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Help me train my abandoned toy poodle!

June 18th, 2005, 02:24 PM
On April 9th, 2005, we brought Maggie home from our local SPCA shelter. She had been in the observation area for a month. Her previous owners has abandoned her (together with a cat who tested positive for feline leukemia and a 3 month old yellow lab pup) by leaving her with an elderly neighbour who could not look after the animals and brought them to the shelter after 5 or 6 weeks. This little girl, at 18 months of age had never been spayed, had never been groomed, had never had her nails clipped and as far as we can tell had never been housebroken, though I know a month in the shelter can negate most housetraining.

The first day with us she pooped and peeed indiscreminately... anywhere (except the furniture thank heavens that has never happened). But with perserverence and crate training, we soon went 7 or 8 weeks without an accident in the house. We have an enclosed dog yard, 2 other dogs, a rescued Border Collie-Shepherd mix and a rescued ex-racing greyhound and now she'll run out in the yard with them and pee first thing in the morning, but she will not go back to poop and will often poop on the deck, which the entrance to the yard is off of. At night, I take her out in our big back yard on a leash but my husband says she is training me to take her to another spot to do her business.

This week, I've had two pees in the house, one while I was gone, because now the three dogs are confined to the sunporch when we're out and Maggie is not in her crate and one in the exact same spot, a few days later, when I was home.

I believe this has nothing to do with her intelligence or ability to learn and everything to do with the way she was treated in the past. How do I make her feel more secure? How do I learn to have more patience and how do we get through this? Giving her up is not an option. We want to take her camping (actually she has had one weekend in the trailer with her great big sisters and loved it) and to take her wherever we go, but we feel very discouraged and that we're doing something terribly wrong. It's so easy to shout at her when I catch her doing something and I'm afraid that is making her insecure and with less self-esteem (do dogs have self esteem?)

Any suggestions?

June 18th, 2005, 03:58 PM
All I can suggest is patiece and lots of praise. If she had a bab puppyhood, things are going to take longer. Don't get discouraged, you are doing what you need to do. I would keep up with taking her out on the leash. Use the words pee and poop, or something else to that area. Praise her when she goes in the right place, and when no, move her mess to where you want it. Don't punish her at all, as it will only make matters worse. You are doing a great job.

June 18th, 2005, 04:00 PM
And yes, I believe that all animals have self esteem. Try not to shout anymore. And just give lots of praises for doing things the right way.

June 18th, 2005, 06:52 PM
Thank you for rescueing your little girl! Poodles, especially the toys, are extremely sensitive. Shouting can actually make a situation worse. Praise when she goes outside in the right spot is so important. And yes! Dogs do have self-esteem, and can suffer when it's damaged. I would love to see a picture!

June 18th, 2005, 08:20 PM
k, I don't see a problem here. The dog has had a few accidents in the house.. big deal. Clean them up, ignore it and continue on with life. This dog has been through a lot and Rome was not built in a day. Reward the good, ignore the bad.

Lucky Rescue
June 18th, 2005, 09:37 PM
This dog may never have had any housetraining, so how would she know what to do? She needs more instruction on what is right to do! Instead of letting her out to run with other dogs, take her out on a leash and stand in one spot til she does her business, then praise her to the sky and even give a treat.

Toy poodles are highly intelligent, but can't be expected to know what humans want unless they are shown. Do not give her the opportunity to mess in the house. If you can't watch her, confine her or attach her to you with a leash. At the first sign she needs to go - sniffing, circling - rush her outside so she goes there, and gives you another opportunity to praise her.

Dogs prefer praise and treats to scolding or yelling, so if you are consistant, patient and fair, she should be housetrained quickly.

Do NOT punish or scold.
It's so easy to shout at her when I catch her doing something and I'm afraid that is making her insecure and with less self-esteem (do dogs have self esteem?)

YES, dogs do have self esteem and need to feel successful. This is done by praising good behavior and ignoring bad behavior. If she messes in the house, it's your fault and not hers and should not punished for your errors. I mean this in a nice way.:)

June 19th, 2005, 02:00 AM
It seems so often to be toy breeds that are more difficult to housetrain.

Setbacks can be for a number of reasons but like BMDLover said, it doesn't sound like a huge deal. Only give her freedom she's earned, and if she's having accidents when you're out, that means she needs to go back to confinement of some type. And total supervision.

I hope you're not shouting about the accidents, that will definitely affect the dog and could also make things worse.

June 19th, 2005, 01:42 PM
I need to reassure BMDLuver that I'm not concerned that two accidents happened in the house, but rather why they happened, after 7 or 8 weeks of no accidents in the house. I realize that what happens with Maggie is a result of my doing something wrong and that is why I posted my query to find out what that is.

No, I don't shout at Maggie for any accidents, but I do scold her when she chases the cats (which she loves to do), and maybe it is too loud and too upsetting for her.

Thanks everyone for helping me out. I assure you all, we will persevere. That's a picture of pretty Maggie, beside my screen name.

June 20th, 2005, 06:42 AM
my dog was pretty easy to housetrain, but I still find at 6 months old he will go a month or more without accidents then all of a sudden have an accident.

I think its his way of telling me hes either bored and needs my attention, or hes got too much freedom meaning i need to crate him when im not actively watching him.

accidents after initial housetraining are normal I beleive, and will happen, as someone else said, clean it up and move on, no use yelling or disciplining a dog after the fact, they have no clue what your shouting about.

just my 2cents, I hope it helps some


June 24th, 2005, 03:40 PM
If it's any consolation my toy poodle (who is almost 10 months old) will be wonderful in the housetraining department & then all of a sudden will surprise me with a little gift where it shouldn't be. All you need, is patience & kindness and you will have a happy dog who will eventually learn.

June 29th, 2005, 02:12 PM
I dont really have anything to advise, as I dont have a dog! have a cat that knew exactly where to go. I just wanted to say BRAVO to you for rescuing three dogs, if it was not for you I wouldnt want to think about there fate. Good luck with the house training I can only imagine it must be a drag on your patience at times. Maggie is lucky to have such a dedicated Mommy. :party: