She Wants Her Puppy House Trained, Not Crate Trained… Oh, Really?

We received a letter from Kelsey that demonstrated a bit of confusion about crate training and how it relates to house training a puppy:

Crate Training A Puppy

She writes:  Hi Adam.  I have a 12 week-old Great Dane puppy. He is a very well behaved puppy for the most part and a very quick learner. I have been reading but I really have not found anything that fits my problem. I have a crate but i do not want a dog that has to be in a crate every time I am not home. I want my home in a way to be the crate. I was hoping to start small with one room and work up to having more of the house. But we cant seem to even get past the one room. What we have done is we have confined him to our back mudroom which has been puppy proofed and blocked off with a baby gate. But he keeps chewing on the molding and the walls. How do I change this behavior? I never catch him chewing on anything but his toys when we are home. I have tried chewing deterrents like bitter apple and Vicks but he still does it.  He has a ton of different toys and proper chew toys. How do i correct this behavior? Right now we are on a day by day basis. If he chews the next day he goes in the crate. So far this chewing behavior only occurs when we are at work. Which i know is along period of time to be left unattended. We can leave to go to the store or out for a couple hours at a time and he has been a good boy no chewing. I do not want to keep doing this if this is causing more harm than good. But I cant find anything that really relates to my problem. I want a dog that i can leave out and that is not going to chew while i am at work. Any advice and help would be greatly appreciated.


Adam replies:  Hi, Kelsey:

You’re not understanding the concept of the crate: It is used as an intermediary step. Please follow the advice in the book, because right now here’s what you’re teaching your dog: You’re teaching him that he IS ALLOWED TO CHEW WHEN YOU ARE NOT HOME.

He has not EARNED his freedom yet. He’s too young. And what you’re (inadvertently) teaching him is that there is no consistency of rules.


In this sense (and this sense only) think of him like a baby: You put the baby in the crib or play pen when you cannot keep one eye on him, right? Of course, when he’s older he won’t have to be in the crib all the time. And when he’s a young adult, you can leave him in the house unsupervised. But as a baby? He’s going to eat something he shouldn’t or stick his fingers in an electrical socket. So, the baby needs to be confined when you cannot watch him, until he’s older.

It’s the same with your dog.

Make sense?


Kelsey replied with a follow-up question.  My replies are in bold, below:

Kelsey says: I think i was under the wrong impression i understood that the crate was to be used until completely potty trained, and that was the major reason for the crate.

Yes, exactly. He hasn’t earned the freedom to be out of the crate, unsupervised yet. He’s too young.

Since he has been potty trained and when i say potty trained when we are home no accidents I felt that we could move up to a larger area.

No. He’s too young. At 12 weeks, even when you’re home, he’ll likely try to eliminate in the house again. That’s normal behavior. You need to correct him when it happens.

When we are at work he uses his training pads every time and the amount he is eliminating is way less, then when we first started.

If you’re happy with that, then I’m not understanding what the problem is? Personally, I hate “training pads” as all they do is “train” the dog that it’s okay to eliminate in the house. Leave him in a kennel run outside that’s properly shaded and has an untippable bowl of water– so that he gets conditioned to eliminate outside. If you can’t do that, then go home in the middle of the day (or use a pet sitter) to let him out to potty and for exercise.

I guess i assumed we were ready for a larger area.

I’m not sure where you got this idea of “larger and larger areas”? The size of the area has nothing to do with it. It’s about confining the dog until he is old enough and consistently proves to you that he can handle the freedom. Like I said in the book: You should not leave the dog unsupervised (out of the crate or kennel run) until he is one year old, to be safe. I don’t make the rules… this is a biological/developmental thing that is inherent to the dog. Anybody who tells you otherwise has just gotten lucky or is lying to you.

If i go back to the crate how do i determine when we are (and i mean both of us trained) to take the next step. and then if he goes back to his old ways if you are never catching him in the act how do you associate the bad behavior?

Too young. Wait until he is a year-old, then start spying on him.

Everything you have said makes sense, and I am very willing to work with him. I just do not want to confuse him any more than i already have.

