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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 18814
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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I have 2 rescue dogs about 4 years old, they were kept only

Resolved Question:

I have 2 rescue dogs about 4 years old, they were kept only for breeding. They wee and poo all over the bungalow and if not caught in time eat their poo. I have training pads which sometimes catch it but they do not know they should use it. One of them wees and poos as they are walking around the bungalow almost as if she doesn't know she is doing it. Can you help please.
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 4 months ago.

Hi JaCustomer,

My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

In order to supply you with an informed answer, it is necessary for me to collect some additional information from you. When I receive your response or reply, it will likely take me between 30-45 minutes to type up my reply if I am still online when I receive notice that you replied. I hope you can be patient.

What breed are these dogs?

Are training pads all that you have tried?

Do they go on grass and dirt if you take them outside?

Are both females or one male?

Are they fixed?

Is it urine and feces?

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 4 months ago.

I was hoping to get some response back from you before giving you a response but I also want you to have some answers and techniques that should help.

The quickest way of house training a healthy dog is crate training. I know many owners balk at crate training especially if they feel a dog has been caged their whole life, but it really does usually work. The following site goes over crate training.

The key is no time outside of the crate unless you can have your eye on them constantly to pick them up and take them out if you see the classic sign of impending bowel movement or urination. Also, scolding a dog for going in the house does no good unless you catch them in the act. If you do catch them, a firm NO and trip outside should be done. Remember to clean any area inside they have gone with a good ENZYMATIC pet deodorizing cleaner. Other cleaners do NOT remove odor well enough to fool a dog's nose, just human noses. Here is a site with more information on crate training. This is how I house train all my dogs. In addition, put a bell or other noise maker on the door low enough for the dog to reach. Each time you take the dog out, ring the bell. The dog will associate ringing the bell with going out and one day ring the bell to signal to you that they needs to go out.

There are also containment methods you can use.

You'll have to be consistent with the girl until house training is complete with her.

Here are some tried and true pad training methods.

For training to pads or paper, this is the best way to go about it with the least amount of stress on your dog. It will take some effort on your part.

In the area that you want her to use the pad, set up an enclosure. You can use child gates, free standing pet enclosures, or anything that will serve to enclose the area you want her to use. These are the times when you will be taking your dog to the enclosure. When you feed or give your dog water, first thing in the morning, last thing at night and after extended play times.

You will want to start this when you are not working or when you can spend a couple of hours in the morning and evening exclusively doing this. Enclose or barricade the area and put pads over the entire area. Scent one of the pads and place it where you will leave it when there is only one pad. When you and your dog get up in the morning, instead of taking her outside, take her to the enclosed area and put her inside it. You can leave her a few toys but basically put her in the enclosed area. It is best if you can stay there and keep an eye on her. Do not engage her with talk or play or reassurances. Just be there so you can see her when he actually goes. She may be reluctant, but do not cave in to whines or cries. You must remain calm and in control and ignore her. Sit in a chair and read or do some other activity to keep you occupied while she is in there so you are not focused on her but can still see her. It may take some time, especially the first time, but she will eventually go on the pads as she has no where else to go. When you see her start to go, you can say in a low calm voice “good potty”. It needs to be in a low quiet voice so she isn’t startled into stopping. Give her lots of praise for succeeding and perhaps a little treat and you can then remove her from the enclosure and open it up so she has access if she want to use it. The first time may take an hour or more, but if you do it first thing in the morning, it is likely to take less time.

Repeat this according to the circumstances I mentioned earlier concerning when she should be going and a few extra times during the day to try and avoid accidents. After a few times going in the enclosed space and being praised for it and getting treats she should not be as reluctant to go in the enclosed area. Continue to praise and say the key wood “Potty”. When she reaches the point where she is going to the bathroom almost immediately in the enclosure on the pads, you will want to start taking up some of the pads so only a portion of the enclosed area has pads. Repeat as if the whole area was covered. Your dog should go on the pads and not the floor. If she does, continue the praise and treats. Slowly reduce the number of pads in the area until you are down to one or two only. If she should happen to miss the pad or go off the pad, add some more for the next time as you probably were taking them away too fast. At this point she knows the pads are where she should be going.

