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Discussion Starter #1
Hi - I'm hoping there are some city puppy owners out there who can help me. My boyfriend and I just got our new 3 month old Westie last Sunday, so he's been with us almost 1 week! Immediately, we wanted to start house training him. We live in a busy area outside of NYC. Our house is set back behind another house but the area in front of our house is mostly all concrete. There are parks in the area, but we can't take him there yet because he is not fully vaccinated. I work from home and have been diligent with taking him outside very often. The problem was that he was not always going even after being out for a very long time, especially #2. He also had issues with the leash. Recently we discovered if we unleash him he will go on our porch or around our front steps. This is fine as it is outside. At this stage he definitely does not associate going outside with the bathroom. He never gets excited when I tell him we are going out and generally tries to come back in. We praise him and give him treats when he goes outside. We are firm if he goes inside, and I try to watch him like a hawk. I'm wondering how others in the city handled house training. My concern with wee wee pads is that he will always think those are okay to use, and we want to discourage any indoor pottying. I was thinking it might start to get easier when he is vaccinated and get explore the area more, but I'm surprised by his general lack of interest in going out.
 

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He may have been trained on a pad for the last 3 months did you ask where he was going before you got him? When you get used to his schedule you will know when to expect #2 and can take him out accordingly. For peeing you will have to be on the alert all the time and keep him leashed to you so he is always in you line of site. When he does go out side make it a treat party and give lots of praise. Make sure and get something like natures miracle to clean up. Or you could try clicker training
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvPiFcG7ROI
 

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I don't think traditional house training will really be effective if you're living in an apartment with barely any access to a potty place.

a lot of people who live in condos/high rise apartments use dog litter boxes. I saw a really cool one that has synthetic/real grass. it even has a water hookup so it washes the pee away--you just have to pick up the poop! I feel like that might be a good option considering New York City is a difficult place and you might not make it to the park on time. plus they have to use the bathroom multiple times a day.
 

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I live in an apartment and had no problem potty training my guy to go outside. I used pads at the start because I couldn't be home with him all day, but got rid of them as soon as I knew he could hold it till the dog walker came. Since you work from home I wouldn't even introduce the pads, just stick with taking him outside. Check out the house training sticky for some tips and general guidelines. In general you want to watch him at all times. If you can't be watching him, he should be in his crate or a playpen in a potty safe area. Is there anywhere in the neighborhood that has a small patch of grass or dirt he could potty in? (Trees planted on the street usually have some dirt at the base he could probably go in)

This is how I would handle the situation.
First find a place where you want him to go, small patch of grass or dirt nearby is probably best.
Next set up a schedule, because you work from home I would take him out every 2 hours (set an alarm if you're busy working)
If you take him out and he doesn't go after 5-10 mins, bring him in, put him in his crate and try again in 15 mins, keep this up until he goes outside then set your timer for 2 hours.
If 2 hours is up and he's napping, wait until he wakes up then take him out.
Also take him out 5-10 mins after he eats or drinks some water (as you spend more time together you'll learn how long after he eats/drinks he needs to go out)
Everytime he wakes up from a nap or after a play/training session he should also go out.
When he's in the house he should be in 1 of 3 places, his crate (up to 2 hours at a time is good), a playpen or puppy safe area, good to have a kong, food puzzle, chew, and/or toys in here to keep him occupied. I kept a couple chews and toys separate from everything else that he would only get in his pen. or tethered to you while you work (also with something to occupy him with)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
He is showing signs of improvement. We got him a harness which has helped with the leashing. We have one pad by the door but he doesn't use it. I think we will just remove it. When we aren't home he is in a cage and he won't go in there. After he gets out of the cage I carry him outside and he goes right away. There is an area right next to the house and this week he has been very good about going there, and it is outside so fine by us. He will still go on the porch occasionally but not as often. I've started taking him on shorter walks (doesn't have full set of vaccines yet), but he is still adjusting to this aspect of city living. He gets very excited when people or other dogs come by but I think it makes him lose focus at the task at hand...ha. He then gets scared if he hears a car door, siren, etc. I don't blame him. He's only about 6lbs! I'm hoping he gets more comfortable outside when I can start bringing him to parks. So it's not like he doesn't go outside but its not clear to him yet he can't go inside. Today we caught him twice and he went outside right away and finished up. I think part of it might be his bladder - sometimes I take him out and he pees and then we go inside, he plays and in less than 10 minutes he is peeing again. Is it his age? Will he naturally get over having to go constantly? We do clicker training and really praise him going outside, especially on a walk. I might just wanting this to happen fast than it is...
 

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He is showing signs of improvement. We got him a harness which has helped with the leashing. We have one pad by the door but he doesn't use it. I think we will just remove it. When we aren't home he is in a cage and he won't go in there. After he gets out of the cage I carry him outside and he goes right away. There is an area right next to the house and this week he has been very good about going there, and it is outside so fine by us. He will still go on the porch occasionally but not as often. I've started taking him on shorter walks (doesn't have full set of vaccines yet), but he is still adjusting to this aspect of city living. He gets very excited when people or other dogs come by but I think it makes him lose focus at the task at hand...ha. He then gets scared if he hears a car door, siren, etc. I don't blame him. He's only about 6lbs! I'm hoping he gets more comfortable outside when I can start bringing him to parks. So it's not like he doesn't go outside but its not clear to him yet he can't go inside. Today we caught him twice and he went outside right away and finished up. I think part of it might be his bladder - sometimes I take him out and he pees and then we go inside, he plays and in less than 10 minutes he is peeing again. Is it his age? Will he naturally get over having to go constantly? We do clicker training and really praise him going outside, especially on a walk. I might just wanting this to happen fast than it is...
Sounds like he's doing great. At 3 months he's going still not going to have very good bladder control, which is why you're going to want to take him out after a play or training session. (even if the session was only 5 mins and even if he just peed before you started) He's probably starting to get a handle on the urge to pee but a lot of the time it'll be as surprising to you as it is to him. Having him crate trained will help a bunch and it sounds like you're doing good with that. When he's around 6 months is usually when pups start to have some measured control on their bladders, could take up to a year to fully housetrain though. My pup is 9.5 months and I'm now just starting to have confidence that he won't pee in the house. Setting a schedule and being consistent will help though. Just remember whenever you try moving a step forward, if he doesn't succeed go back to a step he was consistent at. ie: if you increase taking him out to every 2.5 hours instead of 2 and he pees in the house go back to 2 hours and next time you up the ante take a smaller step up to 2.25 hours between potty. Unfortunately there is no step by step guide that will get you a perfectly house broken dog in 12 steps. haha. It's just a matter of learning your dogs cues. :)

For getting him comfortable outside, make sure you're not forcing him into situations, If he gets startled by a car door or something let him move at his own pace and if he wants to go back in the other direction let him. Since you have a porch, I would sit out there with him, just hanging out on the steps letting him experience the world. Have a cup a coffee and keep some treats on hand, when you hear a car door or sirens or he see people and stays calm, give him a treat. You want him to learn that this things aren't bad things. I would also look to see if there are any puppy socialization classes (make sure they use positive reinforcement) nearby that you can enroll him in. He doesn't need all his shots to attend these courses. Also short walks and visiting places with him is good. I would just stay away from places frequented by a lot of dogs. You'll want to socialize him to a lot of different stuff and people so you get a happy well adjusted puppy.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the advice. I think I just need to keep at it. Today we went on one longer walk (had heavy rain since the morning) and he actually was better at walking..but wouldn't go to the bathroom. I guess it is baby steps, get him comfortable outside and then he will go.
 
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