I think you just need to recalibrate your expectations. He’s still a baby, and you wouldn’t expect a baby to stay home by himself unsupervised, right?  He might get into too much trouble.  It’s the same with a puppy of this age.

How To Correct A Puppy Accident

Liz wrote to me with a question about how to correct a puppy accident:

She writes: “As I’m reading about housebreaking, I notice you say to give a “Strong Correction.”  What exactly do you mean by strong? I have a Toy Schnoodle who is a 10 week-old puppy. He is doing pretty well as far as going outside, I do watch him like a “Hawk” but, ya know… he does have an accident or two.”

How To Correct A Puppy Accident
Is Different Than How You Would
Correct An Adult Dog

I replied: “I’m glad you asked this question.

correct a puppy accidentFor an adult dog (or even for an older puppy) you would use the tab-leash and collar to give a tug and release (or an e-collar, if you were going that route). You’re looking for anything to humanely create an uncomfortable association with the act of eliminating in the house. When I wrote, “strong correction” what I meant was: Motivation, or having meaning. That will vary from dog to dog. The more you train with your dog, the more you’ll know how firm to tug on the leash to get your point across.

The Right Way To Correct A Puppy Accident–
Especially With A Young Puppy– Is Very Different
From How You Would Correct An Adult Dog


For your breed and your dog’s age, simply saying, “No! No! No!” in a booming voice and then carrying him by the scruff of the neck with one hand and scooping him up with the other hand and then running him outside where you will say, “Get busy!” is enough. With the exception of the super dominant, headstrong puppy– just walking quickly toward the pup and saying, “No! No! No!” and then interrupting the behavior will be motivational.  That’s all you’ll need to do to correct a puppy accident at this age.

He will have accidents for the next week or two: That’s to be expected. But you need to associate a negative (No! No! No!”) with the behavior (eliminating in the house) every time he does it. That’s the key.  He will quickly learn to choose between the negative association (which only happens if he does it in the house) and the positive that will be associated with eliminating outside (the praise he receives and the relief of eliminating uninterrupted).  So, the level of motivation for your correction is different when a correct a puppy accident compared to an adult dog.



Dog Urinates While Sleeping

I received a letter from a reader about what to do when your dog urinates while sleeping:

Her Dog Urinates While Sleeping

Dear Mr. Adam and friends:

There are no words to thank you enough for your site and all benefits I have from it. I have 14 months old Brittany girl. She was neutered when 9 months-old. Two months after such operation she started to pee while sleeping. I asked our vet and he explained that it is possible after such operation. One of 10 dog girls might have such nuss effects. Now she is missing certain hormones that normally other glandula would start to produce. But in her case this didn’t happened. There are sintetic hormones that have its own effects, but we don’t use it now, expecting the body might recover itself. I wonder, is there any other reason that might cause such problem. Could it be reaction on kind of stress (like in people and children…?) or… When it happens she would wake up surprised, jump from sleeping place, sniff the place, sniff herself, look at me and then look like really confused wondering what is going on. I assume it is sort of traumic for her too. She was well housebroken and had normal habits before operation. Please, any comment or advice? To be more precise we live in an apartment, she is out 5 times per day and one and half hour every day free to run or have a long walk. She is well cared and treated. We don’t have other behavioral problems and she lives in accordance with your advice from your books, crate, discipline, exercise, affection etc… All behavioral problems we have require me to be a stronger pack leader and I work on it. Thanks for your time and advices.

When A Dog Urinates While Sleeping, It’s A Health Issue Not A Dog Training Issue

I replied: This is a health problem your dog is experiencing, not a behavior problem. I deal with the dog’s mind exclusively and leave health issues to the veterinarians.

I don’t feel it’s a stress issue. Dogs don’t display stress in that manner, you’d see it manifest in other ways.

What I would do is: Call a few dog trainers and dog groomers in your area and get a feel for which veterinarian is the most thorough. Then make an appointment to get a second opinion from that veterinarian. I’ve found that there is a wide discrepancy between the skill and healing abilities from one veterinarian to the next, so definitely get a second opinion about your dog’s pattern of urinating while sleeping.

