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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Two weeks ago, we adopted two littermate sisters -- Mini Aussie Shepherd mixes. They're 15 weeks old. One sister, Elsie, does not pee in her crate but pees immediately upon exiting it.

I've tried lifting her out of the crate, and I've also let her come out on her own. I've tried spreading a few kibbles just outside the crate. She eats the kibbles but still pees on the wood floor right next to the food. I've said a firm "no" when she squats. Nothing has worked so far. She pees upon exiting whether I leave her in there for just an hour and a half or as long as three hours. Three hours is typically the longest time she stays in the crate; I work from home during the day.

She has reached a point at which she sleeps at least four hours each night in her crate without having an accident inside it or asking to be let out. Last night, both she and her sister stayed in separate crates for about 6 and a half hours without creating a mess or whining to come out. But as usual, when I let Elsie out this morning, she peed on the floor.

My next move will probably be to try letting her out to go potty in the backyard once every hour during the day. But it seems that in daytime, a nearly four-month-old pup should be able to last longer than an hour without a potty break.

By the way, Elsie was just at the vet last week and received a clean bill of health. Also, we haven't seen any symptoms of "littermate syndrome." Both girls seem happy, well-adjusted and devoted to their dads. They've learned to go potty on command in the backyard in response to praise and treats.

Any suggestions? Have you experienced a similar problem? I'm all ears.
 

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Clean bill of health from the vet... Did they specifically do a urinalysis and rule out UTI?
 

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Good to rule that out. Maybe it has become somewhat of a habit... Have you tried opening the crate door and immediately running for the outside door? Or, a more out of the box temporary solution... Gently moving the crate so it's right near the outside door (or even outside), then opening the door. Setting the dog up for success and continuing to use treats to reward for all pottying outside should help her form a different habit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Good suggestions, but I’m afraid they won’t quite work in our home. The girls sleep in our 2nd floor bedroom. We want them there so we can hear them if and when they whine during the night to go outside and do their business.

Elsie’s in a wire crate big enough to hold a medium adult dog, so it’s too big to safely carry down our stairs with her inside it. The crate has a divider to limit her available space until she grows bigger.

For now, I’ve been doing my best to pick her up before she has a chance to get her behind out of the crate and go into the squat position. Because I suspect excitement peeing is what’s going on, I’m also trying to calm her with soothing words before I open the crate door. Sometimes these techniques have worked, sometimes not.

I’ll keep working at it, and maybe she’ll outgrow the issue. In the meantime, I’ve ordered a plastic mat to protect the wood floor outside her crate.
 

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Put a leash on her before she exits the crate and then KEEP HER MOVING (walking) to the door. The fact that you have stairs is a problem (length of distance between crate and outside). Do not say "no" when she pees. It simply teaches her not to pee in front of you (at some future date).

A dog that is moving typically cannot pee too. The object is that. You may need to teach/training her to keep moving in response to the leash outside so she gets the idea. Remember, if she is NO used to a leash and responding to it, oppositional reflex will kick in and she will stop and (probably pee) and pull BACK on the leash. You need to teach her about responding to the leash by moving toward you in response to pressure and moving away from the pressure.

Of course, when she pees outside have some REALLY GOOD food to pop in her mouth and let her know how good she is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
That sounds like a good suggestion. We've just started trying to get both girls used to wearing a harness and leash.

Other than this issue and frequent, typical puppy rowdiness, Elsie and Nina are sweet angels! They seem to be pretty quick learners. They generally respond to the "go potty" command. They know they'll get praise and a treat in response.

We're doing our best to raise them both to become well-adjusted dogs in their forever home.
 

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Take this with a grain of salt, I'm no professional. But I'm kind of old and have lived past more than a few doggy lifetimes :(

In all my experience it's always been about what's considered home turf vs not my home turf with dogs. Your pup is super young, so be patient too. Anyway, I find that the more time they spend roaming free in an area the less likely they are to excrete in it, as they start considering it "home" and they don't like spoiling home. My current dog pooped and peed in the house many times the first few weeks, but he had free roam within the home and I still tool him to the yard several times per day despite. After that, he quit (on his own without my doing anything more than a single "bad dog" on his own. But then, he started venturing further and further to the outskirts of the yard to do his business because he had spent enough time with me in the core yard to consider it "home" turf. Today - 2 years later - he always uses the furthest edge of the yard he can get to, or he'll just hold it all in for a walk.

Dogs in my past were similar. But it has to be fun time with you, not just on his own free time in the area. That's what seems to trigger the "don't soil this area" instinct. I've never had a dog 15 weeks old that had that figured out yet. Puppies, what are you gonna do? They're cute for a reason!
 

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Another suggestion would be to keep really high value treats (piece of meat, doggy chocolates) reserved for rewarding her when she potty outside.

She might be allowed to see the treat but not allowed to get it till she plays along. Point is to make her think "she has that yummy food and I want it... How do I get it?"
 
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