Housetraining issue.

timbulbMarch 2, 2010

We recently adopted a 6 week old Bichon X puppy. Her previous owners gave up on her. Our problem has been housetraining. She pee or poop outside no matter how long she is out. The only time she goes pee or poop is in those times when she is out of our sight (in the house) for 30 seconds or so. She's now going on 14 hours without a pee or poop. I'm sure if I let her wander the house for a minute, she'd poop and pee somewhere. I suspect her previous owners scolded her harshly for defecating in the house. (They really had no idea about dogs). We've even had her on hour long off-leash walks and not even a dribble.

What is our next step?

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OOPS, that should say six MONTH old BichonX

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 8:59AM
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six months, phew, big difference. IMO 14 hours without a movement at six weeks might require a vet visit...

Six months is a bit better... at this point you have to be more stubborn than the dog. Set him up for praise.

You didn't give us too much other information.

So I would ask does the dog have a set schedule for food and water. No free feeding - get him a set feeding schedule and that helps set up a pooping schedule. Often they will have a bm shortly after a meal. So if you feed at the same time every day, you will know what time they need to go potty.

The key at this point is to not let him out of your sight. Sneakers get leashed to your belt loop, so he has to go where ever you go. Then you can catch him when he starts to squat and get him outside right away.

Praise him like crazy when he does go outside. Act like an idiot full of happiness... "oh my god what a wonderful potty!" "What a great dog!"

I had a stubborn toy fox terrier who went 28 hours with no pee or poo... I thought she might burst before she would give in. Those last couple hours we spent lots of time outside, to make sure we were outside when she finally gave up.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 12:49PM
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Why is an untrained pup ever out of your sight? That's your problem.
I agree with JoePyeWeed, put her on a leash and tie the leash to your belt loop. If you're too busy to keep an eye on her put her in the crate. The key is to not allow bad habits to have a chance to start. I won't go back to any other method of house training.

Also hang a bell by the door you take to go outside and ring it with her body before letting her go or taking her out. She will soon pick up on ringing it herself (once you trust her enough to let her off the leash).
But be prepared, she will ring it no matter what the reason she wants out is and you have to comply. (And my bell rings ... :) )

Take her outside when you know she has to go and DO NOT come back in until she goes. I don't care if you have to spend 12 more hours out there watching her.
My present dog was afraid of the dark when he was young. I spend many long hours out in the rain waiting for him to go. Play training with him while we were waiting not only passed the time but seemed to get him moving faster.

I would not make a big deal of it when she does go outside. She could take that to mean you will like it just as much if she goes inside. Some praise, just don't go overboard. (I went overboard the first time I trained a dog to roll over and that was his only trick no matter the command from then on. Although it was funny to have 3 dogs lined up and tell them to sit and he would bowl the other two over. He was such a dork.)

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 9:57AM
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Do you leash walk the dog at all? If so - how often. My suggestion is that you collect some of the offending matter and take it with you outside. Place it out where the dog is likely to go, and give her verbal commands to go. Make it all positive and praise her when she does it. It may take a bit, but your dog will get it. The more you leash walk a dog the better, the smells of other dogs in the neighborhood and the actaul act of walking on a leash will stimulate your dogs patient and good luck

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 6:11PM
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About the only thing to add is make sure and clean the areas, in the house, with a good odor cleaner. Do some serious cleaning of anywhere she has left her mark. Because even though you can't smell it, the dog can. If your pup can smell it she will then have a tendency to go back to the same area.