Housebreaking A Dog

For housebreaking a dog, you’ll need to know these five things:

housebreaking a dogI call them the, “Five keys to housebreaking a dog (or puppy) in a hurry.”  If you want to get the most bang for your buck with the least amount of hassle and effort then you must use all five of these house training techniques together, in tandem.

1.) When housebreaking a dog, correct your dog every time he has an accident in the house. Keep him confined to either a crate, or a dog run outside when you can’t supervise him.

2.) When housebreaking a dog, praise your dog anytime he eliminates outside.

3.) When housebreaking a dog, establish a specific spot, and use a command that you repeat (such as “Get busy! Get busy! Get busy!”) while you’re waiting for your dog to eliminate outside.

4.) When housebreaking a dog, set up a precise feeding and watering schedule, and take him out immediately after he eats or drinks water.

5.) When housebreaking a dog use an enzymatic odor neutralizer, such as a product called “Nature’s Miracle” (You can buy this at your local pet store or through a mail order catalog.) You’ll need to make sure that whatever product you’re using is an enzymatic cleaner, meaning that it actually ‘breaks down’ the urine or fecal mater on a microscopic level, rather than just masking the scent.  Or, you can make your own using some common household ingredients that you can purchase for less than $2.

So… now that you know WHAT to do, you’re probably asking yourself “HOW do I do it?”   We’ve found that the best way to start housebreaking a dog in the least amount of time is to take a look at my video in the video vault titled, “Housebreaking In A Hurry!”

I can honestly say that “Housebreaking In A Hurry!” is the tool that will allow you to get your dog housebroken in no time at all.

You’ll learn everything you need to know
about housebreaking a dog or puppy:

– How to correct your dog when he eliminates in the house.  (You’ll see me demonstrating how to give a motivational correction on a hungry Rottweiler that’s trying to get to a pile of hot dogs.)

– The proper way to size, fit and use a training collar.

– Which leashes and tabs to use.

– The best type of crate or kennel run to buy.

– A home-made solution you can use to clean up accidents, and actually ‘lift’ the stain out of your carpet, rather than ‘masking’ the scent.

– How to make and use a tie-down that will assist in your housebreaking efforts.

– How to establish an ‘elimination’ command, so that you can tell your dog where and when it’s okay to eliminate… even if your travel, or move.

– You’ll see how Adam’s dog ‘Forbes’ will actually eliminate on command!

– How to confine your dog, so that he doesn’t have accidents when you’re not around to correct him.

– How to make your dog understand that eliminating in the house is something he should NEVER DO!

– Three Keys To Successful Behavior Modification: Timing, Consistency and Motivation.   And how to use these three keys to speed up the housebreaking process.

– Tips for housebreaking a new puppy.

– Why correcting your dog for submissive urination will actually make it worse.

– A cleaning solution that many of the dog training books still recommend that will actually SABOTAGE your housebreaking efforts!

– And much, much more

If you think that this video might help you with your housebreaking woes, you can watch it almost immediately, after gaining access at  In fact, I’m so confident that this information is the absolute fastest way to get your dog housebroken that I’m willing to go out on a limb and say that if this doesn’t work, then your dog must have a bladder or urinary tract infection.  In other words, if your dog isn’t completely housebroken in less than 30 days (and in some cases… less than 3 days!) then there must be something wrong with YOU (not your dog!) or you’re someone who is merely incapable of following instructions.  Watch this housebreaking video now by clicking on the link, below.

But first let me warn you: This is a guerilla video.  If you’re looking for fancy animations or slick scene-to-scene dissolves and special effects… then this video is not for you.  Nor will you see dogs or puppies that are left in the house to eliminate, just so that we could get it on camera. That would be cruel.

What you will see is ME explaining what you need to know in order to get your dog housebroken, quickly.  It’s as if I was meeting with you, face-to-face and explaining what has worked to housebreak literally thousands of dogs.

These techniques work!  All you need to do is log in and watch the video on your computer screen and then follow the simple instructions… and you’ll know how to leave your dog in the house without worrying that he’ll defecate or urinate on your expensive rug or new furniture.


