I'd love advice on an issue we are having with housebreaking our almost 12 week old lab, Odie. He is confined primarily to our pretty good sized kitchen throughout the day and evening. At "bedtime", which is around 11 pm, we take him out for a potty break and then immediately into his crate that has towels draped over to darken it and make it cozy. Doesn't go in the crate at all during the day, only at bedtime. His crate is only about 3 feet away from the bed in the guest room. We are using the guestroom because it is on the first floor and all the other bedrooms are on the 2nd story which is a much farther walk to get outside at 1 or 2 am and dangerous b/c of navigating the staircase. Our family members take turns doing "puppy duty for the night shift" aka getting very little sleep! Good news is that he has stopped howling when we put him in the crate, but has gotten into the habit the last few nights of the following: in crate at 11 pm, up at: 1:45 am to pee, 3:45 am usually to pee and poop, 5:45 am to pee and wants to start his day. Last night he was up at 3 am, 4 am, 5 am and 5:45 am. I'm thinking that he doesn't really have to piddle that badly at the 4 or 5 am time especially if he went at 2 or 3 am and maybe we should try and ignore his whimpering and crying at the 5 am time? You just feel so badly listening to him cry, you're bleary eyed from lack of sleep and you just react to his crying not completely sure if he has to go or not.
What do you thinK?? Keep doing what we're doing and he will settle in as he gets bigger and his bladder/neurological functioning improves?
Is he actually peeing when you take him out? Is he frequently peeing during the day?
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
He definitely piddles almost immediately when you take him out each time except maybe the 5 am, particularly if he's just been out in the last hour and 1/2 or so. I'm realizing that he doesn't always piddle for a really long time, it's usually a pretty quick pee. E.g. I just took him out before putting him the crate for the night and he piddled a good long while and pooped-which is getting to be his pattern around 10:30-11 pm. However, the middle of the night piddle runs aren't as long as that one was. I'm fairly confident he's going to "bed" with an empty bladder and not needing to poop. That mid-morning potty run around 3-4 am usually is a "respectable" pee and a poop. Although you have to wait around some for the poop to happen. A couple of the mornings when I took him out at 5 am he started rolling around in the grass or just sitting on the pool deck staring off into the planting beds. So....I give him our command, to go "potty" with a little bit of a walk around the backyard, if I don't see him piddling soon after, then it's back into the crate until at least 6 am. I think we're getting played on the 5 am piddle calls, but what do you think? And yes, in answer to your question, we take him out to "potty" after naps, after eating, after play sessions and if it's been an hour or more since the last potty break (unless he's asleep on the doggy bed in the kitchen then we just wait until he wakes up from his nap) and he always goes. Appreciate the advice. I don't recall our other two labs getting up as frequently for potty runs in the middle of the night when they were this young.
There's is no harm in having him cry it out for a while until he falls back asleep. But now you have set a pattern for him, and that might be a hard habit to break. Sooner the better. When my babies go home at 8 weeks, they can (and do) hold it in their crate through the night, or at least 6-7 hours, which progresses to a full 8 hours in a day or two.
What does he do to tell you he needs to go out? Bark? My puppies seem to have an "I am lonely and bored-come play with me" bark, and a different, distinct, almost desperate cry/bark/whine when they have to go potty.
Pick the time that he pees the least, and don't get up to let him out, make him wait. If he gets desperate, do take him out, but "stand like a tree" with him on leash, and ignore him until he pees, and then straight back into the crate. You want to pee session to be as boring as possible, so there is no reward to him for getting up. No play, no walking around the yard, don't even look at him, and if he gets that far away look in his eyes (he is probably exhausted too!) take him immediately back to his crate. And go back to bed. Wear earplugs if you have to, because he is going to pull out all of the stops to get someone up to go out with him. You may want to tell your neighbors you are crate training your puppy, and he may bark whine cry loud for a few nights, they might hear him, especially if you leave windows open. Shoot for not getting up to let him out at all the next few days, he is fully capable of holding it all night at 12 weeks old, unless he has a medical problem, like a urinary tract infection, or a parasite.
