Please Share Your Housebreaking Schedules!

Discussion in 'Bernese Mountain Dog Training Forum' started by Barneys Mom, Apr 10, 2011.

  1. Barneys Mom

    Barneys Mom New Member

    Hi everyone!

    I've just joined the forum and today we brought our new boy home. We're smitten already :)

    For those of you who can remember or whose Berners are in puppyhood still, what were your housebreaking schedules? I've read up a lot on what to expect, but so far Barney is holding his pee/poop for a LOT longer than the books predicted. It's only day one, but I'm wondering if they can hold it for longer because they're just bigger dogs.

    So far, he went poop about two hours after lunch, and peed about three hours later, with water available from about 1pm onward. He had his dinner from 6:00-6:30, and about an hour later, he had no interest in peeing or pooping when I took him out and has decided to take a nap.

    Is this typical? Thanks in advance!
  2. Barneys Mom

    Barneys Mom New Member

    Well, it's now 10:40 and Barney just attempted to take a nap while out on a potty break :D I'm guessing he's a little nervous or anxious at all the changes today, and he'll go when he has to!

    Hopefully he doesn't get the urge overnight other than when I'm planning to get up throughout to take him out, since he's crated.
  3. Bear'sMama

    Bear'sMama New Member

    I brought Bear home when he was about 4 months old. The books say he should have been able to hold his bladder for about 4 hours at that time. With all the changes of a new home, I took him out religously every 2 hours as well as 30 minutes after he ate for the first 36 hours in his new home just so he understood that I wanted him to do his business outside. I also would say "find a spot" everytime he started going.

    Then I moved him to a 3 hour schedule for about a week. Once he made it about 5 days straight without any accidents, I moved to a 3 & 1/2 hour schedule then a 4 hours schedule.

    Here is our 3 and 1/2 hour schedule. Bear was taken out every time he got out of his crate.
    6:00-7:00 Playtime
    7:00-7:30 Feed & Take Out
    7:30-9:15 Playtime
    9:15-11:00 Crate
    11:00-12:45 Playtime
    12:45-2:30 Crate
    2:30-4:15 Playtime
    4:15-6:00 Crate
    6:00-7:15 Playtime
    7:15-7:45 Feed & Take Out
    7:45-9:30 Playtime
    9:30-11:00 Crate
    11:00-6:00 Sleep

    He is 6 months now and I only crate him when I know he needs a nap (normally a dog park day). He is on a 4 hour schedule and goes out at 6AM, 10AM, 2PM, 6PM, and 10PM. He has held his bladder for 5 hours on a couple of occassions but the 4 hour schedule works best for our daily routine so we just kept it.

    Hope this helps!
  4. linda_wlu

    linda_wlu New Member

    potty training

    Our Berner is a year and a half now and has been completely trained since 6 months of age. It usually takes that long until you can trust them completely. We didn't have a potty schedule per se, but we just took her out very often - after a nap, after play and every 20 minutes when awake in general. We also used voice commands - when going out we would repeat "outside, outside, outside" and when out we would say "do your business" which we still use and still works. It's great when you have a dog that knows what you have them outside for :)

    When we got our pup we both worked full time so she spend the day in the crate. We got her at 13 weeks old and she only had 2 acccidents in her crate. From day one she was holding her bladder for 9 hours a day. Not sure if this is normal for a large dog but it was amazing. We had very few accidents in the house to clean up.

    One thing we dealt with a lot though was diarrhea. I've heard this is also common with pups but you feel sorry for them. Also at about 6 months is when that stopped and I don't think we've had an episode in the last year.

    The first 6 months are super frustrating (as a first time dog owner I wasn't particularly prepared for that) but they're so stinking cute and are such fantastic dogs, it's totally worthwhile.

    Good luck and congrats on your new addition!
  5. Barneys Mom

    Barneys Mom New Member

    Thanks guys! That's very helpful. I'm trying to figure out Barney's schedule, and I know the general guideline is age in months plus 1 to 1.5 hours, but Barney seems to be holding it a lot longer when needed.

    Linda, we were planning on crating Barney during the day, too but I took two weeks off work to get him acclimated to his new home. If you don't mind me asking, how did you divide the crate/non-crate time when he was in puppyhood?

