Housebreaking a 2yr.old dog

schoolhouse_gwFebruary 5, 2010

He's a beautiful collie mix at the shelter that was picked up as a stray; they told me they don't know if he's housebroken but doubt it. Also his bio on the website mentioned that he got along with dogs but they wouldn't recommend other types of animals. When I called, they said he had killed a chicken; so I'm assuming that's why he was brought to the shelter, by the person whose chicken he killed. I'm betting he has always been an outside dog.

Do you think it would be hard to housebreak an adult dog who's lived outside most of his life? (assuming) And in regards to the chicken incident, I'm wondering how he'd treat my cat. Just some extra training is in order I figure.

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We brought home a male rescue border collie last month. He really seemed to be a "farm dog" and we guess he's around 2 and had just recently been neutered. It didn't seem like he'd ever been in a house before either.

I brought him home on Saturday morning and then kept him on a leash near me the whole weekend. He lifted his leg once, got a stern NO and a leash tug. Then I took him out to the backyard, walked him around until he peed outside, then praised him like crazy. A few hours later he tried to mark the ottoman and I gave him the same response. That was about a month ago, and he hasn't tried it since - and no accidents so far. We kept him tethered or supervised 100% of the time in the house for a week or two, then gradually gave him more freedom. He slept locked in a crate in the dining room until 2 nights ago, now he is sleeping on a pad in the corner of our room. So far, so good.

Since neither of my dogs can tell me if they need to go out (we haven't worked on a system yet) I make sure to take them out every 4 hours or so when they are in all day on the weekends. During the week they stay outside while we are at work, but I take them out right before bed.

Not sure about your cat though - most cats I've known can defend themselves pretty well - but make sure it has safe places it can escape to.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 10:33PM
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I would think the killing of another animal would be your highest priority. I think you should look into muzzling the dog when the cat is around. You need to get a good sturdy muzzle not one made of cloth....once the dog has been retrained you should be okay (no guarantees) Sounds like the dog was just left alone for days - it might have either been neglected and not fed. You will have alot of training to do that is for certain...

    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 11:32PM
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for me house training an adult dog, providing it's healthy isn't any harder than a pup. it's all learned behavior. just go back to potty training 101.
However marking isn't the same as potty training, so that may give a different set of problems. If so here's a good article about that one below.
The killing of a chicken, well that may or may not pose another problem..if the dog was a stray for a while hunting may have been it's survival and that's a learned behavior that may not be able to be undone. Doesn't mean it would go after the cat, but it could mean any bird is fair game...pun intended.

Here is a link that might be useful: understanding marking and stop it

    Bookmark   February 6, 2010 at 7:48AM
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Thanks cal dreamer. Sounds like that would be my scenario and you did a good job training him. Like you say - so far, so good. Thanks for the other replies,too. Here is his pic at the shelter. I'm betting he was a farm dog, not necessarily neglected, just wandered over to a neighbor's chicken coop and got caught red handed and taken to the shelter.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dixon

    Bookmark   February 6, 2010 at 10:29AM
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The really good thing about dogs is that most of them are remarkably trainable.

I have seen Cesar train out prey drive in hunting type dogs. So it can be done. I have almost trained out the dog aggressiveness of our GSD mix. He is unneutered and I noticed another male(loose) came to our fence three days ago and Max acted as though he wanted to play, no barking/growling/lunging like he used to do.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2010 at 11:05AM
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Since the shelter specifically recommends that he go to a home without other animals, you might want to take their advice on that. Have you met him yet?

As far as potty training, instead of leash pops and 'no' watch for any sign and immediately take the dog outside and REWARD with praise and a treat for eliminating outdoors. Dogs repeat behaviors they're rewarded for.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2010 at 11:07AM
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He's quite a handsome boy! One of my previous dogs looked just like him except she had short hair. She was 5 yrs old when I got her and she had previously lived with cats in the home.

While I owned her she'd want to chase any cats she saw on our walks and she would kill opossums and squirrels if she could catch them. She was great with any animals that lived in the home and was one of the smartest dogs I've owned.

