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  1. #1
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    Default Potty Training a Dog (3 years old)

    So my wife and I recently got a dog, and with my part time hours we thought the potty training would go much smoother than it has. The humane society had told us she was somewhat potty trained but we've found that to not be true.

    We started out not kenneling her at all, and she seemed to be doing alright. Trips away from home would be fine, and the only time she was seemingly having issues is if people were outside, and she was inside. The first couple of time we had problems with it her dad and brother had came over to our house, and three days in a row they had locked her in our bedroom to do some construction without bothering to walk her or even let her out on the leash in the yard for a few minutes. We had chalked it up to reason previously mentioned but it's continued.

    Now we're at the point where she's almost not going outside at all and making it a point to go in the house. Walking her so she can go can take up to an hour and still end with zero results even if she's been eating and drinking all day. She will never directly go in front of us, but rather wait until she can sneak it in when we're in the other room or when our backs are turned. You can immediately tell she's done something wrong due to the fact she'll come back to you and slouch and as soon as you turn towards her she runs off cowering. Because of this we started kenneling her all day, and only letting her out after she would go to bathroom, but this literally lead to full days of her doing nothing (longest it went was ~40hrs from the last bathroom break). My wife has since decided she thinks this is cruel and let her out, but now we're back to square one it's almost appear as if she's trying to hold it when let her out JUST so she can go in the house when we aren't looking.

    Anyone have any advice or had a similar problem? We've tried a couple other methods that I didn't mention like only taking her out 10min at a time, and confining her walk to one spot when she's out, but this hasn't proved too successful either (she'll spend the entire 10min staring at birds, sitting or staring at the sky).

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  3. #3
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    Crating really is the only way, tell your wife that it's that, or take the dog back to the pound. <shrug> It's an established behavior now, keep at it, and if you can get her outside doing it, be sure to do positive reinforcement immediately after. It'll be tough though with a 3yo, imo, take it back to the pound.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tonko View Post
    take it back to the pound.
    so it can be euthanized cause no one else wants it?

    hire a professional to help you out.

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    If it's a learned behavior, best way is to just start the training all over again. A 3 year old dog is not that old to not be able to relearn a trick.

    Start with basics in trying to get her to go out and when she does PRAISE HER LIKE SHE JUST SAVED YOUR LIFE.

    If she's embarrassed about going to the bathroom and you have a back yard, start there but let her out and try to "look away" from her so she can do her business.

    Also is she trained on puppy pads inside the house?


    what you can also do (even if she hasn't been previously trained on a pad) is put pads around the house where she seems to go the most often.

    Then when she goes on the pad praise the fuck out of her.

    If she starts to consistently do it on the same pad, start slowly moving the position of the pad bit by bit (each time she goes on it, praise the fuck out of her), so she can slowly learn it's the pad not the spot that she's getting praised for. Eventually get it to the spot where you think it's ok for her to go in the house at.

    Some dogs just hate going outside but at least the pad is workable.



    It's ok and just be patient, I know it can be frustrating, but any dog can learn, it just takes time.


    [edit]

    Also, make sure you get proper cleaners (from like petsmart n' shit) on carpet/floor cleaning. clean the fucking shit out of the spots she's gone on. Even if you can't smell/see anything, dogs' noses are insanely powerful. If they smell poop/pee in a spot then that tells their brain it's ok to keep going there.

  6. #6
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    Would you want to take in a 3 year old dog who makes it a point to shit and piss in the house/apt, and then pay big money to "professionally" potty train them? I've seen the mythbusters episode, you CAN break the habits of an older dog, but its a lot more work considering pissing and shitting something they have to do, opposed to sitting/laying down on command.

    From what it seems, you havent had the dog that long, there shouldnt be much attachment to it >.> Theres a chance that the resentment of its inability to learn will cause problems.


