Q: I’ve had a miniature poodle puppy since he was 9 weeks old. He is now almost 14 weeks old. Because it was so cold when I first got him, I started to pad-train him instead of taking him outdoors. He was making great progress until I brought him to a groomer. I asked for a puppy cut to get him used to combing and brushing and grooming, but they gave him a full poodle clip. Since then, he has ignored the training pad and is using the floor and rugs instead. Do I have to start all over again?
A: Your puppy is still too young to be fully house trained, even though he was doing well previously. It’s certainly possible that the experience at the groomer could have set him back. You are right to think of starting over with him. Moving back to a stage where the dog was previously successful is a good idea when you hit a roadblock in any kind of pet training.
For housetraining, take him out on a schedule. Don’t let him have the run of the house; he’s too young for that. If you can’t actively supervise him, he should be in his crate or a small dog-proofed area such as a bathroom, laundry room or inside a pen on an easy-clean surface.
Put down a potty pad wherever you keep him so he has an acceptable option if he has to go. Take him out to potty (don’t just send him out by himself), and give lots of praise and food rewards when he goes in the right place.
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