Training 14-month-old to whine for outside ... help!! - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 06-18-2014, 04:50 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Training 14-month-old to whine for outside ... help!!

We have a 14 month old black female shepherd. Working class lines, beautiful and smart girl, but she was unfortunately in a bad situation from age 2-6 months. Her breeder had her at an out-of-state trainer that used to be good but changed ownership and the poor puppy was stuck in a run and ignored - - basically forced to potty in her "house" (ugh, bad habits!!).

We are now struggling to re-train her. Pee was easy - - I caught her the first time in the act, yelled NO!!!! and rushed her outside and praised her when she peed out there. Never did it again. Poop ... not so easy. About 15 different times she's pooped in her crate when we were asleep or at work. Some of the times she had only been in there for 3-4 hours before it happened. And then she spread it everywhere ... I mean a solid coating on herself and the entire inside of the crate. Not pretty. We didn't catch her in the act so we couldn't correct her.

She has also on 3 occasions pooped in the middle of the night in our bedroom (mostly diarrhea). We are *right* there and I sleep extremely lightly, so if she had whined even once I would have woken up to let her out. Each time we've cleaned the floor thoroughly (it's hardwood, no carpets thank goodness), and it's been in a different place all 3 times so it's not as though she's returning to "the scene of the crime". How do we stop this?? At first I thought we should crate her, but that was much worse because she pooped in there much more often than she did when sleeping loose in our bedroom.

We praise her when she goes outside so she knows she's a good girl when she does that, but that doesn't seem to translate to her knowing that she's a bad girl when she goes inside the house or her crate. Agh!!
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Old 06-18-2014, 04:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'd get bells on the door she can ring...whining is very hard to teach. But bells...very easy. Before you walk outside, ring the bells. Maybe try to get her to nudge them. Let her out after that. In a little bit, she'll realize that ringing the bells means going outside.

The fact that she's going #2 inside means she's not potty trained and you'll have to basically start her as an 8 week old puppy. Do everything you're doing by giving lots of praise when she does go outside, but you'll still have to work on things. A dog that defecates inside its crate is going to be hard to retrain...basically she has learned to not care that she's laying in her own poop and its not a big deal. Most dogs don't like that so they hold it and make noise to get out. She has been taught otherwise.
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Old 06-18-2014, 05:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'd get bells on the door she can ring...whining is very hard to teach. But bells...very easy. Before you walk outside, ring the bells. Maybe try to get her to nudge them. Let her out after that. In a little bit, she'll realize that ringing the bells means going outside.

The fact that she's going #2 inside means she's not potty trained and you'll have to basically start her as an 8 week old puppy. Do everything you're doing by giving lots of praise when she does go outside, but you'll still have to work on things. A dog that defecates inside its crate is going to be hard to retrain...basically she has learned to not care that she's laying in her own poop and its not a big deal. Most dogs don't like that so they hold it and make noise to get out. She has been taught otherwise.
I know ... dogs are supposed to hate pooping where they sleep. I am baffled. I can only think that this stems from the conditions she lived in with the "trainer". When I went there to get her, I saw a number of dogs in crates. I wonder if my puppy wasn't left in them frequently, for so long that she couldn't hold it any more and was forced to go in the crate and just live with it. I wouldn't be surprised. But now she's been out of there for 8 months. How do we un-train this bad behavior?

Yes, I can teach her to ring bells when she wants to go outside. She's smart, I'm sure she'll catch on fast. But I'm not sure that this will fix the problem because she's not even trying to get outside to go. She does not whine or even pace around the room -- she just goes. Last night I was half awake and didn't even know it had happened until the smell hit me!
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Old 06-18-2014, 05:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Yea I'd say go back to the basics. That means taking her out every two hours and reward reward reward pooping outside. I have a chihuahua that has been a struggle to potty train. He will still pee in his crate if left for long periods of time, but he has officially gone 2 weeks with no accidents in the house. You just have to stick with it. If night time is an issue, I would set an alarm for 1/2 way through the night and make sure she gets a potty break.

She's not "telling" you she has to go because she doesn't have a long enough history of reinforcement for going outside.
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Old 06-18-2014, 06:43 PM   #5 (permalink)
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You've had her for eight (8) months now? Is she just now starting to poop in the house? Are you just now bringing her in the house? What has her behavior been for the last eight (8) months?
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Old 06-18-2014, 06:44 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Perhaps some of the standard methods will work for your girl--I hope so. I had a rescue in which nothing worked. I could stand outside for an hour and she would not go and then she would pee the minute we came in.

She was a rescue that came from a puppy mill. What happened is she was completely de-sensitized to defecating and peeing in a crate ( she shared a cage with other dogs). She was so confused about elimination. In order to teach her a rescue "expert" told me to completely fill her crate with objects she could not chew (i.e. garbage cans, pots and pans, etc.) so that she could not move an inch. I had to back load her in and shut the crate with her face up against the door grid. There was no bedding in the crate. I came home at lunch to let her out for a while. She couldn't move an inch. In this way she began to learn. I knew we had made progress when one day she peed on the floor outside the crate before she went in. Her little face said, "See--I know I am not supposed to go in the crate." I did tons of treats outside and lots of praise!!!! It took months of encouragement and tolerance for a dog who had absolutely no training as a puppy. It was a bonding experience for both of us.

This method was the last resort, but it did work and she was so pleased with herself when she straightened was out about potty manners.
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Old 06-18-2014, 06:56 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Basically you have to let her out as much as you would a puppy, so that she has no other choice but to go outside. Then praise like you've never praised before.

