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Category: The Basics


Yesterday I wrote about the importance of putting your dog on a schedule. taking them out on a schedule, letting them know when it was time to go and what to do when they got there.

Someone asked, but how do I know the timing?  How long is too long and how do I know when I can quit running him out every few minutes/half an hour?

And of course I’ll give you my professional advice. I dunno.

Just like with people, dogs are all different with different needs and bladder capacities and urges.   We all feed different food, at different times.  A nice lady once told me it would hurt her heart not to leave food down all the time for her tiny dogs.  After all, she could go to the kitchen any time she wanted and get food. It would be mean to deprive the dogs.  She’s going to have a lot more issues (and boy howdy did she!) with housebreaking than the equally nice lady with the lab who feeds her twice a day and picks it up between.

The idea of all food all the time sounds good to me!


There’s this stuff we used to use before computers and fancy phones called Paper.  Do you have any laying around?   Find some.  Hang it up somewhere or put it on a table or counter with a pencil beside it.  Now, every time the dog goes outside, write it down.   Its not that hard.  Takes less than three seconds.    Right beside the time , add a number.  Zero means I took the stubborn thing out and it did nothing.  One means he went pee, and you can guess what happened when you wrote down a two.

After a few days, you’ll be able to see a pattern.  “Dog poops half an hour after he eats in the morning and and an hour after he eats at night.”   “She can go two hours without peeing during the day.”  It won’t be an exact science but you will be able to manage your time better.

A more general rule – when they are up and active, two to four month old puppies need to go out about every hour unless crated.  Or asleep.   Older dogs, err on the side of caution.  Keep them close, and write it down.

How often do you take yours out?


Nick chilling in the crate while I write.


I’ve written a few posts on housebreaking,  – check out the posts under Housebreaking Wednesdays – but I’m going to go over some things again today.

Housebreaking is very important – its one of the main reasons dogs are rehomed – that and other behavior issues.   If you can seperate the idea that housebreaking is an evil plot on the dog’s part to make you miserable and ruin his happy home, you are one step closer to getting it accomplished.  Dogs don’t poop or pee in the house because they are out to get you.  Sometimes it seems like it!  But generally dogs do what they do because its working for them at some level.

Okay – housebreaking.   Deep breath. We’re going to talk about how to back track with some dogs who we think SHOULD know – and yet DON’T DO IT.   Not little puppies who we know don’t know.

First of all decide where dog is going to be when you can’t eyeball them.  Crate works well for this.

Then get a leash and big clip, so you can attach the leash to you, your belt loop, arm, something.  NOW – if the dog isn’t in the crate, he’s attached to someone.   Its not as awkward as it sounds.  I’ve spend many many many hours with a dog clipped to me and you both get used to it quickly.  If there are more than one of you around – even better.  You can share!  Kids love this for a short amount of time.   Don’t over do that though.

small clip attached to leash. They come in many sizes.

NOW.   Decide when the dog is going out.  Yeah, that’s right, you get to decide.  Just like kids at school who (usually) can’t pee willy nilly – they have to wait for the bell – dogs will too.   Write down on paper when you want the dog to go out.  Then set the timer on that fancy phone you have (or the kitchen stove timer) for those times.

When dog hears that tone, in a few days, he’ll be heading to the door.  YAY!  But that’s not today.  Or tomorrow.  Or….well.  So right now you have to add in your words to that tone.  I say “Outside” and then we go out.  We walk to the same spot in the same way.  Then I stand there and hold the leash and sing my self a little ditty.  lalalalalalala.   I get bored with my singing pretty quickly so I tell the dog ‘Hurry up’.  I don’t walk around the yard, and I don’t really interact with him much.  Just stand there, waiting.  IF he goes – he gets a treat OUT there.  Not in the house.  Often they hurry up and go back in to the get the treat.  You want them to know they are being rewarded for going Out there.  Not for coming back in the house.  So once he gets the treat – then we can have a few minutes of play time or a quick walk around or whatever.  But pee first.  If there is no action, when I get bored, or cold, we go back in.  Dog goes back in the crate and we try again in fifteen minutes.

When they Do go, then they get a few minutes of play time either outside or in the house in a confined area.  They don’t get run of the house, because while they might know that they don’t pee in the kitchen, they have No clue they can’t pee in the bedroom – yet.  They will.  But not for a while.   Leave the leash on them so you can step on it if you need to – easier to step on a six foot leash than grab a running puppy.

Then puppy goes back to being attached to you.   He needs exercise yes, but you have to provide that some other way than letting him run around your house unsupervised.  Ball chase down a closed hall – walks – training.   When you get tired of him being attached – crate time.


When the next time you wrote down that you want to take dog out, and the timer goes off – repeat.

If YOU mess up and puppy pees in the house  – and you see it – yell ACK then say Outside and run them right out.  You want them to know outside is where that goes and standing there and acting like a potty fool doesn’t teach them that.  Taking them out where they go, is how you do that.

Make sure you write down when you want them to go out and when they actually DO something.  In or out – so you can see a schedule, “Yup he poops 4 times a day – what’s with that?! ” Or “Man, when I bring him in, he poops fifteen minutes later.  I’ll have to make sure he’s attached to me in the meantime and I set the timer for fifteen minutes and take him out again.”

More to come….Questions??

First things first

Okay – lets talk about that new puppy you’re bringing home.   I KNOW – I can’t wait either!  I love to talk puppy!

Today’s talk is going to be about What you need before he comes home.   I know surprises happen – we went to the shelter to ‘look at’ cats.   And ended up bringing home one THAT NIGHT.   He was already neutered – he could come!  I had nothing!   And we all lived.

And kitty teaches all the puppies who’s boss!

There are lists pages long of things you need if you google it.   I want to talk about a few of the most important things before that baby comes home.  We’ll pretend (for today) that you’ve already researched and picked out the right breed, or dog for you.

In some kind of random-ish order:

First of all – do you have a vet?   If you haven’t had animals in a while, you might not.  Ask your friends, ask people walking their dogs, ask at your local pet food store.  You will get several referrals.   Make an appointment a day or so after puppy comes home.  I’ve had some people take puppy straight from here to vet.   Others like to wait a few days.   Up to you, but get that appointment made.

Second  – where is baby going to pee and poop?   On pads in the house?  Outside?  Pick one or two spots and make sure he gets there a few dozen times a day (depending).   The more consistent you are with it, the faster he’ll catch on.


I won’t be perfect, but I’ll try!




Third – where is he going to sleep?  Crate?   Where will it be?  Somewhere handy you can pop in and out during the day.

Fourth – How will you react when he screws up?  When he poops on the floor and chews your shoes and howls all night and knock grandma over and takes the candy from the two legged baby?    Thinking ahead of time of what your reaction should be, will help before the natural instincts take over.   Patience is a virtue!

I thought helping load the dishwasher was a Good thing!?



Fifth-  what’s he going to be chewing on?  Puppies WILL be chewing on things.  Better lay in a supply of the good proper stuff.  (My cat has chewed up five, yes five,  phone chargers.  So far.   Puppies chew More.)

Sixth – what kind of exercise do you plan to do with him?   A tired dog is a good dog and you want a good dog, right?  Say right!   Walks, classes, parks, back yard, chase the ball down the hall, etc.  Plan to wear him out!

too exhausted to make it to bed!



Seventh – what are your socialization prospects?  The more he’s exposed to early,  the more social he’s likely to be.  Where can you take him?  How many people can he say hi to everyday?

Well, there’s a start.   I’ve had a few requests for tomorrow’s column.   Add yours in!  I’ll get to them.

Katesdogs@live.com    and check out my dogs/puppies -


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