Potty Issue
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  • SO, I've been training Dex to potty outside, and I have to take him out every few hours. However, when I am at school it has become really stressful to try and make it back in time between all my classes to let him out. Also, it is not very fun not being able to go anywhere for more than a couple hours because I have to go back home to let him out so often. I was thinking about switching him to puppy pads and that way I could just leave him in his own "puppy prepared room" while I am out.
    I know I should have thought of this beforehand, but I didn't. So I'm hoping for helpful advice. Will I only confuse him in doing this? Also, I feel so guilty leaving him alone in his crate, so I've pretty much been held up in my apartment for a week now, and it's getting to me.
    I sounds silly, I'm sure.

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  • First Basenji's

    Sorry, part of your personal "contract" with getting a new puppy, like having a baby, I would imagine, is foregoing any "fun" for a few months while you get your puppy trained and acclimated to his new life. I say this in the most sincere, non-chiding way. Sacrificing a bit of a social life to lay the foundations for your puppy now will pay off in the long run. People aren't joking when they say puppies are hard work!

    That said, I think you can lay down some puppy pads to help with potty training, but as Dexter is still a puppy, it's not going to help for very long periods. Particularly if he starts to get bored or frustrated and decides to chew them all up… yum yum yuck.

    Can your partner help out with this at all? My dogs have been out of puppyhood for a long time (and we got our basenji as an older adult specifically so we wouldn't have to deal with this!) but between my partner and me, our pup was never left alone for more than 3 or 4 hours at a time for the first several months or so of joining our home. No weekend music festivals or after-work drinks. No day trips unless we could bring the dog. Friends had to come over to see us if they wanted to be social -- and they were quite happy to, since it meant they got to play with (and help socialize) the puppy!

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  • Having a puppy is a huge commitment. I'll be honest and say that it sounds like you are feeling as if you didn't think things through enough - and that you are overwhelmed. Do you see your school schedule easing up over the next few years? Will you be able to provide good care for Dexter? If you are having mixed feelings now, take some time to truly decide if having a dog is going to work for you, AND for the dog. Did the breeder contract say you could return Dexter back to them for any reason? I'm not being cruel or cold hearted, I am not that kind of person. I'm reading between the lines of your post and feeling really concerned.

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    Don't get to worried, it will get better. As his bladder gets stronger he'll be able to stay crated for longer periods of time. That being said, try to find things you can do with your dog so that you both can have fun. I'm sure Dex would like not have to be in the house all week either!

    On the puppy pad thing, if you have already made progress with housebreaking I would imagine that going to puppy pads would be a step backward in that training. IMO I would do your best to deal with it for a little longer until his bladder control gets better. You will thank yourself later.

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  • You didn't say how old the puppy is - but you should be able to gradually work up to longer and longer times between potty breaks. Puppies don't learn all they need to learn in one week, it takes time (it took mine a whole year before she finally quit having accidents in the house) so have patience. Does he still make a mess on the floor if you do't get home "in time"? Reward reward reward everytime he makes a successful potty outdoors. And yes, you'll have to make some compromises in your personal life to have a loving companionable dog at your side.

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  • According to the other posts, Dexter was born 12/29 so just a little under 11 wks old…

    And as stated, getting a puppy is like have a new baby, there are things you have to give up, one would be out past a few hours.

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  • Honestly, I wouldn't have placed a puppy with you or any student. The only 2 puppies ever returned to me were young single guys and I swore I would never do it again unless the person was long established pet owner and in their own home… just too many changes. (Yeah I know some great young single male owners! But I would need a lot to convince me.)

    Puppies are a huge commitment, and they need out every few hours for a few months, and they still need a huge amt of time. I wish you had fostered a dog, got a feel for the time commitment. Please, sit down and decide if this really is right for you and if you can and WANT to devote enough time for the next year to get this puppy happily through puppyhood, and then adequate time thereafter for play, training, socializing. If you can't, let BRAT help you find a GOOD home, but please don't pass back to your irresponsible breeder.

    Dogs can be litter trained. Not ideal. But the issue is that it prolongs housebreaking and in your case it simply lets you off the hook for not thinking things through and not doing the right thing. We all mess up and make bad choices. (LOL it's that "WTH was I thinking" moment we all experience!) What makes the difference is what you do afterward. Only you know what you want to and will do.

