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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
We have a challenge here. She's alone from 7am till 5pm everyday, Mon to Thur as the entire family is out. We keep her in the kitchen, TRIED to dog-proof it. She managed to chew up the cupboard doors anyway....:doh:

We live in a high rise apartment, try to bring her for 2 walks per day, morning and evening. We don't have a backyard for her to do her business, so our long term plan is to have a potty tray in the kitchen toilet that she goes to when she needs to poo or pee. Currently we don't do crate training with her and we are still at the stage of getting her to pee on the paper before moving on to a potty tray.

First off, we didn't start very well. Her 1st pee and poo were all on the kitchen floor, we couldn't get to her in time to carry her to the newspaper. After that we stained some of the newspaper with her urine and tried to 'talk' her into pee-ing there. This didn't work ---obviously hadn't done my research before bringing her home!!! :redface:

Ok so she was peeing and pooing in all the wrong places and we were close to going crazy cleaning up after her. I went around the forums searching for answers. This is what I do with her now:

When I bring her for the walks I always say 'pee pee' the minute we step onto the grass patch below our block. And after she does pee (which is normally within a few seconds) I give her a treat and praise her. The poo doesn't come as easily and it's not so predictable but when she does lift up her tail and drop one I say poo poo excitedly and praise her and follow with a treat. I hope to teach her to pee and poo when I ask her to. We do this exercise at least once a day, sometimes the morning walks can't happen as we were rushing for time. We do more of it during the weekends. One thing to note though, she's very jumpy during her walks, even when she's mid pee or poo she's still looking out for 'predators'. So I'm not sure whether she managed to associate the words with the action.

At home I spend most of my time watching her and bringing her to the paper and say pee pee poo poo. She obliges maybe 1 out of 10 times:redface:, and if we close the gate to the kitchen to confine her she goes probably 3 out of 10 times.

NOW --- She's just really wierd with her potty habits or should I say inconsistent.

During the day when we are all out, I don't want to jinx myself but I must say, she's quite ok doing her pee and poo on the paper. She's getting it about 80% of the time.

In the evening when everybody gets home, she's like down to 40%-50%. A lot of the incidents happen when we weren't looking. We just find it odd that she seemed to forgot her potty training when we are around. I really have to have my eyes glued on to her all the time.

If we go home then leave again for dinner, she basically forgets her toilet training, creates a huge mess in the kitchen and pees and poos anywhere she likes. She also drags the newspaper all over the place.

During the night, she's been doing well sleeping just outside my door. She either sleeps through the night or goes to the kitchen newspaper to pee.

In the morning, when everyone is walking around getting ready to go out her potty score goes to 20%. Sometimes good sometimes really bad.

So, having read my super duper long story. My final question is -- is she getting the hang of it??? Will crate training still help since she can sleep through the night without peeing?

We've had her for a month now.... really hope I've not created a big problem....
 

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It's rarely ever "too late" to train a dog to do something, only more challenging the longer you allow the "bad" behavior to persist.

First of all, a poodle puppy is too high energy to "try to bring her for 2 walks per day". She needs at least two walks per day, plus daily mental stimulation. She most likely chewed up the cabinets because she was bored out of her mind.

Since she's doing okay during the day and overnight, I'd suggest a routine change for the morning and evening:

First thing in the morning (upon waking) - Out for a brisk walk, at least 30 minutes, and make sure she eliminates during the walk
Morning, while family preps for day - Family members alternate playing with her and working on basic obedience, this will help tire her out so she'll sleep during the day
Right before leaving the house - Quick trip out to the potty patch
Leaving the house - Give her a kong or other food dispensing toy for breakfast
Coming home - The first person home takes her outside to the potty patch, or for her second walk of the day (again, at least 30 minutes of brisk walking)
Dinner - Either hand feed her kibble while working on obedience and trick training or use another kong
After dinner/before bed - Outside to potty patch or long walk (whichever you didn't do before dinner) (some people like to walk before feeding, some after)

It's possible, but keep in mind if she's allowed to get away with bad behavior half the day then reinforcing the good behavior will be a longer, more challenging process. And, except in rare instances, crate training never hurts and has infinitely more uses than simply house training.
 

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Rules of potty training:
You get roughly an hour (1) for each month of age. If the dog was born in Dec 2010 then you get roughly 8 hours. Ish.

You should probably start over from the beginning - something got messed up along the way.

