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Hi everybody

I have been having a lot of issues with our new puppy. As some background, a few years back we brought home our other GSD when he was 8 weeks old and things were very different with him. We crate trained him and although he cried a couple of the first nights, he eventually got over it and he also became house trained so quickly that we were able to allow him to sleep on a dog bed in the bedroom at night because he reliably told us when he had to go potty. It took us about 1 week to have him completely house trained in the sense that when he had to go, he went to the door and rang a bell we placed there and then we would come take him out. (If you didnt get there quickly, sometimes there were accidents).

Our new puppy came home at 2 days shy of 8 weeks. He is now 9 weeks and 2 days old and he seems very smart because he has picked up on routines and habits - for example he knows how to get back home, he will "sit", "down" "paw" "roll" when not distracted, and he DOES go potty outside on command when told to do so. HOWEVER, he seems to either A.) have no understanding of the concept he is not allowed to pee inside OR B.) He does not care. Whenever he has to urinate, he stands and pees wherever he is (except inside his crate if he is in it with the door closed). We are trying our absolute best to have him either in the crate or in our direct line of vision at all times but multiple times he has just stood up and peed on the floor with 0 warning whatsoever. We have been trying to ring the bell by the door every time we go outside, he has shown 0 interest in this. He doesn't whine. He doesn't even sniff around or walk around looking for a spot - there is 0 warning. This has been very frustrating because I have been subsequently crating him more during the day when I am home because it is impossible for me to have direct eyes on him at all hours. (And he is not tolerating the crating itself very well either and subsequently ends up whining/crying and us getting no sleep at night). If I am sitting at my computer and he is sitting next to me, he has very easily just stood up and peed right there without any warning for me to take him outside. I always yell NO, immediately disrupt him, take him out and praise him when he goes outside but I'm not sure what else I can do to teach him it is UNACCEPTABLE to urinate inside the house and that he has to tell us when he needs to go or how to tell us.

My only other thought as to why this puppy is so drastically different and harder to house train than our first one is because of size / developmental status. Our first pup was about 15-20 lbs at 8 weeks when we brought him home but this puppy was only 6 lbs and clearly underweight and appeared younger than his stated age / developmentally behind. Is it possible this could have something to do with incapability to recognize he has to urinate or not being able to hold it once he feels the urge? He is still only 8 lbs now at 9 weeks. (we are working with the vet on his weight and growth issue)

At what point is it concerning that he is continuing to have multiple daily accidents? He has 2-3 easily on any given day because he will take 1 step out of his crate and pee on the floor. I pick him up and carry him outside frequently because he cant even reliably be put on a leash and walked outside.
 

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Have you had him checked for a UTI? If he is clear of infection, this is your failing, not the pup's. You are responsible for his mistakes and you aren't getting him outside frequently enough. Some people take puppies out every 30 minutes to avoid this problem.

It may be that he is younger than you were told and he just has no capacity for bladder control. That's another reason to get him outside as frequently as possible.

Not all puppies signal when they need to relieve themselves so you have to be even more diligent than with others. Don't wait until you think he is saying he needs to go out. He has no concept of that at this point and he can't learn that if he keeps peeing in the house. It's your job to get him out before that happens, even if it means he goes out every 15 minutes.
 

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You cannot reason with a 2 year old child or a puppy. He does not understand whatever gibberish you are telling him or have the mental capacity to understand reasoning. I'd see a vet and make sure it isn't a medical problem, then just continue normal house training. We brought home a gs from the shelter and it took about 6 months to convince him to poop outside. ( I think it took him that long to decide he liked us and would stay). Your pup is young and it takes time to figure things out. He's trying to please you and learn to be a pet at the same time. Eventually they all get it. Take him out every few hours and make a big deal out of anything he does outside. Dogs can learn simple words like 'out' so work on that. As he matures, he'll realize he does not need to mark his territory inside the house.
Oh, and don't use cleaners with ammonia in them to clean up the puddle. Ammonia is a key component of urine, so it makes that spot an attractive one. Pine sol seems to work better.
 

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OP, I agree with you.

I had a difficult time toilet-training my puppy. She is the runt of her litter and learned erratically. I was discouraged by folks who had toilet-trained their puppy in days. It took me two months, partly because of her and partly because of my inexperience, which resulted in a bunch of bad habits on her part (my fault, I know), which I then had to break.

Like @Sunflowers said, it really helped to tether her to me. Also, after weeks of frustration and trying to read her for signs, I just took her out once every 60 minutes, sometimes more frequently, depending on her activity. She would have four or more accidents in the house per day. I would take her outside, she wouldn't go, we would enter the house, and she would pee in the foyer.

She was about 15 lbs, maybe less, when I got her at 11 weeks. I think some of it was just physical development. She didn't know how to hold her pee (unless crated), and then one day, she figured it out. The accidents in the house decreased.

I did crate-train her (we started with 90 mins max), and she never peed in her crate, not even once.
 

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A combination of taking him out way more often than you think should be necessary, tethering to you and ridiculous diligence can house train a pup in days. We just has only two accidents in the house til fully house trained and both were my fault. Zero accidents in the crate.

Expecting a 9 week old underweight puppy to ring a bell to go out is a tad over zealous.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
A combination of taking him out way more often than you think should be necessary, tethering to you and ridiculous diligence can house train a pup in days. We just has only two accidents in the house til fully house trained and both were my fault. Zero accidents in the crate.

Expecting a 9 week old underweight puppy to ring a bell to go out is a tad over zealous.
My husband and I took a week off thinking that if we religiously 24/7 focused on house training him like our other GSD that he would get it but he just doesn't and it made me feel disappointed but everybody's comments here have been encouraging so I will continue to be focused on keeping him in the crate or immediately next to me at all times and regular potty breaks and hope for the best.
 

