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Woof - Bathroom Training Gone Awry

a8h2ni54
March 24th, 2008, 01:33 PM
Hello Everyone.

First post - be gentle!

Our family has a problem with one our members, the four legged kind. I will throw in the kitchen sink here in case something that I have overlooked becomes important.

We adopted a fourteen week old Labrador / Border Collie (?) blend from our local SPCA in November 2007. She had spent her entire life in a crate. We 'rescued' her.

This is not our first dog so training was not entirely hit and miss. She has learned to tell me that she wants to go out and I give her a treat when she comes in after doing anything outside.

The problem is that if I do not respond to her request then she goes anywhere inside the house and does it - whatever it is and not always in the same place.

I have tried going out each and every time she wants out but frequently it is just to get outside and does nothing. When I am working I sometimes miss the signs she gives. She just leaves and does what she has to do somewhere in the house and comes back but with her head lowered and very sheepish.

Her discipline has escalated. After the initial training, I told her she was bad dog and she knows what bad dog means. After that didn't work, I rubbed her nose in the mess. That didn't work. I am sorry to say that her discipline has escalated to a whack on the nose. That didn't work.

The end result is that she goes whenever day and night and where ever she wants and knows that she has done something wrong but still continues to do it.

It is not a physical ailment that she has because when she is a bad dog I keep her with me in my basement office and she just plays with chewy things or sleeps.

When she is in the office, I take her out whenever or she tells me that she wants to go out and she does nothing in the office.

Right now with no help I am looking at keeping her in my office permanently because she cannot be trusted elsewhere.

I think the dog is saying to me, "You get one chance to let me out or else I'll go here!"

What did I do wrong and how do I correct it? The other possibility is I have a mentally challenged woof. :frustrated:

Want to hear from you.

Thanks

LavenderRott
March 24th, 2008, 02:03 PM
Let me start by saying that your pup thinks in the here and now. This means that unless you catch her IN THE ACT - punishing her is pointless as she has no idea what you are punishing her for.

I would strongly suggest tethering her to your person when you are in the house and crate her when you are gone. This way there is no way she can slink off to have an accident somewhere.

You are going to have to physically go outside without her and make sure to throw a huge party every single time she goes potty outside. Jump up and down, clap, and PRAISE!!! Accidents in the house should be met with not a single word (unless you catch her going) and cleaned up in a matter of fact manner. IF you catch her having an accident in the house - distract her so that she stops (if you are lucky), take her immediately outside and praise her if she finishes her business in the yard. Again, clean up should be silent and matter of fact.

You should also have her on a very regular schedule. Feed her and take her out at the same time every day.

Remember - you need to set her up to succeed. The more successes and fewer failures she has, the more confident she will become and the more willing she will be to ask to go outside.

a8h2ni54
March 24th, 2008, 02:36 PM
Thank You for the quick reply. We appreciate it.

Your post has some good information in it but your basic premise is slightly off, in my opinion.

She knows that she is doing something wrong. This is shown by her slinking into a room after she has done it. She knows that she should go outside because she tells someone (in her own way).

Taking her back into the room where she messed causes her to resist. She knows that she has done something wrong.

We have done almost all your suggestions. She does not go outside alone but tethered to one of us. She gets lots of praise when she goes outside. We have done it all.

She believes that she tells someone that she has to go and if she is ignored then she goes in the house.

The strong possibility exists that we gave her too much freedom from the beginning and as such she is exhibiting an "I'm in charge' attitude or something close to that. We have been unable to stop her yelping when she is left alone. She has spent many hours by herself but she still yelps and yelps and yelps. It could be that her fourteen weeks in a crate plus our greater freedom model has affected her mentally. Who knows?

From your post, I would guess that we should go back to basics including limiting her mobility. I'm not in favour crates so I will modify your suggestion and restrict her to my office for the long term.

Anymore suggestions?

All are welcome

Thanks

BusterBoo
March 24th, 2008, 03:33 PM
If you don't like crating a dog, then try putting up a gate/pen so she is restricted to one certain area (preferably where she can see what's happening around her and not in a room with the door closed). I think they are called x-pens and you can buy them at any pet shop. She is probably very confused at this point if she had lived her life in a crate. The yelping could very well be seperation anxiety and you will need to work up to leaving her alone....a few minutes at the time.

As for punishing her......please don't stick her nose in her "accidents" or whack her on the nose. She has to learn and she won't learn if she is afraid. Buster took almost a year to potty train and there were days when I was so upset with him, but he finally got the hang of it. Lots of praise, patience and TREATS!

