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I recently adopted a 1 year old chihuahua/rat terrier mix named Kaya from an adoption agency. They found her on the street with no collar, so they had no information about her previous owner or how she'd been treated. She's super affectionate and loving towards me and people she's had time to get acquainted with. Her main problem is that she's so terrified of being outside that she can't calm down enough to use the bathroom. Whenever she's taken out on a leash, upon leaving the house, she immediately tries to jump into my arms. After a few times of me putting her paws back on the floor, she may circle a few seconds before sitting down on my feet. If I can finally get her to walk around, she jumps at every tiny leaf movement, shadow, and rustle in the bushes. She keeps her tail curled super tight underneath her and takes an extremely "on guard" posture.
She won't go outside, but she also seems to know it's bad to go to the bathroom inside, so she just holds it until she gets nervous or excited and leaks everywhere. If I let her out of my sight for a minute, she goes off to a corner somewhere and poops, but luckily there hasn't been a problem with her peeing in the house on purpose. I've tried crate training her, but as soon as I put her in her crate, she begins to cry. When I open the door, trying to be as nonchalant as possible, she gets so excited she pees in her crate. I do not yell at her for going in the house, I try to interrupt her and take her outside when I catch her, reward her the few times she has gone outside, and clean up the mess with vinegar-based cleaner. I've even tried to put a paper towel with her leavings on it in the yard, and that hasn't worked either. Does anyone have any advice regarding how to get her going outside?
 

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Poor Kaya :( I would try rewarding her for going outside. Try purchasing a long line or a Flexi, attaching it to her harness and just go sit outside your home with her. Give her the option of going back to her "comfort zone." Encourage her to venture out. Even if she goes ONE step, reward her like crazy! Let her know you're proud!

If she's scared chances are she's going to need a lot of gentle encouragement. It's not something she will get over by you forcing her to walk, etc. She's going to have to figure out for herself that it's safe to go outside.

So yeah, don't just reward her for going potty, reward her for even stepping outside! It's a big deal for such a fearful dog :)

I would also suggest using a REALLY enticing/stinky treat like cheese or lunchmeat when you're getting her used to going outside :)
 

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Poor little thing. :-( I agree with taquitos that just sitting outside & rewarding *any* calm behavior just for being out there would be the most helpful. I'd suggest keeping your praise quiet & low-key, rather than a big, noisy 'party' for her, since that can further overwhelm a scared dog.

As far as the pottying goes, it is very possible that she was pad-trained in her former home & was never taken *out* to go to the bathroom. Is there any way you could create some sort of smaller, enclosed area in the yard? Erect temporary barriers that would help block out the scary, wide-open spaces for her just enough to relax & eliminate? You might want to even put puppy pads there to help attract her to the spot.
 

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Aww poor girl :(. She must have had a scary experience on the streets. I definitely agree with putting her on a long line and rewarding calm behavior. I also think trying pads is a good idea. Most small dogs are trained to use them for one reason or another. My girls are house trained. But they have a pad in the bathroom for accidents if we are not home. So I would see how she reacts to pads. I agree with putting it out in the yard.
 

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Try sitting outside in a quiet area with her on your lap and just let her observe things. You can talk to her and gentle stroke her side or back (whatever she seems to prefer of course) and offer small extra yummy treats. She will probably feel a lot safer being held close to you and then as she gets more comfortable with the sights and sounds of outside, you can sit and let her choose to sniff around a bit and start exploring.

I would suggest that she always be taken outside on a secure harness so that if she panics, she can't slip her harness or collar (harnesses are generally recommended for small breeds anyway to protect their throats, but you want a harness that she cannot back out of easily)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for your advice everyone!
We have a pad for Kaya down in my room in case that's her sort of thing, but she hasn't seemed particularly interested in it. I've thought about buying a little playpen for her to stay outside in, like one for a baby. Today I got some attractant spray to put on the yard, and she sniffed at it for a while, but no luck yet. I agree that I think the way to get her going outside is to get her less scared first. She seems to be calmer when it's daytime, she even will play outside and walk around the neighborhood sometimes. It's night time that makes her really scared, especially when the bigger dog my neighbors have barks from far away.
 
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