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Starting over with Housetraining...SIGH

LianneCatherine
August 29th, 2006, 12:41 PM
I know this subject has come up a bajillion times, but bear with me. If you've seen my previous threads, you know that I keep Audrie (9 mo. yorkie) in a playpen that has a doggy door to my deck while I'm at work. 99.9% of the time, she will go potty outside. This is GREAT!! :D

HOWEVER, outside the playpen, she will go anywhere. Everytime I let her out of the playpen, she goes on the floor. I've made the "uh uh!" noise and placed her outside when I catch her in the act, but to no avail. She continues to go on the floor. I treat her when she goes outside, and praise her like crazy. She just doesn't really get it.

I am in the process of moving, and I will be taking the family (of pets) to live with my boyfriend until I buy a new place. During this transition, I thought it might be a good opportunity, since he doesn't have a doggy door, to try crate training. Is it too late to start this? Will she be very confused and upset? How can I make the transition smooth? We take weekend trips up there, and she is constantly messing on his (brand new) carpet. I feel terrible, but I would feel worse leaving her in the crate for hours on end.

I work full time, go to school part time, have puppy obedience class once a week, etc. and generally am very busy. I spend a good portion of time with Audrie, on walks, in class, on trips, etc. but it seems there's not much of a routine going on, and certainly won't be when we move.

Does anyone have any suggestions for how I should approach this situation? I have a book on crate training at home...should I just start like she's a new puppy? Or will she just be confused? The constant carpet cleaning is getting REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY OLD. :yuck:

jessi76
August 29th, 2006, 08:21 PM
oh no! i'm sorry to hear you're still having issues w/ miss audrie. you can crate train, however, as you mentioned, you don't have much of a steady "routine" which is really a KEY element in crate training. Have you considered permanent pee pads? this may sound a bit whacky, but my friend does this. she has a teeny maltese, and this works perfect for her. seeing as how audrie is a small breed, I think it may be worth a shot.

my friend trained her dog to use the pee pads all the time. you can start by putting pads outside (where audrie goes when you're not home), and then put one in a special spot inside. a designated spot (much like a litter box spot). There are frames you can buy for the pads so they don't rip them up & drag them around. my friend keeps hers in an unused corner of her kitchen (lanolium flooring). get audrie trained to use the pad, then continue using the pad in your bf's place. (the pads are scented to attract the dog to them)

my friend's dog, who is pad-trained, will use a pad in someone else's home. for instance, when a friend or family member is watching her dog at their house for an extended period of time, she gives them pads, and the dog reliably uses them. just toss & get a fresh one. it's a minor expense, such as kitty litter, but may be a viable solution for Audrie. (and better than scrubbing carpets!)

LianneCatherine
August 30th, 2006, 11:24 AM
Thanks Jessi! As always, you are so helpful!

When I first got Audrie, I had her trained to use the puppy pads. I have thought of this as a viable option, though I really would rather her go outside. Not only are the pads expensive, but I don't like the smell in the house, you know? She's over 6lbs now, so not quite as tiny as she was! :eek:

She's a fast learner, and I'm sure the pads will be incorporated, so she knows to go on a particular spot. I just hope the crate training doesn't stress her out. Do you think it's unreasonable for her to hold it for 8 hours while I'm at work?

jessi76
August 30th, 2006, 08:07 PM
When I first got Audrie, I had her trained to use the puppy pads. I have thought of this as a viable option, though I really would rather her go outside. Not only are the pads expensive, but I don't like the smell in the house, you know? She's over 6lbs now, so not quite as tiny as she was!

My friend's maltese, who's pad trained, weighs around 8-10lbs. it's not that small, but also not like the mess a bigger dog would make. at least for my friend, it's never been "messy"... never smelled. in the process of training her dog, she gave a treat each time he used the pad, so now, immediately after he "goes" he comes to her for his treat. so she knows he just "went" - and immediately cleans it up. she works a full 8hr day, and with commute time, she's gone for about 10 hrs. her dog is gated into a large kitchen w/ toys galore, an open crate, and his pads in a corner across the room. I can honestly say, I've NEVER been offended by any smell.

