Mike's Q&A

An interactive question and answer forum with expert dog trainer Michael Wombacher for all of your most pressing dog behavior and dog training-related questions.

Housebreaking in Manhattan - Tips for City Pup

Q: Hi Mike. Firstly thank you. Your book is tremendously helpful. I just got an English Bulldog puppy. He was 8 weeks old, now 9 1/2 weeks. I live in midtown Manhattan. The vet has told me that it will be another 2-3 months till I am able to walk him outside to go to the bathroom since he needs all his vaccinations. Said it would be different if I lived somewhere with a patch of grass or a yard but since I live in the middle of the city I will have to wait till he has all his vaccinations. With the help of your book the housebreaking is going well and he uses the pad most of the time. I fear though that if he is inside going to the bathroom for that long that it will be extremely difficult to make him understand that he needs to go outside then. My question is: Is this true that he cannot be walked in the city till he is 3-4 months of age? Any tips for raising a pup in an apartment building in a big city? 


A: Unfortunately you are in a tough spot. Your vet is right and yes, you’re in a tough spot. But not irremediable. When your pup gets to the point that you want him to go outside simply eliminate the potty pads in the house and start taking your dog out. Overloading him with food and water is helpful and keeping him crated or on a leash with you in the apt. until you take him out is key. If he does nothing the first time out, bring him back up, crate him for 20 minutes and try it again. Keep loading him up with food/water each time until you’re at the busting point. Bringing a paper outside and laying it down can help. Also, using the “hurry up” command to teach him to go to the bathroom on command now will help enormously then (it’s in the book). Of course when he does do his first few poops and pees outside reward him like mad with a treat so he knows what a good boy he is J.