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I took in a dog 7 months ago (a 1yr old chihuahua/collie mix) who was being abused. She was very skiddish and had not been trained at all by her previous owners. Since bringing her home, she gets along extremely well with my other two dogs and my cat and her skiddishness is almost completely gone. My problem with her is her house training.. in the time we've had her, she's gotten extremely better considering she wasn't housebroken at all. She goes to the bathroom outside when we take her out. However, I don't think she understands that she's supposed to let us know when she has to go out.. it seems as though she just waits for when the other dogs have to go out, and if they don't have to before she can't hold it any longer than she just goes in the house. Whenever she does have an accident inside, she runs in her cage immediately after which leads me to believe that she understands it's wrong to do. I am not sure how to train her into letting us know when she has to go outside. I'm at a complete loss as to what to do.. Any tips would be appreciated!
 

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Usually you can have a set schedule of when you take her out so it's routine for her (i.e. she can expect you'll let her out soon after dinner, etc). So, when you decide to take her out, lead her to the door that you always go out to let her outside, say, "Do you want to go outside?" and then open the door, and then she will pee, then you reward and bring her back inside for play time. Eventually, she will start to stand by the door when she needs to go. if this doesn't work, just keep taking her out before she can have accidents (i.e on your schedule), and she will just learn to hold it in until you let her out, which is ideal in my opinion.
 

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I took in a dog 7 months ago (a 1yr old chihuahua/collie mix) who was being abused. She was very skiddish and had not been trained at all by her previous owners. Since bringing her home, she gets along extremely well with my other two dogs and my cat and her skiddishness is almost completely gone. My problem with her is her house training.. in the time we've had her, she's gotten extremely better considering she wasn't housebroken at all. She goes to the bathroom outside when we take her out. However, I don't think she understands that she's supposed to let us know when she has to go out.. it seems as though she just waits for when the other dogs have to go out, and if they don't have to before she can't hold it any longer than she just goes in the house. Whenever she does have an accident inside, she runs in her cage immediately after which leads me to believe that she understands it's wrong to do.

Dogs don't really consider peeing/pooping inside a matter of right vs wrong. They see nothing wrong with peeing and pooping wherever and whenever they need to. Her running to the cage isn't her showing you she understands it's wrong, it's her being afraid of being punished. Lots of folks misinterpret this. Dogs engage in "appeasement" behaviors, which humans mistake as "guilty" behaviors. An appeasement behavior is anything that the dog does in the hopes to appease you, or also to avoid punishment by showing you they are willing to please.
I am not sure how to train her into letting us know when she has to go outside. I'm at a complete loss as to what to do.. Any tips would be appreciated!
You said she was abused, so she may well have been punished for going to the bathroom inside, will can make potty training harder.

I agree that you should set the schedule. It's hard to expect the dog to set the schedule, if she doesn't understand the part about letting you know she has to go. Also, many adult dogs don't let you know. Mine don't. Well, I guess the kind of do. Harper will come stand in front of me and stare at me. But, he also does that to let me know he wants to play. Abby does nothing to let me know.

One thing setting a schedule will help with is eliminating accidents inside. If you set a schedule, and take her out, say, every 2 hours, and that works, you are breaking the habit of going pee inside. The more you take away the opportunity to have an accident, the more you get her into the habit of ONLY pottying outside. The more she gets into that habit, the more likely she will consider that the only option. If she considers that the only option, she may start to head to the door on her own.

I do know others who have taught their dogs to ring a bell to go out, but I never tried that. Our dogs are too into performing tricks, and I am afraid they would ring the bell for fun! :)
 
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