1) Get a crate. One that is big enough to stand up, turn around and comfortable stretch out but not with excessive space or she will use it as a toilet and crate train her. You cannot put her in a crate and expect her to like it right away. As you crate train her - for use in the meantime partition off somewhere to function as a temporary containment area (preferably a smaller area) and preferably where you can also place the crate with door open all the time so she can get used to it even when you are not purposefully crate training.
2) Pick one. Either paper train her or train her for the outdoors. She is old enough that if you come home every few hours (over lunch) and work an 8 hour day you could easily do it. Training it is ok to go on newspaper or outside is confusing. Part of her accidents may be from trying to signal she needs to go out (outside) but because it goes between the two types of training - you aren't able to read her signals as well and she can't give signal you either.
3) Deep clean your carpets and upholstery. Everywhere she has ever had an accident. Deep clean the carpets, the rugs, get rid of any bedding that may have elimination on it. Get rid of any scent in the house of any previous accidents as dogs are inclined to go somewhere they can smell has been used before. Use a good enzymatic cleaner.
3) You don't have to have a "word" for curing elimination. You can have one if you want but I find just rewarding after they go outside was enough for us.
4) If you choose to housebreak with her going outdoors
- Start over. Pretend she is 8 weeks old and just came home.
- Get a kitchen timer. Set it for an hour. Take her outside every hour when you are home. She may or may not eliminate every time. Praise her lasciviously in her currency (what does she value as a reward - treats?, pets?, toys? - not what you think she should value) when she does.
- You must constantly supervise her. Watch for any extra sniffing or signals what she may be about to go. Rush her outside if she shows any. I left my girls' leashes on all the time so we could take off outside at a moment's notice. Leash her to you so she cannot wander away and have an accident.
5) Do not punish for any accident. Interrupt any accident you do witness by rushing her outside.
6) It will take alot of work to house train her. You will get tired of going outside every hour.
7) I waited until they were consistently going outside and then increased the time to every hour and a half then two, three, four, etc. Mine can now wait all day (I don't make them do this but they are capable of it). It takes time and patience.
If you want to "paper train" - I have no idea how to get them to pick newspaper you put on the floor for that purpose vs. a magazine you are still reading. I have never paper trained a dog...so I have no idea how to do this. I don't plan on figuring it out either - mine go outside.

As for the caution when eliminating - you would be too if you were that size and in a vulnerable position. Train her to be more confident be giving her treats for calm, confident behavior. If she shows no sign of fear then give her a treat (although don't accidentally reward any other behavior you don't want). You may want to look into clicker training for her to use for other behaviors outside of house breaking.

Take heart - you have not "ruined" the dog. You have created a bit of a problem but nothing some good hard work can't undo. You can train/undo almost any behavior in a dog with enough effort, commitment and patience.
 

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Do you have a balcony? If so, if you need a "quick pee" place (since it's very difficult to rush a puppy outside when it takes you 5 minutes to even get downstairs), a patch of sod on the balcony would be a good idea. It's still outside, so it wouldn't confuse her too much. A pee pad in the kitchen would be very confusing--is she supposed to pee in the kitchen or not? If no balcony, a potty place made with fake grass could maybe be put somewhere in the house she doesn't normally hang out in. The back bedroom or laundry area or something like that, not her main living space. It would still be confusing for her, but not as bad.
 

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The crate is your best friend :) Each time after she pees, you can play with her afterwards, but when you think she may have to go within the next hour, put her in the crate, and then take her out when you think she would need to go. If she doesn't go pee/poo, put her right back in the crate and don't let her wander around the house, cuz she might have an accident. Try again in 30 minutes. You'll find that when they need to go, and have sufficient bladder control, they will start to whine in their crate trying to tell you they need to be let out - don't ignore this type of whining, take her out, and if she doesn't go in 2-3 minutes, put her back in
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all the advice and replies to my thread. I'm trying to to everything that all of you suggested. Most importantly I'm telling myself to NEVER GIVE UP no matter how long it takes. Somehow it's not a culture here to potty train dogs. I've been asking my friends who've had dogs, either they didn't bother to potty train (and mopped up the pee and poo all the time until the dog finally died --- I still wonder how he could survive that) or they used the 'put her nose in her mess' method which I did earlier and regretted afterwards.

My objective is not to make her go to the toilet outdoors 100% of the time. We are fine with her going indoors but she must do it on the tray. It's not just a blue pad but a tray with a metal grille for the pee to go through. We live in a tropical climate country and we can have rain/thunderstorm for days at a time and taking her out is more of a hassle and danger than letting her go inside.

