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Thu Nov 29, 2012, 02:47 PM


My post to the cute Bo the Dog video ...

got me thinking, DUers are some smart folks ... maybe they can guide me on something?

We have three healthy and well loved, 11 year old, male, Poodles that refuse to be housebroken. Everytime they come close, one will forget his manners and the other two will follow behind to add their contribution.

I think I've identified the most forgetful of the three ... he is a traumatized minature that we rescued from the owner of three Rotts, that were survive the little fellow by not allowing him near the food dish. I, also, suspect that the little guy was beat, as even after he has been with us for 10 years, he still is skittish at any sudden hand movements or whenever someone suddenly reaches out to him.

The other two minatures are pretty good about holding it and/or letting us know when they want out.

Since Mrs. 1StrongBlackMan is retired, the dogs are let out several times a day.

I've done the "take them to the spot, commanding/allowing permission to pee, praise the heck out of them" tact; but to no avail.

Does anyone know whether it's too late? Or, should I just resign myself to daily "pee pee patrol?"

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Reply My post to the cute Bo the Dog video ... (Original post)
1StrongBlackMan Nov 2012 OP
Curmudgeoness Nov 2012 #1
1StrongBlackMan Nov 2012 #2
Curmudgeoness Nov 2012 #3
TorchTheWitch Dec 2012 #4
Walk away Dec 2012 #5
1StrongBlackMan Dec 2012 #6
Walk away Dec 2012 #7

Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 09:29 PM

1. I don't know if it is too late or not,

but I would never give up totally. However, if you are at a point where you are resigned to the dogs peeing in the house, have you used the puppy pads? Do you think that you could get the dogs to use them instead of just wherever they choose?

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #1)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 10:24 PM

2. Actually ...


if you are referring to "Doggie Diapers" ... that is what we have done. But to be honest ... They hate them and so do I; it seems so unnatural.

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #2)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 07:28 PM

3. I am not suggesting doggie diapers. Oh god, those are horrid.

I am talking about puppy training pads. They are available everywhere, not just at this site, but this was the first one I saw with pictures. Google puppy training pads and see the options.


If the dog will be trained to go only on them, at least you only have one place to clean up instead of doing "pee patrol" all over the house.

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Original post)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 04:46 AM

4. yes they can be housebroken

Last edited Sat Dec 1, 2012, 08:11 AM - Edit history (1)

The only appropriate way to potty train a dog is by crate training. Allowing the dog to go on paper or these puppy pad things is a waste of time because all you are teaching the dog is yes, it is ok to go to the bathroom in the house. A dog is just not intelligent enough to understand why it's sometimes appropriate to go in the house and other times not to or where they can go or where they can't go. They are pretty darn strict blank/white yes/no thinkers... shades of grey and maybe's just confuse them.

Each dog needs its own crate that is appropriate to its size... the crate must be large enough so that it can sit, lay down, stand up and JUST large enough so that they can turn around. That's IT. Any larger and the dog may use one corner to go to the bathroom in and curl up in the other corner so as not to get any pee or poo on them. The crates can be placed side by side so the dogs can have some form of physical access to each other. I much prefer wire crates as they are much more airy and don't diminish the dog's visibility, so instead of feeling like it's trapped in a big plastic can it feels like it is just hanging out in the room. I also like them because most of not all of them are designed to fold up for easy storage, and thank goodness for that because I have a huge dog and therefore a huge crate, so if I ever felt I needed to get the crate out of the living room it's a snap to fold it up and stuff it in a closet or down the basement. Keep the crates out of direct sunlight or drafts and make sure they aren't in a particular hot or cold spot so their room temperature is normal where ever you put the crates.

Timing makes this a LOT easier as dogs are pretty darn predictable on scheduled bathroom breaks. They will want to go to the bathroom about 15 or 20 minutes after a meal, as soon as they wake up in the morning after sleeping all night, after exercise and after drinking a lot of water. With careful scheduling they probably won't need to stay in the crates all the time until trained, and you can let them out during those times that they have already done all their business outside, BUT they MUST be carefully watched at ALL times when out of the crates in the house to make sure they aren't able to do their business in the house. Often it helps a good deal to have the dog crates in whatever room of the house that is most busy with people like the living room so they don't feel isolated.

One thing that is really great about allowing them to be in the house outside of the crates and paying attention to what they're doing is that if one of them tries to go into the pee or poo position you can swoop right in catching them in the act with a firm "no" and take them immediately outside. Though my current dog was potty trained when I got him at 4 months old he didn't understand the concept that my house was the same as the house he used to live in in that it had the same rule of no going to the bathroom in the house... which I expected. So the day I took him home though I didn't crate him I watched him like a hawk checking out his new house, and the second he tried to pee I stopped him, told him "no" firmly and took him right out to the yard to pee and praised him well when he peed outside. It only took two times doing this the first two days he was here that he got that figured out. Catching them in the act is the strongest lesson to a dog in learning that going to the bathroom in the house is not allowed.

