Dog Training Tips -
I certainly am not the dog training authority here! However, after a lifetime of living with dogs, I have learned a few things that I hope will be helpful to you, especially in the area of potty training. I also recommend a few of my favorite dog trainers in this section.
Potty Training Tips
Your puppy will be paper-trained to potty pads when he goes home with you. We always also include a little book on potty training in your puppy gift pack. It has lots of great tips to help you with potty training your new puppy.
I highly recommend the North States 6 panel Superyard Portable Indoor Outdoor play-yard ($58.99 at walmart.com is the cheapest I have found). I place one in my bedroom right by my bed, for puppy to sleep in at night. I also have two pens joined together that I put in my kitchen/living room when I am potty training a puppy.
Most house training problems occur when a puppy isn't supervised and allowed to make accidents in the house. In any busy household, we cannot possibly keep our puppy next to us every single minute of the day. This is why when I train puppies, I usually try to keep them on a loose leash next to me so I can keep an eye on them, and take them to go potty every hour or so, or as soon as they look like they need to go, but eventually I need to cook lunch or dinner or wash some laundry or do something where puppy can’t be right next to me. When I can’t supervise puppy, I place him in his play area. There are always potty pads in one end and a bed and food area on the opposite end with toys. Perhaps you have to go to the store and must leave puppy behind. This is the spot for your puppy to be during those times. If puppy is in a crate and you can’t get home in time, your puppy will be forced to potty and if he doesn’t have a potty area he will create some bad habits. That is why I recommend the puppy play area.
You never want puppy to be forced to go potty in his sleeping area, that’s why if you have potty pads on one end it makes it easier for puppy to have somewhere to go in an emergency. Even when in the puppy play area, many of our pups will still bark and tell you they need to go out, be watching for those signs. But during those times when you are in the shower, or on the phone or don’t hear them, they will have another option if they really need to go, if you have set it up this way. I recommend you buy two super yards and connect them if you have the space because it makes puppy's little world even bigger and much more fun for those times when he cannot be supervised.
My Thoughts on Crate Training...
Book after book, and trainer after trainer are raving about crate training, but I feel a book needs to be written about the problems and dangers of crate training as well. I am always hesitant to recommend crate training because I honestly get nervous that people will overdo it with the crate. I NEVER want one of our puppies locked up in a crate for hours. I have heard too many horror stories of wonderful puppies that literally went crazy because their owners left them in the crate too long. The crate is not made for someone to escape their puppy. If you want a puppy, you must be committed to spending lots, and lots, and lots of time with it. The crate, if used incorrectly, will only create more problems in the long run.
If you use a crate the way it was intended to be used, then it can be a blessing, and it can help you house-train your puppy very quickly. During the training stage, a crate should be a happy place with a nice bone, or special toys that are only given when going in the crate.
Please understand my concern for my puppies as a breeder. The reason I am hesitant to recommend crates is simply because too many people have misused them. That is why I am listing the reasons I am against crates below:
Here are the reasons I am against crates:
1. Puppies left too long in a crate are being mistreated. All dogs crave love and attention, and all dogs are pack animals. They want to be with you! Being locked up and left alone for hours on end is heartbreaking to a dog.
2. Too many times a short trip gets delayed and puppy ends up being forced to go potty in the crate.
You do not want to ever have your puppy left too long in the crate because it will be forced to go potty where it sleeps. The more this happens the harder your dog will be to house-train because you are in essence training your puppy that it's not terrible, or that it really wasn't the end of the world to have to go potty in it's crate. Every time puppy is forced to go potty in it's crate you are taking three steps backward in your house-training process.
*If you ever find that puppy has gone potty in the crate, make sure you remove all bedding and wash it once or even twice to remove any smell of urine. Thoroughly clean and spray the crate sides, and floor with an enzymatic cleaner that removes all traces of smell from the potty accident. (We recommend one in our fave product section.)
3. Puppies left in a crate too long can actually develop bad habits that will later make house training terribly difficult. What do I mean by this? Well, if a puppy is left too long in a crate, sooner or later he simply cannot hold it, and must relieve himself. Dogs are CLEAN BY NATURE. This means they never want to go potty where they sleep (would you?!) This is one of the reasons it is much better to get a puppy from a good breeder that raises their puppies in a clean environment. Puppies in pet stores for instance, have no where to go potty but their little cage and this is terrible for house-training later on because they soon start to think, "I guess it's not that bad to go potty where I sleep after all!" When a puppy no longer cares about being clean, it becomes much harder to house train them. Puppies left to go potty in their sleeping area are much harder to potty train than those that have been trained to go potty in a special area separate from their sleep and play area. Our puppies know where their potty area is and are usually 100% paper trained by the time they go to their new homes. This makes it much easier as they get older to begin the house-training process.
