We use wood pellets in the “litterbox"of the puppy pen (see above). We send a sample home with each pup. Put the pellets in the place the pup should use and the pup will recognize the smell as the new "potty area". By the time the pellets are washed away outside by the weather, the pup will have the new habit established. If training to a new litterbox in your home: keep the pup confined to a small room with the litterbox. Place the bed, food & water at one end of the room, the litterbox at the other end. The wood pellets we use are found at farm/nursery stores and hardware stores as wood pellets for pellet burning furnaces. An under-the-bed storage box or other plastic box with low sides measuring at least 24” x 20” x 3” in normally adequate for one pup.

Pups immediately need to go upon waking & after eating (3 meals a day, last meal by 7-8pm), as well as regularly all day long, with several close together first thing in the morning. If your pup has runny stools, they will be difficult to house train, see our info under "Feeding".

For the first week, pick the puppy directly up out of the kennel upon waking & carry immediately outside to the "potty area", where you have placed the wood pellets. They won't make it, if you try to walk them out. Be patient, the pup will play with your shoe & wander around first. As your pup starts to go potty, use a phrase like "Do you have to go?" or "Go potty". Use the same phrase consistently each time the pup goes, and you will be able to cue your pup later to go in unfamiliar places. Just as the pup is finishing & BEFORE he/she walks away, feed a bit of cheese, cooked hamburger or chicken (not a dog biscuit, it does not have enough "flavor burst" to "ring bells" in your pups head). At first the pup will wonder how that happened! But by the 4th or 5th time, the lights go on & the pup will be anxious to make that happen again. As you feed the treat (a small bit is plenty), be sure to use your "baby voice", telling your pup how good they are! Eventually, the treats are withdrawn & only the voice remains.

Always keep an eye on the pup when he is out of the kennel. If you have trouble staying focused on the pup, put a leash on him to keep him with you, even in the house. When you see the pup circling with his nose down, it is a good idea to take him out immediately before an accident occurs.

Your job is to make it as easy as possible for the pup to do it right, so you can reward it. Every hour or even 1/2 hour for the first few days helps the process along. I keep a little baggie of treats in the refrigerator door ready to go, as we head out the door.

If the pup has an accident & you don't catch them in the act, just ignore it & clean it up, resolving to take the pup out more often. Punishing a pup after they have taken a step away may make you feel better, but they will have no idea what went wrong. However, if you DO catch the pup in the act (not as it walks away, but IN THE ACT), this is your golden opportunity! Make as much noise as possible immediately, yelling very loudly, "NO, NO, NO!!!! BAD DOG!!!!" Continue yelling as you scoop up the pup and take the pup to the potty area. As you set the pup down in the potty area, change your voice to a soothing, friendly tone, asking "Do you have to go?" or "Go potty". The point is to SCARE the pup as they have an accident, as this builds a memory in the pup's mind that they NEVER want to do that again!! .....and to build pleasant memories to the proper area.


We have even re-trained older dogs using the puppy pen to get them using the litter box for a few weeks and then moving the potty pellets to outside. If you have older dogs that go anywhere and everywhere, it is unlikely you will be able to get the new puppy to not follow their lead. They must be confined to an area with the litter box at one end and the food, water and bed at the other end. They will start going to the end away from their bed to go potty. You can use pine chips, cedar chips or cat litter for the litter box. Once they are using it consistently, you can start with training to go outside using the same litter outside where you want them to go, but keeping them confined to a puppy pen when you cannot supervise.


House Training

Here's a tip from Maaike Cronin:

Just wanted to pass along a trick that has worked wonderfully for us in

house training our boxer pup Hemi  (he's from Libby's litter).  He learned

after a couple weeks to go to the door if he needed to go outside but if we

weren't in the same room, we wouldn't know if he had to go because he

wouldn't bark or whine or anything.  We got a 60 cent bell from Michaels

and put it on a string on the door and he learned within a day (by the

fourth time he had to go out) to ring the bell himself.  We've had hardly

any accidents since then:>  It's the best 60 cents I've ever spent!