Expect that at first they will HATE being in the crates and may howl and whine and bark and try to eat the bars of the crate in an effort to get out. Put up with it. The faster you don't succumb to letting them out of the crate because they're carrying on to get out the faster they learn that putting up a great fuss isn't going to get them out of the crates. This may be less of a problem for you since the dogs will have each other for company and may be satisfied with being crated along side each other. Dogs just don't seem to like being alone, so having to do this with a single dog may have a lot to do with any fussing to get out.

Don't let them have water to drink in the crates, keep track of their drinking times and how much they drink each time to judge when they'll need to go pee.

Most dogs can learn to like their crates as they mimic a secure den were they out in the wild. Ever notice that when a dog is nervous or frightened or not feeling well or just wants a good long nap they tend to go to somewhere in the house where they're closely surrounded by walls and a ceiling like under a table in a corner or in a closet, etc.? The crate mimics the same thing - a protected little space where they can feel secure. Convince them to like the crates by putting their food bowls in them at meal times and their treats in there as well so they learn that the crate is were food is and therefore a nice place to be... dogs are sooooo food driven. Make it comfy for them by having a comfortable pad or blanket on the floor of the crate and a toy or two to chew while they're in there. It may also help to have subdued lighting in the area where the crates are to help encourage them to take a nap while crated.

Dogs can learn VERY quickly when crate trained. With all my dogs that I needed to potty train they had it figured out in about a week and a half. I always still kept the crates available to my previous dogs and do the same for the current one. The dog I have now still has to be crated when in the house alone since he's a mischievous devil and wants to get into mischief when I'm not there even though he knows he's not allowed to. He's ok with the crate and just naps in there while I'm out, but he doesn't tend to want use it as his secure place (for some reason he likes my tiny cramped bathroom as his secure place). The dog I had previously though loved his crate and would go in there on his own when he wanted alone time or when he noticed I was getting ready to leave the house, and I just left the door open so he could come and go from the crate if he wanted to. I think when I wasn't home though he spent most of his time in his crate. You may end up deciding to keep the crates available to them as their own little secures spaces so they don't end up under tables or in closets or under a bed if they're nervous or scared.

Whenever you take the dogs out of the crates ALWAYS take them immediately outside to go to the bathroom. This also teaches them that when they are let outside that they should go to the bathroom immediately and not just diddle around in the yard not taking care of business. Watch what they do in the yard while pretending you aren't (many dogs can sense that you're paying attention to what they're doing so much so that it makes them nervous, and they won't want to go to the bathroom even if they have to go). My current dog was so sensitive to my paying attention I had to hide in the house and peak at him through the window or he'd get too uptight to do his business. Every time they pee or poop immediately praise them for going where they're supposed to go. I still praise my dog whenever I notice he does his business in the yard just for positive reinforcement. Always take them out to go to the bathroom at the same door to the same outside area for going to the bathroom. That way they will learn to tell you they need to go by going to that door and acting excited and wanting your attention. Always be alert to what your dogs are telling you when trying to tell you they need to go outside to go to the bathroom so they learn quickly what actions to do to tell you they need to go. My dogs did/do specific actions to tell me they wanted to go to the bathroom that are/were different from their actions when they were telling me it was meal time or play time or cuddle time, etc. That's something that is easier for them to learn if you allow the dog to tell YOU what their needs are in whatever way they think is appropriate (as long as it's not something annoying) instead of trying to teach them to do certain things to tell you different things.

The hardest part is going to be cleaning the urine smell out of the house, and for that you need a neutralizer. Dogs use their urine to tell them where it is appropriate to go to the bathroom as well as to mark territory. Unfortunately, without totally removing the scent from the carpet or whatever else they've peed on in the house they will always be attracted back to the spots to go. Just because you can't smell it doesn't mean they can't - and they CAN unless you clean all the spots they've gone to the bathroom with a neutralizer. A really good one is Nature's Miracle though it's a bit of a pain to use. Luckily, these are small dogs so there shouldn't be huge areas where they've left a bucket of pee that needs to be neutralized. And hopefully they've not peed all over the house. However, if you have no idea where all of these spots are to neutralize the odor all is not lost. You just may have to carefully watch them for a lot longer to make sure they aren't going to the bathroom in the house while those areas have a chance for the odor they can detect to dissipate. In the meantime, they are also learning that under no circumstances are they to go to the bathroom in the house, so even if they can still detect urine odor in certain spots you aren't aware of to neutralize, they'll still very likely not go to those spots since with their black/white, yes/no thinking they eventually learn that it doesn't matter if the house was flooded with pee, they still aren't allowed to pee in the house. Thank goodness for that black/white, yes/not thinking on that score!

