housetrain adult dog (rescue)- how long? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-11-2008, 06:04 PM Thread Starter
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housetrain adult dog (rescue)- how long?

I have a rescue dog that is roughly 2 years old and am having trouble house training her. A lot of the problems stem from her only going once a day, I don't know if she holds it until she can't anymore or if thats all she needs to go. I can take her for walks and runs to try and get the poo to flow more easily, but even then it is usually only once a day. If for some reason I am gone when she finally needs to go, well, I am outside spraying down her crate trying not to loose my lunch. When she does go, she is usually so distracted by everything going on that it can be and hour plus before she finally does her business.

I'm kinda at a loss as how to approach this anymore. I have had her for almost two weeks and it doesn't seem to be getting any better.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-11-2008, 07:26 PM
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Re: housetrain adult dog (rescue)- how long?

How long did you have the dog?
Some dogs have a problem "going" when they are on the leash. Do you let her out in a yard or do you have her potty on a leash?
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-11-2008, 08:00 PM
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Re: housetrain adult dog (rescue)- how long?

Can you give us an idea of her schedule? For feeding, walking, etc?

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-11-2008, 08:05 PM Thread Starter
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Re: housetrain adult dog (rescue)- how long?

I adopted her about two weeks ago. My yard is 100% concrete so I usually try not to let her roam if she is needing to go. I am thinking that she doesn't like to go if I am nearby, if I tie her leash and watch from 30' away she will eventually go but it will still take 30+ minutes usually. If she is in the house she will pop a squat less then two foot in front of me though (not on a leash, hmmm). Maybe she doesn't like going on the leash.

On the plus side she doesn't like to go in her crate, so I have something going for me.

Whats the best way to tackle this? I don't want to do something wrong and end up causing other odd behaviors later.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-11-2008, 08:13 PM Thread Starter
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Re: housetrain adult dog (rescue)- how long?

Wake up at 5:30am and go for a .5 to 1 mile jog, back in the crate until around 11am. Girlfriend is usually woken up by dog going crazy in crate (her only sign it is potty time), take said dog outside and chain to fence. Poop and pee usually follow within an hour, dog goes back in crate. I get home from work at 4:30pm and usually let her run around in my yard for a half hour, then back in crate. She gets fed around 6pm and usually lounges around the living room free of the crate for an hour or two, then back in crate. I take her out for about 30 minutes at 11pm but she has never gone at this time.

If we let her free in the house, she goes much more frequently. Otherwise it is once a day for both pee and poop right around noon time. Makes it hard for training when you only have one chance a day to reinforce a behavior.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-14-2008, 11:50 PM
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Re: housetrain adult dog (rescue)- how long?

My dog eats and poops once a day, poop lags eating by 10-12 hours. Try taking her for a long walk (2 mile+) after ~10-12 hours of feeding, when she poops, make sure she knows you are happy. Follow this routine for a week and it should be ok, she will go in her fav area most of the time.

How much and what are you feeding her? believe me what comes out depends on the 2 questions.

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-15-2008, 05:35 PM
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Re: housetrain adult dog (rescue)- how long?

Brian, the problem you appear to have is that someone seems to have presumably made "pottying" a emotionally-laden issue for your pup. They may have yelled at her, smacked her with a newspaper, or far worse. She didn't understand that they were mad because she went in the house. She learned that they were mad that she did it at all. These humans get mad when they see my poop.

So she seems to be afraid of letting her human see her go poop and pee.

How to fix this? First. And this is the hardest part, don't ever let her see you get frustrated or angry. Breathe deep. Put her in another room, then clean up the mess. It's not her fault. Some other complete idiot taught her this is what she should do. She really is trying to please you. She really is.

Then put her on a schedule, just like a puppy. Every time she eats, drinks, plays, or exercises, she goes outside, on a leash. Take her to a grassy area, even if it's just a clump of grass next to your mailbox. Then walk her around for at least 10 minutes. Then take her back to the grassy area. Then if she still hasn't done anything, bring her back inside and put her in crate. This schedule is going to be grueling at first -- just like having a baby pup. I won't lie to you.

You won't get frustrated. You won't get annoyed. You'll keep telling yourself that some idiot messed up this poor sweet dog then having done so, gave her up to be adopted by you. You will be her hero.