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Not sure that yelling "no" at him is beneficial at this point - he has a tiny bladder and isn't deliberately being defiant :) Just calmly pick him up and take him out while the other half cleans up the mess .
 

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My husband and I took a week off thinking that if we religiously 24/7 focused on house training him like our other GSD that he would get it but he just doesn't and it made me feel disappointed but everybody's comments here have been encouraging so I will continue to be focused on keeping him in the crate or immediately next to me at all times and regular potty breaks and hope for the best.
Stay confident and this too will pass. Some dogs just take a little longer. But make sure those "regular" potty breaks are even more regular than you think necessary and pup will get the message. Happy thoughts your way
 

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Cleaning is important, too. A dog who smells pee is likely to go in that same spot, 50 times.
Get a good enzymatic cleaner.
 

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He is so young!

Also rule out submissive or excited peeing but if I understood correctly that he is 9 weeks old....he is so young I wouldn't even begin to think anything is wrong. I don't know any 9 week old that is truly house broken. They need time to grow up and understand, he is just a baby!
 

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Hi all, writing to provide an update.

We've had him home with us 3 weeks. He is 11 weeks now. When do I start to become very concerned? I feel that we have not made much improvement at all and I am feeling frustrated because our other gsd was 95% house trained by now.

We take him out immediately after he comes out of the crate (sleeping or we were out for a few hours), then every 2 hours during the day when home, and about an hour after meal times. However despite this he still has accidents in the house - he will be in middle of playing after having just gone out an hour ago and will suddenly stop and pee on the floor. Again, there is no warning at all that he has to urinate (no sniffing, going to the door, whining, ringing the bell we put on the door knob, etc). It's getting frustrating for us now after 3 weeks that he still doesn't provide any indication that he has to urinate. Even if we are telling him let's go outside, and showing we want to take him out, he does not want to go, will be very stubborn and have to essentially be dragged out of the house and then will pee and poop outside once we are there.

The other thing I am concerned about is when we do take him out, many times we have to carry him out of the house otherwise if he is standing with his feet on the ground he will pee on the floor en route to going outside. For example, we cannot allow him to walk from the crate to outside, because he will stop and pee on the floor on our way, so we have to pick him up and carry him outside and place him on the ground then he will pee there. I am concerned because I obviously do not want him to get used to us carrying him around everywhere (I mean he's going to be a huge GSD one day) and yet I also do not want to have him pee on the floor every single time we are trying to go outside. Not sure what to do.

I will add that he hasn't gone in his crate, and he hasn't pooped in the house. However he has peed in the house innumerable times either because he suddenly decided to go unexpectedly, or because we were on our way out of the house and he peed while we were on our way out.
 

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I think the average a pup can hold his pee is one hour per month of age so look to your pup to be at about the 2.5 hour mark.

I never taught my dogs to indicate nor did I wait to see if they would. I just made sure that I took them out often.
 

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I think the average a pup can hold his pee is one hour per month of age so look to your pup to be at about the 2.5 hour mark.

I never taught my dogs to indicate nor did I wait to see if they would. I just made sure that I took them out often.
How did you/they eventually learn to indicate when they had to go? Or do they just go whenever they are taken out and otherwise hold it till then? Our first GSD rings the bell when he needs to go and is very reliable, was reliable with this from a very early age and that is my only experience with house training.

Our puppy does go potty on command outside so he understands that, just having issues with the peeing in the house and having to always carry out.
 

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How did you/they eventually learn to indicate when they had to go? Or do they just go whenever they are taken out and otherwise hold it till then? Our first GSD rings the bell when he needs to go and is very reliable, was reliable with this from a very early age and that is my only experience with house training.

Our puppy does go potty on command outside so he understands that, just having issues with the peeing in the house and having to always carry out.
None of my dogs have ever "indicated" when they need to go out. I go out more often with them than they have to go, usually 6-7X a day. At 5:00 they come like clockwork to bother me, for a walk more than the pee time. Dogs will pee or mark 20X a day if you let/allow them.
 

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How did you/they eventually learn to indicate when they had to go?
With our past puppies and our new 9 week old pup now, we noticed a big improvement in potty-training when we stopped scooping them up and carrying them outside and instead had them walk/run outside on their own legs. At the appropriate times (just waking from nap, after eating, or just when you notice them circling and acting restless), I instead race to the door and call them excitedly with "let's go outside!". The tendency is to want to scoop up and carry them because it's faster to get them outside, thereby less likelihood of an accident. I've just noticed it makes a huge difference in the potty-training success of my pup when I have him run outside with me (in an excited way), sort of like a lightbulb went off in his head and he now (90% of the time) runs whining to the door when he has to go.
 

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In neuromuscular terms, dogs are in general incapable of 'holding it' for very long until about 4-6 months. They are very much a baby at 11 weeks (for toy breeds, they would just barely be leaving mom!), so while they may understand that potty outside is a good thing, they may not be able to go from 'oh, I need to go' to 'oh, I should ask to go out' before it happens. Especially if it hasn't set in completely that that's what he needs to do yet. I don't think either of my dogs ever really gave me an indication for a while. Of course, you do get your miracle dogs that are just instantly potty trained, but those are generally the exception rather than the rule. The resource I linked has some pretty good tips, and what I and several other dog people I know have found helpful is writing down every time the dog goes, then taking the dog out at those times, learning the dog's habits. It was the only way I managed to train my stubborn terrier in 3 ft of snow. Also, play tends to excite dogs, so even if they have gone in the past hour, it sort of 'speeds things along', so to speak.
 
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