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Hi All!

We have a new Pembroke Corgi Puppy. We got him at 9 weeks and he's now coming up on 11.

Since we got him we've made some good progress in some areas, but are still pretty confused about a few things.

So firstly, the main thing that is awesome:

He will now sleep almost entirely through the night! The first night he howled through the night, the second night he howled for about an hour after we put him down, but since then he's silent when we put him to bed. For about 9 days we were putting him to bed at 11.30pm and getting up at 2am and 5am to let him out (not waiting for queue from him, just setting an alarm and getting him outside). However, since Tuesday this week he's been sleeping from 10.30 to 5.30/6am (which is when my wife gets up anyway), which is fantastic because it's meant more regular sleep pattern for us! (and we love our sleep!)

However, I think we've been giving him mixed signals about how to toilet, which is slightly stressing me out. We want to try and get a good handle on the theory of what we're supposed to be doing as from Monday he will be by himself most of the afternoon every day (12.30 - 2.30 and then 3-5.30)

We have a crate inside an X-Pen in the kitchen. When we're in the house, he'll either be in the pen playing, or we'll be doing crate training with him in either the kitchen or the lounge (which ever room we're currently in so we can watch him). In the beginning we had some newspaper down, but only a few sheets (not covering the entire floor), and he was more interested in tearing it up and eating it than he was using it as a toilet. So we switched to a puppy pad, which he understood was for toilet, but wanted to chew that to bits even more! As it was stressing my wife out that he was doing that, we took that away (that was probably 3-4 days worth of mixed messages), and we started a routine of just taking him outside at regular intervals (every 45 mins).

He's fine at going outside when we take him, but he's not really giving us any indication that he wants to go. However, I believe this is because he's still really young and doesn't really know himself?

Some days we'll have 0 or 1 accidents, and other days (like today) we'll have 3 accidents before lunch.

So what I want to do is paper the entire pen and then paper train him for when we're out, but make sure we're also still taking him outside regularly when we're there. What i'm confused about is this:

With the crate in the pen, do we leave the crate door open when we're out, and only keep the door closed when we're in the house and crate training, and at night?

I don't want to confine him to the crate for long periods, because he is still occasionally going to the toilet inside the crate, but I also don't want him to just assume he doesn't need to think about holding it any more.

I had read that before 12 weeks house training is very hit-and-miss, because they're so young, but I don't want to give him ideas early that are then difficult to train out of him!

Any advice would be appreciated :)
 

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What a lucky pup to have two people who care so much about taking good care of him :) I have house broken many young pups, including small breeds. Here are some tips:

1. In my humble opinion, paper training and/or puppy pads are fairly worthless. The biggest mixed signal (to use your words) that you can give a dog is that sometimes it's okay to potty inside and sometimes it's not. Dogs are not great at making these kind of judgement calls. A puppy trained on puppy pads may start to think rugs are fair game too :) so the best bet is to just aim for going potty outside every time.

2. Take your pup on leash to the same spot in your yard. Be quiet and let him sniff around and do his stuff. IMMEDIATELY praise and reward LIBERALLY (my husband struggled with this because he found it strange to praise an animal for relieving itself, but I promise you it is an important step). Eventually you can add a cue word like "go potty" or "do business." Once puppy is done his business, let him play outside. I don't recommend rushing puppy back inside because you don't want him to associate going potty with outside time being over.

3. The crate is an inportant tool in teaching your pup that he CAN hold it. Why? Because dogs are den animals and instinctively they do not want to soil their den. So, if the need arises, they hold it in the interest of keeping their den clean. Now, you mentioned that your pup has had accidents in his crate, right? To address this, I would make sure that the crate is properly sized to your pup. Many crates come with a divider panel so you can reduce the interior space. Use this so that the space is just enough for puppy to lie down, stand up, turn around. If you give a pup extra space they will designate a sleeping corner and a potty corner. This is counterproductive because puppy is not learning to hold it. Ok, so once the crate is properly sized, add some soft bedding, and perhaps throw a blanket over the top of the crate. Now the crate is a nice soft, dark area that puppy naturally views as his den.

4. You mentioned that the puppy doesn't tell you when he needs to go. At this age, there is very little time in between a puppy feeling the need to go and actually going. So he just doesn't have the time to communicate with you. Instead you need to do two things: 1) regular trips outside. Right after puppy wakes up, after any play sessions, and after eating. sometimes I will set a stopwatch after my puppy does business and then j know exactly how long it's been since he went outside. Usually if we approach 2 hours, it's time for another trip outside. 2) supervise your puppy and learn to recognize the signs. Like, if puppy starts wandering off with his nose to the ground, he could be sniffing out a good spot to do his business. If you see this behavior, pick him up and carry him outside to the designated spot.

5. Accidents will happen. Don't stress too much and definitely don't punish puppy for accidents. Just clean them up (use nature's miracle or something similar) and move on.

That's all I have for now. Hopefully it's helpful. Let me know if you have more questions.
 
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