Atlas earned back his dog bed and dog crate after 4 whole weeks of not piddling on the carpet or inside his crate. We took away Atlas’ dog bed and crate bed just one week after we brought him home due to piddling.
When we first brought Atlas home, he was prone to piddling on our carpet. After all, he was just a 9 week old Doberman puppy. So much that we invested in a Bissell carpet cleaner. He would piddle on our carpet 4-5 times a day during his first two weeks with us. The accidents don’t stop there. He would repeatedly piddle on his dog bed and his crate bed. Every time it happens, we had to throw them in the washer and dryer. I counted a total of 7 occurrences per bedding, 14 total trips to the washer and dryer. It was a waste of water and electricity, so we relinquished both his beds until he has more control over his bladder.
We replaced his crate bed with training pads. He didn’t like it at first, but he had to deal with it. We used up 20 training pads out of a 50 pack before giving back his beds.
How Did Atlas Earn His Back His Beds?
Atlas earned his beds back through a combination of training. We crate trained Atlas. I take him out in the middle of the night and successfully trained Atlas to use a dog training bell to let himself out.
Watching for Cues and Taking Him Out on Set Interval
We take Atlas out on a set interval, following the puppy potty formula (maximum hours a puppy can hold its bladder is an hour for every month the puppy is old). We started taking him out every two hours and then three and then three and a half. The formula is spot on. When Atlas plays rough indoor, we take him out immediately after he’s done playing. We also take him out 30 minutes after he drinks water or finishes a meal. We also watch Atlas closely for cues when he’s out of his crate and playing in our living room. If we see Atlas positioning himself to urinate, we yell out a very loud “NO!” and then carry him outside.
We continuously praise Atlas with treats when he relieves himself outside at his designated area. We gradually stopped praising or rewarding him when he turned 3 months old. When Atlas turned 3 months old, he learned to use his dog training bell consistently to let himself out (more on this later).
Right from the beginning, Atlas was content with his crate. His breeder crate trained Atlas and his litter mates before we picked him up. He was so content that he started urinating at one corner of his crate bed. I shrunk his crate space using the crate divider to discourage him from urinating. It temporarily alleviated the problem but then he started urinating on his crate bed overnight without making a sound. When that happened repeatedly, we took away his crate bed and replaced it with training pads. While he occasionally still urinates on the pads, it was a lot easier to clean up and he did it a lot less often.
In fact, when he urinates on the pad, he would push it to the other side of the crate divider, as to not make contact with it. We used up 20 training pads out of a 50-pack for approximately 1½ weeks. He transferred this behavior to his dog bed. We took away his dog bed around the same time, too. Then, we took away the training pads and let Atlas sleep on the crate tray. This forced him not to urinate inside his crate or he’ll deal with sleeping on his own urine. During this time, Atlas quickly learned to become vocal again when he needs to be let out in the middle of the night. He usually sleeps through the night, but occasionally he needs to relieve himself overnight, especially when he sleeps early. For the next three weeks, he had zero accidents inside his crate.
Mighty Paw Dog Training Smart Bell 2.0
While Atlas was being crate trained, we trained him to use the Dog Training Smart Bell 2.0 by Mighty Paw. It took him a while to get the hang of it. Peach and Stella’s dehydrated quail hatchling treats were exceptional motivators to get Atlas to understand what the Mighty Paw bell was used for.
We started training Atlas to use the bell by pressing it and saying “Outside!” every time we take him outside. After about half a week of doing this, we started teaching Atlas to press it with his nose. We did this by positioning him in front of the bell and tapping on it without activating it. Every time he presses it, we say “Outside!” and we reward him with a treat. We repeated this for another half a week before Atlas learned to use it on his own. Now every time Atlas has to relieve himself, he presses the dog training bell to let himself out. If Atlas presses the bell and doesn’t go outside, then we place him outside on his own for 5 minutes.
Atlas Earned Back His Dog Bed and Dog Crate
After nearly a month of being accident-free inside his crate and inside our house, we gave him back his dog bed. He was super excited and did not waste time helping himself on it. A few days later, we gave him back his crate bed. We can tell that he was happy to sleep on a soft surface instead of a hard plastic tray. Matter of fact, he goes inside his crate on his own when he has had enough play and just wants to relax.
I will document how we potty trained our Doberman puppy in a separate and thorough guide. Although he has been accident-free for almost a month and knows to use his bell to let himself out, we will continue to monitor him closely when he’s out and about inside the house until he’s accident-free two months in a row, or until he hits 6 months old.