This is my first post! My fiance and I are new Basenji owners- we got our little red and white pup Dexter just today actually! He is 8 weeks old. I read "Housetraining for Dummies", and spoke to a few friends who have housetrained dogs, but I really don't feel like I know exactly what to do yet because much of the advice is conflicting. I know I am always worrying myself about everything, but I really just want to get this right without confusing the poor guy. So here is what we have been doing today:
-On the ride home (a 4.5 hour ride) we stopped once every hour, and he pottied each time. We made sure to announce that it was "potty time".
-Upon arriving home, we brought him to the place that we had decided would be his potty area announced "potty time" and waited for him to go, but he didn't (Question 1- How long do I give him before I bring him back inside if he isn't pottying?)
-We brought him inside and let him explore our apartment and introduced him to his new crate. We let him sniff the crate and then put small bits of a treat inside it, he willingly went in and stayed for a few seconds with the door closed. We let him out and brought him back to his potty spot. He didn't go.
-We brought him back in and played with him for 20 minutes and then returned him to the potty place, we did this several times with no luck, and then he pottied in his crate.
-After that (and after eating and drinking, as well as a little more playing), we continued to bring him out at regular intervals, and after a while (and two crate accidents and one floor accident) he finally decided to potty outside, in an area that he chose himself, a ways off from where we had been trying to get him to go. (QUESTION 2-I noticed that the place that we were bringing him was where our neighbor's dog used to potty before he got stolen- is that why he didn't want to potty there? because it has another doggie's smell?? idk)
-Then, the main issue and source of my worrying came from the issue of: When do I crate him for how long and things of that sort. From taking in information from several people/sources, we have come up with the idea that in the beginning, we will be leaving his crate open during the day and putting treats in it so that he will associate his crate with good things, and that throughout his first couple of days home we will try to leave him in with the door closed for increasing amounts of time until he can stay in for a while without whining. We will just watch for signs that he has to potty and take him outside. (QUESTION 3-How long before he should stop whining in the crate? I know that we are supposed to be building his tolerance for it by putting him in for increasing intervals, but I don't know when I will see the effects of this.)
ALSO: We are bringing his crate to out bedside at night for bedtime. He is sleeping in there right now, my fiance is sleeping near him. He seemed to only whine for a few seconds before falling asleep. (QUESTION 5- Should Dexter go to bed when we do, as we rarely follow a schedule ourselves, so he may not want to be sleeping without us there? Also, do we continue moving his crate from bedroom to living-room and back each day for good?)
FINALLY: The whole point of getting Dex accustomed to his crate slowly and comfortably is so that he will not despise being in it when we are not able to be home with him and he will not potty in his crate (as long as we let him out in time for a bathroom break), so that means that at some point during his "getting used to the crate" process, we will need to leave him in there for a while when we are home as part of the process, but if he is crying to get out- do I leave him in? Take him out because I read in the book that if he whines in the crate that we are moving too fast with him? And if he is crying not because he has to potty but because he wants out, but it IS potty time, do I take him out to potty and risk him thinking that it was the crying that freed him?
I am SO SORRY for this HUUUGE passage, I doubt anyone will read all of this, especially since this was probably covered in parts elsewhere, but I want to get Dex started right with this and I just feel like I need direct and detailed instructions. Please feel free to not only answer the questions, but also comment on anything I said that may be right or wrong…
Even now, I feel as though I probably left some things out of my questions (hard to believe, right? haha)... Help.