puppy crate and potty training!

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Ronnie's picture
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Joined: 2009-11-30

Hello Im new!

We just got our first Dobe yesterday.  Ronnie is a brown/tan 7 week old male doberman.

Ive researched loads and read tons of books but to be honest its not going as smooth as id anticipated :)

I know he is still very young and to be honest we got him a week earlier than we though we were getting him so perhaps I expect too much from him.

Ronnie refuses to go outside, he hates it.  I know the weather has been really bad here, raining and windy :(  He howls and sits at the door and refuses to move until i open the door and he hops back in...

At the moment he is weeing and pooing in the kitchen, apart from a couple of accidents.  Im happy for him to continue going in the kitchen as its pretty easy to clean up but i dont want to start any bad habits :S  Should i persevere and stay out in the cold until he goes?  He wont even sniff around so actually getting anything out of him seems unlikely!

Another thing, he hates his crate.  Its got a lovely comfy bed in and room for any accidents.  Toys and treats are put in when im trying to get him to go in it but even when i leave the door open he still doesnt seem keen on going in it.

Last night he howled for 10 mins every hour until we got up this morning.  I never get much sleep anyway so im not bothered about that but his poor little throat must hurt today.  I didnt go to him once, although i felt cruel leaving him all alone on his first night away from the litter.

Ive tried him in the crate at different times of the day today, after a play time when he was tired this morning and he howled and managed to escape from the crate.  Then after lunch i tried again and he howled for about 10/15 mins then when i sneaked in he had finally fallen asleep.  This was good, but as soon as i make a noise in the kitchen he refuses to stay in the crate and howls to come out again, even while im pottering around near him doing jobs :S

I think I have replaced his mummy because all day long he whines at me until i sit on the floor so that he can lay between my legs...  I sit down to play with him and he just snuggles in and gets comfy, if i move, he moves and he wont settle down again until i sit back down. haha

I love him to bits, he is extrmemley loving, i just dont want to ruin him as I will be at work for 2 days per week and he will need to get used to staying on his own for a few hours eventually!

Any advice welcome, thank you, Kim x

glengate's picture
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Joined: 2009-07-22

Sorry to tell you but you need to be going outside with him even if it's windy/rainy/snowy, etc.  Of course he doesn't want to go outside in that!  You need to get out there with him and make it positive and fun, and act like you don't have a care in the world.  You should use a potty command like "go pee" or "potty" or whatever.  Repeat it until he goes, and then praise him like there is no tomorrow.  Remember to take him back to the same area where he was successful as the smell will remind him to go there.

Accidents are normal with puppies, of course.  But don't set him up for failure by letting him go in the kitchen because it's easier.  You're just asking for trouble later. 

Again, it's completely natural that he's going to feel isolated and alone in his crate at first and he'd prefer to be with you.  Hold firm like you did.  Don't give in and let him out because he's noisy.  Let him out only when he's quiet.  Where was the crate placed for overnight?  It's awfully helpful if it's in your room.  When I have a new puppy, I have a crate in my bedroom.  I leave the light on the first couple of nights so puppy can see me and if he's fussy, I can reach my hand over which usually settles puppy.  If puppy continues to be obnoxious, I may give the crate a little shake and firmly say "that's enough". 

rgreen4's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-26

I second all that Glengate said. Boy did I make mistakes with my first two. The worst mistake was I let my first one on the bed. Now I got her at four months, already housebroken but she was a cuddler - at night. Then when I got my male the first night was like yours except he was on the rug next to the bed. Once he was able he joined Windy on the bed. Once I realized my mistake it was too late and I could never get them off.

Keep working with the crate. Yes, he will cry to get out because he's not yet used to being alone.

When you take him outside and he goes, I will double what Glengate said, Make a BIG deal out of it. He has just done the most wonderful thing, something that must be worthy of page 1 on the local paper. I'm sure the people who saw me praise Princess at the reststops after I picked her up thought that old guy must be nuts, for I was praising her with a sing song voice as if she had done the most wonderful thing.

