Still Having Problems With Housebreaking?

Beagle in Crate

QUESTION:

Hi Don, I have a 4 month old Beagle puppy and I’ve been working with her with your system for 2 weeks now. She’s doing great and I’ve seen tremendous improvement in her behavior.

I have a question about house breaking: In just one week’s time I’ve stopped all accidents in the house, but I’m still waking up to a messy (just poop) crate. I’ve read that a puppy can hold their needs for one hour for every month old they are. Is this true? Should I still get up during the night to let her out, or should she be able to control it by now for a 7-hour period?

 

ANSWER:

Before I answer your question, I should mention that most people that struggle with housebreaking issues simply have not applied the fullness of my advice within the Perfect Dog DVDs. Successful housebreaking depends on implementing a dedicated program. The results can be achieved within a surprisingly short period of time (from just 5 to 14 days), however if there are any gaps or inconsistencies in the training then you will encounter problems.

These anchors to complete success can range from allowing the dog too much free space within the training kennel (which goes against my instruction on the DVDs), to failing to closely supervise the dog during free time outside the training kennel, to neglecting to give the dog a proper exercise session in the evening.

Whenever people are struggling with certain issues in any area, I always encourage them to carefully review the Quick Start Guide and also both Perfect Dog DVDs. The “Golden Rules” section on DVD #1 is especially important. Some people don’t realize how much all the areas of their dog’s training are interrelated. Believe me, slackness or incorrect application of the training techniques in one seemingly unrelated area can actually have a negative impact on something else in the dog’s life. For example, permitting resistance during performance of the “Down” command can have a corrupting ripple effect. It can affect behavior during walks, during play time with other dogs, during household meal times, and even during housebreaking training.

Now, having said the above, if you feel you’ve sufficiently reviewed all the training materials then you need some practical advice:

1) Reduce the available space in your dog’s crate even more. Leave just enough space for the dog to stand up and stretch and also turn around. Ideally, a dog won’t mess in its own space directly where it sleeps.

2) I would never rely on advice that says your dog should be doing “X” at “X” age. You have to assess your individual dog’s needs and capabilities and the dog’s individual environmental influences that affect him. Hard and fast rules can be rigid and even dangerous. They can produce all kinds of problems and unnecessary stress in a dog owner’s life.

3) Give your dog two exercise sessions later in the day versus just one. Exercise her late afternoon/early evening and then again just before her bedtime. Make sure the bedtime session is not too strenuous, causing your dog to need to drink water. Exercise stimulates a dog’s bowels, so that is all you’re looking to accomplish during this last run for the day.

4) Remove all food and water access even earlier before your dog’s bedtime – even up to three hours beforehand, if needed. Of course, this won’t be doable if you live in a very hot climate – at least regarding water. If this is the case and your dog does need to drink water close to bedtime then you may have to accept the fact that you’re in for at least one middle-of-the-night bathroom break for your dog until her bowels further develop.

5) After doing all of the above, if you’re still waking up to a messy crate I would add an extra nighttime bathroom break to your dog’s routine.

I hope this helps and reassures you. – Don Sullivan, “The DogFather”

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