We’re going to be collecting Beanie in a little over two weeks, so my research into house training has gone into overdrive. Since beagles have a reputation for being difficult to house train this is something I want to get right from from the very first day!
I started out with a read through Ian Dunbar’s excellent book “Before & After Getting Your Puppy”. This recommends using short-term confinement (a crate) and a larger, longer term confinement area complete with an improvised puppy toilet area (pads, newspaper etc). Since the puppy has an instinctive desire to avoiding soiling her den – the crate – she quickly learns the idea of going “outside” on a particular spot. This is reinforced by praise and treats whenever she goes on the right spot. Over time, the den expands to become the whole house, and “outside” really means outside.
That’s fine as far as it goes, but it leaves quit a few questions unanswered. Specifically:
- If you’re home all day is it really necessary to use the puppy toilet idea? Why not just use the garden if you have one?
- If you don’t have a makeshift doggy toilet inside the house, what should you do at night to avoid accidents?
- If you’re using a clicker for general training, would it also be a good idea to use the clicker for house training to signal a jobby well done?
An extended Google session turned up plenty of sites that simply paraphrased Ian Dunbar’s advice, but I also found a few articles that gave me the extra information I needed:
Pulling all this together, I’ve come up with a plan for house training Beanie, who will be nearly twelve weeks old when we get her:
- Don’t let her have the full run of the house until she is fully house trained
- During the day, any time Beanie’s not on a walk, having a play/training session or in the garden doing her business, she’s going to be confined to her crate. We’ll take her out for a toilet break every hour or so, also after she wakes from a nap, after feeding, and after energetic play sessions.
- At bed time, she’ll get a visit to the garden and then be put in her crate in our bedroom. Given that she’ll already be twelve weeks old when we get her, I think we can try going without setting the alarm for another toilet trip during the night. Hopefully if she does wake up and need to go, she’ll alert us in some way. Obviously if we wake up to find a dirty crate, I guess we’ll have to revise that and use the alarm clock for a week or two!
- We’ll use the clicker to signal approval of each successful garden fertilizing session, and immediately follow it with a really tasty treat and heaps of praise.
Well that’s the plan. Only time will tell if it’ll work…