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My husband and I have two short legged Jack Russell Terrier puppies that are just now 4 months old. They are doing fine but we are having problems with house training them.
Our puppy Jason still has a problem with relieving himself in the house, and particularly in his crate. We take him out about 5 times a day, twice just to run and get rid of his pent up energy, but he still relieves himself on the floor and does not make any effort to let us know he has to go (or none that we know of!).
Arnold , the other puppy, will relieve himself in his crate also but more so, he will do a "number two" in his cage and then he eats it. We have tried to reprimand him when we catch him doing it and then he backs off but he still has a penchant for it.
Arnold can wait to relieve himself outside in the morning but Jason has a real problem with it. Often times we will pick Jason up to take him out and he apparently gets so excited that he relieves himself on us. Any help would be appreciated.
Hi there Marigold,
Thanks for the email regarding your two short legged Jack Russell Terrier puppies and their house training troubles. The problems you are encountering are very common with young puppies of this age and they are relatively easy problems to correct with time. Firstly we need to look at a general house training strategy. I would ask you to review our bonus book ‘Secrets to House Training’ for further ideas.
In order to help maximize the training of your puppies, it is important to understand when a puppy is most likely to urinate (pee) or defecate (poop). Typically, this can be divided into four categories:
1. A puppy usually eliminates (urinates or defecates) soon after it wakes up, since during sleep urine production continues to fill the bladder. It is important to remember that puppies sleep several times a day and so have several waking periods.
2. After eating a meal a puppy is likely to defecate within ten to twenty minutes. This is due to a physiological function called the gastro-colic response which is, in more simple terms, a bodily response produced after eating that causes a dog’s bowels to move leading to defecation. Since young puppies are generally fed at around three to four times daily, they will also need to be taken outside, or to paper (depending on your training method) after being fed.
3. If a puppy has been highly active at one time, it is likely to eliminate soon after.
4. In general puppies usually also eliminate before sleeping each night.
As you can see, there are many times throughout a single day that a puppy may eliminate. It is important to remember that, as well as these general categories, a puppy may eliminate at any time and thus you need to be aware that accidents will happen. They are bound to occur no matter how prepared or organized you are since:
The muscles in a puppy bladder are still developing resulting in less control.
The smaller size of the bladder results in more frequent urination of small volumes.
You can help regulate the elimination process however, with well controlled schedules and a frequent regime of resting, eating and playing. At times when this schedule is changed by other family members having other separate activities with the puppy, his schedule and need to eliminate will change as well.
A common mistake made by many owners when they get their new puppy and bring them home for the first time is to allow free run of the house. Allowing the puppy a free run will interrupt and set the training process back several weeks. This setback happens because the puppy will most likely ‘accidentally’ eliminate in several areas of the house. As a result of the odor and her familiarity of the area, she may remember these areas as being those at which she can go back to in order to eliminate again. Unless these areas are scrubbed and deodorized the problem will worsen.
Giving the puppy full access to your home can also result in him either getting into mischief, hurting himself or both.
Supervision of the puppy must be carried out at all times at this early stage. Not only does this ensure your puppy cannot cause trouble, but it also greatly aids the training process. In circumstances where it is not possible to devote all this time to supervision, crate training could be used as it sounds as though you have been doing. Because a puppy will generally eliminate in an area they have previously urinated or defecated, it is important to remove and neutralize any area that has been affected. This is a very important aspect of house training both puppies and adult dogs.
By making set times during the day when someone in the family is able to feed and then supervise your puppies you will be able to help the puppies in getting to the area you have chosen to train them to eliminate in. In general a puppy should be fed three to four times per day. The day should therefore be arranged such the puppies can be fed on three to four separate occasions with supervision. It also needs to be arranged so that when the puppies awake from sleep, someone is available to take them outside to the toilet.
Whether it’s the middle of the night, early morning or after a day-nap, an awakening puppy needs to be taken outside to urinate and/or defecate. As stated earlier, puppies are generally fed three to four smaller meals per day. Elimination after a period of activity or exercise is also common, so you should wait with them outside and encourage them to urinate/defecate before letting them into the house.