    Ksandra's post however seems to cover most of what you should know about the whole ordeal. I personally used a 50/50 water vinegar mix for purging old odors.

    oh, and what wasnt mentionned, if you want to punish them, you have to catch them in the act.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tonko View Post
    Crating really is the only way, tell your wife that it's that, or take the dog back to the pound. <shrug> It's an established behavior now, keep at it, and if you can get her outside doing it, be sure to do positive reinforcement immediately after. It'll be tough though with a 3yo, imo, take it back to the pound.

    I definitely agree about the crating. It will get messy as the dog seems to be either stubborn, or just not understanding what you want. Try the reinforcement right after a potty, and try to withhold your frustration. That can send mixed messages.

    Another thing you may or may not consider(believe in) is spanking. I do spank my pets. At least I did during training. It is confusing to them at first, but when they realize that it's not a good thing it becomes a good deterrent and seems to make reinforcement all the more effective. I am not saying beat the shit out of them, but a stern tone, eye contact, and a couple hard pats, or holding them down until they assume into a submissive position seems to help.

    I love my dogs and some took longer than others. I have taken in rescues and street dogs until we have found a home for them. One was a 3 yr old pitbull, which was super stubborn. Just be patient, and consistent. The doggie should pick it up!

    Goodluck

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    Feed on a schedule. Don't leave food and water out all day. Treat her as if she were a puppy again, it's the only approach. If she's doing it behind your back, chances are she's doing it out of fear of being punished (hit or otherwise, can be anything.)

    I see this issue a LOT with rescued dogs. Most of them have this kind of problem, and it could also be anxiety. Locking her up and isolating her will make it a multitude of times worse, because now you're taking her freedom and attention away from her. Just like you can't punish an infant for going to the bathroom, you can't punish a dog because they simply don't understand. It's their nature to just "go" and they don't have a sense of things like we do.

    Get a routine going, like I said, feed on a schedule. Make sure you're not over feeding or over watering. Also make sure to clean up any accidents properly, not with bleach or household cleaners, use an enzyme cleaner, or vinegar and water if you can. Otherwise they'll smell it there and continue to go there. Crate when you're not home, asleep, or otherwise not going to be watching the dog. If it's running off and going while you're home, tether the dog to you with a leash, again, like a puppy, don't let it out of your sight.

    Take them out when they wake up, about an hour after they eat, and before you play with them. Make a chart if you have to when they did and didn't go. If you're outside and they get distracted, that's normal, be patient. If they go as soon as you come back inside, you didn't wait long enough. Also, walking and going out to the bathroom should be completely seperate.

    Make sure to be very positive, get excited when the dog does go, treats, praise, the whole nine yards. But I'll repeat this, do not punish when there are accidents. You're making it worse. Watch for the signs like sniffing, circling, and if she squats, it's too late. Don't forget that they also pee when they get excited, that's normal. You can PM me if you have more questions about anything.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thiefami View Post
    I definitely agree about the crating. It will get messy as the dog seems to be either stubborn, or just not understanding what you want. Try the reinforcement right after a potty, and try to withhold your frustration. That can send mixed messages.

    Another thing you may or may not consider(believe in) is spanking. I do spank my pets. At least I did during training. It is confusing to them at first, but when they realize that it's not a good thing it becomes a good deterrent and seems to make reinforcement all the more effective. I am not saying beat the shit out of them, but a stern tone, eye contact, and a couple hard pats, or holding them down until they assume into a submissive position seems to help.

    I love my dogs and some took longer than others. I have taken in rescues and street dogs until we have found a home for them. One was a 3 yr old pitbull, which was super stubborn. Just be patient, and consistent. The doggie should pick it up!

    Goodluck
    Spanking or any kind of hitting is a huge no-no in most training, as well as alpha rolling. They're not people and don't understand, and many will see this as a threat. Especially a rescue dog that could have been abused, you're putting yourself at high risk to be bit or otherwise injured. Proceed with caution with anything like this, but I can guarantee respect and positive reinforcement training will garner better results than that. On the otherhand, tone of voice and denial of attention (short intervals only) does work.

  10. #10
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    I guess I can feel lucky to have never had a dog that had a problem with this.

    All of my dogs that have ever been indoors will literally hold it until they're full to burst before they would even think about going inside. Zero training, ever.

