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(this is a rough draft, something I should probably have written years ago : )

Puppy Boot Camp

House, Crate, and Leash Train Your Afghan Hound Puppy
in about 48 hours


This is how we do it here at Hosanna Afghan Hounds.

When our puppies are old enough to start getting out of their whelping box (3-4 weeks old), we cover the entire floor of the whelping room with newspapers. Then follows a couple of weeks of a LOT OF WORK (depending on the litter size).  LOT of picking up to do.  By about 5-6 weeks old, weather permitting, we open their door so they can start following their mom outside to 'do their business', and play.  They naturally learn to go where she goes (way out in the grass).  Meanwhile, we start making the paper area smaller and smaller each day in the whelping room. 95% of the mess will still be on the papers.  After only about a week or two, the papers are staying almost completely dry and clean all day - and at night too.  Then, they are ready for us to do crate, house, and leash training.  I like to do all three at once, as they facilitate each other.


We usually train the whole litter when they are about 7-9 weeks old.  Properly instructed kids can help with this.  Ours always have.  No matter where you got your puppy, or even what breed it is, if you are having any problems with house training, I recommend you do exactly as I will tell you here.  This method has also worked well with rescues, even older dogs that we took in.


Our experience is, that if Afghan Hound puppies are started right, there is almost never a problem with them.  Many of those who have gotten a puppy from us have told us their puppy has NEVER made a mistake in their home.  And, I believe that, as at least 1/2 of our own never have either.  However, if they have learned bad habits, it can be very difficult to retrain them, as they can be STUBBORN.


There are several things your puppy has to figure out for success.  Afghan Hound puppies (in my experience) actually usually CAN 'hold it' for 8-10 hours.  But THEY DON'T KNOW that YET.  One of our goals is to help them discover that.


Most often, house training failure is due to inconsistency.  Either the puppy is not supervised closely enough, or work and other human activities result in the puppy not getting consistent messages, or worse, getting mixed messages.  Then the puppy just can't quite figure out what's expected.  Getting angry at an untrained (or partly trained) puppy is probably only going to make the puppy scared and timid (or STUBBORN).


Most of us have very busy lives, and we live here with usually anywhere from 10 - 20 Afghan Hounds.  (NOT for everyone - we are RETIRED and have lots of acres : )  My dogs MUST be properly trained.  I could not stand to live with them myself, if they were not.  I've found the very best way is to do an intensive and short training.  They get so many repetitions in the course of just a couple of days, that they ALL figure it out.  And, though my life is usually too busy and would result in training setbacks due to inconsistency, I've found it's not that difficult to DEDICATE a couple of days to this MOST worthy goal - dogs we CAN LIVE with.


48 Hour Leash, Crate, & House Training

1.  Be sure you will have about 48 hours during which you will be home with your puppy.  A weekend should work. (a very few take another day or so longer - so starting Friday night is a good idea)  If you don't have time for this right now, WAIT.  Use newspapers in a PUPPY PROOFED SECURE area, but refrain from scolding a puppy who is not trained, and has no idea what you are angry about.  Puppies who are only scolded for making mistakes may decide that you don't want them to go anywhere at all.  Then they will hold it as long as they can, and finally when they can't hold it anymore they will make a BIG mess.  When you are sure you have a couple of days to make sure your puppy learns what it needs to learn, you are ready to start.


2.  Put puppy in yard, in area you want her to use, with collar and leash on.  Stand pretty still - goal is not to let puppy get tangled in the leash - otherwise, let her do whatever she wants.  Don't (at first) try to get her to go anywhere.  If she pulls on the leash, just hold it steady.  Eventually, she will learn that pulling on the leash doesn't get her any results.  When she stops pulling, start following her.  Allow her to roam, and just follow her, making sure there's no tension on the leash.  Talk to her in a positive voice if she's moving well.  After a couple of days of this, she will become comfortable with the collar and leash, and she should be happily following YOU on the leash.  If she goes to the bathroom, PRAISE her.  Use the same word EVERY TIME for the job, AND the word GOOD - 'good pee pee' (or 'good poo poo' - or whatever you feel comfortable with).  What is important is to use the SAME word each time, so she will learn what it means.


IMPORTANT: Keep the leash sessions SHORT - no more than 5 - 10 minutes.


A.  IF the puppy has done BOTH jobs (piddle AND bm), we reward them with FREE (SUPERVISED ONLY!!! ) play time in the living room - with lots of TOYS (use whatever room you want). NEVER allow a young puppy to be unsupervised in your home - this is WHY we crate train. After about 15 minutes of play time, go to step 3.


B.  OR TIME is UP (5-10 minutes) and puppy DID NOT do BOTH jobs - so pick her up, and put her right into her crate, without talking and stroking (except quietly use the word you want to use for the command to get into the crate as you put her in there). We want our puppies to figure out WHY they are out with us on the leash - to DO THEIR BUSINESS, that's why we give them a TIME LIMIT.


