To Pee or Not to Pee... That Isn't a Question


We were given a seven week old female BC, and have started it's series of shots, etc. We're now wondering how to house break this little furball. It urinates wherever it happens to be, whether it's in the house, garage or outside. It only defecates in the garage. We don't really want to praise and reward it for going anywhere but outside. We bought a kennel, where it sleeps in shifts at night. So far it has not soiled the kennel. What do we do to train it to only go outside, preferably in one designated area?


This answer was generously written by April Quist.

Right now, the main thing you have to understand is that your puppy is still physically unable to control her bladder and bowels very well. At 7 weeks, she realizes she has to go at just about the same time she "bursts." She simply cannot physically stop it. You'll see her start to gain a little more control as each month passes, and by 5 or 6 months she should be able to "hold it" pretty reliably.

Until then, your job is to make sure she gets outside at regular intervals. You have to figure out how long she can go between "outings," and then get her out 5 minutes before that. The interval at this age may be anywhere from 30 minutes to 60 minutes, but it's been my experience with my two dogs that, with Border Collies being such active dogs (and sometimes drinking a lot of water because of it), they may need to go out more often than a less active puppy. And at this age, if your puppy has an accident, you have to consider it your "fault" because you didn't anticipate her need to go out. (Yes, puppies at this age are a *lot* of work!)

Now, the absolute *best* way I've found to make housebreaking easier on you is to teach your dog to urinate and defecate on command. It's really very easy to do! When you take your pup outside, watch carefully, and when you see her start to relieve herself, give her the command you've chosen (some people use "go potty," etc. - use something you feel comfortable saying in the presence of other people, because you'll find yourself using this command all your dog's life - you'll be amazed at how handy it is to have a dog that "goes" on command!). Do this as consistently as possible and you'll find that within a couple of weeks all you'll have to do is take your pup out and say the command and she'll respond quickly and happily.

Be sure to praise a lot when she goes where she's supposed to. You can tell her "No!" when you see her relieving herself inside, but don't make too big a deal out of it - remember, it's your responsibility to get her outside *before* she does that.

In the house, be sure to watch her constantly - never let her out of your sight, and never let her just wander off when you're not looking. If you do, you'll find her going off to quietly relieve herself in a corner somewhere. If you can't keep her eye on her, put her in the crate. You can also tether her to something (ie, put her on a leash, and loop the end of the leash around a chair or table leg), but be *sure* you don't leave the room if you do that, because she could easily hurt herself while you were gone.

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