We have had several inquiries about Cavachons and housebreaking so I have decided to write about our experience with Kasey going through the process.

Before Kasey even came home, I spent a lot of time reading “puppy books.”  I really did not have much knowledge about raising a puppy.  When it came to housebreaking, I wanted to be prepared with as much knowledge and as many tips as I could find.  I highly recommend this.  What worked for us may not work for you, but, you may come across an idea from someone else that will.  I also purchased a crate before Kasey arrived.  I got the type where you could adjust one of the walls to change the size as the puppy grew.  We started out with it very small, so he felt protected and cozy.  As he grew, we moved the wall to make the crate larger.  We still have that crate and it ended up the perfect size for him.  He loves his crate, it is “his safe place.”

Cavachon in Crate

Kasey in his Crate

From the very beginning, I would set Kasey in the crate with a toy and blanket – the door open – and pet him.  It was great when he would fall asleep there!  The goal was to get him to see the crate as his bed and a safe place.  After he was used to being put in there, I would close the door for a short time – just a few minutes. I gradually increased that amount of time, up to 15 minutes or so.  I was also encouraging him to go in there on his own – usually with a little gentle “persuasion” at first.  Once inside, I would give him a little treat (I used a piece of his food or a Cheerio) and praise him.  I always put him in the crate to sleep at night.

If you are wondering why I began by talking about crate training, it is because it is so important for many reasons.  Your puppy needs a safe, comfy, warm place to go.  That will never change!  Also, dogs usually will not soil “their place.”  That is why the crate is a key component of housebreaking.

In general, every time your puppy wakes up (and they sleep a lot!), runs or plays a bit, eats, drinks or starts sniffing the floor – IMMEDIATELY TAKE THEM OUTSIDE!!!  I would just pick Kasey up and get out there.   In the beginning, do pick them up to go out, especially after sleeping.  You don’t want them to relieve themselves before they get out the door.  I tried to take him to the same general area, not too far from the house, set him down and wait for him to “perform.”  When he did, I would excitedly praise him and give him a treat – the whole family kept Cheerios in our pockets!  We did take him out often, but I think that is what helped him learn.  If you want to play with your puppy outside (who wouldn’t?), go to a different area.  These guys are smart – they will learn that certain places are for certain things.

In the event there is an accident in the house, do the same thing right away, except telling him “no” and to “potty outside!”  If you do not see the accident happen, it is too late to correct him.  He will not know why you are mad at him.  It is important that the puppy understands what he hid, and where he should have done it!  Until you have learned your puppy’s habits, you may want to confine him to a tiled area.  There will be accidents and doing that makes clean up much easier.  Use one of the doggy spray cleaners that neutralizes the smell so they are not tempted to use the same spot again.  If you do not have that, you can use water with vinegar in it.

I did try getting Kasey to use puppy pads at first.  I know some people have success with that, then move them closer and closer to the outside door, and eventually the dog learns to go outside.  We did not have any luck with that.  Kasey just saw the puppy pad as something to chew and never “pottied” on it no matter how often I would put him on there or how long I kept him on there!  We were very lucky to have brought Kasey home in the summer.  We live in Northeast Ohio, so had it been winter, the process would have been much more difficult.

The learning process went pretty quickly.  Kasey would go to the bathroom as soon as he got outside.  Perfecting the whole thing took quite a while longer.  It did not help that we moved to a new house when he was six months old, so our lives were quite chaotic for quite a while.  He was doing pretty well before the move.  We did not have to always watch him and he had very few accidents.  Another thing I had done was teach him the “bell” technique.  I will get into that next time, but I do think it helped somewhat at the new house, once he figured out where the bell was!

It was probably close to a year before I would say Kasey was completely housebroken – meaning no accidents whatsoever.  Between six and twelve months he was still having accidents in the house, but I do believe that our personal circumstances influenced that.  Even during that whole transition, the accidents were infrequent, but none-the-less annoying!

Kasey is now over 2½ years old and I still give him a treat when he “poops” outside.  I just never completely broke that reward habit.  He knows the difference in our outings and runs to the drawer where I keep treats if he went poop while we were out there!  Now, he usually only goes outside 3 or 4 times a day – early morning, late afternoon, then again before bed.  If we are going for a walk or somewhere in the car, he’ll go again.  I usually just take him out when it is convenient for me, but if he can’t wait, he lets me know by ringing the bell!

