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Hello everyone,
Since in my last post you were all so helpful, I am here with some questions about potty training.

I have a 7/8 weeks mini poodle Otto, as explained earlier he was given to us very young for a varied number of reasons. He is growing up fast and is a lively happy puppy. I am a bit confused about his potty training learning as it feels we are going forward one day and then unlearning everything the next day.

To give you a bit of context. We live in an apartment building and we cannot yet go out because Otto hasn't completed his vaccination cycle yet. We live in Peru and the Vet has advised against taking him out as there might be stray dogs here carrying nasty stuff, even if not too common in our hood. Given this we have decided to train him to go on a pad on the balcony, which is good but involves us having to allow him to go (it is winter here).

Otto is pretty good with peeing on the pad, he rarely has accidents. Unfortunately, his n.2 is more problematic. A few days ago we reached a point where he would only want to go on the carpet in the living room. Fo this I bought an enzyme breaking product, cleaned everything and put a piece of his poop on the pad. Since then he has been consistent to go on the pad, but then last night and this morning he started pooing around again. The problem I have is that he is pretty unreliable with timing. Though he eats on a schedule, he takes longer to go than what most sites say (from 1 to 4 hours after he eats) and I don't know how to organise his potty sessions. We tried to leave him longer on the balcony when he shows signs of having to go, but he would then cry and beg to come back in without producing anything. I would like him to go before bedtime but it is not working. He sleeps in a dog bed next to us and sleeps through the night ok, only sometimes wake up and goes on the floor (despite he has his pad next to his dog bed). A couple of nights he surprisingly made it through the night.

While I am not desperate as I know he is very young, I think I would appreciate some advice, also thinking that one day we will have to switch from puppy pad to street potty.

Thanks so much :)
 

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My first thought is that poops tend to get "jostled out" with activity or excitement. So, for example, if you calmly take puppy outside, he doesn't go, and then you come inside for a play session, he's very likely to surprise you (and himself) with an indoor poop.

Does this sound like a possibility? At this age, he really has no control over his bowel movements, but you can trigger them by jogging to his toilet spot.

If the circumstances of these accidents aren't obvious to you, try quickly jotting down his schedule for a few days, making note of the times he toilets (inside and outside), plays, eats, and sleeps. You might quickly see a pattern to the accidents that will help you troubleshoot.

I'd also recommend leashing and accompanying him rather than leaving him on the balcony. As soon as he starts going, use your potty cue, such as "Hurry Up!" And the moment he's done, reward him with great enthusiasm. If you're not there to praise him and give him a treat, how does he know he's doing a wonderful thing?

If he's not gone within a few minutes, it's back inside to a confined area and then try again in 30 minutes or so.
 

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Your puppy is 7 or 8 weeks old... He physically isn't developed enough yet to be reliable and perfect. Yes, work on training, but don't get angry at yourself or him if he makes a mistake, it's completely normal puppy behaviour. Before 6 months or so, most puppies aren't developed enough to be reliably house trained, the urge gets them, and they go! At 8 weeks, a perfectly housetrained puppy would be like a canine Mozart - sure, some people can write symphonies at age 8, but it's a pretty rare and incredible achievement. Similarly, I am sure there have been a few housebroken puppies at age 8 weeks, but it's not a reasonable expectation to have. If I recall, he's a toy, too, which often take even longer to mature.

You may want to try pairing a word with going potty - I use "go for pee" and "sniff sniff!" - especially when Annie was little, it helped remind her why we were outside. I also like to reward immediate pottying with something - treats are good, but also not immediately coming inside once they have pottied as my dog learned to hold it to get more outside sniffing time :) I liked to go for a tiny walk after she went, or play a little bit, or something as a reward.
 

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Thank you so much for your valuable advice. I think I will try to take a note of his schedule and also start pairing a word to going potty. We are absolutely not getting angry at him as I understand that with the size of his little body there must allow for limited control, or virtually zero control. It is good to exchange opinions here as it makes me more tranquil that I am not doing something wrong. I wont to be able to train this dog well, but also grow him happy and cheerful. I had a bad experience with a rescue dog in the past so I guess I am overly conscious!
 

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I totally get it. Luckily, even if you go wrong with positive reinforcement, you're likely not going to create an aggressive pup. Just keep being patient with him, and also with yourself. Your goal for right now is to teach him the world is wonderful and he can trust you completely.

My favourite puppy training resource, by far, is Ian Dunbar. I think choosing a proven method and sticking with it (i.e. being consistent) is one of the greatest gifts you can give your little guy. It's part of that whole trust thing. Erratic humans are sooooo stressful. :)
 
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