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  1. #1

    Need help w/otty training for a 1 year old

    I have recently adopted a year-old schipperke/shephard mix. She's sweet and gentle, but ...

    She has spent most of her life in a kennel, and isn't housebroken. I am walking her 6-8 times/day right now, something that I'd like not to have to do forever :wink: She spends the night in a crate, which I was told would discourage her excretions, but -- if she's got to go, she goes whereever she wants, including her crate. Very unpleasant.

    I have been studying click training and am trying to use the clicker to help reinforce good behavior. She's been with us for about a week now, and -- despite yummy treats and working with her 3 mins x 5-6 times a day -- doesn't seem willing to be trained at all.

    And ... I'm trying to get my cat to happily cohabitate with our new canine family member. The cat's been hiding for the entire week we've had the dog, and the dog has a tendency to chase small animals (which I'm discouraging during our walks in the park).

    Does anyone have some good advice for me?

    Thank you!


  2. #2
    Wow Laura. I answered your post in the welcome area, but I think that this post now answers many of the comments I had there. looks like your dog is taking more after the "Skip" part of her geneology!!

    The crate training is the best method for house-breaking a dog, but you need to make sure you are doing it correctly. I'll give you some tips on that in a moment, but first I wanted to mention that the going in the crate is NOT a normal dog behavior. They HATE to go where they sleep or eat and this behavior is absolutely LEARNED by living in a kennel or being a puppy mill dog and living in a cage. It is a terrible shame that dogs have to start out life that way, but at least now she has found a wonderful person to love her and to work with her.

    In regards to crate training, I usually DO NOT ever recommend feeding a dog in their crate, as that is not the purpose of the crate, but if your dog is going to the bathroom there, then this may be a way to further discourage that.

    First, to be effective the crate should never be used as punishment (such as the dog doing something bad in the house and being locked in the crate as a result). The crate is a GOOD place for the dog, a DEN so to speak and if you have kids or kids that visit, they should be taught that if the dog goes to her crate they are not to ever disturb her. She needs to know that the crate is a safe place for her, a place where she can go when annoyed or tired and a place that she will never be dragged out of or teased in.

    The crate should also only be big enough for her to stand up, turn around and lay down. Any LARGER than that and she can go to the bathroom in it and then get AWAY from it. You need to make the situation such that if she urinates or defecates in the crate, she will have to lie in it, as there will be no place for her to move away from it. Most animals will find this EXTREMELY distasteful and will learn to "hold it". If the crate i larger - for her to grow into or for you to use as a nesting place/bed when she is older, then put some boxes or something else in the back of the crate to temporarily make it smaller. Once she is house trained though, she can have full use of the entire comfortable crate, but for house training purposes (this will only be a few weeks) the crate should just be big enough for her to comfortably strtch out and no bigger.

    THAT said, they should also never be left in the crate longer than 3-4 hours. If you are going to work and leaving her in there for 7-9 hours, then the crate is not for you and you need to re-evaluate the situation at this level of training, as this is simply cruel for a puppy to be locked in, with no way to "toilet" for that period of time.

    OK, so now let's get to the actual training part...

    Take the puppy out to the same spot on a leash shortly after eating or drinking. The time period will vary depending on your dog and the food he's eating. Try to keep him on a schedule of eating and drinking so he and you develop predictable routines.

    Take the puppy out to his spot shortly after playing or having a chew toy for a bit. Also, be alert and take him out any time you see him sniffing the floor a lot or circling and other behaviors that you will come to associate with your pup need to go outside.

    Develop some cue for the dog to let you know when he needs to go outside, attach a phrase to fit, and reward the dog with lots of praise when he uses it. Similarly, when the dog is preparing to go, sniffing back and forth, use a voice command such as "hurry up" said softly so eventually he will go on command. As he begins to do his business, praise him lavishly. When he finishes, give him a small treat. Then, take him inside for some play time. Don't let him frolic outside until he's fully trained because you want him to associate outside with house training. It will be tempting to play with him outside, but for a few weeks - resist that urge! Outside needs to be associated with "potty" ONLY for a couple of weeks.

    Do not punish your dog for accidents in the house during this time as truly, these are the fault of the owner for not watching him. Quietly clean up (using a product like Nature's Miracle) and resolve to watch him more carefully in the future. During this house breaking period you need to constantly watch her so that you can correct behavior and/or rush her outside to give you the opportunity to priase her when she goes out there. Make sure your praise is LAVISH!

    At first, the puppy should be crated anytime you cannot directly supervise her. Gradually, time outside the crate can be increased as can letting the pup into various areas of your house. You can start with the crate in the kitchen, and move to other rooms as she develops control and knows the difference between outside and the rest of their new "den."

    Two weeks of vigilant watching, crating when you can not watch, taking the dog out within 30-45 minutes after they have eaten and you should have a house trained dog!

    Trust me, that while this two weeks may seem a royal pain in the butt...your option is many, many months of accidents and problems. In the end, this will be a lot easier!

    Keep us posted on your progress!
    Good luck!



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