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Mom to Princess & Jewels
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Discussion Starter #1
I am going back and forth with training our dog with a exercise pen.

She is 4.5 months old, and we have had her for roughly 5 weeks.

We have been potty training inside, but it's not going so great. I am beginning to think I need to buy stock in Nature's Miracle, since we go through so much of it.

I prefer her to go outside, but with the winter weather coming up, and our crazy schedules, I think a expen and a litter box (or pads) would be a great alternative. Not to mention, she will NOT go outside by herself, we have to go with her (we have a big fenced yard) and stand right next to her, or she will run back to the door to come in. It is reallllllly cold for us to stand next to her at 3am, not to mention snow. lol

I'm a little concerned that with snow right around the corner (maybe, it's been almost 50 here!) that she wont want to go outside at all. And if she does, she'll get sick, because she's soo tiny.

I was all set to go with the ex pen and litter/pads, and the local dog trainer told us that we would just confuse her. Now granted, she doesn't realize how smart Princess is, and she does train all kinds of dogs.. but I'm worried she's right.

Right now she does ok with going potty in the house, but if we turn our heads for a minute, she high tails it upstairs and poop's in one of the kids rooms.
I try to watch her all the time, but it's just not possible with 5 kids in the house, and me homeschooling.

I am not sure if I should go with the expen, or just try to put baby gate's up all over, so she's enclosed in 1 room and just keep taking her outside.

Is it too late to use a expen with her?

If it's not, will it confuse her to go in a litter box/pads and outside on occasion?

If I decide to go with the expen, what is best, litter or pads?

How often does the litter need to be changed out?
(I realize it needs to be scooped daily, if not more often)

Does the litter have a strong odor? Once it is urinated on, is it strong? (She's in our bedroom in the crate)

I don't mind buying all the stuff, because we will probably get another Hav in the future, so it will get used for that puppy as well.
 

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These are all the little questions running around the minds of all us new baby owners. I have an Xpen for Logan with a litter pan in it but I dont use the litter, I put a pad & newspaper in it. He knows what it is for and when in his xpen he uses it 90% of the time. Hooked to the xpen is a crate that is not bigger than 1ft x 1 1/4 foot, and he sleeps there and it is small enought that he wont potty in it. We have a piece of linolium (from Lowes or Home depot) under the entire thing. I put pads down on the floor in the family room and bedroom & he seems to be running and going on them when he is loose. But----he also goes outside. lf I know he is ready to pee or poop, we take him out right away & he goes, have the "potty party" and come right back in. this is the same way it did it with my girls & there was no real conufusion. Eventially it went from 80% inside down to 50% to 30% to 10% to then all outside. Even if it takes a little longer to go outside all the time - I find it less stressful than worrying about the carpet or hard wood floor all the time. He is never left to run the house, only in the rooms that we are in. Just put a baby gate up at the door - I lean it on the walls & none of my dogs try to go anywhere. This way you at least know where he is at all times. Hope this helps
 

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Casper and Missy
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My dog is 4 months old and I have had him for about 5 weeks, also. So I thought I could tell you what has worked for us. He is my third dog, I had a pom for 15 yrs., and a Lab for 9 yrs., and some of what I learned from my first dogs has helped me with this dog.
You talked about the big back yard and I thought maybe this might help you; my husband made a small pen in the yard about 5'x 6' out of 3"x4" square, 28" tall, wire coated fencing you get at home depot with stakes. This is where we take him to go potty. The whole yard was too distracting to him. He still wants me to stand there, but he goes potty within minutes of putting him in the pen. I am working on him in pen area without me around.
Since I bought him home we go potty in this pen outside. It is not ok to go potty in the house anywhere. We take him outside to potty on a regular schedule. Tell him to potty in this pen and he does. Our schedule is busy too, I take him to our business, where he has the same type of pen outside to go potty in. I use the crate for naps, traveling, and night time and potty him after time in crate.
It is working very well for us. The weather is cold here and we get snow, cold wind too, but we just bundle up to go outside to potty the dog. We take turns. I now just get up once at night about 4 am in the morning to potty him during the night.
My last two dogs I got in the winter and they could potty in the house on paper and it was more stressful for me to have them potty in the house and harder to get them to potty outside.
I will get a picture to show you, my dog, his name his Casper and I love him to death. He is everything I have read about with the Havanese dog.
I hope maybe this will be helpful for you, after having trained two puppies before in the winter, I knew I wanted him to learn to potty outside. Just what works for me, maybe it will work for you.
 

