tpvets_logo.jpg (2726 bytes)TOA PAYOH VETS

Date:   24 December, 2009  
Focus: Small animals - dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pig & rabbits.

Toa Payoh Vets Clinical Research
Making veterinary surgery alive
to a veterinary student studying in Australia
using real case studies and pictures


Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
First written: Dec 24, 2009

Toilet Training Your First Puppy in A Singapore Apartment

Barking was the main complaint surprisingly. As the puppy is small, elimination all over the apartment was a secondary problem.  However, toilet-training should be the main challenge as the puppy will grow bigger and produce bigger volumes of stools and urine.  Below is my proposal to resolve the first-time puppy owner's problems.

Owner: Young man doing national service. Brought the puppy for the 2nd vaccination.
Puppy: Shih Tzu bought one month ago via the internet (7 weeks old).
Housing: Crate + pee pan in the young man's bedroom. Puppy training pads are placed onto the pee pan but the puppy shreds them. So the owner gives up toilet-training.
Feeding: 3x/day. Dry food inside the crate. Milk in water bowl placed outside and inside the crate.

Two Common Problems of first-time puppy owners
1. Barking when confined to the crate. Wakes up at 5.30 am and barks loudly. Other times too. Therefore not confined. He does not bark.
2. Pee and poo everywhere in the apartment for the past one month. What to do?

Owner's solutions to Barking
Sudden loud noise:
Adopting the advices from the world wide web, he put coins inside a can. When the puppy barked, he shook the can.
"Does it really work?" I asked. "Yes, for a few times. Then the puppy barks."
"The puppy sees you holding the can and thinks you are playing with him," I said. "You are supposed to hide somewhere and release the can from the top of a door when the puppy barks."

The young man said, "Barking is due to the puppy wanting to come out to pee and poop as he does not dirty his crate. When my mum lets him out at 5.30 am, he quickly pees and poops onto the floor anywhere."

Cross-pollinate your ideas with others to succeed. Toa Payoh Vets My proposed solutions:
1. Confine the puppy in the bathroom and crate for 2-4 weeks. "Too stuffy," the young man said. I proposed using a baby gate so that the puppy can see outside and it will not be stuffy and he will not bark.
2. Place pee pan with training pads (urine smell) at one distant corner from his crate.
3. Feed and water bowls beside his crate.
4. At 5.30am, mum takes him out of the crate and puts him onto the pee pan. Do this after feeding, waking up or seeing signs of elimination (puppy turning, sniffing). Say "pee here." Food treat on success. Back to the crate or inside the bathroom. Change soiled pads daily.
5. Neutralise floors with white vinegar:water at 1 part to 3 parts put into a spray bottle. Use a rag with this mixture to clean up all floors, including areas in the bathroom where the puppy is not supposed to eliminate.

Feedback: one month's time when the puppy comes for the 3rd vaccination.
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 Clinical Research

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