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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ask the Dog Trainer: High Rise
Potty-Training with Puppy Pads

by Michael Baugh, CPDT-KA, CDBC
© courtesy drinkerthinker via
Wrong Pet. Where's the Puppy?
Dear Michael; 

I just got a little furry baby from the rescue in my area. She is a mix of who knows what, cute and cuddly with curly fur. I live in a high rise apartment building and am starting to use puppy pads for training. I know there will be times when I cannot be there to take her out. How would you suggest I use puppy pads and crate training together? We are just starting and already unsure as to how to get the message across.

Thank you, Jess
Dear Jess,

Great questions!  Potty training a puppy is a pretty straight forward process, regardless of where you want the puppy to “go.”  Most dogs seek out absorbent surfaces, like grass.  Unfortunately some seek out carpet as well.  The potty pads are absorbent too, which is good news.  I can tell you, they are most effective if used in an area with hard flooring.  Don’t put them in a carpeted area.  If you want to train your dog to use the potty pads some or most of the time in your apartment, then lead her to the pad right after letting her out of her crate.  As soon as she’s done doing her business, praise and treat her.  Repeat this process often and she will learn the pad is the preferred indoor potty area.

What about potty training when you are away from your apartment?  Here’s what I recommend for puppies and newly adopted dogs.  If you’re only going to be away for a few hours, leave the dog in her crate.  Most dogs can hold it for that short period of time, and most will refrain from soiling their crate.  If you’re going to be gone longer, leave the dog in an area (preferably with tile flooring) behind a baby gate.  Since you’ll have been training her to love relieving herself on the potty pads, leave a pad down while you are gone.  My guess is she’ll use it.  (You might want to consider taping the potty pad to the tile since some puppies love to use them as chew toys).

As your puppy gets older, she’ll be able to control her body a bit better.  Start teaching your dog to love going potty outside as well right away.  The process is exactly the same.  When she’s done going on the grass, praise and treat her right then and there. It works like a charm.

Thank you so much for your thoughtful question.  Thank you even more for adopting a dog from a shelter.  You changed two lives for the better – hers and yours.

Robyn Arouty
Michael with Stella
Houston Dog Trainer Michael Baugh CPDT-KA, CDBC is the director of training and behavior at Rover Oaks Pet Resorts. You may readch Michael at the link for a personal consultation, or write to him at our Ask the Dog Trainer Column @ Michael's advice does not replace an actual consultation with a qualified trainer.

Puppy Pad Giveaway: 
Just for fun, we're going to try something new today. We're going to give you a chance to get to know Michael a little better. At a recent pet blogger's conference, I received 2 packages of puppy training pads in a sample bag. In addition I got a booklet of 10 coupons for $2 off a package of puppy pads, for a total savings of $20. I'll give these away to three winners in a drawing from entries on the Rafflecopter below. If you do not see the Rafflecopter entry form, simply click the title of this post to refresh, and the Rafflecopter will appear below.

Full disclaimer: Each of the two packages of puppy pads holds a minimum of 10 pads. I have not been compensated to give these products or coupons away. There is no purchase necessary to win. Good luck!


Becca @Becca's Perspective said...

I used potty pads because my dog is so small. Also, its convenient for him to know where to go if I'm out for awhile at work.

Anna Galanos said...

I chose puppy pads because my dogs are small. It helps to put it by the door in my bedroom in case they need to go in the middle of the night. Potty training is exhausting!

Unknown said...

I chose to use puppy pads indoors for when the weather is yucky. Plus Owls sometimes eat little dogs, so I don't let Pepper out in the dark. We use pads for nighttime potty time. I also use pads to line her pet-a-roo pouch because sometimes her glands express from her weight by her sitting in it.

Sara said...

i chose them because i didnt have much choice. I am away from the home too long for my dogs to hold it so it is a great option for easy cleanup!

Sarah said...

we use puppy pads because we were working sometimes over 12 hours a day and couldn't come home to let our buddy out. he also hates weather that is too cold or too hot, and takes care of himself!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing this! We tried potty pads but we found she kept on "missing." So we switched to this real grass alternative called DoggieLawn and it worked amazingly well! She never misses since it gives her more breathing room (space-wise) than the plastic pads did. Plus it looked really good in our loft :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking the time to discuss this. I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me. Thanks!

Kind Regards,

Elayne Taylor
Dog Training Tips

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