I have a four month beagle puppy. We’ve had her a couple of weeks now and never confined her because I was told not to and so that she can hang out with my other dog. However, as a result, I’m having a lot of trouble to potty train her. Is it too late to start confinement and, if not, how would I manage it when I have two dogs? Are there potty training techniques that don’t involve confinement? My puppy is very bright but stubborn as hell and is only really responsive to commands when there is a treat at the other end.
Beagles are notoriously stubborn, so in general they require a good set of rules and enforcement of those rules to help them with their obedience! Crate training is by far the most effective and efficient way to housebreak a puppy. You would go about this by buying a crate that does not give her too much room, but enough room to stand up, turn around and lie down comfortably. The idea is a dog does not want to sleep in the area they have messed in, so if the crate is too big they can simply move away from it. You could leave your dog in a crate for 4-5 hrs at this age, but I would practice with short stints first. You would take her out to relieve before you leave, and then put her in the crate. As soon as you get home you take her out of the crate and straight outside. Since you have another dog, it would probably be best to put the crate in a room and close the door so the puppy cannot see the other dog. In saying that though, many people certainly do train their dog without a crate. If you are at home most of the day, you should take your dog out every 1 1/2 to 2hrs to relieve. You want to give your dog a word association when relieving, such as ‘go potty’. When she does go, praise her and you can even give her a treat. The trick is you have to stay out long enough for her to go. The puppy should also go out within 15 minutes of eating. If you decide not to use a crate you can put her in a small room, such as a bathroom or laundry to at least confine the mess when you are out. It takes patience and persistence, but as a trainer I would normally like to see a 4 month old dog well on their way to understanding they need to go outside. I would personally recommend the crate for the easiest and quickest way to accomplish this.