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I don't think it's too late to train to litter and the expen. The attractant spray that I mentioned in another thread should help. If she is pottying in the house she has too much freedom. We use pieces of marine vinyl upholstery fabric to put under the expens since you can just through it in the washer. A piece about 5x5 makes it a bit larger than the expen and I think it's 60 inches wide in fabric stores.

Pads work fine if they don't shred them. There are even plastic frames made to hold them in place. If the pads get used for entertainment then I'd go to the litter. Even with the pads I'd use the attractant spray to start with.

To answer the questions about the litter. It smells strongest to me when it is just poured out of the bag but Pam doesn't notice it like my nose does. It doesn't really smell noticeable unless it's way past due changing it. We travel with a box in the car when we carry puppies off and it's not bad even to my sensitive nose, so it can't be but so bad. It's made by Purina and in a yellow bag in Petsmart. They also sell the pans for it.

For one dog it does not really need to be scooped every day. Of course the poop needs to be picked up and flushed whenever you see it but the urine goes to the bottom and the pellets along the bottom absorb it and start to break down. When you do scoop it, you just sweep the still good stuff on the top aside and scoop out the depelletized (couldn't think of a good description)stuff. We use a plastic grocery bag to put it in and a kitty litter scoop. It really doesn't start to smell bad for a while and you will know when it needs to all be discarded. For one dog probably it can go for at least a week and a half. If she only pees in one spot it will last a lot longer but the space where it runs down trough will need to be discarded every few days.

JB pets has the best price on expens since their shipping is by dollar amount instead of weight. We use the 2' for puppies, 30" for older dogs when needed, and the 3' at shows. 2' will hold most Havanese but to some it's merely a suggestion.
 

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Oreo's Mom
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This thread is really interesting. Our puppy will be joining us on the 11th, and I want to make sure that I am doing the potty training correctly. I am finding myself a bit nervous or apprehensive about using the puppy pads indoors. Maybe I'm just being silly and am just getting the jitters, but do the puppies learn to associate indoors with potty or the pads? Should I only keep the pad/pan in ONE designate area only, so that it learns that that's the only place for the potty? Help?! I need reassurance. I was intending on using the potty pads/pan in the ex-pen, just until the puppy gets the idea and learns what "go potty" means. There is so much conflicting ideas out there, about the puppies getting confused when we decide to begin taking them outdoors. I am so confused :( I thought I had it all down, but now I feel doubtful.... Any words of encouragement? Thanks for listening.
 

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Oreo's Mom
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In my case, I live in a condo apartment. It's not a highrise, but it has many stairs to get to the front of the building to get outside. I have to use puppy pads. We will be looking into moving into a house over the next 2 yrs, but I was just wondering if it would confuse our pup in any way, if we begin to introduce going outside. I am just going to focus on getting the pup to potty on command, but I really would like some reassurance. Thank you Reece for your insight, I really would love to do strictly outdoors, but in this case I really have to consider the pads.
 

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I honestly have not had any confusion issues with my girls using the pads when they are little, and then training to outside. I did not praise them as much when they went on the pad, but went crazy when they went outside. Logan has been with us for 3 days & goes potty quite often outside, but still uses the pad & the occasional "accident" although he seems to know to go on the pad or the linolium, as i have not had to clean carpet yet. I found that since I got my pups when they were 8 weeks old, they just couldn't get the whole outside idea yet, nor was I able to take them out every 1 1/2 - 2 hours, so it worked for me very well. My girls are 2 & 3 & NEVER have accidents and have not been confused about the puppy pad in the house either. I just feel that you have to be realistic and remember that they are babies & have accident & will not be perfect for a while. Good Luck!!
 