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  • Houston

    it will get better, he is still very, very young..yes, it is very much like having a baby..lots of time consumption in the beginning, but you knew that, didn't you? Why don't you enjoy him being that cute snuggly pal that you wanted..before long he will be grown and not near as cute anymore..just kidding, they don't grow out of that, but you know what I mean..:)

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  • DebraDownSouth, lvoss can speak more about college students, but I know that she placed a puppy with a young man in college. He has a couple of roomates and it was a perfect fit. Of course the difference is that he is local to lvoss and spent many times visiting the pups after they were born. So, it can and does work. Depends on the situation and the breeder.

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  • @DebraDownSouth:

    If you can't, let BRAT help you find a GOOD home, but please don't pass back to your irresponsible breeder.

    Yes Debra, you're right. I had lost track on the story of Dexter's breeder. Dexter should definitely not go back to this breeder.

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  • @DebraDownSouth:

    Dogs can be litter trained. Not ideal. But the issue is that it prolongs housebreaking and in your case it simply lets you off the hook for not thinking things through and not doing the right thing. We all mess up and make bad choices. (LOL it's that "WTH was I thinking" moment we all experience!) What makes the difference is what you do afterward. Only you know what you want to and will do.

    Actually, my brindle girl Aaliyah (now 2yo) was already litter box trained when she came to me at 11 weeks. I definitely did not find that it prolonged housebreaking.

    I had her crate set up in an expen (with a top) and the litter box with equine pine. When I was at work she would use the litter box to pee (never pooped in the box or in the house). After work she would use the outdoors with the adult basenjis. I didn't keep a litter box on the 1st floor of the house when she was out with the family - only in her expen. Originally I had one on the first floor, but found that she only used the outdoors to go to the bathroom and never went in the house (other than the first week or 2 when I wasn't watching carefully enough), so I removed it. I actually found it a really good solution.

    My setup also helped with her crate training as she made the choice to use her crate to sleep in and knew that she could relieve herself outside of her crate in the litter box. The only time she has ever had an accident in her crate (pee or poop) was when she was really sick one time and had the runs.

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  • Dexter, I had a similar set-up to Renaultf1. Zoni had a litter box and her crate in an ex-pen during the day. Practically it was not possible for me to come home from work during the day. I did have a pet sitter come most days during lunch but it was not always possible to predict every occasion I or my partner would be gone for more than four hours. The litter box worked well for this and she basically transitioned herself off of it. It was a nice tool to have.

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  • @Nemo:

    The litter box worked well for this and she basically transitioned herself off of it. It was a nice tool to have.

    This is a really good point. In my case, like Nemo, Aaliyah transitioned herself off of it. By 5 months she would use it only a couple of times per week and the rest of the time she would hold it until I came home. At 6 months she stopped using it all together and would just hold it. At that point I took it out of her expen so she would have more room to play (and climb the expen like a jungle gym :D).

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  • My fiance is gone for 14 days and then is home for 14 days, so the time when he is home is no problems at all because we share the tasks. Also, I am not saying that I want to be free to meander about with my friends, I am just looking for a way to ease the rush I have on the days when I go to class (two days a week) and the day I have work. I did think about the fact that I would have to come home between breaks, and I figured that since I only live ten minutes away from campus that it would be a breeze. However, I didn't consider traffic (which is high around campus in between classes), and those sort of things that lead me to be running a little late/rush. So I DID think about the potty every few hours issue, I just didn't realize that my plans of handling it wouldn't run as smoothly as planned. I had heard that -although several people advise against it- some people get their pups to potty outside when they are home and use puppy pads when they can't be home soon enough. I figured that if I COULD get this to work, that it would be a huge help, I don't think that that should make me a bad owner. It sounds like many replies believe that, however. And when I say I have been held up in my apartment don't get me wrong, Dexter has had plenty of time to play outside, and has even had his first doggie play-date, which he loved. So HE is fine… I just meant that his potty restrictions make it feel as though I can't get out long enough sometimes to accomplish much.

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  • I think you're doing fine, Dexter. Even the best made plans don't always turn out.

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  • Nemo and renaultf1, the ex-pen idea that you mentioned was something suggested to me somewhere else too. I figured that that could work for us maybe. Thanks for that! I agree with you Nemo that sometimes it is just not practical for a person to be able to be home every single day without being gone for more than a couple hours at a time. I find it hard to believe that everyone who gets a puppy can do that. I am not trying to be rude, but I just don't see how me searching for an easier route is necessarily so wrong.

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  • @DexterDex:

    Nemo and renaultf1, the ex-pen idea that you mentioned was something suggested to me somewhere else too. I figured that that could work for us maybe. Thanks for that! I agree with you Nemo that sometimes it is just not practical for a person to be able to be home every single day without being gone for more than a couple hours at a time. I find it hard to believe that everyone who gets a puppy can do that. I am not trying to be rude, but I just don't see how me searching for an easier route is necessarily so wrong.

    I think you are doing fine. I remember when I brought Aaliyah home, she was my first dog that I had as a puppy. I was worried about everything and whether I was doing everything right. It is only natural for there to be an adjustment period - and just remember that it will pass and it will all become second nature. In my case, it wasn't school, it was work that made it impractical to run home every day - so that was how I arrived at using the expen. Since you don't have a breeder you can use as a resource for these questions, it is only natural that you come here asking advice - and I don't think you are being rude.

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  • Dexter, before you get upset with the responses, look at your post:

    it has become really stressful
    Also, it is not very fun not being able to go anywhere for more than a couple hours because I have to go back home to let him out so often.
    I know I should have thought of this beforehand, but I didn't.
    I've pretty much been held up in my apartment for a week now, and it's getting to me.

    It sounded like more than asking for help in the pottying, but "buyer's remorse." No one said you are a bad owner. But you do have to decide overall if this is a good fit. That was my only point. As you are here longer, you'll realize that if I PERSONALLY thought you were a bad owner, I'd have pulled no punches and said so. I think you are trying to sort out what is right.

    As for other comments to me from others… I admitted I have a young male bias. :) I just think young men often are more changeable than females. And I admit freely that is my own bias, not "fact."

    I have placed with TWO vet school females with grueling schedules who had family or roommate/family back up to help them out and one vet tech. And I said I KNOW great young male owners. But I'd have made sure you really had plans. I'd probably have told you to spend 2 weeks rushing home AS IF you had a puppy and try it out before hand. :)

    If the litter or litterpan with pads works for you, and that is the ONLY misgiving you have about keeping this pup, that's one thing. I just felt your post indicated more than just the one issue and was trying to convey you can make choices to rehome if that is what is best for you and your pup. I wasn't trying to push you to do so. We all hope (for once in a 100000000 posts I am confident I can speak for everyone!) you decide you can work it out and have this cutie forever. I just wanted you to consider that you don't HAVE to, and that deciding you made a mistake does NOT make you bad.

    And let me add this also... please remember my breed is Rotties, not Basenjis. You place a basenji with someone who neglects it, it's horrible but a bit different having a 25 pound or 125 pound dog to take back, retrain and hope upon hope to find a good home for. And bad habits learned with an unsocialized Rottweiler can, quite frankly, move into the danger zone.

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    Dexterdex please be patient and although the potty issue may seem difficult now I'm sure it won't be that long before you resolve it. You'll be looking back and wonder why it seemed such an issue.

    I can't comment on using puppy pads and whether they make housebreaking more difficult or not but obviously some of the others have had no problem with them. I have been very fortunate in that my bitches have always housetrained their puppies. They do lapse of course in new homes but it makes them much easier to deal with.

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  • @DebraDownSouth:

    Dexter, before you get upset with the responses, look at your post:

    it has become really stressful
    Also, it is not very fun not being able to go anywhere for more than a couple hours because I have to go back home to let him out so often.
    I know I should have thought of this beforehand, but I didn't.
    I've pretty much been held up in my apartment for a week now, and it's getting to me.

    Dexter, these comments are what stood out to me in your initial post. I commented out of concern for both you and Dexter. I hope you understand that. I would never make a comment to be mean. Here where I live, I donate money to a shelter that takes in unwanted animals and re-homes them. Some of the things you said are heard very often when dogs come into the shelter. Animals are a huge responsibility and just like planning for a human child, I believe the same amount of thought should go into planning to bring a pet into a home.

    All that sad, you sound as if you are concerned for Dexter. That is more than many pet owners. So stick around here and be a part of the basenji community. We'll help out any way we can.

    Are you going to be taking Dexter to puppy classes? We are enjoying them. The mental stimulation really tires Kipawa out!

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  • I had a dog when I was in college/graduate school so I know from experience that this is a huge committment and it definitely changes your life priorities.
    It sounds like you really want to make this work - so you'll have to make some hard choices about your life style. Mostly … have patience, patience, patience.

    Don't look at the piddle pads as a long tern solution - I think that's a bad idea. Basenjis can hold their urine for many many hours but the puppy needs to learn this (think human toddler). Basenjis do well on the reward system so reward lavishly when Dexter potties outside but don't get angry when he piddles inside (I was going to say "just suck-it-up" :D but not literally :D) . If he is using the pads or newspapers, gradually move them to the door and then outside so he learns that is where to go. And when you are home, gradually lengthen the time before you open the door.

    It will take some time to have a well-trained potty experience.

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