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Hello, I have a 10 week old beagle Dax who we brought home at 8 weeks. This is our first Beagle and first puppy (I grew up with dogs but my mom largely dealt with the training, etc.)

I have questions.

First off, I'm not sure the best thing to do with him while we're at work. He is alone from 7:45 am to 3:45 pm, with the exception of my lunch break 12-1. I also work from home 1 day a week so he has the "alone" days 4 days a week.

We had started crate training him (I took off several days when we got him to do the slow introduction as recommended, etc.) but it hasn't been going well (he won't willingly enter the crate and cries, although only for 15 minutes. He doesn't injure himself trying to escape or anything) and also I know the crate is intended as a potty training method, not a "while we're gone all day" method, and we just aren't available to let him out of it hourly. (while we're home, he's out in the apartment - being watched - and we let him out AT LEAST every hour.)

So currently he is in the crate while we're gone but I was thinking a better method would be a "play pen" setup with pee pads and a bed and water? Does anyone have any advice on this, like where the best location for the pen would be? He sleeps in our bedroom and seems to feel very comfortable in there, so I was thinking in there. How do you get them to pee on the pads??

My other question is general potty training. Other than using the crate method for this, which we would only be able to do 3 days out of the week so it wouldn't be consistent so I'm sort of ditching the crate, does anyone have any suggestions? We watch him closely and like I said take him out regularly. He is also on a regulated feeding / watering schedule. He usually does eliminate while we're outside, but also has regular accidents inside (as in, several times a day). I know he's only 10 weeks so this is to be expected but I don't think he's getting the concept that going inside is wrong. He doesn't have regular spots inside either - he'll pee wherever he is, and I've found poops in all the room including our balcony (the balcony seems to be a favorite, I'm guessing b/c it's "out of the way"? or is it b/c it's somewhat "outside"?)

We praise him every time he goes outside and say "no!" every time we catch him going inside and immediately take him out. If we just keep doing this will he eventually get it?

The only other thing I thought of, is I saw on another post a girl says "outside!" when he's having an accident. I was thinking of pairing this with announcing "outside!" in a happy voice every time we step outside so he knows the word for being out of doors?
 

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You are doing everything right, 10 weeks is pretty young yet. Beagles tend to be a bit slower with the potty training than some dogs. The key is to really get them to go outside and only leave the potty pads in case they really can't hold it. It is confusing for them to use pads and to be praised for going outside.

This site has excellent information on all sorts of training including potty training http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/dog-behavior/house-training-your-puppy
 
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