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Supacase's avatar

Success stories on housebreaking an adult dog?

Asked by Supacase (14500 points ) July 8th, 2009

Many of you know we just got a dog from the rescue. We were told she is housebroken. She is not. We have had 3 accidents; yesterday’s was pee all over the kitchen tile 30 minutes before people were descending upon my house for a Tupperware party. This was within 5 minutes of being inside after being outside for a couple of hours.

It ran down the grout lines under the wood trim. My husband has pulled up the trim and I have cleaned and cleaned. I have used enzyme cleaner multiple times and even bleach (on the tile side, not the hardwood floor) and it is still there.

My friends and the internet have so many different theories and I don’t know which one to use. I know this is different than training a puppy because Roxy has had over a year of going wherever she wants since she was never really inside.

I am looking for personal testimonies of methods that have worked in similar situations.

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3 Answers

syz's avatar

It can be done, but it takes commitment and work.

For now, bathroom breaks should all be on-leash. If she’s food oriented, take some treats with you. Walk her outside for as long as it takes until she pees or poops and then immediately give her effusive praise and treats. Do this as many times a day as you can manage. And I mean effusive – if you don’t feel like an idiot, you’re not doing it right.

Rather than leaving her outside during the day, you may want to bring her in and crate her while you’re gone. As soon as you get home, put her on a leash, take her outside, and then praise, praise, praise.

When she gets the idea, she’ll start voiding as soon as you get outside with her. Reinforce it for a while longer, but you’ll know that she understands at that point.

You have to focus on positive training rather than punishing her when she makes a mistake in the house. If you catch her in the act, give a sharp, loud, explosive “No!” and put her outside immediately – anything more than that will just damage the relationship between the two of you.

My “rescue” border collie came to me as “house trained” at eight months (not). Depending on the breed, the age, the intelligence, the malleability, the willingness to please…..ah hell, really, it depends on how much work you’re willing to put into this relationship between you and your pet. Any dog can be trained, some just take more work than others.

Good luck.

cwilbur's avatar

Dogs do not want to relieve themselves in the lair. What you need to do is focus on teaching her that the lair is your entire house.

So be with her outdoors as much as you can, and when she does her business, praise her like she just discovered the cure for cancer. Be happy, dance around, tell her what a good dog she is. She will get the message.

Then when she has an accident indoors, and you see it happen, express your unhappiness. She’ll understand tone of voice – “Oh, I am so disappointed in you! Bad dog!” and bring her outdoors at once. If you don’t see it happen, just clean it up—after she’s done, if you scold her, she won’t make the connection between the act and the scolding.

My family adopted an adult Shetland sheepdog who had been badly neglected and who was not housebroken or socialized. Once she got the idea that she would be praised for peeing outside, it became one of the highlights of her day.

rooeytoo's avatar

I go with the crate training theory. It is almost always true that dogs will not mess if they have to lay in it, so the proper size crate is a necessity. I have found some pups that were raised in filth and were forced to lay in their own waste do not have this innate fastidiousness which makes crate training more difficult if not impossible. But it is worth a try.

I agree with all other suggestions above except I think it is advantageous to scold them when they have done wrong. I have met very few dogs in my life who were so stupid they didn’t get it when you showed them the mess, whatever it may be, and told them in a harsh tone of voice that this is bad behavior. Praise the good and scold the bad, hopefully the dog will get the idea quickly.

Pour clorox on the grout and let it sit for a while, this should bleach out the stain. But don’t let the dog get it on her feet.

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