Is the puppy housebroken?
Our puppies are accustomed to going potty outside and are a breeze to housebreak, if the family is attentive. It is really a matter of if the puppy is watched every second its loose to run around, or if he's not watched. If the puppy is not being watched, as in eye on it every second, then he should be in a crate.
I like to explain it as 1 unwitnessed accident can add 2 weeks on to housebreaking. Why? Because no one said it was a bad idea to potty on the floor. The puppy doesn't understand you were making dinner and not looking. You just said it was ok, because you didn't say it wasn't.
In the same regard, even if you have a fenced yard don't just put the pup out to potty by himself. You need to be there to tell him what a good boy he is for going potty outside! Sometimes even give a little treat. Plus if he didn't go potty then when you come back inside you know he needs to go back in the crate for about 30 minutes and then try again. If you weren't watching you wouldn't know he really never went.
Puppies who potty outside need to be rewarded by also being able to run and play inside. Puppies who don't go potty outside don't get that reward. They catch on fast. This system also works for adult dogs, only wait a full hour before trying again outside.
A puppy with an attentive person can be housebroken in 1 to 2 weeks, and only have a couple accidents.
Now if its a shar pei or a shar pei mix they rarely have more then one accident and will be going to the door in a day or 2. If not the person is really not watching the puppy, or expecting the puppy to "wait a few minutes". They are the easiest dogs in the world to housebreak. (Well the easiest puppies and dogs we have ever had….) Me personally I can't housebreak a puppy worth a darn. I let them down to play and then I wander off distracted, not watching them. Art can not only watch them but he teaches them to potty on command when going outside! I'm in aww. I personally know its the person doing the housebreaking who makes the difference because of our 2 different styles, one that works and one that doesn't!
Is a male, or female is easier to housebreak? or will a male will lift his leg all over the house?
In our many years of housebreaking MANY dogs and puppies we have found male puppies are easier to housebreak then a female puppy. They simply are less worried about where they will go. A female who has an accident is more comfortable going where she has already gone and is worried about going potty outside in some strange place. It does help to put a bit of paper towel, or what you cleaned it up with outside where you want the puppy to potty, for either of them. Then they think oh, yeah I went here before its safe for me to go here again. Because a male is more willing to "go" in strange places they tend to go faster when you take them outside and so you also have more opportunity to reward him right away for going outside, win/win. A female may keep you in the yard an hour, many people wait a few minutes, come inside put the puppy down and low and behold she pees on the floor, not the puppies fault.
Now in adult dogs a female adult dog who has never been housebroken is easier then a male. For the same reason. She's not going to want to go potty all over in a strange place. You get her to go outside the first time at your house and she's happy to go there again. A male on the other hand is generally happy to go anywhere and doesn't think about inside, or outside, if he wasn't housebroken to start with and/ or is not neutered.
Dogs who were only ever "outside dogs" though are different.
We often get adult intact male dogs in rescue. Those who were outside only dogs actually are very good and are almost always housebroken naturally. Those who weren't housebroken, and were allowed to have accidents in the house are a pain. We get them neutered and often put them in an outside kennel for 1 to 3 months for the hormones to wear off and then they are much better. We have dogs in heat in the house. Its really hard on an adult male dog to not want to mark when he knows lovely ladies are around! Most homes don't have that problem.
Once the hormones wear off and we adopt them to a home so far they haven't had any issues at all in their new homes and they say they didn't have any accidents at all, even if they still would try to mark a bit here. Again most homes do not have female dogs in heat.
I do ask anyone getting an adult to treat them like a puppy for the first 2 weeks to be sure they know where the door is, the pattern of "how" to ask to go outside, besides being sure the first time they do go potty it is in the correct location. A good start makes all the difference in the world!
Frequently Asked Questions
What size collar? or do you recommend a harness?
I do like a harness for a new puppy, tiny breeds that tend to have trachea issues, and english bulldogs. If they haven't been use to walking on a leash its easier on them to get the concept of limitations a leash creates without them choking and scaring themselves.
After the first week though I highly recommend a collar.
And please don't let your puppy dictate when and where to walk. After you have gently introduced the collar and/or harness and have had the puppy about a week its time to move to the next step. You are bigger, and the boss, which may change as the puppy ages! You walk where you want, the puppy follows. If the puppy refuses to move, consider if he is actually hot, cold, tired, is the surface to hot, or cold for his feet? If nothing is giving a true cause then you walk right along and drag the puppy if the puppy wont budge. You will be shocked how fast the puppy will decide following you isn't so bad after all and trot right along. Only when the puppy is moving willingly along with you do you praise him. Make a big fuss.
I guess because I was raised around dogs, and have had them for such a long time I forget many people are so sweet and worried they will hurt the puppy that the puppy ends up very bad, with the puppy completely training the people instead.
They may be our best friend and we may jump off a bridge to save them, but they wouldn't have jumped off that bridge if we had also been a leader and taught them they must do a very few things such as : come when called, sit, stay…
Its really not much to ask/demand when we go to work making enough money to feed them good food, take them to the groomers, vets, and do our best to give them the love and attention they need and deserve that they in return follow some basic rules.
We don't allow our children to knock a baby flat, or hit someone with a stick, or run in the street in front of cars. Please keep this in mind!
