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D’Folly Italian Greyhounds

Well I'm an opinionated old gal and I'll give you my best opinion....and this is how I trained all my shepherds, and my current iggies from youngsters. And I'm also allowing for the fact that some of you may have extremely young iggies and may work part or all of your day, so this system works well for that too. There are days I work at home all day and days I have to be out 5 o7 hours.

I ABSOLUTELY disagree with the idea of putting any dog/puppy in a crate with a bed at one end and paper or wee wee pads at the other for potty training. You are TEACHING your pet to go potty in their crate. It's like locking yourself into a closet without a toilet that doesn’t flush.

I also feel that a young puppy should have some freedom to move around all the time and build muscle tone and play without being forced to nap whenever you're not there to play with them. I feel they should be able to enjoy their crate without being locked into it till they're older (4 or 5 mos old, by which time their brains should start kicking in), and for short periods like a few hours), later they can learn to stay for 4 to 5 hours and by then they will have associated it with good things like food, warmth, bed, toys, bed. Crates are not storage units for dogs, but are useful tools for training/travel and safety purposes.

I use a basic puppy school ....put him/her into a 4 x 4 expen with a well fitted, secured top, preferably 30 in. or higher or a small room or kitchen area he/she cannot get out of but hopefully can see out of, the 48" Rover gate will work with this if you do not want to buy covered expen, and can be very versatile.  My dogs go from the 4 x 4 to an 8 x 4, then to the kitchen as they grow.

Into that space put their small crate (I believe they like plastic crates better cause they're more like a den, mine all choose plastic over wire when given a choice) with a crate mat and small round cozy bed inside and door taken off of the crate or secured open for safety. And the 200 size is a good one, big enough to turn around and stand up in, big enough for 2 to cuddle. Paper the hell out of the entire rest of the space. This should be his/her home whenever you cannot be with himi/her and watching her 100% . If he/she has any clean training from her momma or her breeder, he/she will likely learn to sleep in the bed and potty outside her crate. If not you will have to gently train and reinforce this behavior like his/her momma should have. I just had a 6 wk . old puppy who already knows this behavior cause I reinforce it and her momma kicked her out of the bed as soon as her eyes opened and she could maneuver well enough to potty outside of it.

As your dog gets older and has learned some of these basics, slowly shrink the paper or pad area to a smaller and smaller location in their safe space. This could take weeks or months. Eventually to a permanent area or non-existent if you only use the outside. To this day if I have to be gone 8 hours, some of my dogs may hold it fine, but those who can't have a papered potty option at the back door (where they always exit for yard potties)'s only fair, as I don't think it's healthy for any animal/human to hold it if they have to go over such a long period of time, it can cause bladder/kidney infections if we hold it too long. I should explain that as they're growing up, mine graduate from the pen to the kitchen for their safe space, so the paper shrinks toward the potty/back door where they always exit. And then it disappears once the dog demonstrates a willingness to tell me they have to go potty, except for those rare occasions I worry I'll be gone too long. All my iggies have therefore learned some signal for me telling me (Mom, there's no paper there, let me out, I have to potty). Some will scratch, some will paw, some will circle and some will run to the back door and back to me over and over. For the youngsters, I just follow if they leave the room so they don't have an opportunity to find a new spot in some bedroom I don't want them to potty in.

Start to feed him/her inside her crate, and take food away after 10 to 15 min. if any left.

It's work and patience and only good reinforcement on your part, but well worth the effort.

Do not let anyone tell you IG's cannot be housebroken, it's bull, there are plenty of housebroken iggies out there, all mine are housebroken, and I know of many more. They are toys, therefore smaller dogs with proportionally smaller bladders and take time and patience, but they can all learn it. You may be satisfied with an indoor permanent potty, or outside only, but they can learn.

But you also have to work at it....take him/her out for potties as soon as you wake up, as soon as you walk in the door, every couple hours or more often when they're young and immediately after eating, and then an hour later, just before bed and start looking for the signs they make just before they have to go potty....some whine, some circle, some paw, some will just disappear from the room...(get up and follow!!) Once you find these signs and stick with enforcing where the potty area is and say good potty over and over and treat for the best behavior, you will see results, slow but sure....stick with it and don't let them out of your attentive sight unless it is in their safe area with paper or pads or litter box (whatever you're training for) set up for them in their safe area and their bed, water and toys.

Here's a great quote from KK:

“Every time she has a mistake in the house I want you to do something for me...

Roll up a Newspaper, (Very tightly).

And bash yourself in the head while saying

"Bad, BAD. ME. I should have been paying attention to her!"


It's never her fault if she has a potty accident in the house, it means that you have been unsuccessful in letting her know what you want from her.

Once they learn the small stuff, and the bed and crate stay clean for some time, you can put the door back on and if they're 4 mos. or more, allow short crate times for awhile with you there and not with you there. Vary the time frame, the time of day, whether or not you are home, or just outside the door.  Never do the same thing twice and they won’t learn to expect you by a certain time, they will instead learn to be confident that you will return and take care of them.  By the time your iggie is 8 mos or so or you've caught up to that age and knowledge group, your iggie should be able to handle up to 3 hr. in a closed crate without soiling it. Don't rush this, it's individual....and always keep to the same program. By that I mean, not the same time schedule, but keep to the general routine. At about a yr. you can be blessed with a pretty reliable iggy, but never take it for granted...always keep up the positive reinforcement and remember, a crate is a tool, not a home, it can be very useful, but iggies need interaction and exercise too.

Also if you have another dog, let them buddy up in crates for training and travel, it really helps.

Best of luck and take my opinion for what it's worth.

Even if you disagree with parts of it, it's what has worked best for my kids and for many others. I recommend it highly.

Written by Vikki Landes, 2001, updated 2011

Vikki’s Housetraining 101

(my system for house & crate training)

ANY and ALL Photos or Content on this page and all subsequent pages is Copyrighted for my own use.  ANYONE found to be using either will be prosecuted to the FULL extent of the Law.

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