  11. #11
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    I have a 4 month old puppy that pretty much goes everywhere but the puppy pad. She's crated overnight, too, and goes in the morning when I put her outside. But during the day, whether I'm there or not, she just goes on the carpet. Sometimes while I'm watching. Hopefully it's not too late to get her to go where she's supposed to, but if I place her on the pad inside, she just walks off. If I put her outside, she just whines to come back inside and is too excited or busy staring in the window to bother actually doing her business. It's also fairly unpredictable when she has to go, because she doesn't sniff around and circle for long. She just takes a quick whiff of the floor, turns once, and goes before I can react. And I'm left just watching her in mid-act, not sure how to treat her.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Khamsin View Post
    I have a 4 month old puppy that pretty much goes everywhere but the puppy pad. She's crated overnight, too, and goes in the morning when I put her outside. But during the day, whether I'm there or not, she just goes on the carpet. Sometimes while I'm watching. Hopefully it's not too late to get her to go where she's supposed to, but if I place her on the pad inside, she just walks off. If I put her outside, she just whines to come back inside and is too excited or busy staring in the window to bother actually doing her business. It's also fairly unpredictable when she has to go, because she doesn't sniff around and circle for long. She just takes a quick whiff of the floor, turns once, and goes before I can react. And I'm left just watching her in mid-act, not sure how to treat her.
    Best rule of thumb with puppies, they can hold is for as many hours as they are months old, in your case, 4 hours. It's still very young and you can't expect her to be fully trained yet. She should be in the crate whenever she's going to be alone, and the crate should be just large enough so she can stand up and turn around with no problems. Seems your issue might be from not crating her during the day, but possibly leaving food and water out while you're gone. That, and possibly not cleaning it up with appropriate cleaners. Like I said in my previous post, feed on a schedule. Measure everything. Some dogs will drink a gallon of water if you leave it out, it doesn't mean they're that thirsty. Stay outside with her, don't just let her out till she whines to come back in. Again, patience. When she goes, reward her. There are also sprays you can get to encourage them to go, usually for the puppy pads, you can put them on the grass outside too.

  13. #13
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    I can't believe some of the responses to this thread........... its not that much harder to train a 3 year old dog, they are still young!

    just takes what people call........effort.


    Alot of the real advice here is pretty good, if you have a big dog and can't really crate it. Then you could get a outdoor fence play area and bring it inside for the dog to stay in while your out. Its a little more freedom than a crate, while also being a small enough personal space that the dog won't want to goto the bathroom in that area.

  14. #14
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    lol @ thinking a 3-year old dog is any harder to train than a fucking puppy.

  15. #15
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    Seems your issue might be from not crating her during the day, but possibly leaving food and water out while you're gone. That, and possibly not cleaning it up with appropriate cleaners. Like I said in my previous post, feed on a schedule. Measure everything. Some dogs will drink a gallon of water if you leave it out, it doesn't mean they're that thirsty.
    I am by no means an expert on dogs, but i have never heard that you should keep them from water at any time. any animal for that matter, unless it is a sweaty in a chill. i've always heard and operated on the opposite, that clean water should always be accessible. even if it does drink a gallon of water, a 3 year old should be able to hold it for many hours?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Khamsin View Post
    I have a 4 month old puppy that pretty much goes everywhere but the puppy pad. She's crated overnight, too, and goes in the morning when I put her outside. But during the day, whether I'm there or not, she just goes on the carpet. Sometimes while I'm watching. Hopefully it's not too late to get her to go where she's supposed to, but if I place her on the pad inside, she just walks off. If I put her outside, she just whines to come back inside and is too excited or busy staring in the window to bother actually doing her business. It's also fairly unpredictable when she has to go, because she doesn't sniff around and circle for long. She just takes a quick whiff of the floor, turns once, and goes before I can react. And I'm left just watching her in mid-act, not sure how to treat her.
    For the outside bit...go outside with her to start she probably won't go right away either but do something uninteresting outside. (grab a book/laptop w/e and sit on the lawn chair), puppies (and even dogs if left untrained) are insanely attached, and it's probably better to work on the potty training before working on the independency. Hopefully after a bit, when she notices your outside but being uninteresting, she'll start taking a look around, and eventually go to the bathroom. again, praise the fuck out of her when she does.