I'd highly recommend you join an obedience class ASAP. It will do wonders for your bonding!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2010 at 11:48AM
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Schoolhouse, Dixon's really a nice looking dog. When you go see him, specifically ask about any interaction with cats - maybe walk him by a cat cage and see how he reacts. Mazer is right about concern about your cat and you really do need to figure that in. (I don't have a cat, and never had cats and dogs at the same time.) My last dog was a Shiba with crazy prey drive and I never could have had a cat with him. (Or any other small pet because he hunted EVERYTHING.)

While I agree with Cynthia that positive reinforceent and rewards are essential in training, I also believe that my dogs need to know immediately what behavior is not allowed in my house; usually by way of a sharp ah,ah,aht, a NO with a clap, etc. It only takes once or twice and they get it. Bo still has some puppy behaviors like mouthing and chewing, and he absolutely loves to be up on things. He's got the idea that he can't jump on the couch or bed, but still thinks it's OK to put only his front feet up there. So thanks for your encouragement but our training is far from over :) Overall, they get way more treats and praise than corrections.

After my dog died last fall, I decided to go the rescue route and was amazed and saddened at the sheer number of unwanted pets out there. Although I had a few misadventures along the way, I now have two fabulous dogs that are working out wonderfully. Thank you for thinking adoption first, and good luck!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2010 at 11:58AM
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Haven't been to the shelter yet, but I did ask over the phone how he was with cats. The lady said she didn't know. This shelter is relatively new and has few funds, so they don't give shots,ect. Apparently no real interaction testing either.

My cat was raised with my dogs, so has a good relationship with the ones I've had over the past nine years. The last two dogs I adopted must have been around cats too because they came as adults and don't mind Kitty at all - unless he tries to steal a bite from their food bowls. ha. However pretty Dixon is and my intuition that he'd be a great pet, I have to agree with you guys that I should consider my cat.
Have to think some more.

Bet Dixon would prefer a farm home and being outside, but now that he's killed a chicken no farmer would have him. Sad.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2010 at 12:15PM
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I just went to the shelter site again and I see that they now have posted under Dixon's name: "No Cats".

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 10:26PM
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I would ask how they came to that conclusion..........

    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 11:59AM
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Farm dogs often carry around carcasses of animals they've found. The poor guy who lived across the road from us showed up one day and tried to give me money for the rooster he said his dog killed.

I asked him if he saw his dog kill the chicken. Noooooooo but it was in his mouth, so he must have. The danged chicken was totally intact, in rigor mortis so I knew it had been dead for some time, and I suspect his fine retriever was just doing what retrievers do..........retrieve. To the dog, it was just a feathered football. This poor roo had not been attacked by a dog, and he wasn't even mine. He prolly died from exposure.

IOW, dogs at shelters often have owners who are ashamed of dumping them, so cough up excuses as to why it was necessary. True or not. They aren't doing the dogs any favours.

All of my dogs would try to kill a chipmunk or squirrel, some of them would kill my chickens I imagine if I didn't have them caged. But, I don't leave my dogs to run unattended. That's what unattended, untrained and bored dogs can do.

BTW, they've all coexisted just fine in my house with five cats. A shelter, for obvious reasons has to have a 'buyer beware' disclaimer. But, all shelters should screen animals they adopt out for aggression. Some dogs are not appropriate to be placed, and that's just a sad fact of life.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 10:42PM
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Thanks Calli....all too true.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2010 at 2:27AM
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I just got a 2-1/2 year old mixed breed last weekend. Looks like a husky and whippet/greyhound by appearance. Very affectionate and rather needy (seeks reassurance often). I have not figured out when he wants to go outside yet, even with frequent outside breaks.

I pitched a small rug today after he did no. 2 on it for the third time. I take the poop outside as soon as I see it, and clean the spot with some dog odor product. He also goes outside about half the time, so I guess its just a matter of me reading his behavior. Or he may not be able to control his bowels as well as my last dog, a mixed breed who only had trouble in his last year.

He did pee on the floor a few times the first few days, but that seems to be getting better.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 4:25PM
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