Pooping Puppies

So we are into Week Two of Puppy Love at our house. Only along with all those soft sweet snuggles has come a lot of puppy pottying! We are making great progress with getting them on a schedule, but I won’t lie – we have a ways to go.

As I mentioned before, we have given each puppy her own little haven in a Crate Couture™ table. They are eating and sleeping in their crates to create some order and boundaries for them. Since I now have more pets than kids, order has become synonymous with sanity!

We are using the crates for sleeping at night, feeding, and as a safe place to let the puppies rest when we have to leave the house. They whined a little in the beginning, but are quickly adjusting to sleeping in their respective crates. It is critical that you do not let them out in the middle of the night if they are whining. They will associate whining with being let out. They are smart little buggars, and if you give in once, it will take you weeks to get them to understand that you expect them to sleep through the night in their crate. As little baby puppies, it is not safe for them to sleep in the bed with us, nor roam around the house unsupervised at night.

They also already associate feeding with the crates. From the moment they hear a morsel of food hit their dog bowls, they run to the crates and wait for their meal! It is so cute.

As for the housebreaking, my rule is to take them outside to potty as soon as we get them out of the crate or puppy pen. If they go, they get a treat immediately (keep some in your pockets). This very simple yet positive reward is incredibly effective. Make sure your treats are small and low-calorie since you’ll be giving a lot of them! (Ask your vet for suggestions. Also you can just use a piece of their food.) If they do not do their business, they have to go back in their crate for 5-15 minutes and we try again. This is not a punishment, but rather a way to keep them contained until they can/will eliminate. Right now, especially with two puppies, it is requiring a lot of my patience! In spite of my routine, they still have accidents in the house. But I am sticking to my guns and keeping my eye on the prize, even though this week I’ve gone through a whole bottle of rug cleaner.

Remember, the key is to do the same thing the same way every time. That means go to the same spot, say the same words (I say, “Go potty!), and give a treat immediately once they go. You have to have the treat in your hand and do it right away in order for them to associate the action with the reward. (See video.)

Check back in next week and I’ll let you know who is winning, me or the puppies!