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Dog Training/Puppy in pen and housebreaking


Hi, we have an 18 week mini dacshund.  She sleeps in a crate at night and makes it through from about 10:30 until 4:430-5 am when we get up.  During the day she is either on a leash with us so we can watch for accidents or chewing.  We got a steel pen a few weeks ago and it is about 3 by 2 feet.  We place it in an area where she can see us moving about the house and only use it for about 30 mintues max, toys are placed in there, sometimes a small treat upon entering.  She has begun to bark or whine when in there.  We ignore her until she is quiet and dont put her in if we think she needs to potty.  How do we deal with behavior?

Also, we are struggling with the day time potty training.  We could have just come in from peeing and she will go on the floor inside the pen.  It would seem that she should be able to go at least an hour without having to go outside, we feel like we have to take her out every 30 minutes to prevent accidents, which makes for a loooong day! How do we build up her ability to stay dry in the pen for a bit?  thanks

Hi Lori,
Thanks for the question. The key to remember about crate training is that the crate needs to be JUST big enough so your puppy can walk in, turn around, stretch and lie down. If it is too big, your puppy will go potty in one corner and sleep in another. Unless you are using a divider, your crate is too big.

You should ignore her when she is barking and periodically reward when she is quiet. It is important to put her in there (and close the door) periodically during the day so she gets used to bing in there.

During the day she should be able to hold it approximately one hour per month of age. At night she might be able to hold it longer.

The best thing do to from here is to watch my   housetraining videos. They will give you the whole plan.

Good luck.  

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Jeff Millman


I studied with Jean Donaldson in San Francisco in 2002. She is one of the foremost dog trainers anywhere and I sought her out and traveled from Chicago to work with her. I am expert in all phases of dog development in regards to training. I can offer advice from young puppies through adult including aggression, separation anxiety and barking. While aggression is often handled best in person by a skilled positive reinforcement trainer, a lot of advice can be spread in this forum. I have written EBooks on separation anxiety and barking and am currently writing a book about dog aggression.


I have been working as a full-time professional dog trainer since 2002. I only use positive reinforcement techniques and am well-versed in using the clicker. My clients do not have to use a clicker to have success using my techniques. I started teaching 14 classes a week for the first two years while I was building up my private practice, Chicago Paws. Since 2004 I have worked exclusively as a private trainer in the Chicago area. On January 1, 2007 I launched an online version of my business that can be viewed at Watch and Train. At you will find streaming videos for purchase that play directly on your computer and cover a variety of specific topics including house training, jumping, come when called, counter surfing and leash walking.

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Dog training: I graduated with honors from Jean Donaldson's Academy for Dog Trainers in San Francisco, CA. I attended Karen Pryor;s Clicker Expo in Chicago, IL. I attended week-long APDT conferences in Portland Oregon, Orlando, Florida and Oakland, California. I attended a Pat Miller seminar in Chicago, IL. Previous education: Journalism and Fine Arts degree from Indiana University.

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