Post # 1
I recently rescued a dog and am feeling a bit over my head and am hoping someone who has been here before might have some sage advice. I have owned my dog, Penny, for about 3 weeks. She is already very attached to my husband and me, and is an amazingly sweet girl.
Prior to living with me she lived in North Carolina and was kept outside 24 hours a day. Never being let indoors was just one of many abuses (including allowing her to get heart worms, pregnant, lymes disease etc). She now has a clean bill of health and is a very happy girl.
Being that she lived outdoors 24/7 she was never formally house trained so that is becomming a bit of an issue with us. I think she has what I call “carpet confusion”. She doesn’t have accidents on the hard wood floors of my home but when she manages to sneak into a carpeted area she will usually go to the bathroom (I guess the carpet feels enough like grass that she thinks it is OK).
I have never caught her in the act to tell her “NO”. When we are walking outside (which is frequent) I praise her when she goes to the bathroom and give her treats, but this doesn’t seem to be changing the issues with carpet.
I really hope someone has some magic advice; I would really like to retire my bottle of Resolve carpet cleaner!
Post # 3
I have two dogs and have found the best way for me to potty train is to crate train. I crated them or sectioned off a small area when i was not home and when i first got home immediately took them outside. While your home, keep her on a leash and in the same room with you as much as you can so you can watch her and correct her before she has an accident. Finally, the best thing I found was to take them out often! every hour to 2 hours while your home. hope this helps!
Post # 4
I feel like you are telling the story of my life!
We also got a dog who was outdoors twenty four seven, and had the abuses of pregnancy, worms, etc……and who also had carpet confusion.
Not sure if this would be practical for you but:
We just trained her not to enter the carpet area, which is not too hard for us because it is only upstairs. First we had an extra tall baby gate up for when we were gone and when we’re here just told her no. Now she is trained to never come upstairs.
We crate her when we’re at work; she loves her crate.
Post # 5
I just got a puppy, so it’s not exactly the same situation, but we also crate trained and found it really affective.
She is actually bell trained now (she rings a set of bells hanging on the door when she wants to go out) but she still has accidents. I try to stop her if I see her getting ready to go and giving treats when she goes outside was a big help.
Don’t know if that will help, but good luck!
Post # 6
I would crate train her if she’s not already, that thing is a savior! We didn’t have any problems initially with our rescue, but when we moved she decided the whole house was her bathroom, and had a special bond with the spare bedroom. We were already taking her to a trainer, so he told us what he did and swore it worked for puppies in about three days.
We basically had to re-house break her and crate her unless we were taking her outside. If we took her out and she did her business, she got free reign of the house. If she didn’t, she came back and went to her crate until we were ready to take her out again, or if she made a mess in the house while she was out of the crate, she went back in her crate until we were ready to take her out and the whole process started over again. I took us a weekend, and it sucked having her in the crate so much, but it worked.
I would also get carpet cleaner from the pet store that is specially made for that kind of mess. From what I was told, even when it’s cleaned with the regular stuff, they can still smell it and sniffing sets their gastro system in motion. Good Luck!
Post # 7
Also, my dog trainer told us to not let our dogs out of our sight while they are in the house while we were trying to potty train them. If we were watching tv the dogs were on a leash right next to us. You have to catch the dog in the act for them to understand. So try not letting the pup out of your sight and then take her out every so often and continue praising her when she goes outside. It’s a lot of work but most catch on rather quickly.
Post # 8
I would try umbilical training if I were you, the idea is to tie the dog to you with a 6 foot leash, then they are forced to be near you, and don’t have a chance to act up. When you can’t have them tied to you, they are put in a crate. It helps, because it doesn’t give them the chance to make a mistake!
Post # 9
I agree that crate training for at night (at least for a while) and when you aren’t there will reduce the accidents that you aren’t there to catch and be a great way to keep your dog safe and your house less damaged. For when you are home, I would try as best as you can to block off the carpeted areas. If this means using large boxes, baby gates, taking up area rugs, doing whatever you can to protect those areas. Keep her with you when you are at home and discipline when you catch her in the act. Even if it means getting a long leash and tethering her to you until the problem is resolved, like a PP mentioned. Basically, keep an eye on her 24/7 as if she were a puppy! This part is really difficult, but it gets better!!
Like another PP mentioned, go outside for potty breaks often… every two hours at least! Especially right after eating times, getting out of the crate, etc..
We also brought our dog outside on a leash only while we were housetraining him, so that we could praise immediately he peed or pooped outside (even just in the back yard), then he always gets a small treat when he comes inside. I also used the word “Potty” a lot when we were outside and before – like “lets go potty!” and repeating the word often as he was relieving himself. Now, he knows the word as his cue and when I say “Potty??” He will run to the door, knowing that is the right place. But those were just a few of the things that worked great for us, every dog is different. Otherwise, it just takes a lot of patience and repetition.
