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What do we do next with housetraining?

January 27th, 2009, 10:13 AM
We adopted my in-law's 6 year old border collie/lab/? mix :dog: two months ago. She had always lived outside, and had never really been house trained. Now she is mostly in the house, and we've been trying to housetrain her. The trainer at obedience class (we're working on that, too) suggested we let her in the house for an hour of "family time" immediately after she pees outside, then put her in a crate or on a rope in the garage until she needs to go again. We did this for about two weeks, and it seemed to work great. No messes in the house. She quickly figured out what we wanted her to do when we took her outside. However, that's been over a month ago, and we are still having problems. Things are much better than at first, so we're seeing progress, but we can't keep her crated half of every day, and it's just sad to leave her out in the garage all the time! She still pees in the house almost every day unless we are extremely vigilant, keeping her under close supervision the whole time, or unless we take her out every hour and a half.

Here are two specific problems I see at this point. 1) We haven't figured out how she signals that she needs to go out -- no scratching, no whining, etc. The trainer suggested hanging a bell on the doorknob, low enough that she can nose it. She has learned that when the bell rings, the door is going to open (she'll run to the door when it rings), but she has never nosed the bell herself. How do we figure out when she needs to go out?

2) She won't go pee outside unless we are actually out there with her. If we just put her outside, she'll play for a few minutes, but not go pee, then she comes and sticks her head through the cat door and just stands there. If one of us goes outside with her, she bounces for a minute or two, then goes pee, and then runs back to the door. How do we break the habit of needing us outside before she'll go pee outside?

January 27th, 2009, 10:24 AM
It is very interesting that the bell idea has pooped up. I must tell you that due to my dismay this does actually work.

The idea is to have the bell dangling from the door and then the dog will indicate to you that he/she needs to go outside. It is the same concept as the Pavlov studies. You must first teach her to nudge the bell and re-inforce this behaviour with perhaps a treat followed by going outside with the dog immediately. In no time she will associate the bell with outside.

Now there is a down side to this. She/he will also associate the treat and bell. Therefore if the dog is smart enough the bell ringing will be used to manipulate you for the treat and going outside may not result in the dog bathroom habits. You can however tapper off the treat and replace it with praise and going outside.

Going outside is very important for family members as well. It is extremely important then when you are training a dog you are equally an active participant. People make the error of just opening up a door and letting the dog out. You will be successful if you put a leash on the dog and go for a walk with him/her. This is very important. Another successful tip is routine - even on weekends.

January 27th, 2009, 11:21 AM
poochie bells, yes it does work, but not going to right away it is going to take time..

She is not going to give you signals until she is actually trained, so far because of your vigilance it has been no more than a quinky dink to her.. so ou HAVE to keep up that supervision, it will take time yes, but you must. any accident in the house, will reinforce the idea that it is ok to pee in the house, as she does not know that is not ok yet, and will set you back in progress.

You have to have a good scheduale of feeding. Feed a high quality grain free food, then you will know when to expect poops. After eating, sleeping and playing take her out, when she pees YAY PARTY TIME. Make trips outside short, until she has learned, right now she needs to learn that she is out there to produce, start using a command such as go peepee. it is just sticking with the basics, it will pay off, but takes time. Once she has truly learned to go outside she will be telling you that she needs to go out there, because she will know that is where she needs to be. But until she is completley trained it is up to you... GOOD LUCK! you are not the only one with this problem, and most of us that have had dogs have been there too, persistance pays off and soon you will get there also!! take care!

January 27th, 2009, 05:15 PM
She still pees in the house almost every day unless we are extremely vigilant, keeping her under close supervision the whole time, or unless we take her out every hour and a half.

That's exactly how it's done. The more vigilant you are, the quicker you'll have success :thumbs up. As others have said, it's important you accompany her outdoors and praise her when she does go.

The bell is really quite simple, you already mention that she knows when it rings, that means the door opens. Once she knows she's only supposed to go outside, she'll be ringing that bell herself to let you know. If she ever happens to brush by it, even if only by accident, and set it tinkling, get as quick as you can to that door and open it for her. We've used bells with much success when house training adult dogs.

Oh, and if she enjoys being indoors with you, there's no need to crate her in the garage for long hours. You can always attach a long lead to her and to yourself (umbilical cord) so she'll always be within your field of vision. You'll be able to interrupt her if she's about to go.

February 5th, 2009, 10:51 PM
We are being more careful about supervision again. Things are going better, slowly. Part of the problem is that when my husband and I are at work, my parents, who live downstairs, let Nikki in but don't really supervise her. They won't leave her outside or in the garage the whole time we're gone, but then she has accidents in the house, which slows down the training. We are both home Friday, Satuday, and Sunday, but that might not be enough to really get the potty training done.