Once she is going on the pads and you are down to one or two pads, don’t close up the enclosure when you put her in it. He should still use the pad as she is now used to it. When she does, again praise, praise and more praise, let her come out the opening. Continue this process if it is necessary, but with the enclosure being open, you may now find that he is going there on his own. Once you notice she is using it without you putting her in there, you should be able to take away the enclosure or barrier. She should now be trained to use the pad.

Depending on how quick a learner she is, you may find she starts going in and using the pad early. If so the barrier can go earlier, but you should still only slowly reduce the number of pads she has to go on, so she doesn't miss, use the floor and think it is ok.

Second method is similar but you would leave her in the enclosed area all the time unless you are taking her for a walk, and just slowly removing paper and decreasing the area inside the enclosure that is papered. As long as she continues to use the paper, you are not moving too fast. Once you are down to a small area, she should be trained. I suggest this because while the dog is contained in an area with paper, the dog may not be as stressed as when there is a cage all around him.

Third method

Set up a contained small area with the paper. Then you will have the dog on a leash attached to you. I attach the leash to a belt loop on my pants. This way she is always where you can observe her easily and stop her before she starts urinating and place her in the potty area. When you see her start to squat, give a quick short tug on the leash and in a low toned, firm voice say "NO". Do not be upset. Pick her up and put her in the potty area. With this method it is best to just stand outside the area looking around ignoring the dog until she goes. Remember praise is everything.

A few key things to remember with dogs. You can not yell at a dog. It does not teach them anything even if you are yelling when they are doing the bad behavior. To a dog a high tone, loud noise is associated with play such as yips and barks from another dog. With a dog all commands and corrections should be in a low toned, firm voice. A mother dog corrects their puppies with growls and nips. Other dogs command them with growls. Also, no correction or punishment for accidents unless you can catch her in the act and then the correction should be as outlined above. If you use one of the non-leash methods, you will want to let her trail a leash so you can grab the leash and make a proper correction if it is needed when she isn't contained.

If you want to train to the outside, you can use a sod patch. Many of my clients that live in high rise apartments or elderly owners love the sod patch. You take a large pan like a kitty litter pan or even a baby swimming pool. You create a platform frame with wire on top. Place newspaper or other absorbent material such as wood shavings under the platform and place sod on top of the wire frame. Since it is grass, your dog will go on it. You can remove solids and can spray the urine so it moves through and down into the absorbent material underneath. This lets you use the same piece of sod for a while before needing to replace it. You do need to replace the material under the platform.

It is easier to house train if you do not free feed. Meals should be given at specified times and water given at the same time unless a dog has a specific need to have water down all the time such as extreme heat or kidney issues. You would start feeding and watering them on a schedule. Keep a log of when you feed them and give them water. also keep a log of when they defecates or urinates. Soon you will see a pattern develop as to how long after eating or drinking they eliminates. This will allow you to either be sure they are outside when they needs to eliminate or move the meal time so the time they would need to eliminate is more convenient for you.

Now the fact that one dog seems to walking around and eliminating without seeming to be aware of it is a concern. This could indicate a disc issue especially if this is a long back breed like a chihuahua, dachshund, terrier, shih tzu, etc. An intervertebral disc that has slipped or ruptured up into the spinal canal causes inflammation of the spinal cord, which in severe cases causes paralyses of the rear legs and before that can cause a loss of control of the bladder and bowels. You can read about this here:

Disc issues can cause fecal and urinary incontinence. If it is a disc issue, anti-inflammatory meds may restore feeling and thus some control over elimination. So I would recommend having your vet check for a disc issue in the dog that seems to not know they are eliminating.

I hope this information is helpful to you. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have . If you do find this helpful, please take this opportunity to rate my answer positively so I am compensated for my time.

Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 18814
Experience: Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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