Okay, so maybe there's no such thing as a "modest" dog, but my dog seems to have a problem with people watching him when he goes potty. Here are a few details (and I'll apologize up front for the fact that brevity has never been my strong suit)...
My husband and I have owned five dogs since we bought our first home back in 1977, so we aren't complete novices at this. Right now, though, I feel like I'm in over my head. After the death of our 22-year-old cat on August 4, we decided to rescue a few animals in need of homes. We drove all the way to Los Angeles from Salt Lake to pick up a 2-year-old male, Keeshond-Pomeranian mix from a rescue organization (I'm using the term very loosely) there. We arrived in LA on a Friday evening and contacted the rescue organization when we arrived. Friederik's "rescuer" brought him to our motel just before noon the following day (Saturday, August 26), exactly 8 weeks ago today. When she delivered him, she mentioned, in a kind of an offhand way, that he'd been attacked by a Doberman the night before. The wound (near where the shoulder meets the chest) looked bad, and my husband said, "This dog needs to see a vet before he leaves LA." I looked at his "rescuer" and said, "You'll be willing to split the bill with us, won't you?" "Oh no!" she answered. "That's simply not in my budget." We paid her $300 for Friederik and took him directly to a vet, where he required a two-hour surgery and treatment for more than ten ticks on his abdomen. We also learned from the vet that he was closer to 3 or 4 years old than he was to 2. Anyway, $971 later, we headed back to Salt Lake.
Friederik had to wear the "collar of shame" for the first two weeks he was with us. Although we had a doggie door from the last time we had a dog, we were unable to teach him how to use it until the collar came off. His "rescuer" had told us he was housebroken, but I suspect that any dog, if left in a crate almost 24/7 and then taken outside to go potty will do so. Long story short -- Friederik was not housebroken. For those first two weeks, we took him out in the back yard every two to three hours, telling him each time to "Go potty!" and rewarding him with profuse praise and a treat every time he complied. We noticed right away, though, that he always tried to find a place in the yard where we couldn't see him or wait until we were momentarily distracted before either peeing or pooping. We also noticed that this little guy has a really heavy-duty bladder. When we'd let him out of his crate in the morning, he would wander around the yard and do absolutely nothing. After waiting for a reasonable length of time, we'd take him inside, feed him and wait a half hour or so before trying again. Generally, on the second time out, he'd at least pee and sometimes poop.
Once we got the collar off him, we introduced him to the doggie door, which he picked up within literally minutes. We continued with the potty training, but encouraged him to use the doggie door instead of waiting for us to open the door. Things seemed to be going well. Within a few days, he started going outside on his own. He'd stop playing or get up from a nap and head outside. He never stayed out there for long, though. It was almost as if he thought we'd disappear if he was away from us for more than just a couple of minutes. That was okay with us; as long as he was going outside, we were happy.
Even after he was consistently using his doggie door, though, and going out of his own accord, once a week or so, we'd see a puddle or a big glob of poop on the carpet. We just cleaned it up and didn't make much of a fuss. So... here's where I got extra stupid. After we'd had Friederik for four weeks, I brought in a 6-year-old cat, and roughly two weeks later, a 10-week-old kitten. I know, that was quite possibly a mistake, but what's done is done. All three animals are getting along very well. I couldn't be happier in that regard.
But, here's the problem: Friederik has either peed or pooped right next to one of the litter boxes, the cat's beds or their toys on several occasions. I'm not sure what's prompting that. Maybe he sees them using the litter box and figures it's okay to go right next to it, and maybe he's marking his territory (although I've never known a dog to mark it with feces rather than urine). That hasn't happened for a few days now, and I think he may have stopped that. But, the bigger issue is that he is still occasionally going to places in the house where we don't spend much time. I have those places fenced off, but when I opened the gate between the living room and the rest of the house yesterday, he followed me downstairs where I was getting out some of my winter wardrobe, ran into the adjacent room, pooped and ran back upstairs -- all within a matter of just two minutes at the most.
In the eight weeks we've had him, we have never once seen him pee or poop in our house. He's with one or the other of us the vast majority of the time, too. It's as if he doesn't see the house as a whole as his den, and so he feels he can use certain rooms as his toilet -- provided we don't see him. Obviously, if he's going outside on his own well over 95% of the time he goes potty, he does know that outside is an appropriate place to go. We're not taking him out; he's going out by himself. My thoughts are that we need to start spending more time in the rooms we don't use all that often, and that once he starts hanging around those rooms in our presence, he'll come to think of them as part of his den, too, and stop going potty in them. I could keep them blocked off indefinitely, but I don't see that as constituting training. I would be totally okay with him having the run of the house as long as I could trust him. But as to how I should go about getting to that point, I don't know.
Anyway, I've rambled on long enough. I could definitely use some advice here. I don't know how long he will have to go without any "mistakes" for me to be able to confidently say, "My dog is fully housebroken."