    Like, was he either in the crate when inside or in the backyard, or was he allowed in a certain area of the house and not in his crate when you were home and only in the crate when you were at work and at night?
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2011
  6. linda_wlu

    linda_wlu New Member

    Crated time

    Hi Barneys Mom

    I left for work at 8am and wasn't home until 5pm so she learned to hold her bladder very early on. And I didn't take the 2 weeks off - kind of wish that would have been an option. We kept her out of the crate and tried really hard to give her as much love and attention as we could when we were home.

    She spent all hours when I was at work in her crate. We didn't go very far from home when I was working because we didn't think it was fair to her to crate her all day and then go out in the evening to crate her again. In the evenings she was out of her crate as much as possible but we crated her for night time too. Our upstairs is all hardwood or linoleum so messes were easily cleaned up. We were on super look out for any signs of her having to pee - sniffing, circling... any such signs and it was "outside outside outside". She did take us by surprise a few times but in all it wasn't too bad.

    We got her in February (here there's lots of snow) so just leaving her out wasn't really an option nor did we want to spend all kinds of time outside with her. She learned very early on to accept her reality.

    We felt sorry for her a time or two before she turned a year and gated her off in the front entrance way (a 6 x 6 foot space) but she started chewing trim - soooo... back in the crate she went. She only did this when we had left her alone. After that small taste of freedom she didn't tried to refuse going in the crate so my advice is to make wait until Barney is more than a year before trusting him outside of the crate while you're away for any length of time.

    Now, she has it made though. I'm off for an entire year on my maternity leave and she hasn't spent more than a couple hours in her crate during the week.

    Let me know if there's anything else you'd like to know about my experience :)
  7. Barneys Mom

    Barneys Mom New Member

    Thanks, that's very helpful!

    With Barney only being 8 weeks old, he's a little younger than your girl. However, my husband works a rotating shift, and with me taking these two weeks off, it won't be until Barney is around 13 weeks before he's hit with a day where we won't be home for 9 hours.

    Until then, I think we're going to crate him for naps, and see how he fares with puppy pads and a baby-gated area when we're out of the house for 7/8 hours. I hope he'll take well to being crated at 13 weeks!
  8. Barneys Mom

    Barneys Mom New Member

    Well, last night was a disaster LOL!

    Barney went down for the night at 10 after doing his business outside, and then I woke him at 2am for another potty break. He woke me up at 3am to go poop, and then at 4:30 he whined so I took him out.

    This time, he just rolled in the grass and wanted to play. So, back inside to the crate. I slept on the couch for about an hour, and he whined on and off. Then he had breakfast/potty time/play time/practice walk at 6, and back into the crate for around 6:30. I went back to bed, thinking I could make up the sleep lost by getting up the extra two times.

    At around 7:15, he started screaming, whining and carried on so badly that I got up and went to the couch, where I spent about a half an hour going "Tssst" and "NO!" whenever he started whining. We both fell asleep about 8am, and now we're back up, with Barney still in the crate but chewing on a toy.

    Any suggestions?? Am I waking him up too early at 2am?
  9. linda_wlu

    linda_wlu New Member

    That doesn't sound like fun at all :(

    With our girl, we didn't get up once in the night to take her out. We had one or two accidents but nothing major.

    With a pup that young, I understand the need for one nighttime potty break. I think what I would do is set my alarm for once in the night and that's his opportunity. Take it or leave it. In the morning you may or may not have a mess to clean up but at least then you can sleep. It could be a challenge weaning him off the night potty break too, I would imagine.

    We actually put our pup down in the laundry room for a few nights to stop the whining. She may have whined all night but we're not quite sure.
  10. Barneys Mom

    Barneys Mom New Member

    That's what I'd been doing with the 2am potty break - set my alarm and wake Barney up to go outside. So maybe I should just let him cry in the crate for any other breaks he needs, so that he learns that it's in his interests to use the 2am window?

    Right now, his crate is downstairs in the kitchen area, and our bedroom is upstairs but we can still hear the whining. The only other place we could put him is the basement, but it's unfinished and pretty cold.
  11. linda_wlu

    linda_wlu New Member

    It sounds kind of harsh but I do believe that's where I'd put him. If you have a little space heater, maybe plug it in?
    I don't think it'll take long at all for him to get the idea - likely less than a week. And then you can bring the crate back upstairs and if he starts again, back down he goes. We had to take ours down once more after the initial 2 days but then it sunk in.
    It's a very frustrating time. And you can become so unsure of yourself.
    I always thought of it this way with everything I do: "is this how I want her to behave when she's an adult?" Sometimes they have to graduate to the next level (ie sleeping outside the crate, which ours now does) but it's all training. You're training them how to treat you. If the multiple wake up calls become the norm, it could be difficult to change later.
    I remember the days well. There was a time I wished we had never gotten a dog but now it's so worth it! Hang in there!
  12. Barneys Mom

    Barneys Mom New Member

    I'm completely unsure of myself right now! We're first time dog owners, too - so I keep waffling on what to do with him when I go back to work, whether he should be in the crate or if I should barricade him in the kitchen with some puppy pads down.

