I’m trying to follow the instructions in Before and After Getting Your Puppy about errorless housetraining and chewtoy training. So far, we’ve had no errors, and that’s because I have been following the instructions. Given the opportunity, I’m sure Leo would have chewed a slipper by now or peed someplace inappropriate.
The thing is though, it’s not that easy to just follow the instructions.
There are two key ingredients.
- Keep the puppy confined. Let him out every hour on the hour for three minutes to relieve himself. Praise him for peeing and/or pooping. Play with him and train him for a short time. Confine him again. In addition to housetraining him, this will help him learn to “settle down and shush” for short periods in confinement (crate or puppy playpen).
Here’s the thing. You give him three minutes to pee and poop. Let’s say you play with him for 1o minutes. Then you put him in the crate/playpen. Maybe he cries and cries and doesn’t settle down and shush for another 15 minutes. He’s really only been in there for 30 minutes by the time the next hour on the hour rolls around. Do you take him out again, or wait for an hour from the time he settled down? Or an hour from the last time he relieved himself?
- Make him a chewtoyaholic by feeding him all his meals from chewtoys such as Kongs or Isis’ favorite, Squirrel Dude. Put the chew toys in the confinement area and he will happily chew the day away, not minding being left alone and not learning destructive habits like barking or chewing things he’s not supposed to chew. Again, this also is supposed to lead to settling down and shushing.
But let’s say he does mind being left alone and cries and howls and whimpers when you leave him. He happily eats from the Kong (or sometimes a rubber dinosaur skull…sorry, can’t find a link), if I sit on the floor of his playpen and hold it for him. But he doesn’t continue to occupy himself with it when I leave.
I should give the guy a break. I mean, it’s only been a couple of days. Chewtoyaholism doesn’t happen all in one day. He’s a great puppy and he’s doing really well. His ears are starting to stand up and he’s getting a little mouthy. The first casualty of Leo was a pair of pajama bottoms he grabbed onto. I took a step and they tore. When I put on my pajamas last night, I asked myself, what pants would I like Leo to tear apart next?