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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, so we've had our two dachshund puppies since November, and they're around 10 months old now. They're litter-mates, and the girl (Zoe) is almost perfectly housebroken. She only has accidents if we don't walk her for very long periods, or sometimes at our friends houses if she gets confused.

Malcolm, her brother, is having an issue all of a sudden, probably over the past couple of months. He has gone from having occasional accidents to consistently and almost intentionally NOT pooping outside, and waiting until he can run into our living room and poop on our rug. He KNOWS he will get punished if he poops or pees inside and not on his pad, and will act submissive and roll over if you catch him in the room when he is even thinking about messing in the dining room (or anywhere). The rug isn't expensive, so that's not a concern. This morning is a good example:

I walk both dogs at 4:30 when I wake up and after they are fed. Both pee simultaneously, and then Zoe sniffs around a minute and poops. Malcolm will continue to sniff everything and anything, bark at invisible men, birds, wind, clouds, the sky, etc. We go in after 8-10 minutes of Malcolm doing nothing. I put them back up in bed with my wife, shower, and take them back out again while I make breakfast. As soon as I sit down to eat, Malcolm runs into the living room, and I jump up to go after him. I poke my head in, he suddenly gives me the "I'm sorry" look and rolls over. He didn't do anything, so I take him for a walk by himself.
He sniffs around, pulls in a dozen different directions, whines at my legs, but simply will not poop in any of his usual spots. After about ten minutes of nothing, I go in. I sit down to eat, he takes off trotting into the dining room again. I go after him, take him and put him on a training pad. I repeat this three times. He finally 'squats' to poop on the pad, then cancels and runs over to the rug and tries to poop on it. I stop him before he does anything, take him outside, and deal with him pulling or doing nothing for fifteen minutes before he actually poops, whereupon I give him a treat and loads of praise and petting.

I'm at a loss. We give both of them treats anytime they do their business outside and make a big deal about punishing them when they go inside and not on a training pad. We have had to reduce the number of pads in the house down to one, because they started shredding them a few months ago, but we also wanted to get them more used to going outside. We even take them out whenever they sit near the door. This is espescially frustrating because Zoe seems to understand and Malcolm does not. He's not a stupid dog either; he's escaped two different cloth cages, can undo zippers, figured out that door-handles open doors, knows he can push open certain doors, knows a couple of commands...He's smart in all the wrong ways!

What can I do to fix this poopy puppy problem?
 

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Here's my advice:

1. STOP all punishment for going inside. It's obviosly not working. :)
2. You didn't say whether you have a fenced yard or not, so I'm assuming all potty breaks are on a leash. Get a long lead (maybe 20 feet - a light rope perhaps) and take him outside on that. Give him some distance and privacy during potty time.
3. He's not potty trained, so he should be either strictly supervised or in a crate at ALL times when he's inside.
 

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What are you using to clean the rug where he likes to poop? He may still be smelling the traces of scent which make him think, ' this is my poop-rug; which is a lot nicer than the 'papery, plastic rug (puppy pad) they want me to poop on'. To a dog/puppy a rug can seem a lot like a pee-pad.
Can you remove the rug entirely and concentrate on teaching him to go outside? As the above poster said, he needs constant supervision or to be crated. In my house, the only way a dog or puppy is allowed freedom is to be EMPTY. Any doggy who did not poop outside this morning will NOT be running around while I make breakfast.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
FourIsCompany:

1. I can't say I agree with this. Telling him "No" is better than nothing.
2. No fence on the yard. I have a long lead and it usually doesn't make a difference. He just runs around sniffing everything and now, a new thing, attempting to eat cut grass at every opportunity.
3. He is. The problem arises when my wife and I are not paying attention for more then a minute. Malcolm can, within seconds, sneak into the dining room and stealth-poop before we realize he's gone.

Poofy:


We rolled up the rug for about a month and put a pad in the general area. He used the pad (or missed by inches, dachshunds have poor butt-aim cause they're so long) and we gradually moved it into the hallway with each poop. He was dead on the pad in the hall for two weeks before we put the rug down again. He went right back to his old behavior, and now he is attempting to eat his poop to hide the evidence.

We use PetZyme to clean up after anything, and we even tried using this spray boundary that has a strange plastic-y smell. He avoids the room...until he stealth-poops. His want to use that room is greater than his dislike of the odor, apparently.

As a side note, he DOES know how to ask to go out, and he learned it entirely by accident. He figured out that the door knob opens the door, and will jump and touch it with his nose when he wants to go out. More often than not, though, he just wants to go outside and sniff around, dig holes, or bark at nothing instead of 'doing any doggie business'.

We've also tried gating off the hallway to the dining room, but that results in him waiting until no one is looking and pooping on the carpet in the living room, which does have a pad in it, which he does not use.

