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Thread: Tips for housebreaking an adult dog?

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    #1

    Tips for housebreaking an adult dog?

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    So we've had Lola for about 3 1/2 weeks now. The people we got her from said she was housebroken but I'm starting to think that maybe she wasn't. The entire time we've had her she hasn't gone a single day without pooping or peeing inside the house. I take her outside several times a day (when I first wake up, again around lunch time, once in the afternoon, once when DH gets home, and once before we go to bed). She'll poo or pee outside sometimes but she always goes inside too. We bought pee pads thinking maybe she was used to those and she uses them sometimes but not always. It's more like it's just a coincidence that she happens to be near the pee pad or outside when she goes.

    At first we thought it was just nerves from being with new people in a new house, but it's been almost four weeks now and she's getting more comfortable with us. The thing is, she's very skittish/afraid of us. She'll come up to us and sniff our feet of something, but if we reach out hands out to her, 9/10 times she'll run off. We can't pet her, hold her, or even put a collar and leash on her to take her out on walks. People keep telling us to put her in the crate/kennel when she has an accident inside, but she won't let us touch her to put her in, or if she goes in by herself she freaks and runs if we come near. She comes up to us a lot more frequently lately so I think she's getting more comfortable with us but we still can't touch her.

    We give her treats is she poos/pees outside and when we pick up accidents inside we tell her "bad/no/not good" in a stern voice (but not yelling since DH did that once and it really scared her, she wouldn't come near him for a week), but it doesn't seem to be making any difference at all.

    All the advice we're getting from other pet owners involves grabbing or touching her, which is just not happening. I don't want to traumatize her, plus she's too fast for either of us to catch anyway. I feel like such a bad dog mom that I can't figure this out Please help!
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    I think you should still look into crate training. You have to introduce it to her the right way though, and not use it as punishment. You don't want to put her in the crate after she has an accident, you want to keep her in the crate to prevent accidents. Let her go into the crate on her own, use treats, make the crate appealing to her. Don't just shove her in and lock the door, and if she goes in on her own make a big deal about how good she is.

    I've never tried to train an adult dog but I would assume the same methods used with puppies should work. I wouldn't scold her at all when she has accidents in the house, just clean it up and go about your day. Make sure you clean it and disinfect the area so she won't keep smelling it and thinking that's where she's supposed to go. Take her out A LOT. Make a big deal about it when she goes outside. Keep an eye on her, maybe use the tethering method? Not sure how well that will work if she won't let you touch her though. If you catch her having an accident, take her outside immediately so hopefully she'll understand.

    I would also not use the pads in the house. I think those are terribly confusing for dogs, how are you supposed to teach them to go outside when you're also encouraging them to go inside?
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    Take her out more. Every few hours prevent the accidents in the first place. Don't come back in until she has gone. Take her out 10-15 minutes after she drinks anything (my dog drinks an entire bowl at once so I know he will need to go out after.) If you aren't home, crate her. Also, go out the same door and associate a command with going outside. If you live in an apartment, that is easy to just take her out the only door. But also have her sit at the door. But personally, I never pay attention when my dog sits at the door, so I train them to touch (or jump) at the door, a little easier to hear when you aren't in the same room. Also can use bells or whatever.

    Close off all doors. Keep her confined to the area that you are in. That way if she starts to swat to pee/poop you can get to her even if she runs away you can still make her stop the action. IF you CAN get to her.. pick up/drag that dog outside (sorry, it will make a mess...but it works) and once outside: praise praise praise!! (Just FYI, I had a dog that was really skittish and loud obnoxious praising scared her. So keep that in mind.) This can make her more scared, so you should try and avoid it at all costs by taking her out more. If you find an accident later. Do not scold her for it. Just clean it up and ignore it.

    Also, I worked with a lot of dogs that were skittish and turned them into great show dogs. Sit on the floor with toys/treats/whatever and have her come to you. Actively work with her coming to you and getting treats.. don't immediately pet her, and don't restrain her. If she wants to run away.. let her. Go slow. If she runs away, don't chase after her, eventually she will come back. When working with dogs that are scared you can't expect results overnight.. 4 weeks still only a short amount of time. Also, if a rescue, she might associate palm down with being hurt. Try palm up or sideways, generally more good things come from that gesture...treats, belly rubs...etc.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heisenberg View Post
    I think you should still look into crate training. You have to introduce it to her the right way though, and not use it as punishment. You don't want to put her in the crate after she has an accident, you want to keep her in the crate to prevent accidents. Let her go into the crate on her own, use treats, make the crate appealing to her. Don't just shove her in and lock the door, and if she goes in on her own make a big deal about how good she is.

    I've never tried to train an adult dog but I would assume the same methods used with puppies should work. I wouldn't scold her at all when she has accidents in the house, just clean it up and go about your day. Make sure you clean it and disinfect the area so she won't keep smelling it and thinking that's where she's supposed to go. Take her out A LOT. Make a big deal about it when she goes outside. Keep an eye on her, maybe use the tethering method? Not sure how well that will work if she won't let you touch her though. If you catch her having an accident, take her outside immediately so hopefully she'll understand.

    I would also not use the pads in the house. I think those are terribly confusing for dogs, how are you supposed to teach them to go outside when you're also encouraging them to go inside?
    See, that's what I thought about the pee pads, but people kept telling us to use them. I'm getting so much conflicting information and I'm not sure what to do. This is my first dog, and DH had a dog but he was an adult dog and never had any problems like this, at least not until he was really old and became incontinent. And I'm pretty sure that's not it, she's only 2 and she seems very aware that she's going potty.