    Thinking of him as an adult dog helps - I definitely want him to be 100% crate trained as an adult. I just wasn't sure whether it was unrealistic to expect him to hold it for that long.
  13. linda_wlu

    linda_wlu New Member

    My advice is absolutely have him crated when you're at work and any other time you're away. Guaranteed he'll get into trouble otherwise. And dogs don't want to pee where they sleep so that works in our favour for house training.

    Also make sure the crate isn't too big otherwise he'll pee/poo on one end and sleep on the other. It should be just big enough for him to turn around in and lay down. No bigger.
  14. Barneys Mom

    Barneys Mom New Member

    The crate is small, so there should be no worries there. We've bought a full 48" crate with a divider in it that we can use to gradually give him more room as he grows and needs more room to stand up.

    I'd love for him to be crated while we're at work, but with him being only 8 weeks, I think we'd have to have someone come in and let him out halfway through the day, at least for a few weeks until he hits the point where your pup was when you got her.
  15. frisssel

    frisssel Member

    ok, I've been reading all the posts. I just want to share what I did for storm, this is just what I did.

    I got Storm at 8 wks. He slept under my desk in my room. He cried when he wanted out so I was lucky. this night time thing lasted about 2 weeks.

    I worked so I had my next door neighbour come every 2 hrs, then upped it weekly by 1/2 hours.

    I did not crate Storm, I personally don't like them. storm was corned off in the basement. He did not get a huge area, but much bigger then a crate. I would open up the area bit by bit. I had to make it smaller at one point because he would mess in one area.

    My basement is a walk out but it is cool and that is were he likes to go. When I left he got a treat and still does, so he knows the routine and doesn't bully me at the door when I leave.

    It is tough with a puppy and I wish you luck;)
  16. linda_wlu

    linda_wlu New Member

    If someone you trust is able to do that for you, it's definately a plus! i'm pretty sure our girl was 13 weeks when we got her so you wouldn't have to do it long. We debated going that route as well but there was really no one close by and again we thought that she'd have to learn and we'd have to be willing to clean up a few messes.
    Whatever you choose to do I'm sure will work out well. They learn fast despite their stubborn streak :)
  17. Barneys Mom

    Barneys Mom New Member

    Thanks for sharing, Frisssel! Storm's gorgeous :) It sounds like you had a great setup. Good to know that the night wakeups seem to be only lasting 2 weeks for a lot of people - since I'm off on "Pupternity Leave" for two weeks, I should get the worst of it out of the way before I'm back to work!

    We actually just moved to our neighbourhood so we don't know any of the neighbours well enough to trust them with a key. I'd be leaning more towards a professional pet care service coming in to let Barney out.

    My husband works varied shifts, so he's off 4-5 days during the week and I'm off on weekends, so it would be a matter of Barney being crated for 6 hours for 4 days one week, then for 6 hours for 2 days the next, and the following week it would be 8 hours for 5 days. After that, he'd be at the 13-week point that Linda's pup was able to hold her bladder for 9 hours, which would be the case for that week.
  18. linda_wlu

    linda_wlu New Member

    That's a great setup. He'll never be in the crate all day, every day of the week. I wish that could have been an option for us! How was your night last night?
  19. Barneys Mom

    Barneys Mom New Member

    Last night was good! I took him outside at around 9:30pm and we did a few laps around the yard after he went potty, and then put him in his crate for the night.

    I woke him up at 2am, he went to the bathroom and happily back in his crate, no whining. No more wake-ups until 6am.

    I think starting next week, I'll try and push him to a 2:15 wake-up for three days, see how it goes, and then push the time to 2:30 for three days, etc etc until we're up to 5:30 (my wake-up time during the week).
  20. linda_wlu

    linda_wlu New Member

    That's a good sign if you had to wake him! Glad he's adapting to your schedule so quickly.

Share This Page