Its tough with an older dog because they generally don't "go automatically" after meals anymore, but you need to move the meal to a point where she does go before bed...which will guarantee she doesn't go during the night.

If she has the runs, its kind of different, most dogs can't hold that no matter what.
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Old 06-19-2014, 11:18 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by lauren43 View Post
Yea I'd say go back to the basics. That means taking her out every two hours and reward reward reward pooping outside. I have a chihuahua that has been a struggle to potty train. He will still pee in his crate if left for long periods of time, but he has officially gone 2 weeks with no accidents in the house. You just have to stick with it. If night time is an issue, I would set an alarm for 1/2 way through the night and make sure she gets a potty break.

She's not "telling" you she has to go because she doesn't have a long enough history of reinforcement for going outside.
Hmm. We do let her outside every 2-3 hours, at least when we are home and awake. She's never gone inside during the day when we're home. The only times she is pooping is when she is in her crate and we aren't home, or when it's night and we're asleep. The night-time poos were normally diarrhea though. And I am totally sympathetic to her not being able to hold that for very long, but she sleeps in our room and if she just whined even once I would wake up like a lightening bolt and have her outside in <1 minute. (Nothing gets you flying out of bed like a ninja like the sounds that precede diarrhea and/or puking!!) I would say sure I could get up halfway through the night, but that would not have caught any of the 3 times she pooped at night - - every time she did it was within the first 1-2 hours after going to bed.

I can make an effort to more enthusiastically praise all outdoor poos though. I can try to watch her more when she's out there, and carry treats. It's hard to catch her every time because we have a big yard (6+ acres) and I'm always toting our 4-month-old baby with me so I can't exactly sprint across the yard when I see her assume the poo position a football field away, lol.
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Old 06-19-2014, 11:31 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I would put her on leash, go outside, tell her “go potty.” She does something. You praise you let her off and let her have a good time or whatever she wants to do. If she doesn’t do anything, you go back inside for 2 minutes, then walk back outside. Say “go potty” and repeat the process until she does something.

You’ll have to figure out her schedule though. Not sure if my dogs are on my schedule, or it just fits my life, but they go in the morning and then in the afternoon after work. It’s about a 12 hour cycle give or take. So since she’s older, I’d assume she’ll also be on some sort of cycle as well. So you should be expecting #2 at around those times when you usually see her do it. Right now…it sounds like she has to go when you’re gone, somehow you’ll need to adjust that. I think my method above will work to do that, but no guarantee.

We had a little bit of a housebreaking problem with my newest dog who came to us after living with someone who was home all day and could just let her out at all times of the day. So she didn’t really get that she should be going when she gets let out and that’s all the time she’ll get because we’re going to be gone for 8 hours during the day. Eventually, with proper management when we were home, and I think with the help of our other dog, she’s gotten on the same schedule as the rest of the house.
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Old 06-19-2014, 12:00 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Moriah View Post
Perhaps some of the standard methods will work for your girl--I hope so. I had a rescue in which nothing worked. I could stand outside for an hour and she would not go and then she would pee the minute we came in.

She was a rescue that came from a puppy mill. What happened is she was completely de-sensitized to defecating and peeing in a crate ( she shared a cage with other dogs). She was so confused about elimination. In order to teach her a rescue "expert" told me to completely fill her crate with objects she could not chew (i.e. garbage cans, pots and pans, etc.) so that she could not move an inch. I had to back load her in and shut the crate with her face up against the door grid. There was no bedding in the crate. I came home at lunch to let her out for a while. She couldn't move an inch. In this way she began to learn. I knew we had made progress when one day she peed on the floor outside the crate before she went in. Her little face said, "See--I know I am not supposed to go in the crate." I did tons of treats outside and lots of praise!!!! It took months of encouragement and tolerance for a dog who had absolutely no training as a puppy. It was a bonding experience for both of us.

This method was the last resort, but it did work and she was so pleased with herself when she straightened was out about potty manners.
You know, I think we might have to try this. I think our girl is like your rescue - - desensitized to defecating in her crate. Catching her in the act is basically impossible since she does it infrequently (every 2-3 weeks) and only when we are not around.

At first we tried feeding her breakfast early, around 6:30 when we didn't leave the house until 8:00-8:30. Still pooping in the crate every 2-3 weeks. Then we stopped feeding her breakfast entirely on days she would be in the crate and just did double dinner on those days. We combined this with my husband taking her to work (he owns his own business so he can do that!) as often as he can, usually 2-3 days per week. We just started this routine a couple of weeks ago and she hasn't gone in her crate again but I would say it's too soon to say whether it's really made a difference. We did however just have two diarrhea incidents, where she went inside but made no effort to get out first (even if she just whined but still couldn't hold it the 1 minute it took to get out I would call that progress!)

Her crate is quite large so I think we should try your suggestion of filling it full of inedible stuff. It's big because we had limited options when we went to buy a super heavy duty houdini proof plastic dog crate ... which we did because when she first came home she managed to bend a large heavy guage steel crate open and get out. She was seriously only 35 lbs ... and this wire was THICK, like made for a 100+ lb dog ... we still cannot figure out how she bent it that far. If you saw it you would think that she must be some mutant super dog to have done it! But the odd thing is that she doesn't mind her crate?? Like she actually likes it and happily trots in ... so why she super-manned her way out is beyond me. Maybe she was just spastic because she was in a brand new environment - - she's pretty high strung. We didn't want to take a chance it would happen again though because there are tons of things in our basement that she could have gotten into (cat litterbox, plants, chemicals, etc.)

Sorry for the long winded answer. But I did want to ask, how long did you have to pack the crate full before your dog adapted? Are you able to use it like a normal crate now?
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