your Italian Greyhound
By Karen Thayne
picked a puppy out.. Now what?
you bring that puppy home decide where he/she will stay during the day while
you are gone. Young puppies should not be crated for more than four
hours a day. If you work and are gone for 8 hours a day do NOT
crate your puppy. If you ignore this advice you will be creating more
work for yourself and potential misery for your puppy.
There are tools available, which can be used to aid in the successful completion
of housetraining. One common tool is the "exercise pen" or "ex-pen".
These can be obtained through pet supply catalogs. Purchasing
one of these pens is like acquiring a mobile kennel or playpen for your
puppy. They are small and fold up into
a manageable form for easy storage. A pen consists of 8 connected
pieces (each 2 wide, for IGs either 24 or 30 high), which
expand into a 4' x 4' square. More "panels" can be bought to enlarge
the area, but the most common size is 4' x 4. You will also need purchase
a top (or two 2 x 4 panels) for this pen. If you cannot
find these exercise pens through pet supply catalogs, then buy a very large
(4' x 4') wire crate.
The location where you decide to place the ex-pen should NOT be out
of the way! Puppies need socialization. When you cannot attend to
the puppy, he should have the ability to see what activity is going on around
him even though he's confined. This will not only teach him that he
cannot have your attention 24 hours a day but will also help him to understand
that he's not been abandoned. As a last resort, kitchens and/or bathrooms
can be used, but this is not recommended. However, in both cases,
the area should be puppy-proofed CAREFULLY. Puppies are masters at
finding trouble! Be careful of swinging doors which have the ability
to shut... do NOT use them. Use baby gates instead. Enclosing
a puppy in an isolated area can lead to destructive behavior. With some
puppies the reaction is almost claustrophobic.
If it is possible to be home full-time or even every four hours and housetraining
is in progress, use the crate. See below for advice on crate training
Who should do the housetraining?
Never use the phrase "house-breaking". This gives
the impression of having to break the dog of a bad habit... one that (hopefully)
your dog will NEVER learn in the first place! .You
are training, not breaking your dog. If there are several people in
the household then try to involve only ONE person to take responsibility
for the training. If more than one person needs to assist because
of time limitations, etc., then sit down together and pick some phrases
beforehand. If one person says, "Go potty outside," his
partner should not say, "Go tinkle outside". Both
should use the same phrase. If children are going to help out, then
they should also know the correct phrases to use. Don't change these
phrases in mid-training. This will only confuse the puppy.
If your partner or children are unwilling to co-operate... ban them from
Do I want to paper, litter box or outdoor train?
Italian Greyhounds are extremely bright. If you live in a cold climate
or a wet environment, you may choose to paper train or litter box train
your puppy first. But please take precautions and decide beforehand
the method that you want to use. You will only confuse your puppy
if you decide to try paper training AND outdoor training at the same time.
Pick one first and then choose another AFTER your puppy has
mastered the FIRST!
I live in a cold climate what do I do?
Italian Greyhounds are NOT good all weather dogs. During the dead
of winter on those cold nights, it might be wise to have your dog trained
in the use of litter boxes or paper-trained. Paper training can be
accomplished in the same manner as training for outdoors. The key
is picking ONE spot for papers and teaching your puppy to use those newspapers.
I've got my puppy now what?
If you did your homework and bought from a responsible breeder, you are
one step ahead of the game! Most of the housetraining has already
been started for you! One of the main reasons why it is smart NOT
to buy from a pet store is that puppies receive little attention in
the matter of housetraining and therefore are harder to work with later.
Most responsible breeders have already begun crate training and housetraining.
This makes the transfer of positive learned behavior to the new owner's
home much easier!
Do not expect a perfect puppy in 24 hours!
The best medicine is in preventing accidents BEFORE they take place!
Training begins now! Before the puppy is even introduced to his new
home, take him outside! Choose a spot that is as sheltered as possible.
Remember that Italian Greyhounds do not like cold, wet and wind! .Sometimes
an outside shelter can be created. If this is possible - go for it!.
If you live in an apartment or do not have a fenced-in area, the exercise
pen is recommended. This is because it is difficult to get a puppy to "go
potty" while on a lead! Please do not let your Italian Greyhound
outside in an unsecured area. Set the exercise pen up outside BEFORE
you come home with your puppy!