You never want your puppy to learn to pull while walking on a leash. A harness almost encourages them to pull and starts a bad habit. The only exception is some toy breeds, like Pomeranians, or Yorkies, and others like bulldogs that can have a collapsing trachea. For those dogs with that problem they should always use a harness for walking.
We have walked hundreds of dogs on a leash with a collar, who have never had a leash on. The rescued dogs have given us a lot of insight for teaching leash manners! Adult dogs who have not have a collar or leash will "alligator roll" in a complete panic. They can chew through a leash in seconds. We just stay calm and wait it out. We try hard to introduce the collar long before the leash, so they at least get use to wearing a collar first. Some we use a harness on when we realize they panic. Most adjust amazingly fast when your calm and patient.
A Westie or Cavaleir puppy will fit in the same size collar as a cat would. Don't get a cat collar as they are made to break-away in case the cat is stuck in a tree, so the cat doesn't hang. Took me a long time to figure out why some of our dog collars would just come un-done. I had purchased cat collars not thinking about the "breakaway" built in to them…
A Frenchie, Pug, or Shar Pei will have a bit fatter neck, but will still usually fit in the same size if its an adjustable collar. I much prefer a "martingal collar" for the dogs who have very big necks compared to head size, of lots of loose floppy neck skin. The collar looks like a regular collar. It has the ability to become tighter if the dog pulls. Unlike a choke collar it is adjusted so it simply gets tight enough not to slip over the dogs head and then it stops tightening. I love them. The big wrinkles can droop down, or the dogs thick neck isn't squeezed. The collar is loose and comfortable when at rest, yet when walking it wont just slide off but can tighten up when needed to stay on. I added a picture from Amazon.com. I'm not sure how to give proper credit for the photo.
What comes with your puppy? Click link for page.
Is delivery, or shipping available? Click link for page.
Laurels Westies, at
DreamCatcher Hill Puppies and Rescue
Do you give a guarantee?
I get more common questions but I cant think of any at all right now. So do feel free to email or call (I can be hard to get on the phone, email is often easier.)
Thank you for taking the time to browse the website!
Are any puppies available now?
Use of "He" instead of "He/She", or "She" is not to mean actual gender of the puppy/dog in discussion.
Do you recommend crate training?
Yes we very much believe all dogs should be comfortable in both a plastic and wire crate. They are easier to housebreak, they feel safe if for some reason they need a place to get away.
Many people don't think about other reasons. Should your dog break its leg, or pelvis, or something terrible and need to be crated for awhile, can you imagine how hard it would be for him to lay there relaxed and healing if he had never been crate trained? And imagine how much damage he would be to himself as he was frantically trying to get out of a crate, while he is suppose to be letting bones heal, or resting? It's also helpful if you need a friend, or family member to puppy-sit, or transport and they aren't comfortable with the dog loose all the time. Its safer for the pup to be crate trained, even if its never used later they will remember the crate is not terrible thing but instead a safe "homey" spot.
Please read the blog on 7-27-16 for an example.
What size crate, and what kind of crate?
We like both plastic and wire crates. Plastic is easier to transport in a vehicle, unless you have a mini van or hatch back with room and a flat place for a wire crate to sit on. They are warmer in winter, and feel more safe for the dog. If they are going to get car sick, or ate something gross and have diarrhea and have an accident it contains the mess better too. Some are flimsy. Feel the plastic and how sturdy, it is, or if its flexible. If its a short use thing for a puppy even a flimsy one will by fine.
Wire has more airflow for the warmer months, it can be covered with a blanket for feeling more cozy, or if its cold. They fold flat so a larger size is still pretty easy to transport if the dog isn't going to be in it in the vehicle. Some are flimsy. Putting zip ties around the edges that allow it to collapse for folding helps make it much sturdier, and less likely the dog will get out. Extra snaps on the door are also a good idea if you have a Houdini. Some are made with a heavier gauge wire and are very sturdy.
Puppies aren't a problem in a flimsy one, but an older dog, or pup who is bigger and not crate trained may need it reinforced.
With our rescues who sometimes have never been in a crate we prefer a plastic crate. They are less likely to stick their mouth through the bars to bite at the bars. Usually the door on a plastic crate is more a a grid and they can't get their mouth on the bars very easily. Also all the digging in a wire crate they can pull up a tray and shred it and then try to shred whatever is under the crate, like carpet.
Nothing is fail safe with a dog who is not use to being crated! Don't blame the dog, blame whoever didn't train the dog properly!
They need supervision and at our house they get in trouble for being bad in a crate. Most learn quickly its not at all the end of the world and they actually come to love sleeping in their crates. A few adults with separation anxiety can take weeks to get use to it. We had to special build a crate out of heavy welded horse panels for Susie. She is a pit bull mix-breed rescue who use to have severe separation anxiety. She could destroy anything. She now can be in a flimsy crate with half a working door latch and is perfectly happy. She never trys to get out. She still tends to shred her blankets though… not in anxiety, she's just a chewer, another good reason to crate a puppy, or dog.
End note is crate training is a very good thing. They make life easier for people and for the dogs, even if its rarely/never used once they are crate trained. Please don't just discard your used crate the pup has outgrown, or you just don't use. Donate it to a local shelter, or rescue group. They often need them!