Wishing you good training with your little furball.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 7:02PM
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I recently adopted two Bichon mixes too, one at 8 weeks and the other 1.5 years. I've had them both for about 6 months. All I can say is it takes awhile. Mine were difficult to train, and there was no rhyme or reason to anything they did. For whatever reason, things are getting better. I'm thinking that in addition to all the other theories, being in a new home, new environment, just makes them scared and out of sorts. Once there's some sort of a routine (and believe me, in my case, I use the word "routine" very loosely), i.e., they feel safe, they trust you, they're comfortable in their new home, things start to fall in place. I didn't think mine would EVER be potty trained.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 10:09PM
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So here's an update, we've had this little monster for 2 months now. She is never out of our sight and is still peeing and pooing in the house. She'll find any two seconds that we turn our head to wizz in the house. She finally started going outside when we take her out in the morning. (She is crated at night and when we are out.) We take her out every 30 minutes when we're home, but she still rarely go's wizz outside, pooping is a lot better though. She rarely has a poop inside. We've spent 2 hours with her in the back yard waiting for a wizz, but she'll just lay in the sun or try to start playing with us. We had hoped she would learn from our other adult dog, but to no avail. We're hating this because we'd like her to be able to enjoy running around the house with the other dog but she can't because she is always tied to us or barricaded in the same room with us. My wife has had good cries wondering what we are doing wrong. We've had the vet check her out and she found nothing wrong, in fact she said the little puppy is very healthy and unusually well built and trim for her breed, mostly due to her 3 times daily walks we assume. Although she has never once peed or pooed while on a walk, even on the couple 2 hour walks we've been on.

What ARE we doing wrong? We want this little girl to start living a more free extistence, not at the end of a leash or behind a chunk of plywood.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 12:37PM
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Bichons are known to be difficult to house train. You haven't mentioned what your daily routine is. Do you both work every day?

I'd recommend crate training as tho she were a 8 week old puppy and when she's not in the crate she should be in a collapsible pen with some pee pads (just in case) her bed, food and water.

When you take her outside, don't give her free rein but walk her around the yard on leash giving a command such as 'go tinkle', 'do your business' or whatever you want to use.
While outside for potty break, don't play with her and don't talk to her except to give the command every few minutes. If she starts to pee, quietly give the command again. Then afterward.........lots of praise. If she doesn't go, put her back in the crate and repeat 30 minutes later. Be sure she has access to toys and water while in the crate. I'd also feed her in the crate.
There are lots of books and info on the web for crate training. Stick with it and have patience. It may be 6 months before she gets the hang of it, but she will!
Remember that she's bring some bad habits from the previous home and that it will take time for her learn a new routine.
For playtime with your other dog, let them play outside.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 1:02AM
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Small dogs are notoriously hard to train and it can take them a full year to be reliable. My experience with them has been that all of a sudden one day it just finally sinks in. Just be patient (I know it isn't easy) and keep following the advice above for constant supervision, praise when she goes, a regular schedule, etc., and I think she'll get there. My eight month old maltese mix is just getting the hang of it and I've had her since she was 14 weeks old.

Another thing I've noticed is that female dogs prefer to use the same area for their potty. I can take my two on long walks and they'll never go until back in our yard, while my male will have peed on every blade of grass along the way.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 8:40AM
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Well what a difference a couple days makes. For the last two days our little furbag has been pooing and peeing on command outside in the same spot. What a relief. Now she can run and play with our other dog, as long as we take her out regularily. I guess a little persistance pays off.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2010 at 9:18AM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Good for you!
We live in an isolated area with no close neighbors so when I need to get our two dogs to do their business right away, dh will take them out and pee first. They always immediately go on top of it. It is a time saver!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2010 at 8:07AM
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bumblebeez - THAT is funny!!!!!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2010 at 8:50AM
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timbulb, so glad to hear she is doing better! We had a hard time training our dog, too. Although she learned fairly quickly that it is good to pee and poop outside, it took her much longer to learn that it is bad to pee and poop inside.

Glad your patience has had some effect - hang in there!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2010 at 11:36AM
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Annz and Myke made good points...

1. Always give a command "go potty?" *when you are walking to the door*
2. Always command while you are waiting "go potty?" (whatever phrase you choose) *while you are outside*
3. Once they do it? HIGH praise

They WILL get use to knowing that "go potty" means go outside and do your thing.

Additionally, remember this for all puppies (it's a "general rule of thumb", not a hard and fast rule)...

.... a "puppy" can generally hold it for it for 2 hours for each month of age -- That means every 2 hours for an 8 wk old pup -- and yes, that includes the middle of the night, just like you were bottle feeding a baby.

Once they reach 6 months (in general) they should be able to hold it all night, but asking more than that is improper.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 1:15AM
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