Friday, July 24, 2009

Teaching Fenway

Per Shannon's request, I'm doing a blog post on how we are training sweet Fenway! Shannon and her hubby are looking to buy a Westie puppy in the near future, and she was asking me about some of the ways we are working with Fenway.

Fenway is 13 weeks old now, so he's at a really good age for training. Puppies that are just weaned at about 6 weeks from their mother's DEFINITELY do not have the bladder or muscle control to hold it very long. In this case, which is what my parents did for sweet Hoss, was to let him eat or drink and take him outside the very minute he finishes. Chances are, he would go just a few minutes after eating or drinking.

Since Fenway is a little older, we wait just a bit more after he finishes eating or drinking. First thing in the morning, Jason gets up, gets dressed and takes Fenway straight outside (he sleeps in a kennel cage for now). He normally pees first thing in the morning. Then Jason gives him half of his daily food intake, and Fenway usually eats and drinks while Jason is eating breakfast and getting ready for work. After Fenway is finished, they normally play with a ball or toy for about 10 or 15 minutes, and then Jason takes him outside again. There is usually success. When we come home for lunch, Fenway usually doesn't eat if there are leftovers in his bowl, but he will drink. Again, the same routine. In the evenings, Fenway tends to snack on whatever is left in

When Fenway successfully potties outside, extreme praise comes from Jason and I. Whoever is the one to take him out praises him right on the spot. Then we take him in and tell the other so that the other can praise him too. Fenway loves this. He loves being bragged on, and he loves it when the other person comes running to tell him what a good boy he is. His tail wags, he licks, and wiggles all over for as long as we are praising him. We use and emphasize the words that we want him to learn too during this. "Good boy Fenway! That's a good boy to pee pee (or poo poo, depending on the movement haha) outside! Outside is where you pee pee (or poo poo)!" We usually try to use a voice that you would with a small baby. We try to make praises a bit higher pitched, excited, and very friendly. Then we also reward him with a treat. We have a box of Milkbones, and break off a small piece for him. He gobbles it up.

Sometimes, and unavoidably, Fenway has had and will have more accidents. We usually catch him in the process. When we do catch him, we say "NO Fenway!" and scoop him up and take him outside to finish. If we don't catch him in time, he gets scolded. I normally start off with sounding just like my mother and saying: "FENWAY! Did you pee pee in my house?!" His tail and ears normally go back. Then we take his face, and put his nose down near his mess (not in it, because thats nasty) so that he can smell it. I say a bunch of times in a lower, stern voice: "NO NO Fenway! You don't pee pee in this house! You don't pee pee inside! You pee pee outside! BAD!" Then, we take a paper towel to either mop up, or pick up the mess and take him and the paper towel outside. I then stick his nose down by his mess again so that he can smell his mess in the grass and tell him again: "You pee pee outside, this is wear it goes!" He comes back inside with me, and after a few minutes I will repeat to him again what he is supposed to do, and then we make up.

Sleeping Arrangement
Fenway was used to being in a cage when he got him, so this hasn't been excessively difficult. At about 10, we put him in his "bed" (as we tell him) for the night, and turn out the lights in our room and leave the room. He cries for about 30 minutes, and nods off to sleep. The first night, he slept until 5 am, which we assume to be the time that the breeder normally fed them and woke them up, because he barks and we can hear him playing with the toy we leave in there for him. But we don't get him out, or acknowledge his noise making. After about 30 minutes, I will get up, sit in front of his crate and talk quietly to him for a minute or two. If that didn't work, we would attempt to take him outside to relieve himself. So far, it's worked and we haven't had to take him out, so then I get back in bed and go back to sleep until time to get up. We don't want him thinking that 5 am is a wake up call for potty OR play. The next few nights, he also did this at 3 am, and we did the same thing. We let him cry it out, and his yips only lasted about 15 minutes, and he was good to go until 5. Repeat. Last night, he only cried for about 5 minutes, and he slept ALL. NIGHT. LONG. Yep! He slept until 6:15, when Jason wakes up.
So far, Fenway doesn't chew on much furniture, but he does like our desk chair. He also likes our clothes. I will be in the process of changing, and he likes to be sneaky and grab a shirt or pair of underwear that isn't too difficult for him to drag and take it away. He also enjoys the frayed edge of our "no sew" blanket to chew on. None of these are items that we want him to chew on, destroy, or anything else. Since this isn't a HUGE problem yet, we just try to distract him. We give him his chewy, rawhide bone, his stuffed toy, or his tennis ball. This usually works. If it doesn't we just throw out a stern "NO, we don't chew on that!" and give him something he CAN chew on. We're working on this, it's been more difficult than the other. But he's trying.
So there you have it Shannon (and the rest of my bloggy friends)! These are the things we are working on for now. Once he gets a bit older and these three things down, we will move on to sitting, laying down, rolling over, and some other fun things! :)


Shannon said...

thanks for these tips, Paigey! you can still bring Fenway to the party.. even though there won't be an Ollie there.. *sniff sniff*

Anonymous said...

i surely do hope you bring fenway to the party. :)

Bryce and Cecily said...

Not do dog on your potty training skills, but I have heard it's just good to only extremely praise and not to rub their face in their poo. You can tell them no, when you catch them doing it but after fact they don't really understand or get it...If you yell their name at them they won't come when they're older and you call them by their name b/c they put it with you being mad at them... anyway, just a thought, but you can ruin your cute little poodle however you'd like :) Who am I to talk. I have a cat and all you do is show them the litter box and they never miss. :)

PaigeR530 said...

Thank you so much for the advice Cec-Dawg!! I had never heard that before, very very interesting! :) By the way-your marriage tips? So right on. I never take the trash out now hahaha!