Adam G. Katz
Author, “Secrets of a Professional Dog Trainer!”


P.S.  Once you fully understand these five core concept you’ll be amazed at how quickly you can finish housebreaking a dog or puppy.

House Training A Husky

House Training A Husky

Elizabeth writes:  I have to thank you for all the help you have given me with your advice about training but I have one follow-up question about house training a husky.  (I really appreciate it, by the way!) Things have changed a bunch for me and my dog. To answer a few dog behavior questions from before regarding Siberian Husky training: I was feeding her two meals and her elimination times were always fluctuating quite a lot and so there was never a set amount of time we would see when elimination should be coming.

House Training A Husky

However, we started making a consistent written time sheet of when she would defecate and urinate and found a rhythm of certain times throughout the day. I am guessing this was because she does not drink the same amount each time she gets a drink and thus could hold it longer sometimes than others.

Something Else We Learned
About House Training A Husky…

And as for defecation irregularities we have found she has food allergy to grains and thus some moments she would have a major liquid feces and others soft serve which made it hard to tell about the schedule.

What has happened since we last talked to you, we have ran into many other dog owners who have had Huskies and they all seem to know something I didn’t but I did not realize this problem with the breed until I talked to my Aunt who is a competition dog trainer. She informed me about her friend with Siberian Huskies used to have this same problem of diarrhea. She explained to me that a lot of Huskies seem to have this problem occur a lot as far as they have seen, as well as skin allergies too.

You see, Huskies are known to be sled dogs more often than house pets and were fed meat most times than kibble. They also have a lot of wolf attributes still evident in their breed who only ate meat, too. So it is believed this is why Huskies seem to have this recurring grain allergy problem. Every person I have met so far who own Huskies have seen their dog also have this allergy to grains but most only show it through skin allergies. The reason I am writing about this to you is so you might be able to help the next person who may have a dog with this problem also.

By the way: The recommendation about feeding pineapple has worked wonders and has made it possible to have her almost fully potty trained. The reason I say “almost trained” is because she seems to back step every time we have to increase the cage size because of her fast growing body and when we have tried to give her back a soft fluffy bed.

I just want to say thank you so much for your advice on house training a husky and it has made it possible to have hope that this time period of getting potty trained will be over soon enough.

Thanks again

How To Potty Train Your Dog In 7 Days

She asked me about an article I wrote on how to potty train your dog in 7 days. She wanted to know if it was true or not… and it is, but you must know the secrets that I’m about to reveal to you, here.  But first: Why 7 days?  I’m not exactly sure.  Not six days? Or eight days?  I think somebody wrote a book that said you can potty train a dog in 7 days, and it’s true: You can.  Although the techniques in that book are incomplete.  Here’s what you really need to know:

How To Potty Train Your Dog In 7 Days

For an adult dog: Do not feed the recommended ration that’s printed on the back of the bag.  It’s usually too much.  Talk with your breeder or go online and ask how much other owners of the same breed (or a similar breed) are feeding.  It’s usually a lot less than what’s printed on the back of the bag.

Stop feeding your dog so many times a day:  Feed twice a day, morning and evening.  Put the food down for five minutes.  If it’s not gone in five minutes, then pick it up and throw it away.  Your dog will learn to eat when it’s meal time.  Getting your dog’s digestive system on a regular time table will also go a long way in creating predictability as to when he’ll need to eliminate.

How To Potty Train Your Dog In 7 Days

Next, take your dog outside to eliminate immediately after feedings.  Did he defecate and urinate?  Good, then praise him (physical touch + verbal praise).  If he didn’t, then bring him back inside and either put him in a kennel crate or watch him like a hawk!  If you see him begin to circle, smell the ground, or get exciteable… then run him outside.

Want To Know How To Potty Train Your Dog In 7 Days?
How About In 3 Days?