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64 Responses to “Cavachon Housebreaking Tips”

  • TRISHA says:

    I HAVE A 4 MONTH OLD PUPPY,SHE IS ADORABLE SHE SLEEPS IN HER CAGE AT NIGHT AND GOES STRAIGHT INTO THE GARDEN IN THE MORNING.
    HER EYES GET VERY WET, LEAVING DARK PATCHES I BATHE THEM IN WARM WATER IS THIS THE CORRECT WAY TO DEAL WITH THIS PROBLEM?SHE ALSO GETS SOILED AROUND HER BOTTOM AFTER BOWEL MOVEMENT,I WASH HER IN THE BIDET.
    AS I HAVE NEVER OWNED A PUPPY BEFORE I AM WORRIED THAT I MAY MAKE MISTAKES,PLEASE ADVISE ME.
    TRIHA

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  • danika lee says:

    Hello my family and I are thinking to get a cavachon puppy soon. We’ve never raised a puppy before, so we really dont know how to prepare for the puppy. Any tips and advices? And also, is Gleneden a good place to get a cavachon pup?

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  • Dawn Pearson says:

    I have been looking into buying a Cavachon puppy as my daughter has allergies but we have always wanted a dog in the family. I have a lively young family and it is rarely quiet around here. My question is, I was hoping to walk the dog 2, 30 minute walks in the countryside, a day at least. Are Cavachon’s good walkers?

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    lisa Replied:

    Hi, my cavachon is 2 and half now and she loves going to the woods, we go for an hour a day but she would go longer if i had time, my husband as allergies but has had no problem with this breed, i defo recommend it..

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    Graham Bowles Replied:

    We have a 6 month old pup, and he is so obedient, affectionate, and intelligent. He is a delightful companion who is loved by all the family. He has made me laugh out loud with his antics. Without doubt the best dog we have ever had. As I work from home I am around a lot and Chester will stand by the patio door, looking back at me till I get the message, but accidents still happen each day, either because I have missed his tell, or he has to go urgently, but as he gets older and his bladder grows this is getting less often.he responds very well to praise and occasional treats. We have tried the mats/pads and this has been fairly successful., and we have also trained him to use the crate, which he loves as his quiet space. He usually goes in to it on his own initiative, and then let’s me know when he needs to go out. This was at first every hour, which gradually became two, until now which is 8 hours or more. We found that the key to him sleeping longer at night was to not feed him or give him any water after 7pm, and always let him out before bed. So good routines lead to good habits. He was also a biter but we held his head with a firm grip each time he tried and he stopped biting. He does like to chew on my fingers, but it is without any pressure, so he has also learn to be gentle with us. The grip around is head is to mimic his mother or siblings biting him back, so we are doing what he understands from his pack. A truly amazing animal, and a wonderful addition to our family of five children, three granddaughters, and many visitors, who all fall for his charms.

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  • Charlie says:

    Hello everyone, I’m lost and need help PLEASE-Scenario: my cavachon (3yrs old, female, not fixed yet I know I’m sorry I’m a bad parent and a procrastinator) anyway as of late she has become real clingy to her toy stuffed dog and all of a sudden as of 3 days ago age started stealing my daughters Furby (a stuffed gremlin looking thing that talks) and hiding it and laying on it, same as she does with her regular toy dog. So yesterday I tried to get her out from under my bed. She jumped the gate to go upstairs which is off limits to her. She WILL NOT STOP GOING TO THE BATHROOM UP THERE which is another problem but one thing at a time. When she would not come to me when I called, which she always comes to me when called, I went under the bed to get her and she literally attacked me, biting and barking and lunging and it really scared me. She’s small but has never done that. Now she just sits and cries and stares at me. Please help!!

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  • Lynn says:

    Hi
    My 12 week old cavachon is a big nipper/biter. We try to distract her and give her a toy, but that just doesn’t work. She is constantly biting our fingers, toes, ankles, clothes, etc. Any other suggestions, please. Thank you

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  • Kia says:

    I am getting a 10 week year old Cavacon in a couple of weeks. I’ve decided to call him Leo.

    My question is, on the first night do I crate him and what if he cries at night? DO I ignore the cries? Also, do I forct ihm into the crate?
    Also the first couple of days I will take off from work but after that I will only come home during lunch time to give him a meal/walk/poop. Do I crate him all the time when I am not home? As youi can tell I”m new to this so any advice on the intial stages would be appreciated, thanks.

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    stacey Replied:

    I have the same queries. First night with my 8 week old cavachon tonight

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    Lynn Replied:

    Hello
    You definitely need to crate your puppy. It may seem cruel to you, but it works!
    Our cavachon cried for 12 minutes her first night with use and lasted in her crate for almost 7 hours. She is now 12 weeks old and lasts between 8-9 hours. Each week you can leave her in a little longer.