Good for you for taking on a rescue that not everyone would have!! Enjoy your sweet girl! 🙂
Whew that was long – I’m feeling chatty tonight, I guess!
Post # 10
I have to third the crate training advice – it is incredibly helpful when housetraining. Also, I know it is hard to constantly watch her, but you really have to. I would always make sure our dogs were in the same room as me (either by closing doors or using baby gates) – they still tend to follow me to the bathroom because of this :). And honestly, be patient. We have two dogs – one is amazingly well trained, we joke that he would let his bladder explode before peeing in the house, but our other dog isn’t. She prefers to go outside, but doesn’t ask to and will go in the house still (she’s 3). However, we have her on a good schedule and it helps that our other dog will ask to go out and she will go out with him. She rarely has an accident anymore and if she does it is usually our fault, or she is sick. The difference between the two dogs is that my well trained boy was housetrained by me as a puppy, so he really got used to it very young. Our other dog was given to my fiance as a puppy before we lived together – he worked 10-12 hr days at the time, so unfortunately she was neglected and didn’t get the training she needed right away. I eventually told him I was taking her to live with me because it wasn’t fair to her to live like that, but the damage had already been done and she just doesn’t have the same understanding as my boy. It also took a very long time to even get her to this point – at least 3-6 months of constant watching and being aware of where she was in the house. So, please don’t be discouraged, your dog will figure it out eventually, but you definitely need to be patient and keep an eye on her to prevent those accidents inside the house. And hopefully she will be better then my girl – my girl’s biggest problem was that she basically learned it was ok to go inside the house and I had to first get her to understand that it wasn’t. At least you aren’t dealing with that problem as well. And all that said – although I deny it when my fiance brings it up – my girl really is my favorite, she is special to me and I am so glad I did take the time to train her, it is totally worth it. 🙂
Post # 11
Post # 12
You’ve gotten some excellent advice. Just wanted to ask/add a couple things.
Is she sneaking off to potty on the carpet when you are there, or only while you are away? If you are there, keeping her leashed to you will help. ALSO, increase the frequency of her trips outside.
When you take her outside to go potty, do you let her off the leash and just allow her to go whever she wants? If so, keeping her on-leash until she has gone in a specific area of the yard may help, as well. That way she associates pottying not so much with the texture of the grass or capert, but with a specific area of the yard.
Good luck, and keep us updated!
Post # 13
Thanks everyone for the advice. It’s hard to know her exact age being that she is rescued, but the paper work quotes anywhere from 18months to 4 years. I’m guessing she is right in-between at roughly 2.5 years.
She is VERY attached to us when we’re in the house. I don’t need to leash her b/c she is ALWAYS right by me!
We tried crating her with TERRIBLE results. Supposedly, at one time her first foster said she “loved her crate”. We decided to crate her after she broke through a baby gate and got into the basement which is carpeted. We had been keeping her out of the basement b/c of the carpeting issue and it is also where we keep our cat’s food and litter box. Unfortunately, she broke the baby gate while I was at work; went to the bathroom three times and ate 75% of a large container of cat food (and just as an FYI it isn’t pretty what comes of a dog when they eat that much cat food!). So basically we crated her with the typical incentives: try to make is a haven for her. Put in the crate for different amounts of time, never as punishment, gave her treats, clothing that smells like us etc. She would do OK with the shorter amount of times but would literally go crazy in the crate while we were at work. She broke out of it on 4 different occasions causing structural damage to the crate, lost a tooth, and cut herself on the nose with random metal that was hanging out b/c of her breaking it. When I found the tooth in the crate I lost it and I just don’t’ feel safe crating her when I’m at work. It should be noted that she is 100% not destructive to the house while outside the crate.
Currently during the day she is locked out of carpeted rooms (and we have temporarily retired our area rugs until we figure something out). Our main issue is the basement. Since the cat’s stuff is there we have to leave the door opened a crack for the cat to get in and out. We put heavy objects in front of it as a deterrent from the dog getting in there (and most of the time this is fine b/c she doesn’t leave my side), but the other morning I guess Penny decided to let me sleep in and snuck down and peed right before my alarm went off (I’m guessing based on how wet the spot was).
I would one day like to have rugs again and trust that the basement is safe. I feel bad keeping her out of the basement 100% of the time b/c it is our main living area and it would really cut down on the time we spend with her! I guess for the time being we’ll stick with the treat every time she goes outside routine until she forgets about rugs?
She is lucky she is cute!
Post # 14
also this is how the baby gate went over:
Post # 15
oh no I am so sorry!
That is the exact same gate I have too because, like you, our cat’s food and litter box are in the carpeted areas.
Those crate experiences sounds sooo terrible. I’m so sorry that you are going through this.
I would say that this whole situation is totally worthy of contacting an expert.