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I've owned German Shepherd purebreds and mixes since I was a toddler. Now, several decades later, we bought a cute German Shepherd-Rough Collie puppy for my daughter's birthday.

I've never owned a rough collie mix before, but I have owned a border collie mix who was much more hyper but housebroke via crate training method within 2 weeks. Are rough collies not as intelligent?

It's been 10 weeks now and worse than caring for a newborn human, and I have 7 kids. The problem is that she doesn't make any noise. Let me repeat that: THE PUPPY DOESN'T MAKE NOISE. So she never alerts us when she needs to pee or poop. She doesn't whine or whimper when left in a crate. She doesn't bark or cry.


She was also pad-trained for the first 8 weeks by the seller, so she seeks out anything cloth to pee on, especially in the kitchen.

She also is unphased by crate-training. She has no qualms about peeing on herself in the crate and lying in it. She's so cute but is it possible for her to be retarded? I know how horrible mean this sounds but as someone who's owned dogs forever, I've never seen this behaviour before. She is the most quiet puppy, most quiet dog I've ever seen. And she will pee and poop on herself like it's nothing.

Please help. We do love her and don't want to give her away. She does sort of respond to positive reinforcement, but I really think she has developmental problems and I don't know what the solution is. She isn't deaf, though. She does startle when we call her name.
 

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Not all dogs - especially young dogs - will give you any kind of signal when they need to go out. Some are not even aware of it themselves.

It is our responsibility to get them out at regular, reasonable intervals, to reward them extravagantly when the mission is accomplished and to remain calm when accidents happen.

I've never had to transition a dog from pads to outside potty breaks but I'm given to believe that it can be very challenging for everyone involved.

If she absolutely seems to have no control of her bowels and bladder, a focused vet visit is in order. Also, dogs from puppy mills, who are crated 24/7, often have no reservations about soiling themselves. They simply never had a choice. (You didn't say where you got the dog, so this may not be relevant.)
 

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The vet doesn't seem to think there are any neurological or physiological issues with the dog, and she didn't come from a puppy mill. A friend's dogs had a set of babies and she and her husband could only afford to keep one puppy. She did sell the other 3, but was particular about ensuring they went to a house with kids. However, the dogs were welped but not crated.

I've never seen a 5-month old large breed puppy with such little self-awareness. My first instinct is that still she is deaf and maybe hears the vibration of us coming when we think she is startled by hearing her name? But it hurts to keep her crated for so long and watch her incessantly fail to learn every time we take her outside to do her business. I've never had this process take longer than a month.

I guess we'll have to try a different vet.
 

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I want to be up front about the fact that I've never dealt with anything like what you describe and never had any kind of collie. I have dealt with rescues that didn't want to eliminate on a leash and with one of my own puppies who didn't want to go anywhere but her own yard.

That said, thinking about what you posted, I'd try:

Putting a pad of the kind the breeder used outside and as close to the door you take her out through as possible to see if that encourages her to go outside. If you can come up with a few drops of urine to put on it, not enough to make it used, but enough to scent it, that might also help.

Take her outside as often as you can. Set a timer for every 20 minutes if you can and see if a day or two of that makes a difference. Set your alarm to wake you every couple hours in the night for a couple of nights, get her out that often, and see if that makes a difference.

My sense is that collies and shepherds are both sensitive breeds, so if you have a success, yes, praise generously, but don't get boisterous about it, more enthusiastic but suitable for a delicate lady if that's in any way clear.

Confine her somewhere with a hard floor like tile and make sure nothing cloth or cloth like is on that floor - which would mean no bedding for a while, but I'd try it.

If you don't have another dog, see if you can get a friend, relative, or neighbor to help with theirs (needs to be a puppy tolerant one, of course) and take them outside together. See if watching and smelling another dog eliminate outside and be praised and rewarded inspires her.

Keep her as clean as you can even if it means a bath in very gentle soap daily so she gets more used to being clean than dirty. I know you said this was a litter raised by a family, but the first thing I thought of from your description of her behavior is a puppy raised in a way that forced her to be in her and her littermates' excrement regularly. It does happen with amateur owners. Keeping puppies clean once the bitch stops doing it is a LOT of work.

Even if she is deaf or doesn't hear well, I don't see why it would affect housebreaking.

Good luck.
 

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With a young puppy, potty training is much more likely to be about physical development than intelligence. Just like human toddlers, a puppy is still developing both their ability to actually hold their bladder and their ability to tell when they have to pee. It could be that she's just a little slower to mature (physically) than previous puppies you've had - I can't speak to whether that's a breed thing since I have no experience with potty training either shepherds or collies.

This is a case where I'd set her up in a pen. Her sleep area (can be her crate) at one end, and a potty station at the other. Ideally, this potty station would be using the same substrate that she'll be going on outside - a piece of turf, for example, or gravel, but at the very least I'd put in something like paper pellet litter, so it's not like anything else in the house. This should give her the opportunity to potty away from her sleeping area, and imprint on the substrate she'll be pottying on outside (if you go that route). You can wipe the potty area substrate with a towel you've used to mop up an accident to make it more appealing at first, or even cover it with a puppy pad that you slowly cut smaller and smaller until she's going just on the station substrate. You should still be giving regular breaks when possible outside so you can reward for pottying there, but if you need a longer-term confinement solution this would be my go-to.

Otherwise, she sounds like a puppy you'll have to set a timer for whenever she's crated, at least for now. Starting with every 30 minutes, increasing the increment length if she's doing well, and decreasing if she has a setback. It sounds like a lot because it is, but if it gets her past this stage of development where she's struggling to hold it, then it's worth it.

My eldest was also pad-trained before I got him, and I agree that it does make things harder - at least for some dogs. I may use pads as a management tool in a pinch/emergency (eg covering the puppy's pen with them if I absolutely cannot take them outside for some reason - extreme weather conditions for example) but I wouldn't praise for it or otherwise encourage a puppy to use one regularly. I feel your pain there. It's natural for dogs to prefer an absorbent surface anyway, but pad-trained dogs often seem to be particularly keen on seeking out rugs, bathmats, that shirt you dropped on the floor on the way to the laundry, etc.
 

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All good advice. However, I have known one "retarded" dog.
EVERYTIME she peed or pooped, she danced, rolled in it. She lost two good homes because even die hard dog lovers can have limits. How many times in one day can you bathe a dog?
Happy thoughts everything works out for your pup.
 
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