I just hope the crate training doesn't stress her out. Do you think it's unreasonable for her to hold it for 8 hours while I'm at work?

crate training, when done properly and SLOWLY, shouldn't cause stress. The crate should be introduced as a "safe haven" or "den" for your dog. with time, and positive reinforcement, she should regard the crate as "her room" and voluntarily go in on her own. it takes a while to get there though, you really have to go slow and positive. I do think crating for 8 hours is unreasonable. I realize some people do it, and some dogs can hold it, with great success, but I don't think Audrie is anywhere near that point now. She's still very young, active, and not crate trained. Crating her for 8 hrs would probably be a bit distressing for her - and my turn her "off" to her crate. I would honestly go slow w/ the crate, and use the pads in the meantime. also, realize that up until now, she's had the luxury of a doggy door, she hasn't "built up" her bladder to be able to hold it for 8 hrs. that also, takes time.

dogmelissa
August 31st, 2006, 05:45 PM
I feel for you... it took almost a year before my doggie (also a Maltese) was house trained. I can't tell you how tired I was of cleaning up after him.... especially when he chose to lift his leg on my cat scratching posts. :mad:

Though I had no choice but to crate him for 8 hours + a day, due to the fact that I lived alone, couldn't find anyone to take him out for walks at noon, and couldn't leave him alone in the house (due to housetraining, separation anxiety and his desire to eat cat poo). But I had an advantage, that he had lived in a vari kennel most of his 11 months prior to me getting him.

Regardless of whether you choose crate training or continue using the play pen, I'd *highly* recommend the use of 2 things: puppy pads and a doggie doorbell. I moved 9 months ago, and now keep Cube in my front entry which is about 6' by 6'. It's *tons* of space for him. I tried taping the pads to the floor (tile) which was fine, but we're planning on putting laminate down so I wanted something that wouldn't damage the floor. Bought one of those puppy-pad frames, and he pulled it all over the space, turned it upside down *and* pulled the pad out of it. Then he peed on his blankets because the pad was scrunched up in the corner. So I started taping it to a cheap plastic shoe tray I had, which he'd peed in one day when I forgot to give him a pad (I'd only been gone like an hour!). He doesn't drag it around and unless I don't change it after it's used, it doesn't stink. I buy my puppy pads in bulk; PetSmart sells a box of 100 for around $45.00 Sounds expensive, but it's a lot cheaper than the cost of the laundry to keep washing the blankets + the petzyme to clean up the carpet.

Now, about the doorbell. I'm not sure what methods you're using for keeping an eye on her while you're home, as I haven't read any of your other posts. Are you keeping her on a leash all the time, so you can watch for her "signs" that she needs to pee? Are you taking her out on a regular basis, and after things that will mean she needs to pee, like after meals, after play, after naps, etc? I'm sure you're doing everything you can... but rig up a doorbell. You can either buy one meant for doggies: http://www.pet2ring.com/ or http://koolatrononline.stores.yahoo.net/pet-chime.html or you can rig up your own using just a plain old jingle bell and a bit of ribbon or string (this is the cheaper alternative, but if you have a loud TV, hearing problems or a big house, this might not work). Then every single time you take her out to go pee (never for walks!), you get her to ring the bell. At first you'll have to guide her, show her how to do it, or possibly do it for her, so she associates the sound with the door opening and her being able to go pee. And yes, this will be time-extensive at first. Eventually Audrie will make the connection between "ring the bell" means door opens for potty time. I know it's frustrating, but trust me, I dealt with a non-housetrained dog for one full year, so I know how you feel, and I can assure you that it *will* get better.

I tried the doorbell thing after everything else had failed. I'd been taking him out every hour, after meals, after play, etc... and still finding puddles (or worse, piles!) near the door (he obviously knew where the "out to potty" door was as he never messed by the front door where we went out for walks or to the car). I figured, what can it hurt... and he wasn't 100% on it, but he got better immediately. Now he even rings the bell when the door is open (patio door with pet door in screen), which is funny. We recently rigged up the jingle bell that he was used to to an un-used "regular" doorbell, so that when he rings the jingle bell, it triggers the *much* louder doorbell, as we were having trouble hearing the jingle bell in the house (as opposed to my condo before which was only one level). That's why I'd suggest the doggy doorbells, but jingle bells work as a much cheaper alternative.
The great thing about the jingle bell/doorbell system is that it's 100% transferrable to any house or situation. You can take it to work, to your bf's house, to your mom's, to your camper out in the woods. All you need to do is set up the bell where they'll be going out, show them where it is and they're good to go, and will go and tell you when they need to go pee. So very useful.

If you have any questions about the doorbell or the puppy pad system I use, don't hesitate to PM me. I can even get a video of Cube ringing his bell for you if you want; he does it on command as well, which is helpful if I'm locked out and can get him to ring the bell to get my bf to come open the door :)

Hope that helps,
Melissa