Housebreaking during the winter

  • Hi everyone! I have a 13 week basenji that just received her second round of shots so we decided that it was time to start getting her to go outside instead of going on the pee pee pads. I know she must be confused as to what I want her to do, but I try taking her to a spot and using the command I say when we're in the house that works sometimes. I'm not expecting her to go right away, I'll wait. The only thing is that it's so cold and I'm not sure how good that is for a dog that likes to be warm. I put a little sweater on her but she refuses to wear the little footie socks I got her. (By the way I live in New York so it's not really that cold, maybe about mid 30s.) She starts to cry but I think it's more than just the cold. Have any of you had to deal with a similar situation?

  • Hi! We housebroke our basenji, Stitch, starting when we first got her last winter. She was 10 weeks old when we brought her home. We are in Cleveland … last winter was fortunately a mild winter when we were working on this.

    We didn't even start with the pee pads. Everything I read and learned from other people is that you don't want to teach them to go INSIDE the house if they will eventually be expected to NOT go INSIDE the house ... You might have to un-train the peep pads. Not sure how to go about doing that, though!

    Anyway, Stitch won't wear a sweater or booties either ... We just watched her like a hawk and used routine. She probably had only a handful of accidents the whole training period! Take your pup out after they eat, after they wake up, before you go away and put them in the crate, when you are done playing a game, etc. Look for sniffing around, they probably have to go then, too. Use a clicker and treats.

    Good Luck! 🙂

  • Since the winters have been so bad in the East… I would suggest you use a litter box.... I raise all my pups to use a litter box.. and totally forever stopped with pee pads or newspaper.... just make sure the litter box is big enough for them to move around in... and THAT YOU PICK UP THE SOILED MATERIAL AS SOON AS THEY USE IT. Then to make the change to outdoors, move the box outdoors and also if there is a particular place you want them to go... put the litter there. Use the pellet type of litter, NOT sand type. if you can get cedar pellets, they work the best... IMO

    And as noted... they need to go out BEFORE you even think they need to go out... LOL... And don't forget that when baby puppies are teething... many times they will totally forget what house training is.... for what reason, don't know but have many a bitch puppy that this happens with.

  • Just take the puppy out, plop her in the snow/ice whatever…..if they have any brains they learn quickly to hurry up. That's what's great about the winter, teaches them to not to take more than a second or two.

    Sometimes we get double negative degree temperatures here, I'm sure NY does too.....a little cold won't kill them....and 30 degrees sounds pretty typical.

    Unrelatedly, I would force her to wear the booties....get used to feet handling while she's still tiny. I don't think I could have predicted how many foot injuries I would have had to treat - and I hear people all the time saying "rover won't let us touch his we have to take him to the vet and have them do it."

    They have disposable, waterproof rubber booties (brand is called PAWZ) they may come in her size. I love them because they are very tight, and hard for a dog to grip onto, easy to wash if they get peed they are disposable, so if she breaks one there's 11 others in the box that can be used...instead of having to buy a whole new set. If you get the right size they can't shake them off.

  • A bit of cold doesn't hurt, especially for a short while to go outside fo a pee.
    Even in snow our B's can walk for over 1.5 hours with no problem.
    And yes, the colder/wetter it is, the faster they pee (especially at night when they don't want to go out anyway….)
    Take her out after a nap, after eating/drinking and after playing for a while - those are the times she will need to go.

  • Thanks for the advice everyone! Unfortunately taking her outside before her shots wasn't really an option in my mind, even though I completely agree that it would have been nice to not associate the house with going to the bathroom. We live in an apartment complex with a lot of other dogs so I didn't want to risk her getting sick. I just tried a few different things with the crate and being a little more diligent as to determining her schedule and so far its been working! Thanks again!

  • @mattlick12 and others in the New York City area: consider joining the New York City Basenji Meetup. We hold monthly (good weather) gatherings at dog runs throughout Manhattan. We had some nice new additions last year and hope to have some in 2014 as well. See us online at:

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