and we start all over again!

Plenty of rewards with voice and small treats when the jobs get done.

Never had any problems.

Alison, Wilts, U.K.

27th October 2006, 09:40 AM
If you are using the crate in this way, I'm curious why are you then using puppy pads? If you train to pads, then you have to housetrain a whole second time to going outside; twice the work! The point of using a crate is usually to hasten training overall. Most puppies will automatically use a pad even if it is inside a large pen, as they tend to like going on a soft surface such as a pad. I'd be working to have the puppy go outside. At 16 weeks you'd usually want to be moving a puppy off pads anyway. :thmbsup:

On the friend's cavalier: Point out that leaving a cavalier of her's age alone at home is like leaving a 4 year old alone at home -- dangerous, prone to accidents, and just wouldn't be done and shouldn't be done. The dog is too young.

Who said anything about outside potty training? I surely didn't. And, by the way, my pup has been trained since 10 weeks and does very well on the pads-- proud of her. :D
P.S. Of course a puppy will use a pad in an enclosed area, the point is to make it where he/she will use it period, no matter where you place it. And that, my friend, is what I've succeeded in doing.;) Thanks for your input, anyway. :)

27th October 2006, 09:50 AM
I think the main point to this post is that however you choose to potty train your dog it takes time, patience and commitment from the owner, without this the dog does not have any boundaries as to what he should and shouldn't do wether it be inside or out..... ;)

27th October 2006, 07:47 PM
Exactly! :D

27th October 2006, 09:15 PM
HIya Gudrun,

I've had lots of dogs in my house to potty train and I've never ever used a crate. In fact, I don't possess a crate full stop!

I've just kept an extremely watchful eye on all my pups and dogs ( quite a few foster rescues, all unhousebroken) and kept them downstairs until they are fully housebroken. If I've had to go out anywhere without them I've usually made usre they weed outside before I went and then left some newspaper on the kitchen floor for them.

The only one I have EVER had a problem with has been Charlie but then Charlie had an awful lot of issues when he came to live with us. He's getting a lot better now but it's been a year of extremely hard work :?

I've never really found it difficult to potty train a dog and Cavaliers are such intelligent little furries that it should be relatively easy anyway - it's just a case of consistency and watching them intensely!

28th October 2006, 03:44 AM
I've never used a crate either.....I've had dogs all my life, and even now, with the crate being popular with some people, I don't use a crate.... I have had good luck with the puppy pads and just taking them outside on the leash. It's just whatever works for the individual and the puppy I guess.