Q&A wih Dr. Grey: Yorkie puppies need help with house training, chewing

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

We have two new male Yorkies 5 & 6 months. We are having a hard time paper training them. We have wee wee pads set out and sometimes they make it but most times they pee on the corner and it goes everywhere. At night we let them have the run of 2 rooms (with tile floors) and they pee and poop everywhere but on the paper. We take them to the paper to show them but to no avail. Other times they use the pads.

Also they are chewing the moldings on the base boards of our brand new house. We put on bumpers but they still bite the wood. We gave them plenty of chew toys to use their teeth on but....HELP HELP HELP!

Thanks very much.

Hi Leslie:

I applaud your patience! Hang in there. Truth is, 5-6 months is still very young; their brains are still rather scrambled and their bodies are not fully mature. Your key to success will be to establish as much consistency in their day and night as possible. Consistency in terms of feeding times, amounts, water availability, and potty trips outside. The more you can set exact times for eating, the more likely they will get on a potty schedule, and soon. And, most importantly, do not punish their mistakes. The goal is to build their success with positive reinforcement.

Where do you ultimately want them to go? On a pad or outside? If outside, then I would fade the pads out asap. They may be confusing the pups. (i.e., sometimes it’s ok to go inside and sometimes not.) If your plan is for them to go inside the home on paper forever, then ignore what I just wrote.

Instead of giving them free access to 2 rooms, I would invest in a very large dog crate—get a big one so that they can both easily fit and you can place paper in the far back for them to go if needed. In the front half, give them a fresh towel to sleep on. You can also place a 1 inch board under the front edge of the crate in order to tilt it slightly to the back. This will help keep urine away from their sleeping area in front. If they are independent of each other and don’t usually sleep side by side, then use two dog crates, each one large enough for them to sleep in front and potty in the back. It may be much easier that way!

They may complain the first few nights but eventually they will come to like the crate if you make it fun (e.g., toys, blanket, and some treats now and then) and not a “time out” corner.

To keep the crate a fun place where they are always eager to go back in, be sure to feed them a high value treat as far back inside the crate as possible (I use boiled beef liver with my adult dogs) BEFORE YOU LET THEM OUT OF THE CRATE. Even if they are anxious to get out, a treat reminds them why they like being inside! This really works. My GSD loves it when I let her into her crate. Just be sure to wait for them to be quiet and relatively calm before you treat them and quickly let them out. Once out, ignore them for a few minutes to make the point that it is more fun to be in the crate then out.

If you don’t want to crate them, then invest in some day pen panels. Cover the entire area enclosed by the day pen with paper, except for their blanket area.) This will help them get the idea that paper = potty. In time you can reduce the area covered by paper as their aim improves!

Finally, be sure to get them outside at night for a potty break until they become more dependable. It may mess up your sleep cycle, but until their brains and bodies reach maturity, it helps to give them a late-night outdoor potty break (again, assuming your ultimate goal is to have them hold it at night and go only outside.)

Oh, and stick to a feeding/ watering schedule—no free feeds with food left down to pick at all day. Depending on when you go to bed, I’d give the last feeding a few hours before that. No access to water at least 2 hours before bed. (Again, I am assuming these are indoor dogs and will not be left outside in the heat in summers.))

As for chewing, they are still pups and naturally need to chew things in order to soothe sore gums and to explore the world. So prevent any access to the baseboards as much as possible, especially if you can’t be there to supervise. Rotate the types of toys offered each day and night: hard, plush, rubber, food stuffed etc.

A little bit of a more controlled (but always fun!) environment now will go a long way to showing them what is appropriate behavior and what isn’t.

Good luck and thanks for watching us on 3TV

Grey & Venti