One advantage to leaving the litter with mom and breeder until 8 weeks old, is that additional week is very beneficial in the training. I was helped with Princess because by the time I could go get her (traveling between major Snowstorms in the upper Midwest) she was 9 weeks old and had only one sister to keep her company, so that was the first puppy I ever got that I had a peaceful first night.

He will settle down, and it's alright to hold him in your lap and letting him sleep. He will bond faster that way, and he will become your companion. Just don't expect him to stay a lap puppy for long.

BTW - you will note his official color on his registration form is Red/Rust. Since all Dobes should have the rust markings, most of us leave that off and just say we have black, red, blue or fawn, the four colors. If you have never heard of fawn, you are not alone, check out some of the photo's in Lady Kates postings of Sofia, she rescued a beautiful fawn.

Congratulations on getting Ronnie, and should you have any questions, anytime, there's usually some one on the forum willing to help or at least give an opinion. When you get ready to post some pictures, it's easy and we can walk you through it.

Lady Kate's picture
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Joined: 2009-10-28

Pet Profiles

Hi there and a HUGE welcome to this invaluable forum.. It must seem daunting to have a new baby and not be able to know how to comfort him, but stay firm and relaxed. He will learn ( and so will you!! LOL) Get an umbrella ready and put on some all weather boots and just brave the cold, so will he, I promise you!
You are about to embark on an incredible journey with Ronnie. he will be your friend and protector and the most enjoyable companion you can ever meet.
Sofia is about 2ish, and I still  have a few issues with her.. Just this morning, she took off after a rabbit.. An hour later, and searching the hills and dales, calling til I was horse, whistling til I had no whistle left. I decided to come home.. ( she always finds her way back..grinning like a Cheshire cat) Soon, one of the golf pros came driving by with her on his golf cart.. she had wandered into the "restricted area" ( the 7th tee) and thought it would be great fun to help the foursome getting ready to tee off. She thought is was quite a feat.. I ignored her for an hour, til she crept onto my lap and snuffled me into forgiveness.
Let us know how you guys are doing. we're here for you and your beloved Ronnie!!
Kate and Sofia
PS while we're on the subject, any advice on how to get her to come to me when she gets into "the zone" i.e. digging a huge hole, chasing a rabbit. I try to read her body language and stop her before this happens, but she's quick and sneaky. treats dont' help. thanks you all..

glengate's picture
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Joined: 2009-07-22

I should have also mentioned that a puppy or dog just sitting outside isn't motivated to urinate or eliminate.  Walking stimulates normal gastro activity so you want to keep the puppy moving and sniffing until it successfully potties. 

rgreen4's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-26

Lady Kate if I knew how to keep them from digging, my back yard wouldn't look like a construction zone. Red never dug, but Princess seems to be looking for the Chinese.

Lady Kate's picture
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Joined: 2009-10-28

Pet Profiles

Thanks Richard.. that helps a bit, however, Sofie doesn't dig for the sake of gardening.. she's hunting and going for the ground squirrels she's terrorized into early hibernation.. She'll be on a dead run, then all of a sudden, wheel around when she catches the scent of the underground enemy. She will track their tunnel and proceed to bury herself up to her shoulders.. all I can see is her hind end, tail wagging a million miles an hour and dirt flying out from between her legs. sigh..

Ronnie's picture
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Joined: 2009-11-30

Hi all

Thanks for all the replies....

Ronnie has finally got some confidence and enjoys being outside :)  Something just clicked, think it is because he is now starting to settle in here and realises this is his home.  To be honest he seems a lot more confident in all his surroundings.

I cant believe how intelligent he is or at least seems to be.  He will sit when told and lay down and when i tell him to wee he will toilet :)  I havent even spent very long teaching him these and the little I have done, I have only used praise as a reward as he doesnt like the treats i bought him! haha  It could just be a fluke though i suppose.