Good luck! (and sure would love to see some pictures of your furbaby!)

luckypenny
March 24th, 2008, 04:00 PM
Welcome to pets.ca a8h2ni54 :) . Keep an open mind when you read what I have to say ok? I completely agree with LavenderRott. All dogs take different amount of times to become perfectly housetrained. The key is to be extremely patient and consistent.

She knows that she is doing something wrong. This is shown by her slinking into a room after she has done it.

She's slinking back into the room because she's feeling anxious.

Taking her back into the room where she messed causes her to resist. She knows that she has done something wrong.

She's resisting because she's associating being brought back into a room with her 'accident' with a punishment. If this keeps up, she may even begin to start consuming her stool in order to hide it from you. She's associating the stool with a punishment, not the act of going.

We have been unable to stop her yelping when she is left alone. She has spent many hours by herself but she still yelps and yelps and yelps.

Sorry, but another sign of anxiety :shrug:.

A failproof way to housetrain a puppy is with positive reinforcement only (unless you catch her in the act in which case, a deep "uh-uh" will suffice to distract her). You really want to avoid punishment such as smacking or you'll inadvertantly teach her to fear you as well as anyone's hands. This is something you'll want to avoid at all costs in order to prevent more serious problems in the future.

I'm attaching a link that I'm sure will help teach you to teach your pup. If your not comfortable with crate-training, then, by all means, limit her access to other parts of the house if no one is able to supervise her.

http://www.sfspca.org/behavior/dog_library/housetraining_faq.pdf (you seriously can't go wrong if you follow exactly the instructions here)

If you can get your hands on this booklet, you'll find it invaluable as well. Way To Go! How To Housetrain A Dog Of Any Age by Karen B. London and Patricia B. McConnell.

I'm confident your pup will learn quickly and be all the more happier for it.

sugarcatmom
March 24th, 2008, 04:02 PM
She knows that she is doing something wrong. This is shown by her slinking into a room after she has done it. She knows that she should go outside because she tells someone (in her own way).

Taking her back into the room where she messed causes her to resist. She knows that she has done something wrong.


No, she only knows that she's going to get in trouble, but not necessarily why. I aggree with LavenderRott and BusterBoo, no more punishment for soiling in the house. It obviously hasn't accomplished anything so far and will only serve to undermine her trust in you at this point. Start her housetraining over from the beginning. You might want to read this article for some more tips: http://www.dogstardaily.com/training/errorless-housetraining

What should I do if I've done all the above and I catch the puppy in the act of making a mistake?

Pick up a rolled newspaper and give yourself a smack! Obviously you did not follow the instructions above. Who allowed the urine-and-feces-filled puppy to have free-range access to your house? You! Should you ever reprimand or punish your puppy when you catch him in the act, all he will learn is to eliminate in secret—that is, never again in your untrustworthy presence. Thus you will have created an owner-absent housesoiling problem. If you ever catch your pup in the act of making a mistake that was your fault, at the very most you can quickly, softly, but urgently implore your pup, "Outside, outside, outside!" The tone and urgency of your voice communicates that you want your puppy to do something promptly, and the meaning of the words instruct the puppy where. Your response will have limited effect on the present mistake, but it helps prevent future mistakes.

Never reprimand your dog in a manner that is not instructive. Nonspecific reprimands only create more problems (owner-absent misbehavior) as well as frightening the pup and eroding the puppy-owner relationship. Your puppy is not a "bad puppy." On the contrary, your puppy is a good puppy that has been forced to misbehave because his owner could not, or would not, follow simple instructions.
Please reread and follow the above instructions!

TeriM
March 24th, 2008, 06:33 PM
We have done almost all your suggestions. She does not go outside alone but tethered to one of us. She gets lots of praise when she goes outside. We have done it all.

I think you misunderstood. What was meant is while indoors to attach a leash around your waist and have the dog tied to you. That will prevent her from going to another room to do her business and let you catch the signals for potty. There has been great advice from the others and I urge you to follow it and definately do not punish her in the way you have indicated.

t.pettet
March 24th, 2008, 09:00 PM
At the age of 14 weeks letting you know she needs out is quite an accomplishment on her part - she is not 'a mentally challenged woof' nor is she exhibiting a 'I'm in charge attitude'. She probably did have too much freedom when first adopted (that wasn't her fault) and was punished for her mistakes so confine her in 1 room or leash her to you and ignore all mistakes, use positive training methods instead. Pay more attention to her needs, at her age she should be going out every 3 hrs., upon waking, after eating, after playing and before being left alone and before bed.

a8h2ni54
March 28th, 2008, 02:51 PM
Good Day Ladies and Gentleman . ..

Sorry for not returning earlier but I just read the fine print of the forum and it says that replies are not sent if you do not login each time a reply is posted.

I appreciate your information.

Thank You.