Getting desperate

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

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"Small fish with- tons of fight"
Barked: Sun Oct 28, '12 7:13am PST 
So I have a JRT mix a little over one year old. She is a rescue, and had a rough start at life. Since she has been with us we have spent a small fortune trying to get her trained. She can sit, stay, dance... you name it, however the main issue I have had with her has still not gotten solved. She is still NOT potty trained!!!! We have tried what feels like everything, she has been checked thoroughly by a vet, we have tried every 30 min, a schedule and more. She was doing ok with potty pads, although never great. Now she has given up on that as well. I am worried that if we don't fix this soon it may never resolve. If anyone has any tips, trainers, videos programs please let me know. Thank you so much.

"Small fish with- tons of fight"
Barked: Sun Oct 28, '12 7:33am PST 
Oh I should mention, when we first got her, I was not in school so dedicated most of the time to training, but now I am back in grad school and my time is limited.

Barked: Sun Oct 28, '12 8:57am PST 
Is she spayed, if so how old was she when it was done?

I wrote this for Victoria Stillwell's forum and it has helped a lot of owners toilet train their dogs.

How to toilet train your pup or adult dog.

It is very important to us humans for our dogs not to toilet in our homes but teaching a dog not to seems to be causing a lot of problems. It doesn't matter how young or old your dog is, they can still be toilet trained but you have to be very consistent, slip up once, and it will set your dog back.

First make sure you have several days free to concentrate on toilet training your dog, you need this to get it established for yourself and your dog. Dogs learn by being repetitive, miss and your dog goes backwards.

1. Never try to teach your dog to toilet on paper or pads.

Many dogs taught this way never learn to toilet outside because they have been taught it is ok to toilet inside, dogs don't generalise and don't understand that they can't toilet inside when there is no paper or pads.

2. Keep all outside doors closed while you are toilet training no matter how hot it is.

If you have the outside doors open your dog doesn't know where the house stops and the garden begins, this really does confuse your dog so all doors must be closed.

3. Always take your dog outside, never put him out while training him.

If you put your dog outside you can't see when he goes, if you can't see him go you can't tell him that is what you want him to do by giving him lots and lots and lots and lots of praise, party, make him feel is the best thing since sliced bread. Many give dogs treats but I prefer to use praise.

Puppies do a double wee, they go outside, you praise and bring them in only for your puppy to go on your lovely, white carpet, this is normal, with pups once they have gone and you have had a party, take him for a walk round the garden/yard to give him the chance to do the double wee.

4. Take him outside as soon as he wakes up

Dogs normally want to toilet when they wake up so take him outside and give him the chance to. This is for afternoon snoozes or anytime your dog sleeps.

5. Take him outside before and after he is fed.

Some dogs prefer to go before being fed, some after and some like to go before and after they have been fed.

6. Take him outside after a training or play session.

Often after a play or training session the dog relaxes and needs to toilet so give your dog the chance to do this by taking him outside as soon as these are over.

7. Take him outside ever 30/45 minutes for pups, every hour for adult dogs.

Pups like human babies are not developed enough to hold when they need to go, they have to release it, we have nappies on our babies but expect pups to know they have to go outside, they don't. We have to give them the chance to toilet where we want them to by taking them there at times that will suit their needs not ours. If you go over this time to finish a job you are doing and your dog toilets in the house, that is your fault not your dog's so roll up a newspaper and hit yourself over the head with it saying "I must take my dog out to toilet when he should go".

8. If your dog does go inside, put him outside before you clean up.

With many dogs or pups it won't matter if you clean up in front of them but with a sensitive dog it does. No matter how much we try if a dog toilets inside our body language changes, dogs pick up on this and think they have done something wrong, they haven't, they have not yet learnt to toilet outside. By putting the dog outside before we clean up, the dog doesn't get the same chance to think he has done wrong. Dogs that think they have done something wrong are harder to train. They will sometimes try to hide it or do it behind the furniture which you don’t want.