Is this just a vigilance thing? Do we just need to keep an absolute eye on him no matter what?
 

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Having both the pads and expecting them to know to go outside may be confusing him a little. I also imagine the rug still had some scent as it started again as soon as you put the rug back.

I would go back to crating and no unsupervised uncrated time until you have it sorted with him. If you feel he is sneaking off just to poop on the rug then leash him to you instead of crating him if you prefer, and take him out at regular intervals whether he asks or not. Have a party when he goes outside. I would only give him any unleashed playtime inside after he has pooped outside. As FourIsCompany said, the punishment doesn't seem to working, so make it a positive thing for him to go outside, instead of a negative thing to go inside.

E.T.A: I just saw that your original post was 2.5 months ago. Have you made no progress over that time? They must be over 1yr by now.
 

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Malcolm really isn't potty trained, and part of the reason why is your use of training pads inside the house. This is confusing for most dogs, and sets them up to think it's ok to use the house as their toilet. Punishing a dog for eliminating in the house creates a dog who, 1), won't go potty in front of you (while you've got him outside on lead) because he associates going potty with punishment, and 2), causes the dog to sneak away and hide to poop/pee.

Go back to housetraining 101, and proceed as though he was a new puppy. This time, do not give him freedom of the house. He hasn't earned it. Contain him whenever you cannot supervise, keep him on a feeding schedule to keep him regular, and again, supervise, supervise, supervise! Remember, each time he poops in the house that behavior is being reinforced, and will become harder to stop/change. Prevention is key.

Good luck to you!
 

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FourIsCompany:

1. I can't say I agree with this. Telling him "No" is better than nothing.
Not if telling him now has the side effect of making him afraid to poop in front of you, which seems to be the case.

2. No fence on the yard. I have a long lead and it usually doesn't make a difference. He just runs around sniffing everything and now, a new thing, attempting to eat cut grass at every opportunity.
This is because either he doesn't want to go outside or because he doesn't want to go in front of you for the above reason, or both. So he gets bored and starts looking for other stuff to do. Eating grass is kinda cool.
3. He is. The problem arises when my wife and I are not paying attention for more then a minute. Malcolm can, within seconds, sneak into the dining room and stealth-poop before we realize he's gone.
I would respectfully say he isn't. House-trained means you can leave him alone and he won't make a mess. You can't leave him alone.

He went right back to his old behavior, and now he is attempting to eat his poop to hide the evidence.
I think there's something you need to understand here: dogs aren't grossed out by poop and they don't get this whole inside/outside thing when it comes to where it belongs. If they aren't sleeping less than a few feet from it, it's just fine with them.

He's not eating it to hide it. Dogs just don't think that way. He's probably eating it because it tastes good. Put a tablespoon of pumpkin in it (canned pumpkin, not the pie filling) or buy something like "Deter" and add it and it will may stop. One of my Border Collies loves eating poop. We have to watch her when we walk her with the other dogs. (ick)

His want to use that room is greater than his dislike of the odor, apparently.
Yes. He wants to go on this rug a lot. Dogs develop preferences for places and types of surfaces. He likes rugs, especially this one.

As a side note, he DOES know how to ask to go out, and he learned it entirely by accident. He figured out that the door knob opens the door, and will jump and touch it with his nose when he wants to go out. More often than not, though, he just wants to go outside and sniff around, dig holes, or bark at nothing instead of 'doing any doggie business'.
Yes again, he doesn't associate going outside with doing his business. He loves to go outside, but not for the reason you want him to. This is a big part of your problem.

Is this just a vigilance thing? Do we just need to keep an absolute eye on him no matter what?
That's part of it.

1) Stop punishing. If he makes a mess it's your mistake. You let him out of your sight and he did what comes naturally.

2) Get him on a schedule. If he's close to a year old now, you should be able to figure out within thirty minutes or so of when he will need to go. Are you feeding him twice a day or leaving the food down all day? You need to feed him at a specific time and then figure out how many hours later he'll need to go.

3) He's in one of two places: his crate or literally tethered to you.

4) When its time for him to go, take him outside. Give him a few minutes to go. If he doesn't and starts to play, take him back in and put him in his crate. Repeat until he goes. There needs to be a clear association with going outside and doing his business.

5) When he finally goes, throw him a party. Praise, treats, play, whatever makes him happy. He needs to find doing his business in front of you safe and rewarding. I can't over-emphasize the importance of this. Create this positive association and your problems with go away.

It's possible that punishment has made him afraid to go in front of you, so steps 4 and 5 make take a while.

I give this booklet to my clients. (Amazon sells it too.) Most find it very helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I know it's been a while, but I figure if I don't try the suggestions for several weeks, then I can't really say wether or not they're working:

1. Stop punishing - We've stopped telling him no or anything. I simply shoo him out of the room if he does any business in there and clean it up.

