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Old 02-17-2011, 01:38 PM
 
1,264 posts, read 1,282,838 times
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Default Need advice re: housebreaking an adult dog (#2)

Last August we found this matted mess of a dog (the little one in the photo). We cleaned her up, got her fixed and fell in love with her. My son named her General Grievous (star wars things) but we call her Gigi. She was not housebroken or leash-trained and I suspect she had been an always-outside dog.

In all this time, I'm still unable to teach her to only poop outside. She's pretty good about peeing with only an occasional accident. She has daily walks, during which time she has NEVER pooped.

She sleeps indoors (in the bathroom b/c I'm still not 100% that she won't wander around at night and pee somewhere). In the a.m., I take both her and my other dog out. First dog does all her business, Gigi pees and then we head back in b/c I know that's all she'll do while on leash.

Then after returning home, I let Gigi out in the backyard where she immediately poops. "Hurray! Good girl!" I say. But nearly every day, I'm still finding poop in the house (same spot). I know her morning poop schedule but I never know when she'll have the need again so I can't really keep her crated all day or follow her every move. Or should I be doing that until she gets it?

I think she has some sense that doing #2 indoors is bad b/c the other day, I caught her---uh---swallowing the evidence. (sorry so graphic!) When I see it, I don't get mad at her but I do talk to her saying "Oh, you should do that outside." She walks away, tail between legs.

Any ideas, PLEASE?

Thanks.
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Old 02-17-2011, 01:43 PM
 
Location: Montreal -> CT -> MA -> Montreal
12,274 posts, read 12,017,317 times
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Here's is the "bible" from an old-time poster here, ViralMD.

Below is my housetraining post. IT WORKS. But you must follow it TO THE LETTER, as must EVERYONE in the house. It's good for puppies AND grown dogs. And realize that some dogs NEVER learn to signal. Neither of my dogs does.

Housetraining your dog (puppy or adult!)

The first thing you need to do is to remember that you’re trying to reinforce a new behavior. That means that the rewards for this behavior must be WONDERFUL. NOT crap from the store. Wonderful treats are poached chicken breast/turkey breast, cheese and steak. And you don’t have to use big pieces. Tiny pieces (about 3mm cubes) are just fine! I poach a whole turkey breast every few weeks, cut it into hunks when it’s cool enough to handle, wrap them well and store them in the freezer. When I need some, I’ll thaw a hunk overnight and cut off pieces and dice finely, storing them in a plastic bag in the fridge. One hunk will last about five days. Cheese is also popular, so variety is fine.

I carry these plastic bags in my jacket pockets in the winter and in a fanny pack in warmer weather. You HAVE to have these with you, or this method won’t work, because you need to reward as soon as the dog finishes pooping or peeing. It’s not going to work if the rewards are in the house.

Remember that you’re trying to change a very ingrained behavior. Some dogs like to feel certain things under their feet when they eliminate, like fabric, or newspaper. This is called a ‘substrate preference.’ What you’re trying to do is change this substrate preference, and to do that you have to make the treats SO wonderful that the dog will change this very well-entrenched behavior. Thus the chicken, cheese, steak.

I love clicker training, but this can be done without clickers. You just need a way to ‘mark’ the behavior you want to reinforce. Use the word ‘YESSSSS!!!!’ very enthusiastically – that works for some.

You’re going to need to GO OUTSIDE WITH your dog and the dog needs to be on a leash. Yes, even in winter. If you don’t reward IMMEDIATELY after the event (when dog immediately finishes pooping or peeing) and wait inside, the dog is going to be reinforced for coming inside, not for doing its business. So, leash up your dog. STAND IN ONE PLACE. Be boring. Bring a book or magazine for yourself.

Eventually, the dog will do what you’re waiting for. The NANOSECOND that the dog is finished, HAVE A PARTY – lots of loud, high-pitched praise, treats and running around. You want to make this memorable for your dog! You’ll find that once the first event is achieved, the others will come more quickly. Keep on treating (you don’t have to throw a party except for milestones – a milestone = if he only pooped outside but now peed, too, or something equivalent to that) until he’s good and used to peeing/pooping outside. Before you know it, you have a trained dog.

Regarding accidents in the house: NO SCOLDING. Just clean them up. If you scold you’ll get the dog to think it’s bad to pee or poop and he’ll do it in places you won’t see. Until you step in it. Invest in a big bottle of Nature’s Miracle or Simple Solution and use it liberally on accidents.

To quote Patricia McConnell, author of “The Other End of the Leash” and co-author of “Way to Go” (a booklet on housetraining), “Once you face the fact that you just have take your dog out every time you turn around, give them the treat immeditely after they potty, and prevent accidents in the house… well, it usually goes so smoothly.”

With young puppies, remember they have little control of the muscle that holds the bladder closed. This is something they grow into. Just as it’s not expected that a human baby is toilet trained at six months, don’t expect much from a puppy. Patience, patience, patience!!!! The nervous system in a puppy has to mature, and it won’t have much control over the sphincter (closing muscle) at the neck of the bladder until six or seven months. The same goes for the anal sphincter. Until control is achieved, both of these muscles operate on reflex: there are stretch receptors in the bladder wall. When the bladder is full, it sends impulses to the spinal cord and these, in turn, send signals to the sphincter to open and the dog pees.

In the stomach wall, there are also stretch receptors. So when the dog eats and the stomach is stretched, the impulses again go to the spinal cord, but this time the reflex, outgoing, nerve signals are sent to the anal sphincter, so the dog defecates. This operates in people, too – which is why some people rush to the ‘reading room’ after a meal – especially breakfast.
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Old 02-17-2011, 02:41 PM
 
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
7,661 posts, read 8,675,808 times
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Good Luck with that cute little girl.... i have to wonder if she wasn't a breeder kept in a cage and forced to poop where she lived.... can be a tough habit to break....

btw ... LOVE that picture!! what a study in contrasts between the 2 dogs!!

gigi looks so sweet trotting up with her toy; in the split second you caught your other dog, (s)he looks so FIERCE.... all teeth!!
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Old 02-17-2011, 05:43 PM
 
13,545 posts, read 22,420,220 times
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I agree I had a puppymill dog who I was never able to completely housebreak. He had spent 5 years in a cage and just didn't know any better.

Try ViralMDs instructions to the letter. They have worked for a lot of folks here.
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You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.
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Old 02-17-2011, 05:56 PM
 
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Thanks for the replies. Interesting theory about being a puppy mill dog. The thought of that makes me sick, she's such a sweet thing. I'll report back when we have some success!
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