    Quote Originally Posted by Amanduh View Post
    Take her out more. Every few hours prevent the accidents in the first place. Don't come back in until she has gone. Take her out 10-15 minutes after she drinks anything (my dog drinks an entire bowl at once so I know he will need to go out after.) If you aren't home, crate her. Also, go out the same door and associate a command with going outside. If you live in an apartment, that is easy to just take her out the only door. But also have her sit at the door. But personally, I never pay attention when my dog sits at the door, so I train them to touch (or jump) at the door, a little easier to hear when you aren't in the same room. Also can use bells or whatever.

    Close off all doors. Keep her confined to the area that you are in. That way if she starts to swat to pee/poop you can get to her even if she runs away you can still make her stop the action. IF you CAN get to her.. pick up/drag that dog outside (sorry, it will make a mess...but it works) and once outside: praise praise praise!! (Just FYI, I had a dog that was really skittish and loud obnoxious praising scared her. So keep that in mind.) This can make her more scared, so you should try and avoid it at all costs by taking her out more. If you find an accident later. Do not scold her for it. Just clean it up and ignore it.

    Also, I worked with a lot of dogs that were skittish and turned them into great show dogs. Sit on the floor with toys/treats/whatever and have her come to you. Actively work with her coming to you and getting treats.. don't immediately pet her, and don't restrain her. If she wants to run away.. let her. Go slow. If she runs away, don't chase after her, eventually she will come back. When working with dogs that are scared you can't expect results overnight.. 4 weeks still only a short amount of time. Also, if a rescue, she might associate palm down with being hurt. Try palm up or sideways, generally more good things come from that gesture...treats, belly rubs...etc.
    She is getting really good about going inside and outside if I say "inside" or "outside". If we notice that she's trying to pee/poop inside we'll stop her and she'll come outside with us.

    we do palm up a lot. Sometimes she'll come and sniff us, but sometimes she'll get really scared and run off. We're trying to give her space and let her come to us.

    I don't think she was treated very well, which makes me sad for her and makes me feel bad because I was not prepared for that at all. It makes me feel awful because I'm learning as I go and I don't think I'm doing a good job with her. I love her to pieces and she's definitely warming up to us but...idk.
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    I mean it doesn't sound like the pee pads are working with your situation, so I'd just discontinue use now to avoid confusing her further.

    I'm sorry she's afraid of you. I don't think scolding her is helping that at all though, which is why I would go the praise route when she does the right thing instead of scolding her for doing the wrong thing. What breed is she? You might be able to find more helpful training tips specific to her breed. Is she very food motivated?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heisenberg View Post
    I mean it doesn't sound like the pee pads are working with your situation, so I'd just discontinue use now to avoid confusing her further.

    I'm sorry she's afraid of you. I don't think scolding her is helping that at all though, which is why I would go the praise route when she does the right thing instead of scolding her for doing the wrong thing. What breed is she? You might be able to find more helpful training tips specific to her breed. Is she very food motivated?
    She's italian bolognese, supposedly, although I'm hesitant to believe anything the previous owners told us. I'll look in to training tips for the breed. Food motivated like how? She gets really excited for treats if that's what you mean we only give her treats if she potties outside.
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    #7
    House Training Your Puppy | ASPCA

    This is a good article about house training. I would set a timer and take her out much more often, like every hour, to start. She should get AMAZING treats for going to the bathroom outside, like chicken smelly cheese, beef, etc. Milkbones or something similar are not high enough value to make a huge impact. Give it to her immediately that is the most important part, like as she is standing from her squat, the treat should be in her mouth.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JRNemo View Post
    She's italian bolognese, supposedly, although I'm hesitant to believe anything the previous owners told us. I'll look in to training tips for the breed. Food motivated like how? She gets really excited for treats if that's what you mean we only give her treats if she potties outside.
    I've never heard of that so I googled and got pasta

    but no the dog type is a small white dog? small dogs can be really hard to house train, my yorkie back at my grandparents house still has accidents sometimes and he's six. if she's food motivated maybe you could give her treats for other things to make her more comfortable with you? like don't give her a handful of biscuits for no reason but you could even hand feed her a few pieces of her regular food sometimes just when she's being good. it will probably be easy to get her to go in the crate with treats too.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heisenberg View Post
    I've never heard of that so I googled and got pasta

    but no the dog type is a small white dog? small dogs can be really hard to house train, my yorkie back at my grandparents house still has accidents sometimes and he's six. if she's food motivated maybe you could give her treats for other things to make her more comfortable with you? like don't give her a handful of biscuits for no reason but you could even hand feed her a few pieces of her regular food sometimes just when she's being good. it will probably be easy to get her to go in the crate with treats too.
    Yeah I'd never heard of it before either

    Thanks for the advice! I'll try to crate her tonight before bed.
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    I would approach it the same way you would with a very young puppy. The previous poster already gave great advice. I would confine her to the same small area you are in, take her out every hour or so and crate her at night and when you can't keep her near you for whatever reason. And when she goes outside give her what she likes best! Whether it's treats or a certain toy, only give it to her when she goes potty outside. Seka was a little more difficult to house train than our Airedale so we would only give her those little bacon strip treats (she's still obsessed with them today) and it really helped the process. Older dogs can be very much set in their ways so sometimes it can be more difficult or take longer. Good luck!
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