Setting the ex pen up outdoors and letting your puppy use the bathroom BEFORE
coming inside is the key to the start of a wonderfully housetrained
puppy! Tell your puppy "Go potty" (or what ever phrase you
decide on... keeping in mind that the same phrase must be used every time!).
.Praise like crazy when he relieves himself!
Do NOT bring him in until he does go!
A puppy should only be out of his pen under supervision! No more than
20 to 30 minutes of free roaming behavior should be allowed at a time.
After this time, call the puppy to you and head for the door. ALWAYS
USE THE SAME DOOR! Pick a phrase like, "Let's go potty OUTSIDE!"
This gets him excited about going outdoors. Again, a cheery
"Go potty," and high praise will do wonders in teaching your puppy
the preferred behavior.
BEFORE you put your puppy down for a nap, or before putting the puppy in
his pen, ALWAYS take him outside for the chance to relieve himself!
Again, use the phrases that you have chosen and be consistent!
After nap time, or in the morning... take your puppy immediately outside.
Do this before you even have a chance to get comfortable yourself! The
key is to prevent an accident BEFORE it has a chance to happen! Again,
use the phrases you have chosen, but this time carry your puppy outside
because he WILL have to go. While holding your puppy, go to the same
door and tell the puppy again, "Let's go potty OUTSIDE!" (Remember
to always use a happy voice... even though it might be tough to act cheery
at 6 a.m.!).. Take the puppy out the SAME door
and straight to his potty area. Again say, "Go potty," and
praise like crazy when he does.
Puppies are going to use the newspapers in their pens, especially during
the night and/or if you are working and are gone during the day. Change
those papers frequently! Keep the pen fresh and odor free. This
will teach your puppy to be clean!
Always keep a watchful eye on your pup. If he heads for the door...
immediately ask, "You want to go potty outside?" Get him
excited about it. Praise him for going to the door. Some owners
report that their dogs learn to bark, jump, dance against the door, or even
ring a bell when they need to go out. Take the puppy out and say,
"Go potty," (or the phrase you chose) and praise like crazy when
he performs! You will know that success has been achieved when it
is no longer necessary to personally escort him to the door. Instead
he will CONSISTENTLY go to the door by himself!
How do I crate train my dog?
It is always wise to teach crate manners to puppies. Your dogs
breeder should have already completed most of the hard work! Crating
is a valuable tool and can be an asset later in your dog's life. Even
if you do not want to use a crate, teaching them crate manners will be an
added reward. Your vet will be extremely happy that you did!
The above advice on using an ex-pen also applies to crating with the exception
that when your dog is unsupervised, he is in his crate.
Always feed your puppy/dog in his crate. Crates
should be a haven for the dog, a place where they feel safe. Food
makes a dog feel "safe" so feeding in a crate will teach your
puppy that crates are a safe place. The added bonus of feeding in
crates is that your puppy will NOT become a finicky eater and lose weight.
There are no distractions in a crate and eating can proceed in peace. Feed
treats in crates. Again, your dog's breeder should have started this
process for you and you will just need to keep it going.
If you are going to crate your puppy overnight, set an alarm and/or have
the crate near you at night. Puppies WILL have to go during this time
period and it is important to help them NOT mess in their crates. Getting
up and taking them out will help avoid accidents. You do not want your puppy
to learn that messing in the crate is acceptable.
Some pet store dogs will not have good crate manners because they have already
learned to soil their crates. If you have a pet store dog and crating
is becoming a problem use a pen instead. If you take the crate door
off and put the crate inside of the exercise pen with soft bedding you may
be able to help your puppy learn to go outside of the crate to pee and poop.
If the pup still relieves itself in the crate then take the crate out for
a while until it is using the papers reliably then try again. This
will help the pup get used to enjoying the crate as a safe cozy space.
Never hit, yell or scream at your puppy if he is in his crate OR pen! You
will ruin all your good work if you do this.
remember,whether crating or using a pen to confine your dog,these are tools
for training and NOT storage bins. All dogs need love and attention!
