Potty/Crate training a 5 year old dog?
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Thread: Potty/Crate training a 5 year old dog?

  1. #1
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    Potty/Crate training a 5 year old dog?

    I recently adopted a 5 year old mix who had been found as a stray. She knows sit and lay down and will even offer her paw to you (I did not teach her any of this). She was most likely on her own for awhile, as she appears to have had quite a few pregnancies, was found to be pregnant when she was spayed, and eats each meal as if it will be her last for awhile. She also ALWAYS wants to be outside, she is just starting to realize where home is.

    So, of course, she is not potty trained and our carpet is a terrible mess. We are attempting to crate train her as we did with our puppy, but she is just not understanding this. Its not that she refuses to go when she is outside, she just has to find that perfect hidden spot. However, we've realized if we just stand instead of walking her around she will eventually, EVENTUALLY, go. She also has realized that peeing in the house will get her a trip outside, so she will slightly spot the carpet to get to go.

    So last night I took her out probably for 30-40 minutes total time, multiple trips, and she would not poop. So, I put her in her kennel knowing that she would go in there. (She is also a good escape artist and can unlock her kennel and get out if she has gone to the bathroom or needs to go...leading to more messes on the carpet.) So this morning, I woke up to her having gone to the bathroom in the kennel, but I took her out first thing so she could pee. I took her out again before going to work (and after she ate), but no luck with the bathroom.

    I came home from lunch today and spent 45 minutes outside with her, and she still did not poop. This is much harder than it was with Jack, our puppy.

    Any advice on crate training on older, stubborn dog?

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    Senior Member Amaryllis's Avatar
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    Re: Potty/Crate training a 5 year old dog?

    Congrats on the adoption! It's nice of you to take an older stray. She's not stubborn, she's just had many years to reinforce a lack of housetraining. She's obviously not stupid, because she knows sit, stay and shake. Plus, it's entirely possible a puppy mill was using her as a breeder and dumped her when she couldn't produce anymore and those dogs have a lot of issues from the way they were treated.

    Just get down to brass tacks. She can't be left alone. If she can get out of her crate, fix it so she can't. Block off the "hidden spot" so she can't pee there. Use a good enzymatic cleaner to make sure she can't smell it on the floor. Take her to a vet and test her for a UTI. Sometimes the best training method is patience. She doesn't really understand "inside" or "home" yet, so it's all very new and confusing to her. She'll catch on.
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    Senior Member DustyCrockett's Avatar
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    Re: Potty/Crate training a 5 year old dog?

    Am I reading this correctly? Rewarding her for peeing on the carpet, and putting her in the crate so she can poop in it, those are kind of counterproductive, aren't they? Putting her in a crate that she can leave whenever she wants, that isn't crate-training.

    Housebreaking is a matter of not allowing them to pee or poop inside the house. If the carpet is a mess, then she can smell it even if you can't; it's like a big neon "bathroom" sign.

    Why not leave her outside while you're at work?

    Trust the dog, he knows what he's doing.

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    Re: Potty/Crate training a 5 year old dog?

    Potty training is more about what YOU do than what the dog does. It's about prevention. Many people use crates to potty train, because a general rule of thumb is many pups won't soil where they sleep. BUT, that's just a GENERALIZATION. It's not always the case, and it's NOT the case with a dog that's not used to the crate, so doesn't have the concept of what crates are really for yet.

    You absolutely can potty train without a crate. In fact, I prefer it, for two reasons: what if you get a dog/puppy that doesn't follow the generalization about not soiling where you sleep? and, you can't always see what your dog is up to in the crate. If you can't see them, you can't PREVENT accidents in the crate.

    I much prefer to have the pups out and about with the family, with someone's eyes on them constantly. That way, you can see the signs that they need to go, and get them outside. Then, praise and treat them with a high value treat when they potty outside. Really, the more you can PREVENT accidents, the quicker the dog will get the message that peeing outside is the only option.

    The way to prevent, as I said, is to supervise, and watch them super closely. YES, it's a hassle. You have to put things on hold, you can't just sit and watch tv, you can't put your nose in a book and read, etc. But, it's done and over much quicker if you just do it right.

    The other important key is schedules. Take her out on a strict schedule. When you take her out, because you are giving her the opportunity to potty, don't stay out for 30-40 minutes. Stay out 5 minutes. Say the exact same potty words each time. If she doesn't do it, take her in, and wait inside for 5 minutes before going back out to try again. Basically, 5 minutes out, if nothing, back in for 5, then out for 5, then in for 5, you get the point. When you have her in for the 5 minutes before going out to try again, you have to watch her super closely, and if she starts to squat, rush her out immediately.

    The thing is, right now, is she knows peeing a bit on the carpet means she gets to go out, then pee more, then get a treat, it seems like fun to her. PLUS, she gets to stay outside for 30 minutes while she finds her perfect spot. This isn't efficient potty training.
    There's a difference between going outside to potty and going outside to play, or explore, or bask in the sun. She needs to learn that as well. If she gets to spend 30-40 minutes outside every time you take her to potty, she isn't ever going to learn the difference, and she will always expect a super long trip out.

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    Re: Potty/Crate training a 5 year old dog?

    Quote Originally Posted by DustyCrockett View Post
    Am I reading this correctly? Rewarding her for peeing on the carpet, and putting her in the crate so she can poop in it, those are kind of counterproductive, aren't they? Putting her in a crate that she can leave whenever she wants, that isn't crate-training.

    Housebreaking is a matter of not allowing them to pee or poop inside the house. If the carpet is a mess, then she can smell it even if you can't; it's like a big neon "bathroom" sign.

    Why not leave her outside while you're at work?
    Live in an apartment right now so can't leave her outside. It's not that she is in a crate that she can leave whenever she wants. She unlocks it and squeezes out the body half. Houdini type dog.


    Quote Originally Posted by doxiemommy View Post

    The other important key is schedules. Take her out on a strict schedule. When you take her out, because you are giving her the opportunity to potty, don't stay out for 30-40 minutes. Stay out 5 minutes. Say the exact same potty words each time. If she doesn't do it, take her in, and wait inside for 5 minutes before going back out to try again. Basically, 5 minutes out, if nothing, back in for 5, then out for 5, then in for 5, you get the point. When you have her in for the 5 minutes before going out to try again, you have to watch her super closely, and if she starts to squat, rush her out immediately.
    Will give this a shot. It was so easy with a puppy since he couldn't hold it!!

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