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Thread: Help! Problems house breaking Cavalier Pup

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  1. #1
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    Default UPDATED 6/14/11: Help! Problems house breaking Cavalier Pup

    UPDATE: 6/14/2011
    For the last three days this is what I have been trying to do.
    I take him out first thing in the morning, usually between 7-8am
    Then I feed him and then take him out 30 minutes to one hour later
    From that point on, I take him out approximately ever 2 hours (it has ranged from 90minutes to 3 hours)
    I make sure to take him out before he eats dinner, and then I take him out 30 minutes to an hour after dinner.

    For the first day of sticking to this, I took him out a total 7 times, and he used the pee pad once, late in the evening.
    Yesterday, I took him out a total of 5 times (I took him to puppy classes and a walk through central park, so he was outside for a long time). He did not use the pads at all that day.

    Then today, I took him out in the morning and after breakfast. Then he used the pads twice, about 50 minutes apart each. I'm trying to ween him off the pads, but he is one of those "no sign" peers and him walking to the pad is the sign that he has to go I get. But with his frequency today, I just can't take him out every 50 minutes. I live in an apartment and the elevator does not work and I have to carry him down, otherwise he will pee in the hall way. Then later today I walked him to petsmart to pickup supplies and took a cab back, as soon as he go to my door, he peed on the neighbors doormat. Then 30 minutes later inside, he peed on the pad again.

    HE JUST KEEPS PEEING TODAY! I hope what I'm doing will teach him to pee outside only, but I seriously don't know what else I can do. If he doesn't have an accident inside the house, it's in the hallway or the elevator. It's to the point that I have carry him out of the building to let him go. I feel that I am just reinforcing his behavior. I'll continue to keep you all posted.

    See below for the original post.

    This is Draper,

    Adorable, isn't he? Well he's working my last nerve!

    Tomorrow, June 12th, he turns 6 months old. We got him when he was 4 months old. A little background, as it may be relevant. We rescued him, but he is probably(?) a puppy mill reject. That is, someone bought him from a pet store (where he was primarily kept in a cage daily), turns out he had pneumonia, store's vet recommended putting him down or exchanging him (like a pair shoes), owner put him into a shelter so he could be cared for. We adopted him, and treated him, he got all better after a couple weeks. He has a clean bill of health, we're going to get him neutered in a couple weeks.

    For the life of me, I cannot get him completely house broken. Perhaps, what I am expecting is off since he is my first puppy. Since he was sick, we trained him to go on pads (we live in an apartment in NY). He is also crate trained. Once he was cleared to go outside, we started leash training and having him go pee and poo outside. However, we still keep wee-wee pads inside, which he uses 2-4 times a day to pee (he only poos outside). Approximately 90% of the time when he does go inside the apartment it's on a pad, but the other 10% it's not where he is supposed to go.

    I know I am supposed to watch for signs that he has to go, but he will do it out of know where, no sniffing, no squatting, no nothing. Sometimes he goes on the floor, yesterday he went in my bed, a week ago he went on the couch, and today, he went in his own bed, which he has never done before!

    FIRST, let it be known, I do not yell at him, hit him, or punish him in anyway. I use positive training all the way. He's been quick to learn basics like sit, lie down, rollover, go to bed, go to home (ie crate) etc.

    When he does have an accident, I remove him from his den area so he cannot see me clean up after him (I use nature's miracle to get rid of the scent). But he still has these accidents (usually once daily or ever other day). On the floor I don't mind so much, but when it's on furniture or where we sleep, then that a trip to the laundromat.

    I don't know what to do at this point. Is this normal? Will it go away? We take him outside to go 3-4 times a day. Even with that he uses the pads 2-4 times a day as well. Do I need to take him outside more? Should we crate him more? It's basically to the point that I cannot trust him at all. Any advice is appreciated, thank you!

    This is a picture of the area where he spends most of his time. You can see the pad and water in the upper right hand corner. He sleeps in his crate at night (which is in our room).

    Is this too much room for him? (Click to enlarge)
    Last edited by parousia15; 14th June 2011 at 11:07 PM.

  2. #2
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    Just to reassure you -- if you are only having accidents 10% of the time, that is pretty good at 6 months for most puppies. Most dogs take about a year to housetrain to a fairly reliable state. They will always, for various reasons, have accidents throughout their lives. It is harder for males to use puppy pads for obvious reasons --he is going to start lifting his leg -- so you are not going to be able to manage with puppy pads much longer.

    They often will go in people's beds and sometimes, their own -- I have never seen anyone answer exactly why they do this but one part is that your bed is full of interesting scents! A dogs reaction is often to pee on interesting scents. I have one dog who always pees on empty crisp (potato chip) bags. My advice for anyone is, if you own a dog/cat, get a good waterproof mattress protector! Or keep the bedroom door closed and the bed off limits (not an option for most people with cavaliers... ).