Greyhounds take well to the use of a litter box. The use of such a
box avoids the IGs three big hates: cold, wet and wind. When training
an IG outdoors just be aware that the presence of any one of these three
conditions is an immediate negative reinforcement. In the case of
an IG, training the puppy to go inside is much easier than training him
to go outside (though, for many owners, not as convenient).
litter box is larger than a cat's. An ideal size is 2' by 3'.
If the dog refuses to use your box, you know it is too small. Lining
with newspapers or clean papers is preferable to the use of kitty litter
(which is a mess in itself). These newspapers should be changed often.
A morning and then an evening change may be acceptable but it is better
to change more frequently. In the case of litter box training, if
you were smart enough to buy from a reputable breeder then most of the work
has already been done for you. Most breeders paper-train their puppies.
The mother dog assists in this training.
sure the litter box is placed in a position where it is ALWAYS accessible
to the puppy. In this way he can use the box at HIS convenience -
not yours. As you can imagine, this is very comfortable for the dog.
It is also convenient for you. Your dog will learn to take care of
his own bathroom needs and not demand your attention at an inopportune time.
Litter box trained dogs are also quite willing to use the outdoors
for their bathroom needs once you signal that this is acceptable. When
the weather is fine (according to IG standards) they are more than willing
to go outside. Otherwise, the litter box is put to good use. All
of the methods discussed earlier apply to litter box training.
put, paper training IS litter box training. The
above advice of litter box training will train your puppies to use newspapers.
If you choose to paper train have the papers that the pup will use in his
pen. If you have your puppy out during
the supervised time, call him to you and head for the newspapers!
Say, "Go potty papers," or whatever phrase you choose.
As the puppy is relieving himself say, "Good potty!
You know you are on the road to success when the puppy goes to his newspapers
I stop a puppy from crying?
yelling, or hitting will stop a puppy from crying... however a monster will
then be created. You will return to square one, develop a fear biter
and instill distrust in your puppy. Remember that dogs do not understand
"words", only sounds. As dogs mature the sounds become "words"
to them. The word "no" means nothing to a puppy. It is only
a sound. Too many times people yell, "No", until they are
blue in the face with no success. So
what should you do? Try sound. Remember when you were a child
and Dad caught you getting into trouble? Those sounds always seem
to be "AHHHH," or "Ahh Ahhh," spoken in a deep, sharp
voice. This sound is extremely effective with puppies. While
it's hard to transfer that sound to paper, a phonetic spelling might be,
"Eaah"! This is a sharp, almost irritating sound and a real
puppy attention getter. They don't like that sound any better than
you did as a child! When they begin to whine, using an "Eaah!"
and then ignoring them will help get across the idea that crying is unacceptable.
If the whining then persists past a reasonable time, walk up to them and
sharply say, "Eaah!" followed by "Quiet", and walk away.
When they are quiet, praise them quietly... "That's a good puppy,"
softly spoken will get across the message that they are being praised for
being quiet. One of the main reasons why puppies appear noisy or hyper
is that people act noisy and hyper. When greeting a puppy while
freeing him from his crate or pen do so in a calm manner. Almost always,
people have a tendency to shout an exuberant "HI YA, PAL! Aren't you
happy to see me?" or some other type of up-beat phrase in squeaky baby
talk which encourages your dog/puppy to get hyped up. This invariably creates
an excited dog that will whine, jump or go crazy when you come home or leave
them in a pen. The dog thinks that this is a good time to lose all
inhibitions because you have told it by your actions that this is what you
like. It certainly is more fun than sitting quietly in a crate or
pen. Just remember that gentle greetings are always better. This
teaches the idea that being confined is NOT a bad thing and that what you
desire is a calm sweet puppy not a wild out of control dog.
very important and only fair that you control yourself and show the puppy/dog
how you want it to act. Most people seem to have an irresistible urge
to rile dogs up and then complain because they are too wild. Think
about how you are acting and how your dog will interpret this. It
is very unfair to punish a dog (or even be displeased) for what you have
express as behavior that pleases you, i.e. play that is stimulating and
gets the dog wound up.
we've had an accident!
the one in a million with phenomenal luck, your dog will never make a mistake.
