TOILET TRAINING PUPPY IN THE CITY - How to train your new puppy to pee and poop in the correct way

FLOOR GRATE + PEE PAN METHOD
 IN TOILET TRAINING OF PUPPIES:
4 CASE STUDIES TO SHARE WITH FIRST-TIME PUPPY OWNERS IN SINGAPORE

Dr Sing Kong Yuen
toapayohvets.com

Case
First written; June 28, 2005
Updated:  April 1, 2015

CASE STUDY 1. CONFUSING THE GOLDEN RETRIEVER PUPPY   Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
First written: Dec 17, 2008. Updated: Nov 19, 2009
 

From: <...@yahoo.com.sg>
Subject: Golden Retriever Training
To: judy@toapayohvets.com
Date: Friday, December 19, 2008, 8:28 AM

Dear Dr Sing:

I sincerely hope you can provide me with your expert advise.

I got a Golden retriever puppy on last Sunday, 13 Dec 2008. It is of 3 months age. I placed it in a cage (4-sided chrome wire with a top and a wire grating below with a pee tray). I placed it in my planter area in the kitchen. There is a toilet just 2 metres away. There, I placed newspaper on a separate pee-tray and placed the "urine-smell" chemical on it.

My wife and I took turns and wake up twice during the night to bring it there to pee and poo. Meal times are at 7am and 7-8pm. Water bottle is removed at 11pm. After each meal, we bring the puppy there. I am glad that within 2 days, by Tuesday, 16 Dec 2008, the puppy knows where to go to do its business.


PUPPY IS USED TO THIS ROUTINE  FOR 2 DAYS. IT KNOWS THE TOILET LOCATION AND KNOWS WHAT TO DO. IT HAD POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT FROM YOU. THEN YOU START ANOTHER ROUTINE. YOU SHOULD HAVE GIVEN IT 2 WEEKS TO BE FULLY TRAINED BEFORE SWITCHING TO ANOTHER ROUTINE. 

Then we bought a baby gate and sealed off a section of the kitchen (The sealed area is for the puppy. The cage and toilet is there too). The questions are:
1) The puppy now does not want to go back to the cage to sleep. We need to "force" it back in. We still wake up to bring it to the toilet. Why does the puppy "hates" its cage now?


PUPPIES PREFER FREEDOM TO RUN AROUND. IT ASSOCIATES THE CAGE WITH BEING LOCKED UP AND NEGATIVE FEELINGS.  

2) We intend to let the puppy free roam the sealed section and the cage unlocked. So it can walk around and go to the toilet by itself.

PUPPY WILL TAKE TIME TO  GO TO  THE PROPER TOILET LOCATION.

Now the puppy goes and tear the newspaper in the toilet and eats them. Is it safe? How can we make the puppy go to the toilet with the newspaper and not tear and eat them?

PAPER SHREDDING IS THE MOST COMMON COMPLAINT from puppy owners. There is nothing much you can do. Some owners do tape the newspapers to the floor, edges of pee pan etc.  Not safe if the puppy eats lots of newspapers.

3) We noticed the puppy tends to step on its urine or poo if its not cleared immediately) and walks all over its area thus dirtying the area.

STEPPING ON STOOLS IS ANOTHER COMMON COMPLAINT from puppy owners. Possible cause could be insufficient space or that the puppy is not particularly clean due to previous confinement in the cages in the pet shop or breeder's place.

Thus, I removed the wire floor of the cage and placed it on top of the newspaper and pee-tray in the toilet and secured it with cable-tie (At least it will not step on its own urine. But if it steps on the poo, no choice). This is done as I do not want the puppy to tear and eat the newspaper.

ANOTHER NEW ROUTINE USING THE GRATE (WIRE FLOOR) SERVES TO CONFUSE THE PUPPY.

But worse off, it now refuse or "is scared" to go to the toilet to do its business.

PUPPY PROBABLY GETS SCOLDING/SPANKING FROM YOU when it does not step on the Grate to pee and poo.  Grate may be too small, too dirty and does not feel right to the puppy. 

I tried the same routine again, command it to go, coax it and praise it when its there but the puppy just refuse to do its business on top of the wire floor with both soiled and new newspaper below it with the pee-tray.

GRATE + PEE PAN METHOD you are using. First, you need to confine the puppy such that it has no space but to go to the grate to eliminate. A clean place to sleep and eat. I presume your puppy has a lot of space and so does not need to go to the grate to eliminate.

THE FLOOR OF THE KITCHEN AND NEARBY AREAS IS FULL OF SMELLS OF URINE AND POO. Did you manage to neutralise the smells? White vinegar: water 1:3 with a piece of cloth (not mop which is full of urine smells) to wipe whole floor. Mop needs to be free of urine smell if you want to use mop.

I experimented by removing the wire floor and it goes back to pee but now choose to poo on the kitchen tiles. Why does the puppy refuses just by adding the wire floor. Must I toilet-train it again?