If you want to really turbo charge your efforts and potty train your dog in 3 days, then you must know the secret: Put a training collar and leash (or tab– a short leash) on your dog and learn how to give a fair, humane, motivational correction.  This creates a very clear contrast for your dog between eliminating in the house (“feels uncomfortable, because I’m being corrected”) and eliminating outside (“feels great because I’m not being interrupted… and I get praised for it!”).  So, now you’ll have my, “Three Keys To Successful Behavior Modification” working for you: Timing, Consistency and Motivation … which I explain in more detail in my book, Secrets of a Professional Dog Trainer!

How Long Does It Take
To Potty Train A Puppy?

Everyone wants to know how long it takes to potty train a puppy.  In contrast to an adult dog (a year of age or older) … or  an adolescent dog (4 months to a year) … the amount of time it takes to potty train a puppy depends on the individual puppy and how good a job the breeder did, up to eight weeks of age.  If your breeder was smart, then he or she planned to have the litter on the ground during the warm summer months, when the puppies could be outside and get conditioned to eliminate on the grass, rather than inside on linoleum or on concrete.  Another substitute is to have  the puppy runs elevated on redwood slats, so that the urine and feces can drain through so that the puppy never learns to get comfortable sitting in his own mess.

If you’ve got a puppy from a breeder like the one I’ve just described, then congratulations: You should be able to potty train your puppy in record time.  In fact, up to four months of age, your puppy may experience only one or two urination accidents and possibly no defecation accidents, if you’re really on top of the program.  Realistically, no dog should be unsupervised until the dog is eighteen months– so get used to using the place command, the down command, or putting your dog in a kennel-crate or dog run when you cannot supervise him.

Dog Potty Training Tips

  1. Never leave your dog unsupervised until you are 100% sure he is housebroken.
  2. Put your dog in the crate or a kennel run when you cannot supervise; The crate is like a crib for a baby and it will bring out your dog’s den instrinct.  Do you think a crate is cruel?  Get over it.  Introduce the crate properly to your dog and I can guarantee that your dog will absolutely love it, after two weeks.  And if your dog ever needs to spend the night at your local veterinarians, guess what: He’s going to be sleeping in a crate or a small kennel run.  Using the crate will also make traveling with your dog safe an easy.
  3. Praise your dog when he eliminates outside
  4. Correct your dog with the tab, if he eliminates inside.
  5. Clean up any accidents with an enzymatic cleaner
  6. Take your dog to the same spot outside and repeat the command, “Get busy!” Get busy!” until he finishes.  Using an “elimination command” is a clear way to easily tell your dog when and where he’s allowed to eliminate.

Puppy Potty Training Tips

In addition to what’s been described above (all of the same tips for housebreaking an adult dog, pretty much apply to a puppy) … one of the best tips you’ll ever find is to buy a wire puppy enclosure that you can put outside.  Your puppy can then be outside for longer periods of time without getting into trouble, yet all the while learning to eliminate outside.

House Training Your Puppy

One of the big differences between house training a puppy and house training an adult dog is that for most puppies, you won’t need to use the tab and training collar.  Simply interrupting an accident by saying firmly, “No! No! No!” and then rushing the puppy outside will be motivational enough.

How Do You Potty Train A Puppy

The main thing to understand about potty training a puppy is that the core of your efforts should be focused on establishing a strict feeding and watering schedule.  Do not free feed or allow your puppy to have free access to water, because he’ll need to eliminate either immediately afterwards or twenty minutes later.  By having a strict schedule, potty training a puppy become much easier because you can anticipate when he needs to eliminate and set him up for success!

At What Age Should
A Puppy Be
 Potty Trained

Potty training a puppy begins the minute you bring him into the house.  Do not wait; Do not buy “puppy pads” (which only teach your dog that it’s okay to eliminate in the house).  Start immediately, as the sooner you begin, the sooner your dog will be 100%.

How To House Train Your Dog In 7 Days

The truth is: I’ve adopted adult dogs with a history of of having housebreaking issues, and got them housebroken in one day.  In fact, I’ve had a couple dogs that only needed one correction, and they immediately understood.  These were exceptional dogs, though.  Most dogs will need a period of trial and error, as dogs learn through experience.  But for an adult dog, 3 to 7 days is not uncommon.  However– just because the  dog doesn’t have an accident does not mean he’s ready to be left unsupervised.  Stick with the guidelines I’ve outlined above for the first six+ months you’ve had your new dog, just to be 100% safe.