    Good luck

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    Dede Replied:

    Hey Kia ,
    Actually when my 9 week old cavachon cries at night after he sleeps awhile it usually means he needs to potty

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    Paul Replied:

    I have a 10 week old and he is being very naughty at night, he uses his crate freely all day long and as soon as its bed time, he will not stay in his bed, we have closed the gate and also left the gate open as we have a baby gate that we put across the door way to the kitchen as our cat has to use the cat flap. At bedtime he goes into his bed inside the crate, we calm him down and he goes off to sleep within minutes he is up howling and barking, last night I tried by hardest to ignore him and he was barsking, crying and howling for over an hour! What am I doing wrong, any ideas?

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    Anonymous Replied:

    buy a squirt bottle and squirt his face… or get a cup of water and splash it on him and he will stop barking.

    Lyn Replied:

    You need to put the crate in your room so the puppy can see you, we have just had the same problem, as soon as we moved the crate from the kitchen to our room he slept through the night with no crying at all, your puppy is just lonely and frightened.

  • Cindy says:

    My dog loves to chew, but she is so obsessive that she either destroys her toys or makes herself sick with rawhide! What is good for a hard chewer? Any bones she can’t eat fast and throw up?

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  • Jess says:

    I have a 10 month old pup named Dakota. She is crate trained and we use baby gates to keep her isolated in the tiled kitchen area. She is bell trained in the kitchen and never has accidents anymore. Now we are trying to introduce her to the rest of the house, and she understands that it is wrong to potty in the house, but without a bell she can’t communicate what she needs and ends up having accidents. How do you suggest we train her in the rest of the house? She is also EXTREMELY hyper and constantly wants to play or lick us when she is being held. Any ideas on how to get her to sit still with us?

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    Anonymous Replied:

    Bring your puppy upstairs with her leash and lead her downstairs every hour on the hour. Eventually she will learn to go downstairs by herself and let herself out or let you know she has to go.

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  • Anonymous says:

    We are goin to get a new pup and we found the cavachon is perfect, but we have no idea where to buy one???? Any ideas?

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  • cherry says:

    wow – I just got one now 10 weeks. I wake up every 4 hours, so, he is toilet trained, and I am sleep deprived

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    Lori Replied:

    I feel your pain, but it will be worth it and the night time potty breaks will not last that long 🙂

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  • KG in NJ says:

    We have a 13 week old Cavachon who’s a furry ball of sassiness! We love her, but are having a really hard time with housebreaking. We’ve had her for about a month and a half, and we’ve tried the bell training method in order to get her to start communicating when she needs to go out, but it’s never clicked – she either ignores the bell or plays with it just for fun. She definitely isn’t making any association between the bell and communicating that she needs to relieve herself outside. But she also doesn’t seem to give any other signs, either, when she needs to go (no whining/pawing at the door, etc.). As a result, there are a lot of times when we take her outside and she does nothing, only to bring her back in eventually and then she has an accident 15 minutes later (sometimes even less). When she goes outside, we give her praise and a treat – she’s come to expect it, and looks up as she’s relieving herself because she knows to anticipate a treat. So it’s not that she doesn’t know the drill and doesn’t get that relieving herself outside is a good/rewardable thing. It’s really frustrating, because we’re new dog owners and we feel like we’re not making much progress. She’s old enough where she should be able to hold it, and she knows she gets in trouble when she doesn’t, but it’s not enough to stop her. She just does what she wants, when she wants to! It’s very difficult to feel like we’re nowhere closer to housebreaking her than we were when we first got her, and although we both work (she’s crated during the day and a dogwalker comes mid-day to take her out – accidents in the crate are rare), when we’re home, we truly do take her out as much as possible. But when we’re home, we usually let her roam around, since she whines when we put her in her enclosed area or in her crate. Should we be keeping her in her crate more often, even when we’re at home, to train her to “hold it” more? Any advice is appreciated, since I don’t know what else we should be trying at this point!

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    Ashley Replied:

    Ours is 3 months old today exactly and we are having the same issues. I’m a stay at home mom with 3 kids and sometimes we cause the accidents because it’s so hectic here and we aren’t watching her close enough. If we watch her 100% of the time she is out of her crate, then we can catch her before she goes inside but that’s not always possible. She does not seem to “get” that she needs to tell us when she needs to go. So she stays in her crate more than necessary if we can’t watch her very closely.
    I don’t have any suggestions or advice but wanted to let you know we are in the same boat. Ours is also very bitey. We have a trainer coming next week and hopefully we can get some good tips.