THE GRATE (WIRE FLOOR) is NOT accepted by this puppy. I suspect it is too small, not frequently cleaned when soiled and the puppy does not know how to use it.

Too much space to roam around for the first 7 days and no ROUTINE for the first 7-14 days. You keep changing toilet location, toilet and sleeping areas and the puppy is just confused.

What are your recommendations? Your help is greatly appreciated. I look forward to yr earliest reply.

YES, YOU NEED TO START ALLOVER AGAIN. Confine for 14 days. Neutralise smells and a fixed routine. Not all puppies are comfortable with the grate and pee pan method. If you want to use the grate and pee pan method, put puppy in one area e.g. bathroom. Put urine smell into the pee pan. Other floor area has no urine or poo smell (not always possible). Floor area to sleep is restricted to a small area. Baby gate can be put outside bathroom door. After 14 days or less, let the puppy out to the kitchen (baby gate outside the kitchen door). Then more and more free areas as the puppy goes back to the bathroom grate. Obviously, you need to keep the soiled grate clean.

Unfortunately, the cleanliness of the puppy to sleep and eat in a clean area depends on its upbringing by the Seller. If it has been forced to sleep in dirt, it will step on poop. Generally, you will note that the puppy will prefer a clean sleeping and eating area and a toilet location further. However, if you give it a lot of space, it will eliminate anywhere except its eating and sleeping area.

Hope above suggestions help.

Grate + Pee Pan method of toilet training usually applies to small breeds. Toa Payoh Vets

One tool used in this case study is a
grate + pee pan to toilet train the Golden Retriever puppy. For some owners of small breeds like the Chihuahua, the dog will pee and poop on the grate, saving a lot of cleaning. Newspapers as toilet location - problem is dirty paws from newspaper ink. Some owners don't like that.

The grate keeps the paws clean from urine and stools as the puppy does not step on the stools. In the case of small breeds with smaller stools, this tool is great. The problem of paper shredding and eating newspapers does not exist. The disadvantage is that the puppy will never be paper-trained using this method. The owner NEEDS to remove the stools stuck on top of the grate and clean the soiled grate promptly (preferred) as the puppy dislikes soiled areas and will not eliminate on the grate if he has a choice of other places, e.g. OUTSIDE the perimeter of the grate.
 

CASE STUDY NO. 2 - SUCCESS IN FLOOR GRATE + PEE PAN TOILET TRAINING. extracted from Dr Sing's blog: Monday, February 11, 2008

"Believe me, all sorts of masking tape had been used to ensure that the Miniature Schnauzer cannot shred the newspapers," the young man said. Half of the playpen floor was covered with newspapers which are taped at all 4 sides. Still the puppy shreds them. So, paper training was not possible for one month.

"What did you do?" I asked.

"I bought a floor grate with pee pan below from another pet shop. Put urine smell on the pee pan and put the whole set inside the playpen. Now the puppy just eliminate on the floor grate. No more dirty paws," the owner was satisfied with the solution.

Shredding papers is a common complaint of many pups home alone. In this case, the floor grate with pee pan resolves the problem.

The owner remarked, "The Miniature Schnauzer would stand upright, front legs against the playpen to poop onto the floor grate. Is this normal?"

"No," I said. "A pup will squat to eliminate. He does not want to step onto the soiled floor grate."

"I don't think so," the owner thought it was part of the personality of the puppy or breed to stand and poo.

It is difficult for the puppy to communicate with us that he does not want to dirty his paws. The urine in the floor grate may be soiled, according to his highly developed sense of smell. The owner would not think so as the urine would have had flowed into the pee pan.

"The only support for my saying this is that another owner with the same situation and breed has the same behaviour of the puppy standing upright against the playpen panel to poop onto the floor grate."

CASE STUDY 3:  PARTIAL SUCCESS -
 HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY GRATE + PEE PAN TRAIN YOUR PUPPY

First written: June 14, 2008
 

Summary: The grate and pee pan set has been used by many Singaporean puppy owners with varying degrees of success. This case describes the partial success in getting a small breed dog to step up onto the grate to pee only. The puppy poops elsewhere unlike a successful case described in case study 4.  

The grate and pee pan set has been used by many Singaporean puppy owners with varying degrees of success. This case shows success in getting the small breed dog to step up onto the grate to pee but not to poo. How did the owner do it?

Positive reinforcement training for the puppy using verbal commands and food treats whenever the puppy shows signs of elimination (squatting, sniffing). For the working couple in this case study, it took a lot of time of many weeks. Training would be done when they returned home from work.

Clean grate is important.  "My dog is very clean. He does not pee onto the grate if I do not wipe off the urine after he had peed onto it. I wash the grate with detergent at the end of each day."

I was impressed as it is not easy as most Singapore owners failed to get the dog to walk up and step onto the grate to eliminate. "Does he poop onto the grate too?"