    For the floor, does she do it on the same spot? if so, then you are probably not cleaning it properly afterwards so she still smells it and thinks it's ok. When training with the puppy pad to start, put it over the spot she tends to go on, then slowly bit by bit move it towards the spot you want her to go at. (praise her everytime).





    Also, for both you and the OP, there is nothing wrong with spending some extra cash to hire a professional. Sometimes it's worth it when you're in a situation you've never dealt with before. You can also sometimes get free advice by calling your vet.

  17. #17
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    For potty training is when you limit intake in most cases. There are dogs that will make themselves sick if they drink too much water, I've seen it happen and it comes as a shock to a lot of people. The point is to develop a routine. It's different if the dog or puppy isn't drinking any water at all, but monitor the intake. Think about how much water you drink a day, not very much most likely. Just like an infant, developing a feeding schedule will better set them up for everything else. Dogs are creatures of habit, they understand times of day, just not much of a concept of weekdays like we do. If they know they will get food and water at these times, they will eat and drink. I have a rescue dog in one of my classes that was kept outside for his whole life. He will drink as much water as you put infront of him, because he's not used to having water on regular intervals. They have to be extremely cautious that he doesn't make himself sick, but he does it out of survival instinct, and habit. And no, a 3 year old won't hold it for hours, I said it's a general rule of thumb for puppies, they pretty much can hold it for 10-12 hours as an adult, but it varies on feeding habits.

  18. #18
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    Please do not hit your dog. Do not lock it in a crate for 40 hours. Jesus people, really?

    She has way too much freedom. You need to treat her like an 8 week old puppy that doesn't know any better. She should not be able to sneak off. Baby gate her in the room you are in, or leash her to your belt so you can watch her 100% of the time. If you are busy and can't watch her, put her in the crate or an xpen. If she starts to sniff or circle like she's going to go, rush her outside and praise the HECK out of her if she does go. If the neighbors don't think you're crazy, you're not being excited enough. If you catch her in the act, please don't hit her, just screech like a crazy person to interrupt her and run her outside.

    Puppy pads do nothing but teach your dog that it's okay to go inside the house IMO. They need to understand that going inside is 100% unacceptable. I can't count the number of times I've had people complain about potty training their puppy and then I find out their using pads. You really think a dog in a brand new environment understands the difference between a pad and a folded sweatshirt, or a small rug? It's totally unnecessary IMO.

    As someone else said, get her on a schedule. Is she fed at certain times? I would always leave water down unless she drinks the whole bowl in one sitting or something like that. You can take it up about an hour before bed to avoid night time potty issues, but other than that I would not restrict her water. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with getting professional help. ONE session with a professional trainer might save you a shit load of headaches in the future.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amelya View Post

    Puppy pads do nothing but teach your dog that it's okay to go inside the house IMO. They need to understand that going inside is 100% unacceptable. I can't count the number of times I've had people complain about potty training their puppy and then I find out their using pads. You really think a dog in a brand new environment understands the difference between a pad and a folded sweatshirt, or a small rug? It's totally unnecessary IMO.

    I strongly disagree actually. My parents pad-trained their dog and he's just fine with it.

    They live in CT, and fuck if they're going outside in a blizzard so the dog can poop (he won't even go outside in bad weather which is like 70% of the time in CT).

    he goes both outside and inside.

    The problem isn't the pads, the problem is people not knowing how to train with them.


    Everything else you said though I agree with.

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    I live in shitty cold Wisconsin and my dogs go outside in any weather, no problem. In their minds they have no other option. Dogs can of course be trained to use pads or a litter box, but IMO there's no point in teaching the dog it's okay to go inside, if your end goal is to have them going outside only. It just confuses them and makes them process longer. And honestly I can't imagine having anything larger than a chihuahua shitting in my house on a regular basis, ughghghghg.

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