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    KG in NJ Replied:

    Thanks, Ashley! We’ve made a little bit of progress in the last week – there have been some occasions where she’s gone to the door and whined or scratched to go out, and we take her out immediately, and she does in fact end up relieving herself. I’m hoping this is a sign that she’s starting to get it, but it really does sometimes feel like two steps forward and two steps back. I’m trying to be almost obnoxious with the praise and excitement when she goes outside, hoping it’ll really help it click. Hope your trainer helps – ours is a biter too, so that’s something we’ll need to work on as well.

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    Ashley Replied:

    Ours is getting better too. Still some accidents, mostly with pooping but honestly, that’s better than pee to me. It’s always on the hard floor (not carpet) so pretty easy to clean up. We might try the bell soon.

    Jan Replied:

    Hi, don’t know if this will help but when I bell trained Eddie I also reinforced it by using a clicker. He was terrible before didn’t get it at all before I bought the bell. Hope it helps, I know how frustrating it is!

    Jan Replied:

    Silly me just seen the date you posted!! Might help someone else.

  • Lynn says:

    Any comments on anal gland situations?

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    VickyHolloway Replied:

    I had started to notice Bella scooting around on her bottom lately, so I googled it and the gland thing was mentioned. It also said that if the dogs stools were loose it may cause this. I have changed bellas food and the poop is firmer and scooting has stopped. I was also told that giving them a prune twice a week helps gland too. So yes i think cavachons can have gland issues as much as any dog.

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  • Lynn says:

    Are cavachons known to have their anal glands expressed often? Has anyone heard if this? Is this a little dog thing and is there a way to prevent having to do it?

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    Lori Replied:

    I have never had to express Kasey’s anal glands. I am not sure if the groomer does it or not, I have never asked. Kasey’s do “pop” on their own (there is a very distinct odor.)

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  • Mary says:

    Hello we have a six month old and he still is having accidents in the house . We take him out every hour, but he still does his business in our house. It’s becoming frustrating , I am a stay at home mom and he’s not left often. What can we do?? Help! We love this little guy and he’s a big part of our family . What can we do?

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    Lori Replied:

    Keep taking him out and praise him highly and give him a treat when he “performs” outside.
    Try putting him on a leash attached to you since you are home all day, he probably won’t “go” with you right there. I did this once we took our “puppy baricades” down, and it worked. (by this I mean keep him on a leash by you when he is free in the house)

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  • beverley howell says:

    Hi
    I have a 14 week old Cavachon girl, who we got when she was 8 weeks old and i must say she is fantastic, but i need advise as i am getting another Cavachon pup on 27th Dec and wondered if it was a good idea to use the same cage for both of them or get him his own? He will be 8 weeks old and she will be 15 weeks old.

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    Lori Replied:

    First, congratulations on the new family addition!
    I don’t know the answer to the crate question. Maybe someone else who has experience with multiple puppies will read this and give their opinion.
    Perhaps you could ask the breeder where you are getting the new puppy from – they may have some insight for you.
    Best Wishes!

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  • Anne thomson says:

    I have a wee cavachon pup named Alfie who is 10 weeks old. I am having real problems with him biting everyone’s feet and ankles and when you sit him on your lap he still bites all the time, I am looking for suggestions on ha to stop him!

    [Reply]

    Lori Replied:

    Hi Anne – puppies biting is a very common thing. They do it because they are teething and it feels good on their gums. It is a habit you want to break as quickly as you can!
    The way we did this when Kasey was young was to make sure there was always some kind of toy handy, every time he tries to bite someone you need to tell him “no” and put a toy in his mouth and tell him he can chew that but not you. He will get the idea quickly if you are consistent. Really startle him when you say “no” so he knows you mean it then praise him when he chews the toy and not you 🙂

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  • Scott G says:

    We got our puppy (Gus) about a month ago and he is 3 months old now. He loves to cuddle when we have him sitting in our lap, but getting him there can be a challenge. We have a leash on him when he is outside of his crate at all times, in order for us to get him if he feels like playing. Unless he is in his bed (safety spot) he will not let us pick him up. In fact, he typically will run from us and throw a tantrum when we do pick him up. Do you have any suggestions for training him to allow us to pick him up and not run from us?
    Thanks,

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    Lori Replied:

    Oh, I feel bad for you. Normally a Cavachon is so much a “people person” and loving dog. Without knowing the background of your little guy it is hard to give advice. I think what you are doing, keeping him close by you and trying to comfort him as much as possible, is the best thing toward getting him to love and trust you. I think, if, for instance, if you pick him up and hold him and spend several evenings on the couch just watching TV for a couple of hours, Gus will come to want to be there with you. Perhaps have the same blanket/throw on you every time. We have this one “Sherpa Throw” for our couch, and all I have to do is pull it out an Kasey is right there! He just disappears in this thing! Maybe you can find a “go to” comfort item with Gus.
    keep us posted, hopes some of this helps 🙂