The one thing he wont stop doing is biting, i know he only teething but my little girls are getting fed up with it.  You can tell he has the time of his life chewing on his toys but as soon as my girls are around he starts chewing on them.  Ive told them they must be firm with him and tell him "no bite" and gently push him away.  This works for me and he stops immediately but he never stops for them, he just keeps going back for more.  Is this a pack hierarchy thing?  It always looks that way to me as my littlest daughter seems to get it worse.

Now we are in the garden Ronnie tries to eat anything and everything, he tried to eat mud earlier!  Then started on a long piece of grass should i stop him or will he learn?  I stopped him today but our trot around the garden consisted of me saying leave it over and over again as he sniffed at everything because i want sure if he would then eat it up!

Kim x

rgreen4's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-26

Lady Kate wrote:

Thanks Richard.. that helps a bit, however, Sofie doesn't dig for the sake of gardening.. she's hunting and going for the ground squirrels she's terrorized into early hibernation.. She'll be on a dead run, then all of a sudden, wheel around when she catches the scent of the underground enemy. She will track their tunnel and proceed to bury herself up to her shoulders.. all I can see is her hind end, tail wagging a million miles an hour and dirt flying out from between her legs. sigh..

I would remind you that the Dobe's full name was originally Doberman Pinscher. Now translating Pinscher from German to English you get Terrier. So what you have is a Terrier. A very LARGE Terrier. Terrier's are known and bred to hunt ground burrowing animals and dig them out. Some of our beasties still have that instinct. Princess does. The squirrels in my yard drive my two nuts. Funny though that the Schnauzers are not bothered by them, although they are still Terriers, although normal sized ones.

rgreen4's picture
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Ronnie wrote:

I cant believe how intelligent he is or at least seems to be.  He will sit when told and lay down and when i tell him to wee he will toilet :)  I havent even spent very long teaching him these and the little I have done, I have only used praise as a reward as he doesnt like the treats i bought him! haha  It could just be a fluke though i suppose.

The one thing he wont stop doing is biting, i know he only teething but my little girls are getting fed up with it.  You can tell he has the time of his life chewing on his toys but as soon as my girls are around he starts chewing on them.  Ive told them they must be firm with him and tell him "no bite" and gently push him away.  This works for me and he stops immediately but he never stops for them, he just keeps going back for more.  Is this a pack hierarchy thing?  It always looks that way to me as my littlest daughter seems to get it worse.

Kim x

The intelligence seems to run through all of them, but sometimes works to our disadvantage.

As to the biting, I don't think it's a hierarchy thing, just their way of figuring out things. Puppies have to taste everything. I personally have never just used the words "No Bite", I have always corrected mine with the same gesture their birth mother did. A good pop on the top of the nose. Not nearly hard enough to hurt, but enough to get their attention. Use the first two fingers and pop him on the top of the snout and tell him "No" in a firm voice (or as firm a voice as your youngest can muster). If that by itself does not work she should do that and then get up and leave him.

The fact that she is leaving him is of it self a rejection of his action and will strengthen the "No".

Of course sometime I think new puppies are confused as to whether their name is No or NOOOOOOO! (Screamed in a loud voice when human parent sees what they have done).

One terrible secret about the Doberman I feel I should share with you. They are charming, effective and cunning beggars! They will look at you with those soft pleading eyes when you are eating something and not sharing. As they grow older, they become more effective, on occasion hanging a fang out as if to pressure you into giving up some incredible morsel. When that fails, Red then goes into his most effective maneuver, that I hope Princess never picks up - The DROOL! He will start drooling, first on one side and then on both. I am not talking about a drop or two, but a small river. I finally give in to save the furniture and carpet from getting soaked.  :D  Princess on the other hand will slip her head beween my arm and my chest when I am at the computer desk with a small snack, twist her head up and look at me as if to say "Where's mine?"  8)

As the Borg used to say on Star Trek - "Resistance is Futile". The only way to avoid it is that I have to put them up when I eat.