As often as you possibly can (even in the rain, snow and dark of night) take her to the park, or any greenbelt area, and let her run and play. Keep her on a longline (or even a flexi, if she is gentle and well behaved. I hate flexis, but this is one exception). You want her to have fun and play. But she needs to learn that she can be with you and eliminate her bladder and bowels without being punished.

Exercise is the best laxative. The more you can get her moving, the more she will go. When she does go, give her treats. Not biscuits --you're giving high value treats -- hot dogs, deli meat, cheese. Wonderful delicious snacks. As soon as you see her start to squat, whisper (because you don't want to disrupt her) good girl! good potty! good good good! As things start to flow, get excited. Get crazy. Whoop it up. Good potty! Yay! As soon as she finishes, hand her tiny pieces of snacks. one right after another, repeating good potty, good potty. good potty. Make the wonderful experience last a bit!

Yes, your neighbors and passers-by will think you're crazy. Who cares? They're not hosing out that crate.

If you do this consistently -- and PATIENTLY -- your pup should be about 80% reliable (maybe more) within a month or more likely two. Within several months, she should be more comfortable going in front of you (though she may look for a bush to duck behind when possible) and might be able to potty on command (when you say "go potty"), with perhaps an indoor accident here and there. A couple months after that, you should be home free.

It's very hard to come in and clean up when some moron has messed up a dog. First, we have to earn the dog's trust, which means that our feelings and frustration have to get put on a shelf and we have to dig up all the calm, patience and zen we can find within us.

But I will tell you, once we do that, once we get through a challenge like this, we have a dog that loves us deeply, completely, on a level that many dog owners never understand. There is something in the eyes of a dog that has been truly "rescued" that is worth every cleaned-up accident and all those 10pm visits to the park.

Good luck.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-15-2008, 05:46 PM
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Re: housetrain adult dog (rescue)- how long?

Wow Lori - can I just cut and paste that every time I get this question? THat's a great response and much better than the one I was going to write to cover the same issues.

This seems to come up a lot for us - many of the dogs we see in rescue have exactly this problem. By punishing the dog severely for pottying inside and not praising the dog when they went outside, people create dogs that are afraid to do it when they're supposed to and then only do it when you're not looking or when they literally can't hold it any more.

Also, as you've observed - the concrete substrate and being on leash are probably also complicating things for you. I know A LOT of dogs who simply will not go on leash. If a fence is not available, you'll have much better luck using a Flexi for this purpose (regular walks still on a normal leash).

Lori's training regimen is the perfect antidote! Good luck and know that there are lots of us out there that totally sympathize with what you're going through! It's no fun now but it'll get better soon.


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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-20-2008, 09:37 AM Thread Starter
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Re: housetrain adult dog (rescue)- how long?

Update: been making some progress. I have been taking her out on a fairly religous schedule. She still goes somewhat erratically but she is now going within 15 minutes of going out or not at all. I did find out that eating dinner (feed her once a day) on top of a raw hide bone = immediate poop. Oh well, that only makes twice that she has gone in her crate which isn't too bad for a non-house broken dog in 3 weeks I think.

Now comes the interesting question, how to teach her to tell me that she needs to go out. This last poop was a fairly silent on, a little whining then silence but nothing else. She has learned that whining will sometimes get her out of the crate (i think she needs to go) so she does it all the time now. I do my best to ignore her and she is getting better, but I don't want any more poop in crate incidents.

As far as the leash, I can probably learn to live with that. She is showing a preference on going on some pine mulch I put down, makes cleanup easy and hopefully prevent her from going in the rest of my yard (100% concrete)
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-20-2008, 11:04 AM
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Re: housetrain adult dog (rescue)- how long?

This dog is alot in her crate!!! How is she supposed to bond to you and your GF, if she's just dumped in the crate 22hrs/day?
If you (and GF) are home, the dog needs to be out of the crate: keep her on a longer leash, attached to you if needed, so you know when she has to go. Always reward when she goes outside.

Ones she learns to trust you (which will only happen with lots of handling & interaction- not by crating her constantly), she will be more comfortable doing her "business" outside with you present and she will also let you know when she has to go. I'd use a long training leash for outdoor potty, so she's controlled but still has her privacy.
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