By following the guidelines above, you should have more control over Jason’s house training problem. Puppies generally do not give you much warning that they need to go out, because they haven’t yet learnt that they HAVE to go out! For this reason following the guidelines above will give you the best idea of when Jason will most likely be feeling like urinating or defecating. If you catch Jason about to toilet inside, quickly run and pick him up to carry him outside. Sometimes he will end up urinating or defecating in your arms, but this is just something you will have to put up with for the next little while until he is properly trained. If you are too late to pick Jason up, but he is still in the act or it is definitely only seconds after the event, you can reprimand him with a guttural growl "AAAAH" and a clap of the hands so that he knows what he has done is wrong. Doing so after the event be it more than 10 seconds will be pointless and only confuse your dog as well as potentially giving it a submissive complex later in life.
Also make sure that when you take your puppies outside to toilet you do the following:
1. After mealtimes, waking up and exercise your puppies should be gently picked up and taken outside or preferably lead via a collar and lead outside to your chosen toileting area.
2. While waiting patiently for your puppy to eliminate, use an encouraging, high pitched tone of voice to say the word or phrase you wish to use. Repeat this while you wait. e.g.. "Toilet Jason!"
3. Continue repeating the word you have chosen until the puppy has finished urinating and defecating before giving plenty of praise and attention. "GOOD BOY!!, WELL DONE, YOU’RE SO CLEVER!!" – using an excited and happy high pitched voice. This praise needs to occur directly after the puppy has finished in order to be effective. You may then both return inside. Do not play with the puppy until it has eliminated.
As for Arnold, you will need to try and make him stop eliminating in his crate for starters. A puppy will not understand that going inside the crate is undesirable as compared to outside, all they know, is that they will return to the spot where they have been before, which it can recognize by scent. For this particular problem I would use an odor neutralizer to disguise the scent, and when you do take Arnold outside, always take him to the same spot every time. Dogs love to go outside, and quite often, they will hold on, so as to prolong the experience of being outdoors. In this case, wait until your dog has done its business, then reward your dog by taking it for a walk, or throwing a ball for it. This can be tricky if it continues. If you catch your puppy in the act of urinating or defecating in his crate, quickly reprimand him. You will need to be very vigilant with this to catch him and to stop this behavior.
As for Arnold’s Coprophagia problem (poop eating problem), there are a few techniques you can use. The easiest way to prevent him from eating feces is by removing it immediately before your puppy gets a chance to eat it, but this will be difficult while the puppy is not being supervised – which is one of the reasons for having a crate.
Another idea is to leave a few of his feces in his crate and hide and observe him. If he approaches it to eat it, reprimand him by squirting him with cold water, or shaking a can of pebbles and growling a guttural growl. If you do this for a month, with any luck, he would have learned that eating feces is not appropriate. You could also try lacing the stools with pepper, or perhaps you could try Tabasco sauce, or lemon juice. However, some dogs will eat the poop regardless of the taste. There is a product on the market called Forbid that is added to a dog's diet to make feces distasteful, though this is not always effective. Some have added pineapple or spinach to their dogs diet, while others use a meat tenderizer. This makes the poop less palatable.
While this is quite an unpleasant behavior for us, for dogs it's no big deal, so I don't think you should be concerned about Arnold's health. He will outgrow it, but make sure that you prevent the behavior as much as possible so that it does not become a habit.
Best of luck with your two dogs. I hope the above advice has been of some help to you with their problems.
Daniel Stevens and the Secrets to Dog Training Team
I've been a professional dog trainer for well over 20 years, and in that time I've helped thousands of dog owners just like you to get the friendly, well behaved, slipper fetching, best pal they always wanted.
But it didn't start out that way. I've always loved dogs, some things never change. But when I first started my professional dog training career I relied on the so-called 'best practices' when it came to dog behavior training. It was only when I heard people tell me over and over again that they just weren't seeing results that I started to question the old accepted wisdom. So I started a journey, a quest to search out the best, most effective, techniques, tips, and tricks that really work.
And that's how I came up with Secrets to Dog Training. Year after year I found new techniques that achieved the results I wanted. Eventually I had a whole book worth of great resources: Secrets to Dog training...
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