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Oreo's Mom
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Thank you Laurie, I really needed that reassurance. I was honestly afraid of confusing the pup. But seeing how you personally have experienced this with your first 2 and now your third... Wow, I feel so much better. Thank you :) I am going to stick to my original plan. One final question: Should I only keep the pads in ONE designated area only? Just wondering if it helps.. :)
 

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Actually there are three areas in my house where they have access, when with us of course. One is the kitchen where the pen is and when he is out I leave the door open so he can go in if he wants. Unfortunetly he hasnt quite gotten the hang of going in to potty so just goes on the linolium. I keep one on the floor in the family room when we are in there, and one in the bedroom when we are all in there. He is about 50 /50 at going to them but he is only 9 weeks so I dont expect much yet.
 

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Kodi and Shelby go outside first thing in the morning. They are also trained to go on the pee pads. The doorbell thing wasn't right for us, because they do come to work with me some days. Thanks to the very mild winter in NY, they are out alot, and they go outside most of the time. Shelby will be getting her shots today and I will be able to start walking her, because Kodi loves to walk. When I got him, I lost 5lbs thef irst month, because we would go for so many walks. Jusrt one more good reason to have a Hav!
 

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Being from NJ, I too am enjoying this mild winter so training is a little easier. Sadly I cannot walk with my guys as I had foot surgery & will unable to for a few months, but they run a lot in the yard. At about what age do you start picking up your pads & expect strictly outside potty?
 

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Oreo's Mom
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Here in Ontario, we have been having mild weather as well. I am hoping it holds off a bit, so that I can atleast take him outside for some walks. As for the weightloss, congratulations that sounds like an awesome bonus to me :) As for switching over to no pads, how did you do it? I would love to know :) Oreo, comes home in 6 days and counting!!!! :)
 

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I just waited till I found that they had some idea as to what they are doing. At 9 weeks, they have no clue (I believe). Logan can hold it all night long but not for 1 minute to put your coat on & take him out. You will find less & less spots on the pads, after I see that, he will only come in the bedroom to run around right after he has gone outside & then the family room & then the kitchen. In about a month I will close him in his crate during my work hours and he will go straight outside so the pad is there for "emergencies only". You will find that they just finally "get it" and the pads come up. Then when you find you use the natures miracle 1x a week , then 1 x a month - you know they got it!!! Hope this helps.
 

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Oreo's Mom
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Laurie, that is so helpful to know. So pretty much you gradually increased the size of the area as they increased their reliability and understanding of where to "go" and how to hold it. Makes a lot of sense as opposed to giving them free reign of the house. Thank you for all your encouragement and help - that is why I love this forum so much :)
 

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I also make the xpen smaller & smaller after a few months so that he virtually is only sleeping in the crate, and then I remove the xpen once he is fully trained. My girls did great that way & run free in the kitchen area while I am at work now.
 

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Oreo's Mom
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That makes a lot of sense. It comes gradually, but really in the grand scheme of things they are only puppies once. I know time just flies by, so better to sacrifice time, energy and effort to start the puppy off on the right foot. :) Thank you for all your advice.
 

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Mom to Princess & Jewels
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Discussion Starter #17
So you keep more than one pad/litter box down?

Our bedroom is downstairs, and the older kids are upstairs. We basically are down stairs all day long. We have our living room, bedroom, the little kids bedroom, and a kitchen. We are in the living room or kitchen 90% of the day. I figured I would keep her expen in our room with the litter box, since it's the biggest room.

Now I'm not sure, maybe I should just go with the puppy pads, that way I can leave them down in more than one spot.
 

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I have the xpen with pads in the kitchen, as that is one of the most lived in areas in the house - as well as where the girls are during the day while we are at work. Often when Logan is in the kitchen with us, we will leave the gate open to the xpen in case he wants to use the pad, get a drink or lay down in his crate. At night we are all in the family room so I gate him in there and put a pad on the floor in case we miss his signals. Then in our bedroom where he sleeps, we have a pad on the floor as he runs around while get get dressed etc. It seems to work, as long as you can stand having the stuff all over the house for a while. Otherwise I restrict his visits to any other rooms, until he is much better potty behaved.
 
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