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Thread: Puppy won't use pee pad or go outside - any tips?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
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    Question Puppy won't use pee pad or go outside - any tips?

    Hi there, so glad I found this community! My family brought home our little guy just yesterday and he is just eight weeks old. It is our first time owning a cavalier and we absolutely love him.

    However... we are having some issues with the pee pad and potty training.

    For starters, he doesn't seem to ever go to the bathroom in front of us. We put him on the pee pad immediately after he eats but he doesn't use it. We've tried to take him outside in our backyard after meals as well (using a teeny harness and leash) but he cries and wants to go back inside.

    We've set up a 4-sided pen in the kitchen with a pee pad, bed, food and water bowl, toys, etc. This is where the puppy sleeps at night (he slept in a crate in the kitchen of our breeder's house, only he had his siblings with him) but he cries when I put him inside and it is just gut wrenching to me. I brought along a couple blankets to rub on his mother when we went to pick him up, but I'm not sure if her scent is fading. I would love the puppy to sleep upstairs with the humans but our rooms are all heavily carpeted, and I think we need to get the potty training under control first. I'm hoping this pen set up will help, since it is supposed to invoke the puppy's "denning" instincts, although so far he has pooped in the pen but not on the pad (at least he didn't go in the bed!)

    I'm not really sure what to do. I've tried placing him on the pad multiple times after meals but have not been successful, he just sweetly wanders off. I also tried moving the pad into the living room with me when I was spending time with the puppy after dinner (didn't want to make a mad dash to the kitchen pen if he started to pee or poo) but even that didn't help. He just never goes to the bathroom when any of us are around, doesn't yet understand the pee pad and won't go outside.

    Not really sure what to do, any advice would be very appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Dublin, Ireland
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    Sorry to have missed this til now!

    The problems you are having are really normal puppy training issues. It sounds like you have a good setup. Id recommend downloading the free book After You Get Your Puppy by Dr Ian Dunbar, in the downloads section of for great advice on housetraining and everything related to puppy training and care. You need to just ignore the whining -- the puppy is doing this because it is a survival instinct to keep from being abandoned but he is growing out of that stage now and his mother would be pushing him to be more independent and not rushing to him (mothers start to totally ignore and even chase away their puppies before long!). You definitely should not rush and take him out as it won;t help him learn to be housetrained, and also means he is teaching you to run to him every time he gives the 'come' command. This makes for problems further on -- dogs with separation anxiety or incessant barking for attention etc. Ian Dunbar's book is excellent on all these things .

    You definitely do NOT want a puppy upstairs unless you can prepare a waterproof flooring for him or have him crate trained to sleep in a crate next to the bed. They are very prone to peeing in beds when young (and some can be when older, something about marking the scent of where their humans are). Needless to say dog pee will soak into a n expensive mattress and be very difficult to get out. It is worth investing in a good quality waterproof mattress cover like the Buglock ones designed for mites etc as well. A small puppy isn't a good choice for sleeping in or on a bed at night as they're so small and can be seriously injured by someone rolling over or accidentally pushing them off the bed.

    Most dogs are not reliably housetrained until about age one, so set them up for success through good management, and expect occasional accidents. The single biggest mistake just about every puppy owner makes is assuming their dog is housetrained long before they are, usually because they go outside for maybe a week or so. But they easily regress and really need to be within eyesight and limited in where they can go for many months.

    I'll bet things might have improved a little bit since you posted as you have a very young baby who would have been in new surroundings just one day, with all a bit topsy turvy and overwhelming!
    Cavaliers: Tansy : Mindy Connie Roxy Neasa Gus
    In memory: My beautiful Jaspar Lucy Leo Lily Libby

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