2. Possibly, but his pooping times seem less 'scheduled' than his sister's. I try to predict when he is going to try to go inside because typically he goes 4 times a day: 5 am after feeding, sometime around 10-12, again around 3-4 and again after his 6 pm feeding. However, those middle two times can be completely random and sometimes not at all.

3. Not housebroken. You're right. I did some research and he is definitely not housebroken. In fact, I'd say neither of my pups are because if we leave them alone in the living room, they'll often end up destroying carpet or other things.
They didn't used to do this when they were new to the house and left alone, but several incidents led us to keep them crated whenever we're out of the house. They don't seem to mind being in there while we're away, but they hate being closed in while we're home. They go in and out, take naps in it, etc., but want the door opened. It's definitely like a den for them.
Our goal is to get them to the point where they can be left alone and not mess (or go on a pad) and not destroy anything.

4. Constant leashing - Either one of the dogs will go nuts if they're locked in their crate and we're home, and leashing him to either of us all the time while inside is impractical.

5. Constant crating - I can't do this for the above mentioned reason. I have started bringing him inside if he doesn't do anything, and he does usually pee if he asks to go out, but pooping still seems to confuse him.

6. Poop party - Been doing this as best I can. Seems to work better when I take him out by himself. He is just starting to recognize that poop outside = happy fun time. I even let him dig at the side of the yard, which he loves. Still hasn't stopped him from going in the dining room yet, but it may take more time. I've even caught him in mid-poop and ran him outside just to have him poop and praise him.

7. Constant vigilance is sort of working. We need to keep a closer eye on him still, but we're training ourselves better.

8. What do you think of the Housetraining for Dummies? I may pick up the pamphlet you recommended, if it has additional tips.
 

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4. Constant leashing - Either one of the dogs will go nuts if they're locked in their crate and we're home, and leashing him to either of us all the time while inside is impractical.
More impractical than having an unhousetrained dog? I found the constant supervision to be most effective, because every accident puts them back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
More impractical than having an unhousetrained dog? I found the constant supervision to be most effective, because every accident puts them back.
If we're doing something like straightening up, vacuuming, laundry, dishes, etc., you simply can't while holding a leash. Example: My wife is at work and I'm at home, I need to do the dishes (a time when my back is turned and therefore prime pooping time), I can't leash him to me in any sensible manner and still do dishes. What I have managed to do a few times is get both of them to stay in their puppy bed that I bring into the kitchen by giving them a treat when they follow the "go to your bed" command.
 

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You don't have to "hold" the leash. I loop the leash through my belt-loop and the handle of the leash, pull tight and then hook it to my dog. Donatello follows me everywhere when I do this, he practically has no choice.

It's a good way to get your dogs more accustomed to leashes and following you obediently on them...

I have loaded a dishwasher, folding clothes, put clothes in the washer/dryer, made myself food in the kitchen... Name everything except the vacuum...

Granted if they're not used to doing everything with you like that they can get under your feet, but it is constant supervision. I also use that supervision as a time to refresh tricks and to give commands in different areas...

The "go to your bed" command, that's a good one. Donatello's perfect at "lay down" and he knows if I point to an area like the sofa, he's to go lay down in his spot...

I still stand-by schedules for dogs... My dog is/was on a schedule, but he's housebroken so when he's not on a schedule I still trust him to know not to poop in the house.

There's got to be something, maybe one small thing, that's still linking your dog to pooping in the house... ??? It seems perplexing and discouraging at the same time... : (

I hope you find the answers you need soon. : )
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You don't have to "hold" the leash. I loop the leash through my belt-loop and the handle of the leash, pull tight and then hook it to my dog. Donatello follows me everywhere when I do this, he practically has no choice.
I won't deny that it's a great idea, but logistics are the problem for me.

Granted if they're not used to doing everything with you like that they can get under your feet...
As my 'kids' are both dachshunds, I am forever tripping over them already. I have a feeling the result would be fatal for me if I followed this course.

The "go to your bed" command, that's a good one. Donatello's perfect at "lay down" and he knows if I point to an area like the sofa, he's to go lay down in his spot...
If it involves food, Malcolm is all about it.

I still stand-by schedules for dogs... My dog is/was on a schedule, but he's housebroken so when he's not on a schedule I still trust him to know not to poop in the house.
We have a pretty regular schedule with the dogs. Sometimes Mal just doesn't poop while outside and we have to watch him.

I will say that I have been having some success with him recently. I've been home all day for the summer since my teaching contract hasn't been renewed, so I make sure to take him out every time he jumps at the doorknob. The upside is that in the past 3 days, there haven't been any accidents, and when he does poop outside, he gets lots of praise and a treat. Downside is he has started touching the doorknob just to go outside and sniff around without doing anything. Still, I'd rather go on a few do-nothing walks than clean a rug.
 
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