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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    I need dog training advice, please.

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    The back story:

    We have a 'puppy' (Sara) who just turned one year old. She is a giant schnoodle (giant schnauzer/standard poodle mix) and is currently about 80 lbs. She is super sweet, very sensitive (gets upset and hides when voices are raised), and extremely smart. She figured out how to open the doors in our house (they have lever-type handles!). We bought her from the breeder, so she has no previous living arrangement neuroses.

    She is crated during the day if we both leave (but for most of the first year of her life, my husband worked from home so it didn't happen all that much). At our previous home, the dogs had a dog door leading to a fenced in area. Sara appeared to mostly 'learn' that pooping and peeing happened outside from the other dogs. On just one occasion, I caught her mid-poop in the house, yelled at her to stop, took her out immediately and then threw her a party when she finished outside. We never had poop inside issues after that at the old house.

    Now we are in a new place. The first week was really hard as all the dogs learned that 1) this was our new home 2) every time we pulled out the leash didn't mean a trip to the dog park 3) you must hold your excrement until we take you out. Maggie and Charlie figured it out in just a couple of days. They both lived with us in an apartment and in a non-dog-door house before, so it was just a matter of them remembering and getting used to the routine.

    Sara, not so much. Here is where I need advice.

    Sara seems to have figured out that she must pee outside. She gets antsy and pesters me, and I open the sliding door to our patio where she will pee in the rock area. It's not a yard, but at least it's not in the house. She did have a few accidents in the beginning, but it's been awhile since we've had a pee-in-the-house accident. She will pee when on a leash, too. She's not as good at it as the other dogs because she is VERY easily distracted. She's always a bit wired when we take her out, so it seems she cannot concentrate. I've taken to taking her out alone again after I've put the other dogs back in the house, and she will sometimes pee for me then (if she hasn't already done it when all of us are out).

    Poo is a whole different ball of wax. I cannot seem to get through to her that she needs to poo outside while on the leash. We've been here for two weeks now and she's only done that twice! (I did praise her profusely both times) Usually what happens is that I get up, clean up the dried poo from sometime in the night, take all the dogs out, then take just Sara out, and then when I give up (today it was after 45 minutes of circling the same area with just Sara), she finds a half a second to sneak away from me and poo in the dining room. I don't yell at her when she does it in the house because I've never caught her mid-act.

    We've tried crating her at night, but she make such a racket that neither of us can sleep. One weekend night, we did it, ignored her, and then she eventually went to sleep. Then when she got noisy again at 3 am, I got up, took her out, she pooped and I threw a party for her, and then I left her out of her crate for the rest of the night. She pooped again, in the house that night after we went to bed.

    We have also tried taking them all out, then walking just her and if there is still no poo, putting her back in her crate for 30 min, and then taking her out again. We repeated this for hours over the weekend, but she never pooped. She seems to have this ridiculous ability to hold it in!! (this does bode well for her compliance once we figure out this training thing).

    I know that she wants to do the right thing. I know that she is not doing this on purpose. I know that clearly, this is an inability on our part to communicate to her what we want her to do. I just don't know how to fix it and we are running out of patience.

    I may be leaving out some relevant details but feel free to ask questions. And I'd welcome any advice!

    Thanks.
    Last edited by GLC1968; 10-31-2012 at 10:09 AM.
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  2. #2
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    Apr 2012
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    Personally, I would pick a room with a non-carpet floor, ie. Laundry room. Put Sara the dog and her bed in their for night time; so if she poops over night, it will be easier to clean. If she cries, you can think about putting a 2nd dog in their with her so that the Laundry room seems more like a room than a cage.