I've since:
1. Gotten a crate and created a confinement corner (1 x 1 m) where she has her crate and 'doggie toilet' at the opposite corners. Trying to follow Ian Durban's 'error-free' toilet training method. 1st few days were spent getting her to like her crate and to go sleep inside on her own. She thinks it's her private and quiet corner now but still sleeps on the floor 50% of the time cos it's cooler.
2. Everytime I can't supervise her 100% I'll put her in her confinement corner and so far she peed at the 'doggie toilet' corner once, not in her crate or anywhere else in the confinement corner.
3. We still try to take her to 2 walks per day. Morning and evening. She seems to have developed a habit of holding as much poo as possible till she goes on her walks. I take that as a good habit and always praise her when she does her business outdoors.
4. In addition to her daily walks I make her chase her ball till her tongue hangs out and she gives up and flops on her side.
5. Bought some chew toys and stuffed them with treats to occupy her time when she's alone. She's started chewing her 'doggie toilet' though. I guess I will have to buy more and think of more enticing things to stuff them with. Is 10 chew toys too much? I thought the liver treats smelled bad enough but she'll give up when she can't get the treat out.

Ok that's the set-up for now... we are trying to eliminate any mistakes (which she still made when our backs were turned). We are tightening up our routine now but during the day she's still alone in the kitchen and we don't have anyone to come by and check on her. Normally she does ok when she's alone during the day. Pees and poos on the paper 90% of the time. Somehow once she'd peed on the paper she won't do it on the paper again if there's pee on it. I just need to make her stop chewing the 'doggie toilet' and start using it!!!

I'm not so sure about locking her in the crate till she whines though.... I'm afrad I'll make her dislike the crate instead. How do I make sure she doesn't have bad memories from being locked inside?
 

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It'll be a good idea to invest some time in crate training - this is to ensure she'll associate the crate with positive things,

1. gradually introduce her to the crate - don't lock her in until she goes in there by herself and looks comfortable
2. Throw some treats in there for her to go after, she'll associate being in the crate = treats!
3. Feed her meals in the crate - this is a good one, worked on my puppy like a charm
4. Don't go to her when she wants out of the crate! It'll teach her that crying/being boisterous in the crate means freedom! let her out once she's calm. If she's whining cuz she might need to go to the bathroom, then let her out. You'll know this because she'll be quiet for a while, and then all of a sudden she might start whining/crying. If she's whining/crying from the very beginning, she is just not accustomed to the crate yet.
5. Put her in the crate when you are home wiht her as well, that way she doesn't associate the crate with being left alone

Lock her in the crate in increasingly longer periods - first for 1 minute, then 5 then eventually throughout the day. Your dog will eventually see the crate as her private little room where she can relax and feel safe. You'll find if you leave the crate door open and she goes in voluntarily, it's a good sign, and you're on the right track! If she avoids the crate like the plague, then you should start with step one, with just throwing treats in there, and not locking her in and letting her go in and out as she feels comfortable.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I'm now doing some crate training. I'm feeding her meals exclusively in her crate. And I'm doing the exercise where i lock her in for 1 minute then let her out. How many repetitions of this per session should I do? When she's laying down inside do i reinforce that with treats? Or how about feeding her through the grille? For starters how do I get her to go in when i want her to? I believe I shouldn't be stuffing her in myself right? Do I throw in a treat or when playing fetch I throw her toy in then quickly close the door?

Oh and we are out for pretty much the whole day 8am till 5pm at least. So that's 9hrs that she will be alone. Is it ok to put her in the crate for that length of time??

She seems to know that we will all be leaving the house when we are walking around and getting ready in the morning. I believe she's trying to make us stay at home by peeing to get attention and she'll do that a few times (right before or after someone leaves) and it will be on the floor (normally she'll want to pee on the paper). Is this some form of separation anxiety? She doesn't really bark when we're out though...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Latest update: I think she doesn't want to pee when I'm looking...

I was sitting beside her in a small ex pen we've set up in the kitchen with the potty tray inside (was reading some stuff and waiting for her to pee so that I can immediately praise her). Before that she had her evening feed and lots of running around playing fetch. She drank quite a bit of water and started sniffing enthusiastically at the ground and her pee outlet (is it called the urethra??). I was very sure that's her cue to pee and immediately put her in the pen... She did not pee at all and started to nap instead... I was like 'OMG this is gonna take forever.....!!!'

So I decided to change my tactic and act like I was busy with something else. She followed me for a bit and looked at me from the kitchen then slyly sneaked back to the newspaper to pee!! She made sure I was not looking because when I crept up to sneak a peek on her and she was staring at me straight in the eyes like wating for me to go away! I saw her in pee position (with pee coming out) and immediately (as calmly as possible) brought her a treat and praised her!!! That was exciting....
 