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  • Milly says:

    It’s best to start out leaving the crate open and maybe put a treat indsie. Dogs are naturally greedy and he’ll definitely investigate if there is something in there. Put something comfy for him to lay on, unless he’s the type to chew it up and risk choking. Keep the crate someplace where he can see everyone and still feels like he’s with the family. After he gets used to the indsie, then close the door and see how he does. If he whines you have to ignore it, tell him to stop, but don’t give in. Otherwise you’ll be teaching him to just whine and you’ll let him out. At night put a treat in and close the door. He’ll probably start to whine once he eats the treat, but you’ll have to ignore it. Tough love, but he’ll stop eventually.

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  • Denise says:

    We have a lovely 6 1/2 month old Cavachon who was a ‘singleton’ pup. We are still having at least 1-3 accidents in the house daily. Everything I have read about single pups says she will be harder to train. She give no warning when she is about to have an accident (even our doggy day care lady says the same thing). We love her beyond belief, and would NEVER trade her, but I can’t help wondering when we will be through this stage. The curious part is that, while in her crate overnight, or on the days when she is home alone, her crate is ALWAYS dry and clean. Any suggestions from you or your followers???

    [Reply]

    Lori Replied:

    I can understand your frustration. Kasey was at about that age, and had finally been doing pretty well with going outside when we moved to a new house! We were back to the “accident” stage. He did get back on track, but he was about a year old when I really felt he was trained.
    In the meantime, try to pick up as many tips as you can from friends and online. Also, keep plenty the carpet/floor cleaner around!
    Actually, on a serious note, be sure to use the cleaner that is specifically for pets. It’s supposed to get rid of the scent that keeps them from going back to the same area.

    [Reply]

    Shelley Replied:

    Hi

    I was wondering if bleach was okay to use? Our vet said it gets ride of the smell and so far, we haven’t had a repeat in any of the spots where Charlie our little guy has had accidents. It’s the one made by lysol. I have to use it for cleanups around my daycare so I figured it would work for the kitchen too! Any thoughts. 🙂

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    Lori Replied:

    I would not go the bleach route. If you are trying to clean up pee accidents, that is mixing ammonia (the pee) with bleach, which is actually toxic!

    If it were me, I would pick up some of the pet stain cleaning spray which is designed to get rid of the enzyme that brings the puppy back to the spot he previously used in a safe manner.

  • Jay Jay says:

    the puppys are the cutest things ever my youngest child said that she vwant one just like Kasey

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  • valerie miller says:

    Hi again,

    Tried posting a photo but it says ‘file too large’ – as I am a technophobic is there a way that I can send this pic. by reducing it’s size. Never had this problem before but tried twice with no luck.

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  • valerie miller says:

    By the way followed your tip about the apple cider vinegar and found it worked excellently. Have read about angel eyes but am under the impression that this is an antibiotic which I don’t think long term will be good for the animals.

    [Reply]

    Denise Flynn Replied:

    I have a wonderful Cavachon named Daffney, she is the light of my day. We use Angel Eyes (order over the internet – much cheaper than a pet store). It works wonderfully. It is NOT an antibiotic, it is 100% dried beef liver, the enzyme does it’s thing. Daffney seems to enjoy the taste sprinkled on her food.

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  • Lori says:

    So happy to hear that we have international guests on our site 🙂
    Here is a very weird coincidence….I know someone here named Valerie Miller….and I know someone who will be visiting Spain next month!
    What part of Spain are you in?
    What is your puppy’s name and please send us a picture to post!

    [Reply]

    valerie miller Replied:

    Hi Lori,

    I am in a little coastal village named Bolnuevo, in the province of Murcia (S.S.E.). I chose two names for my pup Rio (spanish for river) and Bailey (after the whisky based alcoholic drink) and after putting these two names to the vote with friends and family Bailey was the winner. I am going post a picture of Bailey with his spanish dog friend – not sure if this dog is a pedigree or not but he is almost the double of my pup, coat and colour and is a lovely gentle giant.

    I guess all the Millers at sometime or another were involved in the flour mills so would expect it to be a very common name like lots of others.

    Best wishes to you

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  • valerie miller says:

    Hi,

    I must be extremely lucky – my pup is just five months old – I obtained him at the age of 15 weeks and he was fully house trained. In fact, I have to persuade him to go outside as he can go as long as 12 hours overnight. I have to say he isn’t a big drinker but am sure that will change during the summer here in spain. Enjoy this site very much

    [Reply]

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