I would also definitely get him used to being crated in the daytime right now too, just lure him in with a treat and shut the door for an hour here and there. It will give you peace of mind that he is safe, (and not eating the kitchen) while you can get things done around the house. How is he doing potty training otherwise? Dont be sfraid to use your crate!
I like my dogs and puppies to sleep in a little, I have a 6.5 week old litter of 12 that are still sleeping right now (at 7 am Cali time). I don't feed them the second they wake up, when they wake I take them all outside let them play, and feed them about a half hour after they are done playing. They don't get a food reward for waking up early, so they stay quiet longer.
Last edited by Shelley; 08-05-2013 at 10:26 AM.
Ok, here's last night's doings. Took him out at 10:30 he did a long pee, longer than most of the ones he does during the day and a poop. Put him in his crate and he didn't make a sound, settled right in and I presume went to sleep (i have a dark towel covering the crate). Up crying, barking and whining at 1:39, poop'd and pee'd immediately and right back into the crate. Gave one little whimper and was quiet until 4:45 am. I waited a little while why he cried, howled, etc. and then when he was quiet for a minute or two, figured he must have to go again and I'd take him out, but not until he was quiet in the crate. He piddled, but then was sitting looking down the steps to the lower patio and not moving around to do any more "business". I figured ok, he has probably decided that hew wants to get up now and didn't really need to potty that badly so I'll put him back in the crate to let him know it's not time to start the day. He cried and howled for a bit, but did settle down, only to be back up howling and whining, crying and barking at 5:45 am, only an hour later. I waited it out for a bit, but it was ratcheted up a notch from the 4:45 am complaining. Took him out and he pooped immediately. I, of course, felt tremendously guilty thinking I hadn't given him enough time at 4:45 to poop.
Given the poops happening at 1:39 and again at 5:45 (and maybe would have happened at 4:45 am if given more time) that I should still try to ignore the crying/howling at the other hours?
P.S. We are in California as well, San Rafael!
The middle of the night pooping is weird to me. When is he eating his last meal of the day? Usually they poop within a half hour of that meal. I could see perhaps one more before bed (like at 10/11) but in the middle of the night??? Weird.
How much food and when is he eating?
Last edited by BigBrownDog; 08-05-2013 at 05:55 PM.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
I agree with the middle of the night pooping? Do you feed him late at night? How many times a day do you feed him?
We feed him around 6:30 am- 7 am, 1 1/2 cups of Taste of the Wild Prairie Puppy and same amount again at 5 pm. My breeder recommended switching him to a large breed puppy food after he finishes the 30 lb bag of Taste of the Wild. Which should be in about two weeks. We'll transition him into the large breed puppy chow. Any good recommendations there?
However, I think I might know what's going on with the more frequent bowel movements. He tested negative for Giardia on July 3rd (breeder's vet test) and we picked him up from the breeder on July 10th. Another family who had adopted one of his litter mates had tested positive for Giardia the day before at their vet's. My breeder was upset at this because she works really hard at keeping them clean to prevent these infections. He came home with us on Metronidazole, finished that course of Metro, waited a week, did a poop test, still positive, treated him again with Panacur and Metro, waited a week, poop tested again and I just got the call that it's positive. My daughter noted that he has dandruff like little white flakes on his coat, which I recall with our last black lab can indicate an infection of some kind. Maybe the Giardia is throwing things all off?
Things are much better now. Probably b/c the Giardia has cleared up (I hope). Odies is going into his crate between 10:30 and 11:30 pm and sleeping through to about 5 am. When he goes out at 5 am he does a long piddle and poops. We put him back in his crate immediately after he finishes his business and he settles down until about 6-6:30 am, when we get up to start our day. Eventually I hope that 5 am potty call extends to 6-7 am and all will be well. Thanks for all the sage advice. It really does help!