3. Crate the puppy *.  We tell ours, 'Go to bed', as we're putting them in the crate.  After awhile, they will go into the crate by themselves when we tell them to go to bed.  For HOUSE TRAINING, make sure there is not extra room in the crate.  For this training, you want the puppy only to have enough room to lie down comfortably.  If your crate is too big, use a separator in it, or borrow a smaller crate for just a few days.  Puppies usually don't like to make a mess right where they sleep.  If the puppy fusses in the crate, IGNORE IT.  Try to NEVER get the puppy out of the crate, and do not pay any attention to it if it's fussing - so long as you're sure it doesn't have to go to the bathroom.  WAIT until puppy is QUIET, THEN go get her out.  If you are having trouble with a puppy who whines a lot, try going and petting the puppy ANY time it's being QUIET. Ignore it if it isn't.  Also, I put a cotton rug (easy to wash) in the crate with the puppy.  In case there is an accident, this will keep puppy cleaner.


4.  In 2 hours (or if puppy DID NOT DO BOTH jobs before - in 1 hour), take puppy out of the crate, put her leash on, and carry her outside to where you want her to perform.
Repeat steps 2 & 3 all day.  Use a cooking timer if necessary.


Summary of DAY 1: Repeat steps 2 & 3 every hour until the puppy does BOTH jobs OUTSIDE, then REWARD.  If the puppy has DONE both jobs outside, repeat every 2 hours.  Reward EVERY time puppy does BOTH jobs outside.


We are usually doing this with a whole litter - from 2 to 10 puppies. The kids help, and we put 3 or 4 puppies together in a BIG crate, and we take them out in shifts - 1 puppy per person.  By evening ours are usually all at the point where they will go as soon (or almost as soon) as we take them out to their bathroom area.  And, almost never has ANY of them messed in their crate.  (That is a VERY BAD habit you don't want them to get into - this is why I recommend the 1 or 2 hour routine to start).  Your puppy has to learn that you WILL let it out of the crate, and take it outside to do it's business.  THEN she will start to figure out that she can wait.


Early evening of 1st day (puppy should have had 4-6 repetitions at 1 or 2 hour intervals by this time), try waiting 3 or 4 hours before taking puppy out (ONLY if they did do both jobs last time they were out, and if you have not just fed them).  If we take them out LATE, last thing before bed, and then again 1st thing in the morning, they almost always all stay DRY and CLEAN ALL NIGHT (7-8 hours)


DAY 2 - SAME thing, only now allow 3-4 hours between outings (IF they did BOTH jobs outside).  By the second day, most of our puppies will follow us happily on the leash outside to do their business.  Once they've done their business, they run happily inside to play with toys and kids.  In my experience, most Afghan Hound puppies can stay dry and clean all night, once they figure out that someone WILL take them out.  They will LEARN to hold it - IF you are CONSISTENT, and give them enough REPETITIONS.


When I say 'supervised', I mean someone IS WATCHING puppy at all times.  You should be paying attention to puppy when you're out walking her.  NOTICE what she does just before she goes.  Even when puppy is being REWARDED with play time in the house for doing BOTH jobs outside, KNOW that ANY puppy can pee more than once (or even more than twice) - and even poop more than once.  Be ready at ANY time to whisk puppy outside if you see her getting ready to do something in the house.  It is YOUR JOB to prevent her from making mistakes.  She's a BABY, and she does not know until you teach her.  If she does make a mistake, firmly say, NO - and take her right outside (do NOT yell at her, or you may end up with a frightened dog).  If it's a poop, get a paper towel, pick it up and take it outside too, and put it and her down in the area you want her to use.


In addition to the above schedule, ALWAYS take puppy out right after feeding or napping.


ONE MORE THING: They will figure out they need to go outside, and they will usually start asking to go out when they must.  So, though you don't want to reward a puppy who is just fussing because of being crated, you also must make sure you don't ignore your puppy's signal when she NEEDS to go outside to do her business.  If you pay close attention to your puppy, you should be able to figure out what it is she needs.


If you get an older dog who has already developed bad habits, it may be best to start ALL OVER with it. Pretend it's a baby puppy, and start from scratch.  This has worked with older dogs (rescues) for us also, but we use a longer interval.  We still take them out every HOUR until they go the first time.  We DO NOT want them to go in their crate. But we repeat every 4 hours for a (successful) older dog, rather than every 2 hours. Since they don't get as many repetitions in one day that way, it could take 3-4 days for them to get the hang of it.

  • For those who don't think using a crate is a good idea, I would like to point out a couple of things. The crate should NEVER be used to punish a dog. Dogs usually LOVE their crates. WHY? Because dogs are DENNING animals. They like to have a den, and the crate is like their den. It's natural for them, and they are comfortable with that. We keep a couple of crates in our living room, with the doors open, and our dogs often go into them all by themselves to take naps. Our dogs do NOT 'live' in crates. But it is much safer for any puppy to be crated during times someone can't watch it, and we do crate puppies during times when no one can pay attention to them.

Hope this helps somebody.

Copyright Lynda R. Farley 6/9/2006

Hosanna Afghan Hounds
532 Farley Road
Edmonton, KY, 42129

(270)432-7272 CST (I'm a night owl : )
jlfarley@scrtc.com

Questions?  Please CALL - I don't have much time for typing emails, but love to chat about dogs.

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