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Puppy already has head start on potty training from first owner. How should I proceed?

Discussion in 'Sheltie Training' started by angelnov90gmail.com, Jul 15, 2019.

  1. angelnov90gmail.com

    angelnov90gmail.com Forums Regular

    May 24, 2019

    I haven't had a dog since I was little kid and will be getting Sheltie this week. I prefer an older, but still young dog but after three months I met a 5 month old that was really sweet (he was more well-behaved than his great grandmother who was barking crazy). I'm reading a lot of posts on this forum but haven't come across one that's similar to my situation.

    1) Should I still crate him at night?

    His first owner said he is about 85% potty trained. She let him out right in front of me and he pooped within two minutes. Is it better if I still crate him by my bed at night with its door closed? All the doors in my bedroom will be closed so he can't get into the bathroom or living room in the middle of the night. But probably not a good idea right? My bedroom is carpeted. If I should still crate at night, I guess I'll stop when he adapts to his new potty schedule. I was originally going to use carrier because they seem more versatile but apparently, they're not as durable as crates.

    2) I will crate him at first while I am at work, coming during lunch to let him go potty and play with him inside my apartment. Generally, what is a comfortable age to start letting him have a run of the place while I'm away? I will monitor his behavior and dog proof the place as much as I can before I start doing this. I'm debating on putting him in playpen while I can't pay attention to him that much (chores, stepping out for a few minutes) until he's an adult.

    I'll also consult with current owner but I'd like to read some other people's guidance too. Also, she's going be really busy in the next couple of weeks. I also want to make her feel extra confident when I finally take him home. Any advice and constructive criticism are appreciated. Thank you!
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019
    Piper's mom likes this.
  2. Sharon7

    Sharon7 Moderator

    Oct 31, 2009
    Best rule of living with dogs I ever learned - set them up for success, not failure. That means crating at night for sure. Their bladders are not physically able to be reliable until after 6 months. If you read potty training posts from the past you will see that sometimes they have a regression period around a year old. Once they have peed on your carpet it's really hard to get the smell out - their noses are so much better than ours and it will attract them to that spot again.

    Xpen/playpen are your best tools! Gives them a bit more room than a crate.

    Freedom in the house/apt - depends so much on the dog. Elijah is two and still loves to chew on random stuff, shoes, etc so he does NOT get freedom when we're not here. Faith is 6 and has privileges for about a year now. She is reliable.
    Ann, Piper's mom and Sandy in CT like this.
  3. angelnov90gmail.com

    angelnov90gmail.com Forums Regular

    May 24, 2019
    Thanks! Whoah. Your dog didn't have privileges until she was five? I know they're a high energy breed but I wasn't expecting that.
  4. Piper's mom

    Piper's mom Moderator

    Jun 26, 2015
    Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
    I second what Sharon said. Crating at night (a must) and using an X pen or crate (or both combined) during the day.
    As Sharon said every dog is different but I don't give mine 100% freedom (especially a puppy who could easily chew an electrical cord when your not home) until they're at least 2. My youngest is 1 1/2 and has decided in the past week that its ok to pee in the house...so no freedom yet. You really need to play it by ear but puppies like the security of the crate especially when in a new environment.
    Sandy in CT and Ann like this.
  5. Cindy

    Cindy Premium Member

    May 19, 2008
    San Francisco Bay Area, CA
    I penned my dog in a small-ish kitchen instead of crating him. He had a crate inside the kitchen with a piddle pad.
    He did however chew the wall, and a few cabinets so FYI.
    I did not come home at lunch, though, so he was in there for 8 hours a day.

    Really it comes down to trial and error in finding out exactly what your pup gets into. Gavin was a counter surfer, but after he teethed he wasn't a chewer.
    He did love wicker though, as I found out the hard way as he ate my laundry basket and a sunhat!

    Potty training is all about consistency...never give him the chance to mess up :)
    Ann likes this.
  6. Ann

    Ann Moderator

    Feb 25, 2008
    Definitely crate at night with the door closed indefinitely. Especially if he’s been used to a crate at the breeder’s, this will be his den where he feels most secure. I completely agree with the suggestions of an xpen during the day or when you can’t watch him. My youngest dog came to us at 5 months, partly trained, and it took until she was a year old before she was totally housebroken. She’s two now but still goes in her crate when I leave the house. She’s house trained, but loves to get into trouble.

    I have crates in several rooms that are there with the doors open and my dogs use them constantly, so don’t feel that you’re punishing the puppy by confining him. Remember the key is treats and praise when he does his chores outside even though he’s older. Positive reinforcement is the best way to train a Shellie!
    KarenCurtis and Sandy in CT like this.
  7. Sandy in CT

    Sandy in CT Premium Member

    Aug 5, 2018
    Oh my goodness - is this a sheltie thing? Brodie has chewed some of our walls as well - totally did not expect that!

    I am a firm believer in crates. We had doxies first - doxies with long backs - doxies that love to fly off high surfaces - when the oldest was a puppy I made friends on a forum with a women who took in 2 same age as our first - they ate through electrical cords and were electrocuted - we have always crated. Brodie now goes to his crate along with Kooper, their crates are side by side, when we say 'kennel' and there he stays perfectly safe and content until we return or wake. We actually do dinner in their crates when we have dinner - no begging and it helps Brodie who eats horridly slow while Kooper inhales. I may eventually have him up in our room in a bed, but not for the first year or so for sure. Having a dog who is content in a crate is so beneficial for hotel stays, illness, surgery, and just all around well being when you are not there while they are young and adventurous.
  8. Sharon7

    Sharon7 Moderator

    Oct 31, 2009
    Faith is a Border Collie in a Sheltie suit - the most intense and driven of my dogs over the years. And, she also LOVED to chew on stuff, she destroyed many flip flops over the years. Housebreaking was NOT the problem. Just was safer to keep her out of mischief. She has mended her ways now so she does get her freedom. Hoping Elijah will get there before long but better safe than sorry.
    KarenCurtis likes this.
  9. Shelby's mom

    Shelby's mom Forums Enthusiast

    Jan 4, 2012
    Each dog is different. Our 1st Sheltie, Hollie had free range when she was just a few months old. She was very reliable and trustworthy. Shelby on the other hand was a little brat . It took years before she could be trusted. She loved to chew everything. One day we came home and she had let herself out of the crate, nothing was chewed, and she hasn’t been crated since. So I guess she just told us she was done.
    Hanne, Sharon7 and Ann like this.
  10. angelnov90gmail.com

    angelnov90gmail.com Forums Regular

    May 24, 2019
    Wow that's a big difference between the two!
    Shelby's mom likes this.

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