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Good Morning,
My girl is 9 weeks old. I've had her for a week. I've spent allot of time with her. We started her out with crate training. She has progressed to knowing her name, comes when we call, she can sit, she understands no, she speaks on command, etc. we take her out regularly to her run, she knows she's to go potty there, she looks for praise, we reward her. She even sleeps with us, in our bed and has never had an accident. However, I get up approximately every 3 to 4 hours and let her out. She's great...
My problem is this, I can't get her to let me know when she needs to go out. She seems to have no clue. Have I messed up the patterns? Am I missing a link? Or is she just to young? Again, she knows what it means to go outside, she speaks on command to associate the outside concept, she runs right over and pees. Something is missing.

Any thoughts out there? She has advanced so well, so quickly, maybe I'm expecting to much, to fast?

John
 

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I think you're correct that she is just too young. She sounds very smart and talented, but when they're that young they don't have the physical muscle development to understand things like that very well. Over time she'll learn to associate physical urges with the need to pee, and therefore go outside, but it will probably take a while. Their bodies take some time to catch up with their brains!
 

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She is like an infant human in terms of her neuromuscular development and while she probably understands certain concepts there are things that will take longer to develop like the control of bladder and rectal sphinters to the point of being able to hold against pressure. If she can't resist the urge to go (which she won't be able to do until she is about 6 months old (or longer) she may not feel the need to give a signal either. Or she may be giving very subtle signals. Javelin's signal of needing to go out was to stand near the door to the backyard which worked fine if I was looking at him, but was useless if he wasn't in line of sight. I didn't want to teach bells because he struck me as pup who would then constantly be rining bells and that would have made me and BF both want to beat him with the bells.
 

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You guys are awesome. Thanks for all you comments. I'm very prejudice, but she has been catching on so well, so quickly, I was looking for miracles. And with that a concern that maybe I was creating a bad habit with my training efforts.
John
 

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She did just pee on her bedding in her cage while there was plenty of room away from her bedding. Should I reduce the size of her crate again?
 

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She did just pee on her bedding in her cage while there was plenty of room away from her bedding. Should I reduce the size of her crate again?
Yes! Peggy's only housebreaking hiccup was with soft things (and this included one accident on crate bedding). We solved this by keeping the crate strictly Peggy-sized until she'd had no accidents for a couple of months. And when she was out of the crate, we didn't leave any blankets, dog beds, towels, etc. on the floor for her.

As for signalling to go out, for that first year I'd prefer to just stay ahead of my puppy's toilet needs as much as possible. The few times Peggy's had to do an unexpectedly urgent poop, she communicated this by being (for lack of a better word) ANNOYING. Staring at us, being restless, that sort of thing. I think you'll eventually start picking up on these signals.

I'm not sure I'm in the majority on this, but I don't like a dog to scratch at the door, ring bells, etc. I'd rather they just give me a look.
 

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She actually sounds a bit ahead of the typical 9 week old. I think you and she are doing fine. If you think about it, housebreaking requires puppies to master several concepts:
  • What needing to pee and poop actually feels like as their bodies change
  • Knowing which areas are pee zones (outside) and which areas are clean zones (inside)
  • Having a long enough attention span to remember to pee after moving from a clean zone to a pee zone (hey, look, a squirell!)
  • Having the bladder capacity and muscle control to put all the concepts into practice
I think expecting her to tell you she needs to go out, when she may not fully realize it herself, is a bit advanced for her just yet.

For what it's worth, my boy Pogo was pretty reliable in the house at around four months as long as nobody got him excited. He was prone to submissive piddling until he was almost a year. Snarky took a little more than five months to get to the same point, but he didn't have much of a submissive piddling phase.

Galen lags far far behind either of them. At a bit over five months he has now finally reached the point where I can let him roam loose in a single large room with wood floors and no carpets. He's figured out this room is a no pee zone. If I let him into any room besides this room he will probably leave a mess. If there is a dog bed or throw rug in the no pee zone he will possibly pee on it. When not in the crate he shows he needs to go out by running in circles, spinning out, and bashing into things. When he's in his crate he barks, pants and moans to go out. (Barking with no moaning means he's just complaining.) Ah, puppies!
 
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