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Hello,

I have a 3-month old Shepherd mix (German with Caucasian). I took him in off the streets of Kazan, Russia about a month ago -- I'm assuming he was born homeless. I have not had a puppy since I was 9 years old, so we're both starting from scratch.

We've been diligently potty-training since I got him. I have a one-room, first-floor apartment here, but it is still difficult to whisk him outside when he makes a mistake, so I have set up a newspaper corner in the bathroom. I praise him when he goes outside, give him no feedback when he goes on the newspaper, and if I catch him in the act elsewhere, I give him a firm "no" and carry him to the newspaper, then close him in the bathroom maybe 1 min.

The first week he seemed to be catching on to this fairly well. Unfortunately, a friend had to stay with him the next two weeks, as I had an unavoidable business trip, and as far as I can tell she let him pee where he liked.

I'm now trying to undo the damage. We've switched to using the bathroom as a "crate" -- he stays there when I'm not home and he sleeps there. I'm guessing this is why he now NEVER goes on the newspaper. On the other hand, he has started peeing wherever he likes indoors, often right in front of me. He immediately stops and runs away when I reprimand him, but he doesn't take these reprimands seriously; it's a game for him. I have to admit he makes a lot of mistakes I don't catch. I work at home and it's impossible for me to always watch him.

It's now been almost 4 weeks and I'm back at square one. Any suggestions?

Many thanks in advance.
Elizabeth
 

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Yes. I do not always manage to take him out quickly enough after he eats/drinks however. On the other hand, he can go all night without peeing (I leave him with water at night), so it's clearly not an issue of bladder control, but of obedience or understanding.
 

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I have to admit he makes a lot of mistakes I don't catch. I work at home and it's impossible for me to always watch him.

IMO,this is what you need to work on.

If you cannot correct the dog, it will not learn. You need to correct in the act of eliminating inside for this to work. Therefore, you need to always watch the dog. If you can't be watching, the dog needs to be crated (or in the bathroom in your case), or tied to you so that it can't wander off and eliminate.


I'm now trying to undo the damage. We've switched to using the bathroom as a "crate" -- he stays there when I'm not home and he sleeps there. I'm guessing this is why he now NEVER goes on the newspaper.
You're probably right. In this case, the newspaper needs to move elsewhere. However, if you want the dog to eliminate outside eventually, skip the paper and just start bringing the dog outside frequently. Try taking the dog out every hour that it's awake, plus trips outside right after waking up, being let out of the bathroom, and after a good play session.
 

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Thanks all for the great responses. I will try the more frequent walking, although I wonder if this just delays the inevitable. He seems to be quite aware that he's naughty when he goes inside, and as I said, at night he has no problem holding his bladder/bowels.

I'm also realizing I may have inadvertantly established a "poop corner." I clean with regular cleaning solution immediately after mistakes, but probably for him the smell is still strong -- any homemade suggestions for tricking his nose? Does vinegar work? Doesn't it destroy flooring? I've got this awful typical Russian fake wood floor (think it's linoleum)...
 

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Alright... Here are a few tricks to help.

Tiny cheese cubes as a reward... When you take your puppy outside and he does his business have a party! Lots of happy noises like "good boy! oh such a good boy" and then give him a cheese cube. He will remember this happy occasion and want to have another happy moment like that.

When s/he goes potty inside. Dont yell. Dont get mad. Just clean it up. Dont give s/he any attention. Dogs are people animals and they will sense that you are upset. But if you visually and audibly get mad then they will just do it where you cant see it.

Remember! Puppies dont have fully control of their bowels and bladder. They cant hold it for long periods of time. Take your puppy out about every 2-3 hours. No more than 4 hours tops. Also after every time they eat, and after every time they wake up *even naps*.

If you remember these things then in no time you will be able to train your sweet fur-baby :)
 

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A solution of white vinegar and water will work and the flooring should be ok. It's not as good as an enzyme cleaner of course, but better than regular floor cleaners at destroying the odor.

Keeping a journal of when, where and what (pee or poop) including the consistency, color, etc can be a help not only in figuring out the dog's schedule but for a reference if you ever need to go to the vet.

Mainly, just be patient with both the dog and yourself and consistent. It will come in time. Also, it's normal to be able to hold it longer at night.
 

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I am, by no means, an expert since I am stumbling along in potty training my 3 month old toy poodle puppy myself. But I wanted to send a note of encouragement. I too had to ask someone to watch our pup after having him only 11 days since I had to travel in an emergency. The person watching him relied on wee wee pads since that's what they do at their house. I think our pup made a lot of unsupervised mistakes there....
So, when I got him back, he was even more confused and thought the carpet was a free for all! But what seems to be working is what all the great advice you got here says. Be consistent, take him out each hour in the beginning, praise and treat when he goes outside. Crate, leash him to you, or watch him like a hawk! For me, after doing this for about a week, I quickly moved to taking him out every 2 hours and he seems to be getting it... Also, I had pads out at first and tried to have him go on the pads or outside which I think really confused him... So now, the emphasis has changed. When I am at home, there are no pads and it's outside. When I leave for up to 2-3 hours, I crate him. Only on the rare occassion when I am gone for more than the time he can be crated, I put my pup in an ex-pen and put down a pad since we have no other choice. When I come home, it's cleaned and back to our schedule of going outside...

I feel way less confused than when I first started and feel hopeful that my pup will eventually get potty trained. I am sure with a consistent plan, yours will too. Good luck to you!
 
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