    As for pooping outside, the best command next to "come here" is the bathroom command. I take their favorite treats in small pieces with me on walks (especially in the morning when the dogs first wake up and after eating their dog food). When the dogs go pee, I say "Bathroom Here" and then give them a treat. When the dogs go poop, I say "Bathroom 2" and then give them a treat. I try to use the same word "Bathroom" for both pee and poop so that they know that potty functions of either pee/poop on command gets a treat. Depending on how smart the dog is, they'll learn the command within 1 wk to 1 month so that they know to pee/poop on command.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    You know, I never thought to use a treat to reward the correct bathroom behavior, but I can certainly try that! Thanks! I do use a command, but I don't think my husband uses the same one. Now that I say that, I think he and I need to sit down and discuss this. His idea of training is different from mine, so there may be a disconnect for Sara there...

    Unfortunately, we don't have any hard floor rooms with doors in our new house (except for bathrooms that are quite small). Luckily, she is choosing to poop in the currently empty dining room which has hard floors and she has healthy, firm poop, so it hasn't been a destructive situation yet!
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    2,704
    With Cody, we trained a bathroom command ("Go Potty!") by telling him to "go potty" every time he squatted or lifted a leg, and then profusely praising. Within a couple of weeks, he figured out the whole sequence. He;s 10 now, and I still praise him for proper elimination. The neighbors think I'm batty, but having a dog who goes on command is wonderful.

    I'm not a professional, so take all of this with a grain of salt. I would start over from scratch, as if she'd never been housebroken. If she;s not crated, she's leashed to you, and all trips outside are on the leash so that she associates the leash with nature breaks. She's not eliminating in the crate, is she? When Cody was a pup, we didn't crate at night, but we did leash him to the bed until we were sure we could trust him.

    Sounds like she's overwhelmed by her new surroundings. Have you spoken with your vet? Can't hurt to get their opinion....

    Good luck!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
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    Sara sounds like a sweetie. Even with the pooping. Sensitive, too. Poor girl is probably still adapting to the new house, so that might be part of the problem. I agree w/using positive reinforcement (treats) so she gets it. She's a smart girl, like you said, so it's only a matter of time until she adapts.

    Thank God she's not peeing inside. Poop is a lot easier to clean up (our late old girl Maud had DM and lost her ability to control her bowels, so we became immune to pooping accidents.).

    Sending you lots of good wishes in getting through this.

    It's amazing that canines can have weird peculiarities about their bathroom habits. One of our goldens will not poop when I'm walking her. She'll wait until we get home and then want to go out into the back yard. She also pees only in certain yards when I walk (primarily the "rich people's" front lawn). The oldest golden prefers to do her business behind a now flourishing camelia that's pretty far from the back door---she's such a lady that she likes privacy!

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  6. #6
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    Apr 2006
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    1) when/what are you feeding her? Feed less at night
    2) does she have a favorite poop spot? If so, put down a potty pad, then slowly move the pad a few feet toward outside - if the pad happens to be in the right place and she starts to use it, she'll continue to, even when it moves (don't ask me why, but it works)
    3) crate games - this is an amazingly effective way of training a dog to love their crate http://www.clickerdogs.com/crate_games.php
    4) most dogs poop 1-3x/day - if she's pooping more often than that you may want to take her to the vet
    5) she might just be POd at you for making her move, she may settle down in a few more days
    6) try an ex-pen instead of a crate, this is similar to the no-carpeted floor idea. An ex-pen works wonders - set it up with her favorite bed and a toy (and maybe a chewie)... so this is her home. She *will* pick a corner of this home as her potty/poop area. Once she does, see #2 above and it will work in this instance, too.
    7) I think this one is nuts, but several really good trainers believe that you should never let your dog see you pick it up.
    I haven't had too much luck training a word for pooping - my dogs are all trained to potty on command ("potty like it's 1999"). When at dog performance events, my dogs all get treats for pooping/pottying - it's almost funny to see a dog squat, then bound over expecting a treat for it. (pooping/peeing in the ring is a huge no-no, so doing it on command and in the potty area is very important). They don't get treats other places, and they seem to know that, too.
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  7. #7
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    Nov 2005
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    I am not a dog trainer, but I've worked with several on my dog and I've learned a bit in the process.

