View Full Version : Ian Dunbar and crate training?

22nd January 2013, 11:33 AM
When I start the hourly crate training, ie out every hour for wee, then play/training, back in the crate etc. How long should I keep doing that routine? 2 weeks? More or less?

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29th January 2013, 07:21 PM
hi there
we pick up teddy on friday, and we are intending to do the dunbar method, and i had exactly the same question as you? how are you doing so far?

30th January 2013, 12:08 PM
You increase the time as the pup gets older but using crate training for housetraining generally takes weeks to a couple of months. Most puppies are not relatively reliable (but STILL needing to always be under 100% supervision, 100% of the time and expect mistakes) at 6 months. So it will be much much longer than a 2-week plan! The thing is that after a few weeks of doing this -- say til 3 months -- you can then begin to regularly substitute constant watching when out of the crate to being in the crate, because you know they will likely be OK for maybe a couple of hours *but must be constantly watched, at arm's length, or back into the crate*. It is the mistakes that set the pup back each time. Never ever punish (except yourself, mentally, for forgetting to constantly watch! :) ). Each mistake is like a little step backwards so the goal is to be attentive and try to set your puppy up for constant success. :D

A small pup can only hold itself maybe an hour or a while longer if asleep. At 8-12 weeks, start with an hour. As the pup gets more reliable, try slowly extending the time between potty breaks -- 90 minutes, then 2 hours etc. Young puppies need to go frequently so taking them out hourly really gets them to associate going outside with... going! That means faster housetraining overall. The problems people encounter tend to come with giving them too much freedom too soon, assuming they are housetrained when they are only just getting to the point where they are somewhat reliable, and stretching out time between potty breaks too quickly.

I made ALL these mistakes!! As did probably all of us. :lol:

Our next puppy will be done on the hourly basis for the first three months as much as possible (obviously not everyone can always do every hour on the hour during waking times so that will also naturally begin to give your puppy more extended times and more variation).

I can not recommend enough using Dunbar's approach of training a dog to go right away BEFORE a walk (so much easier for cleanup) and also to go on a word command, different ones for pee and poop. I did just the pee with Jaspar and it has been invaluable over the years such as when on a roadtrip and you need them to relieve themselves at a petrol station... or to go before going inside to visit someone, so you know their bladder is empty. It is also a great idea to have them go always in one area of the garden so that you don't end up with poop everywhere and lawn burns. This is easy to do as well when a puppy --much harder when they get older.

All puppies are individuals and some learn faster than others but take with a GIANT grain of salt those books that promise a housetrained puppy in 1-2 weeks. There's just no way -- any more than most toddlers get using a potty in just 1-2 weeks. People who think they have a housetrained puppy by 3 months are generally those that find they have an unhoustrained puppy needing remedial training a month or two later because they fail to supervise enough, the pup starts doing little wees inside that are not easily spotted for weeks -- maybe months! -- often in hidden places if they have been scolded when going inside. Slow, kind, steady, and gradual does it with housetraining. :)

30th January 2013, 04:46 PM
Thanks Karlin. That does make sense, and helps - I think the Ian Dunbar books are very good, and I really appreciate the way he repeats things all the time, as though we are the puppies in training - whats good for them is good for us. I just couldn't work out the timescales at all, but now I know. We pick up Teddy on Friday - we have everything in place ready for him (ala Ian Dunbar recommendation) and we are ready to start with his training straight away. I know that all the hard work at the beginning will be more than worth it. Just one thing though. He does recommend the kong (chewable items) straight away, and not actually feeding your puppy in the normal way, but weighing out his daily recommended food, and then using that to put in the Kong during the day.
Teddy is used to three meals a day (although I understand that they are already getting a bit nonplussed with the middle one, and the 15 minute rule has been used) - won't splitting it up into little bits during the day to nibble at (in the kong) all day go against the regular meals training?

30th January 2013, 05:07 PM
Hi Lynne,

I haven't thoroughly read that section in Dunbar, but you should be able to fit the whole meal into the kong, and it doesn't take all that long for them to finish it. Mine would never leave their kong alone unless it is completely empty! The kong just slows them down, so they dont inhale the food, and keeps them mentally stimulated a bit.

Lady gets both meals in the "Kong Wobbler". It is bigger than the regular kong, with a "wobbly" base, and it unscrews so you can easily put kibble in it with a little hole for them to knock the food out of. I find this type of kong better for feeding meals rather than treats.