4. Crates are often used by busy people much too long, when they are just plain tired of baby-sitting puppy.
This is why we recommend a puppy play area. You cannot physically be with your puppy all day long, and for those times when you must leave puppy unattended, he can have fun, eat, drink, play and nap in his puppy play area, and if he really had to go potty he could run to the other end of his play area and use the restroom. Many times some our puppies will whimper and tell you they need to go outside and they try their best sometimes to not even use the play area potty. These are all signs that your puppy is ready to move forward in house-training.
5. Many people do not purchase a big enough crate for their dog. I only recommend a 30" crate for our Havanese.
If you are going to crate train, the only size of crate I recommend is a 30" double door, with divider. I have a link to the crate we recommend in our "Products We Love" section on this website. The 30 inch is the best size to buy. I do not recommend any smaller sizes. Even my smallest 8 lb Havanese needs the 30 inch crate to actually be able to stretch out. Any smaller is too small. Don't worry, this crate comes with a handy divider that will make it smaller for tiny puppies when potty training. If your puppy keeps it's crate dry, you can keep expanding the size. There are a lot of crate training videos demonstrating this on YouTube.
6. The crate can create "hyper" dogs...
The Havanese are a wonderful breed. They are happy, and fun! Yet, at the same time they are calm and laid back. (At least all of my Havanese, and my friend's Havanese are!) However, any dog or puppy that is left for hours in a crate will be way over the top hyper when they are let out of the crate. A very calm dog can be super hyper, jumping up like crazy, and running around like a crazy dog if they have been locked up too long. Sometimes people are sick of the dog running around super hyper and they lock it back up in the crate! Yikes!!! The poor dog!!! The dog is actually a calm dog that has been kept in what he feels is solitary confinement for however many hours...wouldn't you be thrilled to be set free too?! These dogs are not hyper dogs, they are normal dogs that were left alone or ignored for way too long. The crate is not a place for dogs to be locked up for hours on end.
A Good Night's Sleep (for you and puppy!)
I know this is contrary to what some dog trainers will say, and contrary to the old fashioned notion, “just let them cry it out.” Perhaps it makes your dog a little bit too dependent on you, etc but....I will share this anyways. When you are tired of not sleeping at night, and your puppy just won’t stop crying and howling away, this small suggestion might give you some sweet sleep. When my dogs were puppies, I let them sleep right next to my bed in a 6 sided rectangular pen (I use the North States 6 panel Superyard Portable Indoor Outdoor play-yard. The cheapest place I have found it is for $58.99 at walmart.com)
For night time, I put a little bed at one end of the puppy play yard (near the end of the bed where my pillow is) and I put two potty pads in the far corner on the other end of the puppy yard. Every one of my dogs slept wonderfully through the night. They just wanted to be by me and they were quiet. Sometimes they would whimper, and I would just reach
my hand over and give them a pat, or let them smell my hand through the gate and they would quiet right down again and go back to bed. Sometimes if they whimper they are telling you they need to go potty. You can of course take them outside to potty, depending on your goal and the speed at which you want to house-train them.
As stated above in the potty training section, a lot of puppies will struggle holding it through the night until they are about 4 to 6 months old usually. *I always remove food and water at least two hours before I plan to go to bed. This way your dog will have time to process/digest the food and water and go potty before bedtime, which helps prevent many accidents in the night. The key with the potty pads is the puppy is learning there are designated areas where he goes potty. Eventually, I gradually trained all of my dogs to go potty outside and they are all wonderfully house-trained day and night, even though I used the potty pads at night method when they were young. I know this contradicts a lot of dog trainer’s advice, but if you’re just plain tired of the howling, and taking puppy out to potty every few hours during the night, and you just crave sleep - this method has worked wonders for me. Yes, I admit, it will take longer to house train your dog this way, but it is quite a bit easier on you. As I said, all of my dog’s were house-trained without any problem when they became old enough to hold it through the night. I know there are many other methods that are great, and I urge you to do what feels best for you and your family! These are only some suggestions of things that have worked for me.
Some of My Favorite Dog Trainers -
There are so many great dog trainers out there, that I am not going to try to give you tips on other dog training matters.
*(Please note I am not affiliated with any of these trainers, I have just found them to have a wonderful knowledge of dogs, and a wonderful ability to train dogs and their owners to live happily ever after!)
My favorite trainer of all is Caesar Milan the Dog Whisperer. I highly recommend his series the Dog Whisperer which can be found on Disney Plus, Amazon Prime, and even episodes can be found on YouTube or National Geographic.
I love the way Caesar trains dogs because, after a lifetime of living with dogs, I have seen that he trains dogs in a way that dogs understand. I live with 6 dogs in my home. Every day I see the doggy rules of law and order working in my home, and I can wholeheartedly say that Caesar knows his stuff. Watch all that you can and learn from him! Dogs are very respectful and they know who is boss. You may think you are the alpha to your dog, but you will be surprised to find that your dog thinks he is at the top. When your dog thinks he is boss, this creates a plethora of problems in your dog training.
Another trainer I recommend is Doggy Dan he is a great, well known trainer in New Zealand that has wonderful tips and tricks for training your dog, I have learned some great things from him as well.