    Do you have a regular walking schedule--like at least 30-45 minutes in the morning and in the evening? Getting dogs, particularly smart ones, on a walking schedule seems to help with a host of issues. Also, being such a large dog, Sara probably needs lots of exercise (i.e., walking twice a day, and not just around the block). Like others have mentioned, some dogs tend to be more picky about where they do their business than others. Mine will not go in my yard (or the house)--he has to be on a walk, usually about 30 minutes into the walk. He's been very well trained that walks are the time for business. I got him as a 2-1/2 year old rescue dog, so I didn't train him to do that, someone else did. With such a small yard now--so different to what she's grown accustomed to--she might really benefit from two long walks a day, no matter the weather. This teaches them that leashes are not only for fun trips to the dog park, but for going on walks, which is their job. Dogs need jobs.

    Speaking of dog parks, several dog trainers I know really do not think they are a good idea because all rules go flying into the wind, in addition to the health issues that can come up. My dog does not play well with others, so I don't have to make a personal decision on the dog park issue (we don't go for other reasons), but it's something to think about and maybe ask around about.

    Also, feeding times are really important. I have a friend who has a dog who cannot seem to hold it during the night, so she feeds him only once a day, in the morning. It works great and he no longer poops in the house at night.

    Put up a bell on the door so Sara can learn to ring the bell when she needs to go out. Make sure to knot the string a few times so she can't get it stuck around her neck (happened to my dog once and it was not very much fun).

    But mostly, just go on two long walks a day and I bet she'll get the hang of it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Erin, Ontario
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    Also just a thought, but are you picking up her messes and putting them outside so she can smell it out there where you want her to go. We have two OCD border collies and they run the routine here. I don't have to even talk in the morning they know who goes out first then they exchange places at the door automatically (we put them on a chain in the morning to do their business). They both sniff around a different area and they both have a favourite spot. One by the garden the other behind the garage. They seem to spend inordinate amounts of time sniffing the chosen areas! Considering that they have been using the same spots for 7 years! (Unless it is raining then they are amazingly fast!)
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  9. #9
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    May 2006
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    Thanks for all the ideas everyone!

    Tulip - we do all the things you suggest. She gets two LONG walks per day (all the dogs do, but Sara gets longer ones as the energetic puppy) plus focused play time in the house and a 'quick pee' at lunch time. Sara also gets an additional walk at lunch, if she didn't poo in the morning. All three dogs eat at the same time, twice a day, every day. They are all very good eaters, so we rarely have any issue there.

    I can have Sara with me, walking, for 1.5 hours and she doesn't poo.

    We'll keep working with her though. I think the key is our ability to maintain our patience!
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  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Moving is stressful, she just hasn't quite figured out what is expected of her. Is she alone a lot?

    Crate if you aren't watching her. The key is not having a chance for her to make a mistake. Try not to have her crated for too many hours though.
    Take her poop from accidents and put it outside in the area where you want her to go.
    Take her out without the other dogs but if she doesn't poop in a reasonable time, bring her back in. Try again a bit later but watch with an eagle eye.
    Give major tasty, wonderful, delightful treats for pooping outside and praise her. Say Go Poop! when you see her making motions to poop.
    Say Go Pee! when she is about to pee. Treats immediately after the pee. Praise alone is not enough.
    Try to get an idea of when she is pooping, that is, how long after eating. So, you can anticipate best when she needs to go out.
    Take her out frequently and reduce frequency as she learns to go outside again.
    No punishment for inside poops. No yelling at all for accidents, just quickly usher her outside.
    As someone mentioned, try not to let her see you clean it up. Be sure to use an enzyme cleaner to remove all traces of odor.
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  11. #11
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    May 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by goldfinch View Post
    Moving is stressful, she just hasn't quite figured out what is expected of her. Is she alone a lot?

    Take her poop from accidents and put it outside in the area where you want her to go.
    She is not alone really at all because we have two other dogs and a cat and they are all together (Sara is in her crate but it's in the living room with everyone else). And my husband is now working from home again (we finally got internet last night!!).