    Basically the issue now is that you are giving him too much freedom for the stage he is at. He shouldn't be able to be somewhere like on a couch or a bed unless he is either asleep or on a lap or at arm's length being closely watched. People almost always believe their dog is housetrained before it is, and more housetrained than it is, and thus give more freedom than the dog is able to handle, letting him be where accidents can happen very easily. This is such a common issue, so don't feel it is just you or your puppy!

    The problem I think with the space you have given him is that it is full of access to places where you do not want him to pee -- sofas etc. -- and you presumably are outside that area. If you are not in there with him at arm's length or under your eye at close range at all times, he is going to pee in places before you can stop him or notice that he is about to go.

    He is doing really well if he started out being caged and is having so few accidents. Some puppy mill cage or kennel raised puppies/dogs NEVER are fully housetrained -- I have one of these, but she gradually has become about 90% reliable and rarely has inside accidents as I just manage her differently from the others (eg she goes in a penned area with a tile floor with my elderly dog who cannot always hold herself, whereas the three others an be left in the main room). She will never be fully housetrained at this point.

    At this point you probably need to mostly think about management/access and not letting your dog be where you do not want accidents to happen -- and I guess the larger question for you is: how are you going to move from using the pads now, as you will need to get rid of those for a male?

    Some others I am sure will have suggestions too.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karlin View Post
    Basically the issue now is that you are giving him too much freedom for the stage he is at. He shouldn't be able to be somewhere like on a couch or a bed unless he is either asleep or on a lap or at arm's length being closely watched.
    That's the thing, when he peed in the bed, I was in their with him, wide awake. When he peed on the couch, I was right next him, literally at arms length.

    The problem I think with the space you have given him is that it is full of access to places where you do not want him to pee -- sofas etc. -- and you presumably are outside that area. If you are not in there with him at arm's length or under your eye at close range at all times, he is going to pee in places before you can stop him or notice that he is about to go.
    I stay in this area with him, I never try or trust to leave him alone. If I go anywhere I put him in his crate. That's why this is frustrating, because I am within arms lengths most of time.


    At this point you probably need to mostly think about management/access and not letting your dog be where you do not want accidents to happen -- and I guess the larger question for you is: how are you going to move from using the pads now, as you will need to get rid of those for a male?
    That's what I've been asking people. Is when to get of them. Personally I would like to do away with them now, but I think that I will have to take him out 6-8 times a day. Not sure what to do here either.

    Thanks for the feedback.

  4. #4
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    My Bentley is 6 1/2 months old now; we've had him since he was 10 weeks and, even though it was January with several of inches of snow, I opted not to use the puppy pads as I didn't want to have to break him twice, essentially. Living in an apartment would be much harder, though. I have been so frustrated with the potty training, but suddenly (I guess gradually, actually) I've got a pretty well-trained puppy. If only he would alert me by barking, growling, etc, rather than just standing and staring at me! When I see that I say, "Wanta go potty?" or "Let's go potty," and he runs to the door while I get the leash. I guess I'm the one who's trained, but he has not had an accident in over a week and can hold it for a very long time. He's rarely in his cage during the day now, unless I'm trying to sweep the floor and need him out of the way. I'm home most of the time and we always crate him when we leave the house.
    I think your puppy is doing well if he's 90% trained, especially since you've only had him for a couple of months.

  5. #5
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    I think you are doing very well too especially considering his background.

    I don't think 3-4 trips outside are enough for a 6 month old puppy TBH [hence him also using the pee pads] - I would go back to basics, out after every meal, every time he wakes up, at least every couple of hours and as you have already been doing [huge congratulations it's lovely to hear ] lots of positive encouragement.

    It is very hard when you have used puppy pads as essentially you have taught him it is acceptable to pee indoors.

    Most puppies aren't reliable until at least a year old and as Karlin says, a dog with this background may never be reliable.

    It's horrid when they go on the sofa etc, often with the girls it is hormonal when they are coming up to a season - one of my girls is due fairly soon and is peeing at least once a week indoors right in front of us It's not a house training issue as she is perfectly well trained the rest of the time, it is purely hormonal scenting - it's only a small amount too rather than a full pee. Another reason for having bitches spayed

    Yes waterproof covers are a huge help - and access to a washing machine!

    Keep us posted and try to keep patient, if you are stressed that will make your puppy more anxious and more likely to have accidents.
    Nicki and the Cavalier Clan Our photos www.scotlandimagery.com
    Supporting www.rupertsfund.com and www.cavaliermatters.org

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    The only thing I have to add is that personally I would never have a boy puppy without a selection of belly bands for times when I can't trust him. When I was trying to rehab a mill dog, they saved my sanity.
    ~Denise and Clancy, Dillon (gone to The Bridge), and baby Oliver

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