What you are needing to teach the dogs with all this is that no more are they allowed to go to the bathroom in the house EVER so it is absolutely clear to them that the house is off limits to use as a bathroom and that the only acceptable place to go to the bathroom is outside. And absolutely can old dogs learn new tricks on potty training. It just has to be done right so there is no chance of misunderstanding these new rules for the dogs. They will also be happier that they are no longer confused on where it is appropriate to go... dogs notice when we get upset that they've gone in the house (they just can't figure out why we're upset about it since they can't figure out what they did wrong but just know that they did. Once they learn house-no, outside-yes for going to the bathroom they won't be confused, you won't be upset about an indoor mistake and everybody is much happier.

Under no circumstances do you ever let the dogs out of the crates if they've making a fuss... all that teaches them is Make Fuss= Get Out of Crate. They only get to come out when they are calm so they they learn that if they want out they better be calm. This one the generally learn pretty darn quick as long as you're absolutely strict on this point since most dogs will prefer to not be in the crate than in it when the crate use is new to them.

While most trainers say that the dog needs to stay in the crate at all times except for when outside either going to the bathroom or for play time, I've discovered with careful scheduling their routines you don't need to keep them in there all that time as long as you CAREFULLY watch what they're doing in the house. With three dogs all learning at the same time this may be a challenge, so it may be easier to keep them in the crates all the time except when outside the house for the time they are being potty trained.

The reason that crate training works is because dogs are biologically wired to "not foul their nest", so if they CAN'T go anywhere that is not their "nest" they won't go to the bathroom unless they physically can no longer hold it. But with scheduling bathroom breaks according to their eating, drinking and sleeping times and having several of them during the day they won't need to be in a position to feel they have to go in the crates because they physically can't hold it.

You can find a lot of good information at the Leerburg dog training website which is absolutely EXCELLENT and has an unimaginable TON of free information on the site - 10,000 pages! Though you can purchase dvd's and books on training from them, there is so much fee info about any kind of dog problem imaginable it likely wouldn't matter at all for this one issue. For potty training problems and further advice a good place to start is here... http://leerburg.com/housebrk.htm but also read all the Q&A that comes after as they are all very common issues you may run into while potty training your dogs. Keep in mind that other than very specific info regarding puppies the info for potty training adult dogs is exactly the same. Here is an index list of all kinds dog training issues that may be helpful or interesting to you for all kinds of other things... http://leerburg.com/articles.htm and here's an introduction to Ed Frawley of Leerburg... http://leerburg.com/history.htm and here's his general philosophy on dog training... http://leerburg.com/philosophy.htm if you're interested.

I've spent countless hours at that site and have barely made a dent in how much information is there. They also have a forum full of very experienced trainers and handlers for all kinds of dog issues. Every time I get to a point where I think there just can't be anything more to learn I learn something new. I particularly like the site for those times that I get frustrated when something is going wrong with my dog's training and knowing I'm doing something wrong and I should know what it is just to refresh or reinforce a point or something I missed.

I really feel for you. It just SUCKS to have a dog that isn't properly potty trained, but as long as you do it right it usually takes very little time for them to be completely trustworthy to not go in the house except if they get sick. You can totally get these dogs perfectly house trained if you don't try cutting any corners and take as long as each dog needs to fully learn where they can and where they can't go to the bathroom. The time and effort it takes is NOTHING compared to their using the house as a toilet for the rest of their lives, and you will be soooo relieved to get to that point where you can completely trust they won't go in the house without even thinking about it, and it's just a given like the sun always rising in the morning. Lucky for us, dogs are very simple creatures which makes them incredibly easy to train, learn new things and reverse old habits as long as you use the right method, don't cut corners, are absolutely consistent and you and your dogs have an established parent/children type of bond and respect.

Keep us posted with how things go and any problems you might run into along the way. You definitely can do this.

On Edit: added some more info

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Original post)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 05:54 PM

5. Get a Belly Band! nt

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Response to Walk away (Reply #5)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 06:39 PM

6. We have them ...


The dogs hate them ... and for some reason, that I haven't figured out, so do I.

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #6)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 07:38 PM

7. Maybe you have the wrong Belly Band. I have mine custom made by a really nice Etsy crafter...

on he West Coast. They are soft and comfortable and come in fun patterns like "Sports Balls", Chile Peppers" and Seasonal Specials. Some little guys just never get it even if you do everything right.

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