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I'm now doing some crate training. I'm feeding her meals exclusively in her crate. And I'm doing the exercise where i lock her in for 1 minute then let her out. How many repetitions of this per session should I do? When she's laying down inside do i reinforce that with treats? Or how about feeding her through the grille? For starters how do I get her to go in when i want her to? I believe I shouldn't be stuffing her in myself right? Do I throw in a treat or when playing fetch I throw her toy in then quickly close the door?

Oh and we are out for pretty much the whole day 8am till 5pm at least. So that's 9hrs that she will be alone. Is it ok to put her in the crate for that length of time??

She seems to know that we will all be leaving the house when we are walking around and getting ready in the morning. I believe she's trying to make us stay at home by peeing to get attention and she'll do that a few times (right before or after someone leaves) and it will be on the floor (normally she'll want to pee on the paper). Is this some form of separation anxiety? She doesn't really bark when we're out though...

All excellent questions that I had myself! I'm not sure if I'm right on these answers, but this is just from books I've read, and trainers I've spoken with,
1. In terms of number of repetitions, if she's able to stay in the crate peacefully for 1 minute, extend the next repetition to 2 minutes, then 5 - gradually increasing the amount of time she's in there. Again, you just want to make sure she gets used to the idea of being in there for a while, and that she can settle down quiet and peacefully and not be stressed out from it. If she's perfectly good in there for a minute, you don't need to repeat 1 minute - extend the time.
2. When she's calm in the crate, praise her, and definitely reinforce it - even by letting her out for a bit to play with you. She learns that she gets to play with you when she's being well behaved in the crate, and not when she's barking for attention or whining in it!
3. Definitely feed her through the grille! I used to drop treats in there before I left work so my puppy had to hunt in his crate and find all the treats under the blankets and behind his toys, etc. It was a nice thing to leave behind for him
4. You have to teach her how to 'go to her crate'. Basically, sit next to the crate, leave the door wide open and while tossing the treat in the crate, say "go to your crate" and when she goes in there, she gets the treat! You have to make sure you gain her interest in the treat before you throw it in, otherwise she may not want to follow it in there. Don't lock her in once she goes in, let her come back out. Repeat repeat repeat, adding distance, until you're sitting a few feet away from the crate - toss the treat in, say the command "go to your crate" and reward her enthusiastically when she's in the crate. Eventually with many successful repetitions, she'll get the idea that "go to your crate" means you want her to step inside the crate. This is actually a tough trick to teach because most puppies would rather stay with you, but keep trying!
5. Don't worry, it's not separation anxiety - this is actually a pretty serious issue that most dogs don't have. If other signs are present, like, barking, scratching, whining, tearing up the house while you're away, crying, etc. then you should ask a behaviouralist for assistance,

In terms of her peeing on the floor, if you're having her in a confinement ex-pen, you might've made the area too large. It should be only large enough to fit her bed, the pee pad, and her food and water bowls. That's it. That way she can ONLY pee on the pee pad as she won't want to pee on her food or her bed. Or, if you want to keep it large, you will have to cover the floor with pee pads until she reliably pees on the pee pad each and every time. when you're home and she's in the ex-pen, you do need to supervise her, and that's time consuming. Have her in the small crate so she learns to hold it in, and take her out when she starts whining to go, so that you don't have to spend so much time watching her - if she doesn't pee within 2-4 minutes, put her back in the crate.

I think leaving a dog in the crate for 9 hours is a big long - you can hire a dog walker or dog sitter to just let her out to relieve herself and stretch her legs. if she's in a long term confinement ex-pen, it's fine - I've raised my pupppy this way and he is very happy dog! I leave stuffed treats in his pen, and lots of toys to play with, fresh food and water and he sleeps most of the day anyway :)
 

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We save our dog Bella's favourite treat (Kong with natural PB inside) for when she is in the kennel. We did the process of stuffing the kong, and then she would always follow us anywhere with it, so we would go down to the kennel, throw in the kong, and say "kennel". Now when she sees us filling the kong, she is already standing at the stairs ready to go down, and responds to the command 'kennel' by running right in. We don't ever give her the kong for anything else, makes putting her in the kennel a breeze. She is 10 mo old, and the longest we leave her now is 7 hours. At first we would come home mid-day to let her out, but now she is fine all day and it makes her unhappy if we come home at noon and then she has to go back in, but if we leave her all day, she is fine.
 
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