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InkyAnn's avatar

Help with housebreaking a small breed dog. PLEASE!

Asked by InkyAnn (2433 points ) 1 month ago

Hello! This is Riley . ( Sorry its so long I just want you to have all the info)

I just adopted her from the humane society a week ago. She is 9 months old and that is the only info the previous owners gave them. She is my first small breed dog, and is partially house broken (if that is a thing). But I am finding it a lot more difficult to housebreak her than the other large breed dogs that I have raised in the past. She doesn’t let you know she has to go out, so right now we are just going off of her “tell”. When she starts sniffing the carpet we know its time to go out. We also have a kind of schedule with her. She wakes me up at around 5–5:30am and I take her out right away, she normally pees immediately and then takes about 20 minutes to poo. Then the outings the rest of the day are kind of frustrating. I take her out about every hour and about a half hour-hour after she eats (just like the sites I read suggested) but we will be out there for almost an hour and she wont go. Then when I bring her in she’ll go on the carpet. Some times she will actually go while out there but not till about 15 mins after we’ve been outside, she’ll go pee then wont poo for another 15–20 mins later. I praise her when she goes and give her a treat right after shes finished with each one.

I just don’t get it, why does it take her so long to go initially and in between and how can I break her of holding it till we come back in? I mean I will sit out there for hours waiting and nothing then come back in and she pees… PLEASE HELP!

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20 Answers

Coloma's avatar

I’m sending this to one of our resident dog trainers who is in England so be on standby. :-)

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

I’m no expert, not with dogs. I did have a friend whose little dog was shy, and did much better when he was shielded from view of cars, other dogs, people, etc. He was best off when there was a cluster of tall bushes, or a lilac bush vclose to a hedge where he could really get enclosed. Oh, and my friend had to look away. He would look mortified when the plastic baggie came out.

pleiades's avatar

Hmm use some ABA techniques with positive reinforcement. My guess would be, prepared to sit outside for as long as it takes her to pee, when she pee’s reward her with a treat and immediately go inside the house.

If she pees in the house, use negative reinforcement (this is to say, take something away from her that she loves working for IE a doggie treat) Tell her, NO NO, bad dog, show her the treat, then put the treat away…

I don’t honestly that’s my weak sauce thought process!

GloPro's avatar

Are you using a crate at all?

InkyAnn's avatar

@Jonesn4burgers she’s not shy like that lol and it would be a good idea to try… if I didnt live in the desert haha. Nothing to hide behind.

@pleiades I already do that and its not working lol.

InkyAnn's avatar

@GloPro no shes deathly scared of them, im assuming from all the time she spent in them at the pound. :(

longgone's avatar

You will need to lower your expectations and treat her like a young puppy for the time being. Dogs can be housebroken because they get used to certain surroundings every time they relieve themselves – and you have no idea whether anyone worked on this with her, right?

As @GloPro says, a crate is a perfect tool for this process, if she has learned not to soil her sleeping area. This is not a given, considering her unknown history – but it is possible.

Is Riley food-motivated? Crate-training, in general, is not that hard and worth it. A favourite technique is locking a special treat, toy, or the entire dinner into the crate, and then just letting it be for a while. You would need to work slowly and not overwhelm her, but you would probably be glad you’ve done it at some point.

If you absolutely do not want to try a crate, my only advice would be to go out even more often. Consider it a crash course and, for a few days, don’t spend more than ten minutes in the house at a time. If you do need to stay in the house for a little longer, tie Riley to her dog basket. Hopefully, she has accepted that as a sleeping area already.

You have mentioned she wakes you up. Does that mean she doesn’t ever relieve herself while you are asleep? If so, is she locked in the bedroom with you? That would indicate she has accepted this room, at least, as a place not to soil. It would mean that she is a good candidate for crate training, and it would also mean that there is something else you could try: Set up camp in different rooms. Sleep in the living room for a night or two, then move on to the kitchen.

This might sound silly, but it could go a long way in making Riley understand that the entire house is just a huge sleeping area. Dogs have no concept of houses, if they aren’t taught.

Good luck, stay patient, and never try to use force in any way! It sounds like you will take great care of Riley!

Just FYI, @pleiades: You’re describing negative punishment, if you want to stop a displayed behaviour by taking something away.

Leanne1986's avatar

The only thing I have to add to @longgone‘s post is don’t punish or reprimand when she goes in the wrong place. This will only make her nervous to go to the toilet when you are around, so will make her less inclined to go outside if you are there. Ignore unwanted behaviour and strongly reward good behaviour.

I would also recommend introducing a keyword so you can’t start letting Riley know that it is time to go to the toilet. Many people use something like ‘be clean’ for example. To introduce a word, calmly (so as not to interrupt her flow!) start saying it as she is going in the right place then when she finishes, reward her with a treat. She will gradually start to associate the behaviour with the word with a treat. Eventually you will start to be able to say the word and she will know that if she does a certain behaviour (ie: go to the toilet in this instance) when she hears that word, good things happen!

A week is no time at all so please don’t expect to have instant results and don’t be surprisedif it sometimes seems like you are taking two steps forward and one step back. Consistency is key!

GloPro's avatar

@Leanne1986 I picked a keyword without really realizing what I was doing. We look/sound so mature when my extremely large breed male and I are in a hurry and I’m cooing at him in a Southern accent: “peepee outside, Oda, peepee outside.”
I will never really be cool, and clearly am not setting the bar high, LOL. Why didn’t I think of Hurry Hurry, or Be Clean? Oh well.

Leanne1986's avatar

@GloPro I also did this by accident and I say “Do a wee Bella” which turns into “for goodness sake Bella, do a wee” when it’s raining! All the while trying to keep my voice sounding calm and unemotional!!!

gailcalled's avatar

@GloPro: Milo here; I vote for the dignified “Micturate, Oda.”

longgone's avatar

@GloPro and @Leanne1986:

I might as well admit that I have a song for when I want Nerina to pee, right? Don’t worry. I hum, and no human ever hears (I hope). I, too, started this without thinking about it. I needed something to stop me from yelling at her, which I am tempted to do when it is way too early while I am way too late ;)

We also have a more dignified “Go on.”

GloPro's avatar

@longgone Mine is a song, too, but I’ve managed to stop singing it. I did when he needed more encouragement and celebration. It was practically a concert.
“Peepee outside, oh peepee outside. Peepee outside, yeah peepee outside. Peepee, peepee…. Yay, peepee!”

longgone's avatar

@GloPro Good God. I’m laughing!

GloPro's avatar

Hmmm, I’m not sure if I’d rather people know I sing peepee songs to my dog or that I am a Streisand fan.
She looks great there, though, doesn’t she?

gailcalled's avatar

She does. I really loathe that song, however. Too much over-the-top phrasing. “Peepees who need peepees” would work much better.

InkyAnn's avatar

Thank you all for your advice, my fingers are crossed that with tryin your suggestions something will work. I found out last night that she will use pee pads all on her own so now I can relax a little and not worry while im at work. I was reading that pee pads can be a great transition tool for going outside permanently. what do you think?

Leanne1986's avatar

@GloPro Nothing wrong with being a Streisand fan or singing to your dog! I am/do both and I don’t care who knows it!!! Streisand herself has a Coton de Tulear and I bet she sings to her!!

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