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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20175
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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my18month old shih Tzu just wont get the hang of toilet training

Customer Question

my18month old shih Tzu just wont get the hang of toilet training how can I get him to go outside to do this rather than in my house so fed up now
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 3 years ago.

Hi JaCustomer,


My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.


This is one reason I don't normally recommend using paper or pads. It can teach them to go on that type of surface or in that area instead of outside. I have a few different ideas for you to try.


The first one would be crate training. During crate training, you will be having your dog confined either in a crate or confined to a very small area which optimally will only allow the dog room to lay down in. Dogs will generally not soil an area where they sleep.


When you feed or give your dog water, take the dog immediately outside to go to the bathroom. Also take the dog out first thing in the morning, last thing at night and after extended play times and when they wake up after a nap. Take your dog to an area where you want your dog to go and preferably one that has been used previously. Allow your dog approximately 10-15 minutes to go to the bathroom. If your dog doesn't produce, take your dog inside and cage them again. If your dog does produce results allow her some uncrated time as a reward before crating or containing the dog again.


If your dog didn't go to the bathroom, take your dog out again about 30 minutes later and repeat this until your dog goes. Praise your dog profusely when your dog succeeds and is on the leash. This will teach your dog that it needs to go when you take your dog out and not play around first.


Some dogs learn quicker than others do, but once you have your dog going when it is on the leash and each time you take your dog out, you should be able to stop containing your dog. It is a lot of work, but pays off in the long run. Remember no playing or praise until your dog succeeds in going outside on a leash.


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 pet deodorizing cleaner. It has to be enzymatic and soak in as long as the urine did to remove the odor completely. Here is a site with more information on crate training.


In addition, put a bell or other noise maker on the door low enough for the dog to reach. I usually hang it from a string on the doorknob. 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 she needs to go out.


An alternate way would be to crate him when you are gone and leash him to you when you are home. This will help stop him eliminating there when you are gone. It will also allow you to make it clear to your dog that eliminating inside is unacceptable. If you see him go to lift his leg or squat you can give a short tug to break his attention and a firm NO, then take him outside. Remember to reward elimination outside with a tasty hot dog or vienna sausage sliver. That helps as well.


Another possible solution would be to get him used to going on grass so when you take him outside, he will recognize that as the surface he is supposed to go on. This would require you to put together a sod patch where the pad used to be. Since he already goes there, he should use it without any effort from you.


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.


Once he is using it consistently for a week or so, he should understand that grass is the preferred place to eliminate. You can go ahead and use this along with other methods to help him understand what you want him to do.


Usually getting them used to eliminating on grass along with a clear signal to let you know they need to go out and treats for successfully eliminating outside are enough to get a dog house trained if you do not use the crate method. I would still use a crate for when you were not home.


I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. 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 .


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hiya thanks for getting back in touch he already uses a cage and doesn't toilet in there

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 3 years ago.
That is great that he already is crated, so that is a good thing. You can use it for those times you can not watch him closely or have him leashed to you. The rest of my suggestions should do the trick though I think I would try the sod patch first as it will get him used to eliminating on grass on a regular basis.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I think I'm guna go ahead with the crate training I shall let you know what happens

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 3 years ago.
Great. I'll be looking forward to your update.