The rest of us, however, live in the real world and are occasionally faced
with the spectacle of a puppy "accident". NEVER bury your
dog's nose in it! NEVER yell, hit, or scream. A better approach
is to use the "Eaah" sound along with ... "We go potty outside!"
(Or wherever you have chosen for the puppy to go). At this point he
should immediately be taken to his designated spot. Hopefully you'll have
caught him in the act BEFORE he's finished. This allows you to tell
him, "Good puppy!" when he completes his business. .If
not, STILL take him to his designated area. When you return, immediately
confine the puppy and clean up that mess! A better situation is to
have someone there to clean the mess while you and the puppy are outside.
Just remember that priority number one is in making the correction.
Take care of the puppy FIRST then worry about clean up.
are plenty of good cleaning products on the market for cleaning up dog messes
(avoid Pinesol and Lysol which can be harmful to pets) and make sure that
you always have some hand. Try to avoid any cleaning product that contains
ammonia. .Ammonia is a component of urine and
when a dog smells a spot cleaned with ammonia he thinks that this signals
a prime place to do his potty. By using ammonia on the carpet you
are encouraging further accidents in the same location. Just be aware
that with most dogs there are times when a return to square one is necessary
and training must start again from the beginning..
If you have one accident retrain do not wait for another and another this
would be reinforcing behavior that you do not want. Just don't get
discouraged. Puppies are smart and they WILL learn if you're just that little
bit smarter than they are. Some of the most common reasons for accidents
in the house are: an owner letting his guard down, an owner failing to catch
the dog's signals for a trip outside, an owner allowing the puppy too much
freedom too soon to soon or a relaxation of training before it is complete.
Here is the final principle: If there is a breakdown in housetraining
it is the owner's fault and not the puppy's fault.
adopted an older dog what do I do?
may have decided to get an older dog instead of a puppy. Again, the
key to successful housetraining is in the prevention of accidents. While
training an older dog should (hopefully) not prove as extensive a process
as discussed above, use the same guidelines.
Hopefully, your adopted dog has already been trained in good house manners.
To help PREVENT accidents the first couple of days in your house, the dog
should be treated like a puppy. This will also give the dog a chance
to adjust to a new environment and different schedules. Every dog
can be taught "good citizenship". Older dogs can be re-trained
in house manners!
got a dog now and I can't get him housetrained!
the above methods! However, there are sometimes mitigating circumstances.
Some of the nastiest, most stubborn, hardest to housetrain dogs are puppies
that came from irresponsible breeders or pet stores who did NOT teach cleanliness
at a young age. If the recommend methods do NOT work see a professional
trainer for additional help. Some dogs have anxiety issues and may
take a lot of patience and understanding. There may be a better chance
of success, however, with paper training and/or litter box training such
dog is paper-trained; now I want to outdoor train.
times people will paper train first because of cold, wet or windy weather.
Once your puppy has mastered paper training, you can begin outdoor training.
Since the puppy will understand some of the phrases you have already
taught him he will learn this in a shorter period of time. But please,
make sure your puppy understands FIRST what you want before you expect him
to perform in an acceptable manner.
will this last?
If you have even one slip-up, go back and retrain house manners for
a few days.
it is a puppy, a new dog or a retraining situation, there should be a minimum
of 2 weeks training before lengthening the time between potty trips outdoors!
This "2 weeks training" refers to day in and day out training,
consistently using the same words, the same door and the same time frame
(not necessarily the exact same hours, though). During this time there should
have been NO unsupervised romps through the house for your puppy!
Some owners have found using a leash and collar in the house
- the leash tied to them - to be highly successful. This is recommended
if you do not have the time to concentrate on your puppy when he is out
of his pen unsupervised!
two weeks, times can be lengthened between trips outside. However,
if there are any slip-ups, go back to doing the original times for a week
before trying again.
of the main reasons why people fail in housetraining is that they give puppies
too much freedom too soon. Even when a puppy begins to consistently
go to the door, keep an eye on him in the house. Don't be too trusting.
A puppy should not be allowed free roam of your house until he is
at LEAST 6 to 8 months of age!
persistence and praise are your three greatest weapons in the war on accidents.
A consistent and loving application of these methods will result in
a reliable, trustworthy, housetrained dog.