Here’s a brief video I did that talks about how to potty train your dog in 7 days.


Getting Your Dog To Use A Designated Potty Area

Ayla writes to us about getting her dog to use a designated potty area:

“I have a 6 1/2 month old Labrador/chow mix puppy. She will only use the potty area [gravel section] when I have her on a leash, but goes where she wants to [outside] off the leash. When I take her on the leash she will go straight to the correct area to pee, but only after I walk her for long periods of time before having a bowel movement. It seems as if she does not really know that she is outside to go potty. I have been saying “get busy” for months now and I think she knows what that means, she just doesn’t want to go until after we walk, and walk and walk and then she wants to play [I don’t play with her at that time, but tell her to ‘get busy’. Sometimes she goes in 10mins. and other times it could be 4-5 hours after eating. I can not figure out her schedule.”

Lynn (DPTrainer4) replies:

Hello, Ayla. One of the things that seemed to cement the idea of pottying in a certain area was to let my dog make a mistake. It’s a similar concept in housetraining–you can set the dog up for success, never have an accident and it can go one of two ways: the dog will understand the idea and never go in the house, or it’ll try at least once to see if the result of pottying inside is any different than outside.

Part of it was to let her run free in the yard on a long line (our yard is not fenced, and until she was trustworthy off-leash, we long-lined her). If she made a mistake and squatted in the grass, she was immediately corrected and taken to her potty spot. She did try it again, and defecated in the grass, and again she was immediately corrected on the long line. At this point, she can be in the middle of an invigorating fetch game and when she has to go, she goes to her own spot.

If she doesn’t want to go after eating, that is fine–it’s her schedule and her perogative. When you take her out to go out potty, that is what you’re out there for, you’re not out to play. There is business to attend to, and it seems like you’ve been establishing this. If she needs to walk around, she can walk inside her spot so that when the urge strikes, she is right there (although admittedly, dogs have excellent control over their bodies and CAN “hold it” unless medically impossible). While maturation will hopefully get her on a schedule, the idea is for her to associate the area with the urge to potty and the relief she feels when she does so. If she decides to not go, that’s fine: back inside and try again later.

Hope this is of assistance to you!

When Older Dogs Start Urinating In The House

Bruce asked us: “I have 2 Papillons who are about 5 and 4 years old. They have been house trained but have now starting going in our sun room even after they were just outside. I don’t know which one it is or maybe its both of them. This problem seems to be escalating for some reason. I just downloaded your Secrets book and will start reading it… but where should I start or what should I do so the problem can be “nipped in the bud.”

Thank you for your help

Adam replies: Hi, Bruce:

Definitely start with the Secrets book. Then watch “Housebreaking In A Hurry” in our video vault. It’s about 45 minutes long and will reiterate what is in the book. For people who are more visual learners, it works well.

If you still have questions, please start another thread and we’ll be happy to help you along.

Keep me posted.

Bruce responds: “Okay I watched the movies and yes they reinforced your book. Things are a little clearer. You didn’t explain too much about using that short leash that hangs on the dog’s collar to correct him. Do you just give him a tug when correcting him?

Now a couple of specific questions:

Remember I have two older papillons. Don’t know which dog it is (or both). Why do you think this problem started? They can go out side and we can watch them go but yet a few minutes after they come in they go in the house. Why are they doing this now after being reasonably good for so long?

Since we have 2 dogs, any suggestions for handling them and this problem? They are almost always together and do things together.

Thanks again for your help

Hi, Bruce:

Yes… The tab correction is the same as the leash.

The trick is to keep the dogs confined to the crate (whenever you cannot supervise) the same as you would a baby with a crib– until they’ve proven themselves 100%.  [That way, you’re in a position to be consistent with your motivational corrections, too.]

As to why the dog started doing it? Impossible to say 100%, but usually it’s a result of an initial accident, and then the dog discovers that it’s a lot more comfortable doing it on the carpet than outside. So, he tries it a second time… And since you didn’t correct him (or correct him consistently) he thinks it’s okay.