We adopted my in-law's 6 year old border collie/lab/? mix
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 a week and a half, 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?