Case 5/10 First written; July 15, 2007
Updated: April 5, 2015
*A young couple in their early 30s. One newborn baby.
*Two Shih Tzu parents around 2-3 years old.
*Four 10-week old Shih Tzus, 2M,2F>
*Saw Dr Sing for 2nd vaccination.
* Three sold via the internet at $500/pup. Prospective
buyers are screened customers as they are the wife's "babies" and
not sold to just any Tom, Dick and Harry.
*100% successfully paper-trained puppies.
As I had time to chat on this quiet
Sunday afternoon of July 2007, I asked about toilet training, not
expecting much success for this young couple as they had to take care of a
new born baby as well as for 4 rambunctious puppies. But I was surprised.
This couple did succeed in paper-training all 4 Shih Tzu pups by 10 weeks
How did they do it when many Singaporeans had great difficulty
paper-training one pup?
NATURAL INSTINCT TO BE CLEAN
"The pups follow their mother by using the newspapers as toilet,
distant from their sleeping area," the wife said. The dam is the best
"The Male Dog is a super clean dog!" the
wife reiterated. "At 2-3 am, he will bark to wake us up to cover
up the soiled newspapers if he has had peed. The puppies become fussy
about cleanliness as they grow up".
CONFINEMENT TO A SMALL AREA - Kitchen only. Puppies are never
allowed out of the kitchen or entry into the bathroom near the kitchen.
The wet bathroom floors dirty the puppies' feet too. So, the kitchen is
the only place for the puppies. This wife is applying the principle of
CONFINEMENT TO A SMALL AREA to toilet train the puppies. In this case,
this was a room and the playpen for the puppies initially.
1. During first 4 weeks. Puppies and mum
confined to the dam's playpen
which consisted of 2 panels of fences x 1 panel of fence. The sire's
playpen is adjacent and has 1 x 1 panel of fence and towel.
2. The wife placed
newspapers to the left of the playpen in both cases. In the dam
and puppy pen, the papers were spread out in 3 layers. The width of the
papered area was 1.5X the paper width (Singapore Straits Times). That is,
1 paper's left half overlapped the other paper's right half. When soiled,
she simply covered up the soiled portion with the other half by folding
over the soiled area. However she would replaced the soiled papers when
2.There were 2 toilet locations for puppies. Newspapers placed
to the left of the dam's playpen and near the
kitchen door which is was by a
panel of playpen fences to prevent the pups straying out of the kitchen.
3. The wife has been
full-timeat home for
last 10 weeks and able to train the puppies. Initially the puppies would
eliminate anywhere in the playpen but at 4 weeks, they went to pee and
poop onto the newspapers like mum. In the first 2 weeks, mum cleaned them
by licking. This is a natural behaviour of dams.
4. Feeding - Daily, the mum was fed 4-5X. Puppies 2X.
Puppies weaned at 4th week onto milk powder, oats and dry puppy feed.
Feeding bowl was taken away after eating. It was kept near the right hand
side (bed area).
5. Water bottle hung
from the front of playpen. There was also no problem with water
spillage when he water was provide in a water bowl.
6. Elimination - 2 toilet locations. Adult dogs waited
till the evening when husband came home. Thy would eliminate on the
newspapers. If papers were soiled, the puppies rushed to the 2nd
toilet location (newspapers near kitchen door). The puppies eliminated
overnight sometimes. Papers were replaced in the morning. The male dog
would bark at around 2-3 am to wake up owner to cover the soiled papers.
6.1 Urine spraying by male dog. The owners "angled" the newspapers.
One half was clipped to cover the side of the playpen fence (which
separated the dam from the male dog's pen. Cloth pegs tied up this
partition so that the male dog could lift his leg and spray urine
without dirtying the female bed (which was to the immediate left of the
male playpen). The kitchen was small and so it was necessary to improvise.
Adult dogs will eliminate only in the newspapers on the kitchen floor.
"Yesterday, a buyer came to see the puppies," the wife said. "The puppies
ran to newspaper under living area table to pee."
This proves that puppies were successfully paper trained as puppies sought
out the newspapers all the time to pee and poop. The puppy buyers would
have NO toilet-training problem if they adopt the routines already
set for the puppies.
However, in my experience, when they bring the puppy home, buyers have
their own housing floor plan, let puppy roam the whole apartment as they deem it cruel to crate the puppy.
The home breeder needs to inform the buyer about the paper training and
feed routine. If not, toilet training problems start for new owners in
A super-clean dad
"The sire is a super clean dog," the wife who had just given birth to a
baby said. "He will not dirty his paws by going into the playpen of the
dam and puppies."
"The puppies want to be clean," the
housewife or homemaker shared her experience with me. "In the morning,
they dash to the 2nd toilet location as the papers have had been soiled in
I was impressed by her hard work in training the puppies. She said, "The
mum and dad usually eliminate in the afternoon when they know that the
papers would be changed immediately. Just cover one end over the soiled
papers --- that would do."
"Where do you learn about toilet training?" I asked the young Singaporean
couple. as they have successfully executed a program of toilet training 4
puppies. "Do you read about toilet training?"
"Yes," the wife said. "Lots of internet surfing and reading. I
borrowed books such as 'Puppy Parenting' from the National Library and its
The younger Singapore generation is usually very knowledgeable.
"How do you market your puppies?" I hope to get some tips to help other
"3 out of the 4 puppies were sold at $500 each at the website,
efair.com.sg," the wife told me of a website I did not know existed.
The selling prices were much lower than what pet shops would sell. Soon,
it will be difficult for pet shop operators to sustain their business
profitability if home breeders and professional breeders sell directly to
puppy buyers at lower prices.
Fortunately the younger generation is time-pressed. They seldom have the
time to look after young puppies and get them ready for sale. Puppy sales
are a source of income for home-breeders but the Straits Times
advertisements of 3 lines are very expensive at around S$40 per advert/day
and are shunned. So the internet has been a real benefit to the ordinary
person as they are usually free of charge.
1. I checked out
fair.com.sg today Sunday Mar 4, 2008. I have no puppies to sell. The
website is now
http://sg.redad.com/. There are 371 advertisements of cats and dogs
from May 23, 2007 to May 3, 2008.
2. The most common
mistake most time-pressed Singapore puppy owners in this research is to
let the puppy roam the entire apartment before he knows where he
should pee and poo.
3. ADOPT BASIC PRINCIPLES OF TOILET TRAINING:
Generally 2-4 weeks of confinement in a small space will be
necessary to toilet-train the puppy. Give commands e.g.. "Pee here".
Praise, food treats and playtime on successful performance. Monitor for
signs of elimination. Neutralise the urine smell of "accident" areas with