As you all know, Odie is 3 months old and I'm working on housebreaking him. He doesn't poo in the house (thank God!) but he piddles 1-3 times a day on the floor I take him out about every 1.5 hours (by "out" I mean out of the crate and into the backyard) for good measure, though he usually lets me know he has to go by whining. He does NOT potty in his crate! He is definitely fully crate-trained.
He spends approximately 20-30 minutes in the living room (closely supervised) out of every hour. The rest of the time he is outside for a potty break or in his crate.
So I have a few questions
1.) How long should he be allowed in the living room?
2.) Crate-to-living room ratio?
3.) how often should I take him out?
4.) how long should I leave him there?
**He is not allowed to roam just yet, as he still has accidents. We contain him to the living room for now
Ps: why doesn't he whine to go potty when he is out if his crate? And how can I train him to give me a cue? The only hint I get is some circling and sniffing then BAM! Lol
Most dogs don't want to soil their sleeping area so they will not potty in the crate and will whine to be let out. He's not giving you a cue when he's outside of the crate because he feels that it's okay to potty inside. He will get it eventually.
When Molly was at that age, I only crated if I could not watch her. Otherwise, she is out playing in the living room and I would set a timer to take her out to potty every 20 minutes. If she doesn't potty, I will put her in the crate and try again after 10 minutes.
I taught Molly how to use the potty bell. She used to use it when she was younger and needed to go potty more often. Now that she's older, she doesn't use it because she can hold it until the next time we go out for a walk, to the park, etc.
He may have accidents because the floor smells like urine. Buy a good cleaner (I have always used Natures Miracle) to get rid of the smell that only dogs can detect.
I would suggest taking your puppy out more frequently. Every 20 minutes if you have to! A sign my puppy gave me during housebreaking was wandering. If he stopped playing with a toy or stopped following me around (even for just a second!) I took him out. He always went.
Perhaps your living room is too large a space for your puppy? When I brought mine home I kept him in a 9'x9' room. Inside the room was his crate, food/water bowls, and toys. That's it. He always went to the same corner to have his "accident" so I knew that when he wandered that direction I took him out.
My pup has been proudly accident free for almost a month now!
Housebreaking for us has been a bit of a mystery. Bear does not "cue". Even now, I have to be very watchful and see if he's pacing to the door or just roaming.
We had quite a few accidents previously. We actually just had one a few days ago that dumbfounded us. Bear was laying on his mat, I called him and he got up to come to me and pissed the whole way. No signs. I think it surprised him as much as me. He's almost 5 months old, now.
When he was younger (9 weeks) he peed everywhere!! It was very embarrassing. Try stoping him in the act. When he squats to pee, you can voice "no!" Or "uh uh" or clap your hands. Anything to stop the stream. Then promptly pick him up and take him outside to his potty spot. Whenever he successfully potties outside, give lots of praise and treat with a high value treat. Now Bear will squat to pee even if he just went, as soon as I say "go potty". The trainer told us housebreaking is like have two identical bathrooms, one inside and one outside. If someone bothered you every time you used the inside bathroom, you'd prefer the outside one. So you have to get your dog to think along those lines too.
Make sure your cleaning the accidents up with an enzymatic cleanser. I use diluted vinegar and let it soak for 20 mins before wiping it up. We have laminate floors, so it's easier than carpet.
Bear was only crated if a) we weren't home; b) he was supposed to be sleeping; c) I needed a break (5-20 mins max); d) he didn't potty right away during a break (10 mins then we tried again until he pottied). Other than that, Bear was either leashed to us or blocked in with an xpen so we always had an eye on him. Since he doesn't cue, anytime he started sniffing we'd rush outside to potty. I prefer out of crate time, because it gives us the opportunity to learn about each other and bond. I'm sure the crate gets tedious and boring after a while. He only gets access to certain areas of the house until recently. He's graduated and now has full run, though I prefer him to be near so if he disappears for more than a min, I'm calling him back to the living room.
Now a days his only cues are sitting at/near the door, pacing from me to the door, heavy panting in the crate, the "potty dance" where he gets all antsy and can't stand still. Is a work in progress and some dogs take longer than others. Consistency is your best friend.
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Hecate's Hellhound, Bearer of Mischief, CGC - "Bear"
Hecate's Hellhound, Gypsy Magic - "Gypsy"
We are in the thick of potty training now. What's been working (so far) for us is keeping close tabs on when he eats and drinks and then figuring out when he needs (or goes) potty after, then timing things accordingly to make sure he can go out around that time. It's not a perfect system by any means and the poo is more predictable than the pee for us. As he gets older and his body organs are growing we can see he can hold things a little longer. We have a 2 story home and must keep him barricaded when upstairs to prevent stair case falls, so he can't cue us by going to the back door. That complicates things so I spend as much time downstairs as I can. If I need to work but want him close by to watch I keep him on leash near me, hooked up to something stationary- such as in the kitchen. We also have an x-pen. That way I can direct my vision in one area while I work.