The soft coated wheaten terrier breed is smart, and therefore stubborn. Housebreaking a wheaten terrier is typically the most difficult task a new owner will face in the first few months of puppy ownership. Our puppy, Andy was born and raised on a farm and was therefore very comfortable using the bathroom outdoors. Since coming home however he has reverted slightly (which is entirely our fault) and has been going to the bathroom in the home on almost a daily basis.
Starting out – The crate is the den, and dog’s don’t like going to the bathroom in their “den.” It’s an instinctual thing. They will however use the bathroom in your mud room, family room, bedroom, kitchen, you get the jist. What you want to do is set a schedule of let out times throughout the day, typically first thing in the morning, after breakfast, around lunch time, mid-afternoon, after dinner and before bed. If you stick to a schedule your puppy will learn to hold his excrement for those time periods with the expectation of being let out. Also, do your best to use the same door each time so that your wheaten knows to go to that door when the need arises.
Pee Pads? – Pee pads are nice backup plans. We used them in the rooms that he was evacuating most frequently in. He generally finds his way to or near them when the need to go comes, however I think they may be a bit of a crutch that has inhibited his progress.
The Plan Going Forward – We will be working to set a more solid schedule for him. We will also be using his crate indoors more frequently than we have been. He’s so much fun that we have let him out with us early and often. This has certainly led to his regression. We will attempt to crate him more often, especially an hour or so before his typical potty time. Let’s hope this works. We’ll keep you updated.