"No," she said. "He poops on the tiled floor in the balcony or kitchen. I just remove the poop, washed the floor with vinegar:acid spray. It was a good idea to use a spray bottle.

I know of many owners whose dogs just use the grate for peeing. The reason may be that the grate is too small or not cleaned after the puppy has had peed. The lady owner whose left finger had a splint and plaster while trying to save her dog from being killed by a big dog at the park, probably did not wipe the grate after the dog had peed, at the beginning of training. The dog is now over 1.5 years old. 

Once the dog is used to pooping onto the tiled floor, it is difficult to re-train him.

"Why don't you put newspapers onto the two frequented floor spots where the dog poops so that you can just throw away the soiled newspaper with the poop?"

The lady said: "The dog used to shred newspapers when he is alone. So I do not use newspapers.

"The dog has grown up and may not shred newspapers," I proposed she does paper-training.        
In any case, the young couple is very happy with the dog. He does not urine-mark inside the apartment despite being a male dog.

SUGGESTION
STAGE 2

But there is some area for reducing her cleaning workload if the adult dog can be paper-trained to pee and poo since she is no longer working.

For example, put newspapers on the pee pan. Let the dog use the pee pan to pee and poop. Use a larger pee pan.

Shredding newspapers may or may not be the adult dog's habit now. Who knows until we try. If the dog can be paper-trained, so much washing and mopping is avoided! But many dog owners have not thought of this 2nd stage as they are quite happy with the status quo. 

"Vinegar: water at 1:4 spray bottle is a good idea. It is meant to neutralise the urine smell in the pee pan or floor," I explained to the happy couple who loved this little rascal whose jugular vein was attacked by a big dog during exercise in a park.  The grate was washed or wiped by laundry detergent. It seemed to work too as the dog continues peeing onto it. 

CASE STUDY 4: TIPS FOR THE FIRST-TIME PUPPY OWNER - HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY GRATE + PEE PAN TRAIN YOUR PUPPY
First written: June 14, 2008
 

Summary: The grate and pee pan set has been used by many Singaporean puppy owners with varying degrees of success. This case describes the success in getting a small breed dog to step up onto the grate to pee and to poo. Unlike a previous case of just pee but not poop on the Grate + Pee Pan. How did the owner do it?

Positive reinforcement training for the puppy using verbal commands and food treats whenever the puppy shows signs of elimination (squatting, sniffing). For the working couple in this case study, it took a lot of time of many weeks and probably months. Training would be done when they returned home from work.
Clean grate is important. The owner cleans the Grate + Pee Pan every 2 days. Stools must be removed promptly or the dog will not eliminate on the grate.

SUGGESTION.
I did not suggest any new idea as the owners had complete success using the Grate+ Pee Pan method for their little breed. The use of a plastic floor grate may be preferred to a wired one as the latter rusts over time. 

"Is it OK for my dog during the surgery?" the lady in her mid 30s were more concerned as to whether her dog would die under general anaesthesia for neuter.

"99% of healthy young dogs being neutered do not die on the operating table," I said. As the dog was docile, I used the 8% gas anaesthesia to knock him down, put in the endotracheal tube to connect his lungs to the gas and put on 1% maintenance dose. No tranquiliser was given so as to prevent anaesthetic complications. There was no problem at all.  

Singapore puppy.Grate+Pee Pan Success Graphics Story.Toa Payoh Vets
The dog had been so active in humping every towel and other dogs such that it was anti-social and embarrassing. The couple were knowledgeable and knew that early neuter was the solution.  The dog had no problem with the anaesthesia and went home to a happy couple. I recorded in a piece of paper quickly after the interview before I forget the details as writing takes days in time-pressed Singapore. 
 

Singapore puppy toilet training. Grate+ Pee Pan. Toa Payoh Vets
The Grate + Pee Pan (Pee Tray) set with a Maltese is shown in this picture. 

For some Singapore owners of small breeds like the Chihuahua, peeing and pooping on the grate saves a lot of cleaning of the soiled paws. In using newspapers, owners complain the newspaper ink dirtied the paws in white breeds. Some owners don't like that. An alternative to newspapers is the use of puppy diapers (puppy training pads).

White roses, Willetton, Perth, Australia, Spring time. Toa Payoh Vets

CONCLUSION
As each puppy is an individual and has its previous history from the seller and as each breed has its own traits, there is no one way to toilet train the puppy.

Confinement, positive reinforcement training, close monitoring and training for the first 14-28 days and neutralising urine smells in non-approved toilet areas and a routine for sleeping, eating, drinking and exercise form the basis of toilet training in the puppy.  Please  e-mail judy@toapayohvets.com if you wish to seek advice as regards toilet-training in your puppy or dog.

Original article:
http://www.kongyuensing.com/folder8/20081234Golden_
Retriever_Toilet_Training_ToaPayohVets_Apr815.htm

Main webpage:
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