    I can't do the one hint you mentioned above because we live in a condo and I'm supposed to pick up the poo...not leave it out there! There is absolutely zero way of keeping her from seeing me pick it up, too. With three dogs on leashes, it's just not possible to hide anything I am doing!

    Thanks so much all. You guys are such a help! I need to get more treats, but we will definitely do the treat after going outside thing. Of course, then the other dogs will want them too but we'll figure it out. It'll definitely work if I'm out with Sara alone, of course.

    The good news is that last night, she pooped for me!! The bad news is that she hasn't yet done it for my husband, so we'll have to work on that...
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by GLC1968 View Post
    There is absolutely zero way of keeping her from seeing me pick it up, too. With three dogs on leashes, it's just not possible to hide anything I am doing!
    We mean pick up the poo in the house - don't let her see you clean up after her and therefor think it's "OK". Outside, on leash - in front of her is fine.
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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Is pup any better at going potty?

    I have to walk a number of pups (adults) at once. I have found the Cesar Milan pack walk seems to help.
    I keep them on a short leash (one foot-Halti) at my side or behind. We are going on a hunt--I am the leader--smells could be detrimental to the hunt kind of thing.

    We start off on short leash. Walk 20 feet. Then I stop, say ok Potty, and give them their 6 foot leash. Then gather up leashes and walk command. At about 6 houses/block I stop, say ok-potty and give them their leashes. They usually get their business done. I gather leashes short again and we are off for a non-stop walk/hunt.
    After the "hunt" I stop, ok-potty command and give full leash once or twice near home.

    Good luck
    fs

  14. #14
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    Some really good ideas. Here is my take (without actually seeing your dog.)

    As others have said, moving is stressful. It sounds like your baby is sensitive and really not mature yet. Give time time.

    Crating is the gold standard for these things. Is the crate in your bedroom? That might help. For now, I'd feed her in the crate at night. After dark, put treats in the crate & give her your "go to crate" command. In short, make it a safe place at night. If you get up during the night, put a few treats in the crate & send her to it. After you feel like she's "got it", try to crate all night. NEVER let her out if she's raising a racket. (My only concern here is if your neighbors complain about the night racket.)

    Last (and this is a bit gross) you can take a match (paper, not stick) & insert it slightly into the rectum to get the poop action going. People who show dogs in obedience do it because if they poo in the ring, it's an automatic disqualification. Bring rubber gloves.

    Finally can you put a little piece of poo in your rock yard? It doesn't need to be big (or detectable by the condo HMO police.)
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  15. #15
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    Ah...no, she still hasn't figured it out. I walked her for over an hour last night (round and round the same little spot) and while she did pee (yay!) there was no pooping going on. It's so frustrating. In fact, just this morning my husband commented on how she farts a lot and all I could think was that it's because she is holding in her poo so much. She has had zero issues with eating (or with poo consistency...thankfully), so I don't think it's an illness. I think she just hasn't figured it out yet.

    Night racket won't be a problem for the neighbors...just us. We have no neighbors yet. On one side is the model home and the other side is still empty (though it is 'sold' so we'd better hurry and get this resolved!). I was thinking of the crate in the room, too....but then she flips out if she thinks we've crated her when we leave the house and she doesn't see us actually leave. This is why we moved it into the living room. Would two crates be a bad idea? We have two since the other two dogs were crated when they were young, so we could put one in each location (using the same bed/pad)...

    We have gotten the actually walking part down really well. Two dogs are on pronged collars (one because she has a pin head and slips out of her regular collar and one because she pulls) and one is on a regular leash. Charlie (who has dominance issues) walks behind me to my left. Sara and Maggie (who are huge pushovers in all situations), walk in front of me on a shortened leash so that it doesn't tangle. When it's potty time, they get tangled sometimes as I give them full leash length, but the walking part is going VERY well. Thankfully, they've figured that part out.

    Dogmama - I could put poo in the rock yard. Maybe I move her poo out there and then take her out there on the leash? I don't really want them to be pooping out there, but if it's a way to convince her to go on the leash, then maybe it's a good way to start?
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