You must be getting sooo excited!! :dogwlk:

30th January 2013, 06:30 PM
hi courtney,
gosh yes very excited - only two sleeps to go, and then no more sleeps for a year lol also very sad because megan isnt here, but i tell her all about him every day, and also how much i miss her, so she doesnt feel left out. the breeders say he is the calm one out of the three siblings, but i doubt she would have been impressed with a little boy pup, no matter how laid back he may be tho.

we are starting with a couple of puppy kongs, to see how it goes, and your thoughts about whole meals makes total sense to me, so thats one less thing to worry about. just another 101 to cross off :)

31st January 2013, 09:02 AM
Gosh, I thought I had mentally prepared myself knowing puppies would be hard work. But it's so much harder! I think I have proper post puppy blues :( She is adorable and I know she loves me to bits already as I love her but my word - if I am ever to get a dog again it will be an adult one!

Good luck Lynne!

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31st January 2013, 11:12 AM
Gosh, I thought I had mentally prepared myself knowing puppies would be hard work. But it's so much harder! I think I have proper post puppy blues :( She is adorable and I know she loves me to bits already as I love her but my word - if I am ever to get a dog again it will be an adult one!

Good luck Lynne!

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Just keep at it!!!!!!!! Consistency is the KEY. This is just training for having your own human baby. Which is a lot more work than most people think too. AS a matter of fact after 3 kids of my own I found owning a puppy easier.

31st January 2013, 02:43 PM
It is tough. I can't believe after a year ago I raised one and then this year got another. Remy turned 15 weeks yesterday and had a major milestone of ringing the bell when he had to go out:pi*no: ! Later that day though, he, or I should say I, had an accident in the study. I wasn't paying attention to his excitedness and just thought he was rowdy playing :bang:. Puppy steps!

31st January 2013, 03:45 PM
Puppies ARE hard -- and need a huge amount of love and kind training and work... and TIME.... in their first year when you are helping to form the adult dog they become. I don't think a lot of people understand this, and is why a lot of breeders and rescues are reluctant to home puppies to families with very young children as the workload can be brutal, the puppy's training gets put on the backburner, then the family ends up with a problem dog, and the dog can end up in the pound (a sad story that repeats every year post Christmas as families realise how much work their ball of fluff actually is). It is so useful to have discussion places where people can get advice, support and resources!

Also this is all why I think Ian Dunbar's website is so great. The reason he made his popular books on Before-, and After You Get Your Puppy available for free online, was to try to help prevent the problems and frustrations that can end up with a dog going to the pound or rescue. Sometimes people just need to know in advance what to expect, and that what they are going through is normal and how to manage it all. :)

One puppy in 9 years has been more than enough for me. :lol: All my other four additions since were adult cavaliers. I am just getting to the point when a puppy is a possibility again. :lol: That said, adding a puppy to a home where there is an adult dog or dogs is FAR easier than getting a puppy with no dogs in the house.The puppy learns from the adults and thus is generally housetrained much faster and will learn good behaviour from the other dog(s) -- assuming the other adults ARE well trained.

This is the other big issue though, which I was only discussing with a trainer! TReally it is best not to add a new puppy til the resident dog is at least 18 months -- eg a proper adult, with at least one or two good training classes behind him or her. Once a puppy arrives, all training will lapse (I know this from personal experience adding another when Jaspar was 10 months. VERY STUPID IDEA. Jaspar really never after that, got the time and attention to get a good downstay for example. Leo never got the time Jaspar did for solo training. It does not benefit the first or second dog to add another too soon. :thmbsup:

The kong/meal approach is something I hadn't read when I got my dogs. It is a great idea -- most dogs like the mental challenge of working a bit for a meal. :)

31st January 2013, 08:02 PM
I know she loves me to bits already as I love her but my word - if I am ever to get a dog again it will be an adult one!

Lol! I took Lady home at 8 weeks, she was still soooo tiny and she basically just slept for the first week I had her...then things took a turn for the worse! hahah. She will be one year old in just over a week, and she is still a handful! It's all worth it, like Melissa says, just stay consistent! But I still like her best when she's curled up in my lap sleeping :D

1st February 2013, 02:42 PM
Thank you for the advice girls. I am sure it will get better. I knew it would be hard work but I still underestimated it. I had an English mastiff before but got him when he was 2 so of course already much easier.

I have 2 kids and I have to say human babies are MUCH easier!

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