9. What to clean up with.

Never use normal household cleaners, most have ammonia in which encourages a dog to toilet in that spot again. Even though we can't smell the wee, our dogs can because they have a much better smell than we do. You have to take the smell away for the dog as well as us.

You can clean up with white vinegar or biological washing liquid or buy something for the job from a pet shop. They will all take the smell away for your dog which is very important when you are training your dog.

Some breeds are easier to train than others, some dogs are more excitable than others, some dogs are slow to pick things up like this, no matter how quick or slow your dog is it is very important to be consistent, only by being consistent will you succeed in teaching your dog to toilet outside and not in.

With pups remember that their bodies are not mature, they may not be capable of holding so don't expect them to. It is normal for a pup to go through the night even though they are not mature enough to hold, this is because their bodies, like ours, slows down when we are asleep. With very young pups, they will be clean and dry quicker if you get up during the night to take them outside to toilet, by stopping them from toileting in the house completely by taking them out, they don't get mixed messages.

If you have an adult rescue dog that isn’t toilet training you don’t know what has been tried in the past so treat this dog as not having any training and start at the beginning. Many are still taught to toilet on pads or newspaper, this will make it more difficult but can be done especially as you don’t know how they have been taught. Some maybe toilet trained but their time in rescue may have stopped this, this happens a lot, and of course there is stress, often a stressed dog will toilet inside for many reasons.

It isn't difficult to toilet train a dog or pup but does take a lot of work but well worth the effort when they are clean.


"Small fish with- tons of fight"
Barked: Sun Oct 28, '12 7:39pm PST 
She has been spayed, we got that done shortly after we got her, when she was around 5-6 months old and she is about 1 year and 2 months now. Believe me when we got her i dedicated everyday all day to training, the potty thing never really got better. We were doing the every half an hour and it helped but she would wee- wee even after I took her out( like you were saying the double wee). We already do most of the suggestions, and I can understand the potty pad confusion. I just have one question, I just started graduate school and have 10 hour plus days, and my boyfriend is a ER vet who works long late hours. We have a dog walker for the days when I have school but the trainer said we needed to leave down the potty pads when we are going to be gone so long. Is this a possibility or will this still be confusing, if so we can increase the amount the dog walker comes on school days.

"Small fish with- tons of fight"
Barked: Sun Oct 28, '12 7:45pm PST 
currently we have tried or do 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9.

"Stubborn" dogs- don't need- corrections
Barked: Sun Oct 28, '12 8:28pm PST 
I'm with Cyril, however we disagree only on the treats. The reason treats are used are because they activate the "seeking" (or learning) part of a dog's brain. Activating the seeking part makes learning MUCH faster.

Even if you're gone, do not leave down pads. You yourself said that she no longer uses them. Try to arrange someone to come in as often as possible to take her out.

If you see her in action, interrupt (DON'T punish) and immediately bring her outside. Wait for her to go, mark and reward. Lobo had issues with marking around the house, especially after we got Poppy, so what I actually did was put it to a cue. "Mark it" is the cue word that we used. I've also heard others using "Go pee" "Hurry" and things like that.
Alva BH

I ordered the- best dog for me- & got her
Barked: Mon Oct 29, '12 4:49am PST 
I guess your vet has made sure she has no incontinence (I've heard spayed bitches can have that) when you said she has been checked by one. I've also heard that puppies that are grown in a cage or other small space don't probably never learn housetraining when rescued to a better place because they had to live in their own feces and don't realize the difference.

Does she pee different places or does she use always the same spot(s)? Alva had a stage in her potty training when she peed at my door. I put a box there so she could not access that exact spot and instead of not peeing next to the box she waited until I came home and walked her. But she was a puppy then and had caught the idea of doing it mainly outdoors. I soon removed the box and she has never had liquid accidents indoors (solid she has, if I'm sloppy with her feeding).

I would not teach to use pads or papers if the dog has not used them before because it might be just extra work, but if a puppy has learned on papers I'll definitely use them as back-up because they're easier to clean and they could be easier faded than 'learn to pee on the plain floor'. Alva had learned to pee on papers at her breeder. Her housetraining was very easy. She actually started to ask for a walk by standing on the paper and then I quickly put my shoes on and took a walk with her. The papers were only a backup plan in her eyes. My parents have two dogs (different medium sized beeds) and they did not use papers with housetraining and one of them took very long to learn clean and the other isn't still reliable and she is over a year old. The younger one thinks that living room is a toilet because no one usually sleeps or eats there and instead of asking for a walk if there hasn't been one for a while she goes to living room. But she has got better last months. And when I visit my parents I usually give her extra walks after she has been walked with the other dogs because she is more interested in teasing her elders and not doing her pees and poos.

But you said she doesn't use pads/papers so we can abandon them, I just commented their usefulness/non-usefulness.

I would be very careful with treats in housetraining. I just read an issue of a dog training magazine where some clicker trainer had used rewards for peeing and then realized the dog offered peeing as a learned behavior in some unfitting situations like when she wanted a treat indoors. So if you use treats in housetraining think thoroughly where the dog actually connects it. Praise is ok.

Whatabout limiting her access? At least you'll limit the space you have to checkfor accidents. One trick is to keep the dog close to you at home and when she seems to have it in mind you take her out.

Edited by author Mon Oct 29, '12 4:55am PST


"Stubborn" dogs- don't need- corrections
Barked: Mon Oct 29, '12 10:15pm PST 
Alva, during the training stage, there will always be mistakes. It's a matter of cleaning up, and not clicking for that. The behavior should quickly extinguish, as it's not being rewarded.

It's also why I'm so fond of the idea of putting the action to a cue.

Alva, do you know the other details of the article in the magazine, other than they were using a clicker? For instance, was any kind of punishment still used? How often were the dogs taken out? Were they all on a schedule? Were they clicked EVERY time they went outside? Did they go when the owners were home, or when the owners weren't home? Etc.

Actually, if you can, do you think you could possibly see if you can find it online and link it?

Let's play tug!!
Barked: Tue Oct 30, '12 1:28am PST 
She needs to be treated like a puppy. Never, ever, ever, ever alone in the house without being supervised. Crate her or put her in a small pen when she's not supervised. Even if she's going out every 30 minutes, if she has run of the house in between, she has plenty of opportunities to practice the wrong behavior. You have to give her zero opportunities for mistakes. Tether her to you, or put a folded towel in every room where you spend time and teach her to follow you and lie down on the towel. If you're in the bathroom, she needs to be in the bathroom. If you're running to the closet for a sweatshirt, she needs to be coming with you or where you can see her. If she starts to go potty, interrupt her and rush her outside. Keep your clicker and a bag of the best treats you can think of next to the door. Choose a potty spot outside, take her there immediately when you go outside, and, if you know she should have to go, stand there until she does. Say "time to pee" or "time to poop" as soon as she squats or crouches, and the very instant she finishes (as soon as you see her legs start to straighten, or whatever the first clue is) click and feed her 10-20 treats in a row while praising her enthusiastically. If you can, also play with her right after, doing something she really loves. You want to teach her that going potty outside is a really, really good behavior that makes all sorts of wonderful things happen.
Rocky *CGC*- With the- angels.

Gone but never,- ever forgotten- xxx
Barked: Tue Oct 30, '12 11:36am PST 
I'm with Alva on this one.

Clicking is brilliant in nearly all circumstances but the thing with clicking is, dogs will begin to offer behaviours to get treats.

That's the point if the clicker.

If you want to start or reinforce a specific behaviour or trick, click away... But clicking a dog who is outside peeing will eventually carry on into the house.

For example. You can't teach a dog that she can only sit for a treat outdoors... It carries on indoors. She will offer the sit whenever she wants a treat. Same with peeing.

Also, to clicker train a dog. You need to add the clickers to more aspects of the dog's life than just potty training and it takes a bit of time for the clicker to have the desired affect. You cannot just pick up a clicker and use it for potty training. It's a bit more complex than that...
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