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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 16725
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 16+ years
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My dog is still not house trained, escapes the house and wont

Customer Question

My dog is still not house trained, escapes the house and won't come when called and will not quiet when barking. I'm ready to just let him run. Unfortunately for that plan, he's chipped.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 10 months ago.
Hi JaCustomer,
.
My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.
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In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient.
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What breed is your dog?
How old is he?
Is he neutered?
What obedience training has he had?
I'm assuming he comes home after a little while of running?
Does he bolt out the door when someone opens it?
Have you been chasing him when he bolts?
In what circumstances does he bark?
What do you use to clean up after him when he eliminates?

Now the hard question for which I really need a detailed response.
What have you tried for each issue to stop it?
The more detail the better.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

chihuahua mix, gotten neutered from the pound at 8 weeks. One year old. No formal obedience training. We've never failed to pursue him until we have him. He bolts out the door when it's open. Do we chase him when he bolts, yes until we catch him. He's very traffic-stupid, so we worry that he'll get hit if we don't. He barks to other dogs, to noises in or out of the house and if anybody walks by when the shutters are open. When he eliminates, I (and only I) wipe the urine on wood floor with a paper towel and pick up the feces. If he goes on one of the area rugs, I use "urine gone".


 


bathroom, nothing in the past few months. the kids are home much more than I am.


 


running, we put him by himself for a half hour


 


barXXXXX, XXXXXe thing

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 10 months ago.

Greg,

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These little guys can be very difficult to house train. i think it is because when they do eliminate, the urine spot is usually small and easily missed. Thus they tend to not get caught, so it is difficult to reprimand them.

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You should always be cleaning with the enzymatic cleaner whether it is natures miracle or urine gone. It also needs to sit as long as the urine did AFTER you have soaked up as much urine as possible. If it doesn't sit it won't reach down as far as the urine did and won't remove all the odor. All cleaners fool our noses, but it does take the enzymatic action to remove enough of the odor to fool the dog's nose. If you don't remove all the odor, it actually draws him back to the spot. So first step is an overall cleaning most likely. Be sure to clean UP as well. Male dogs tend to lift their leg and pee on vertical objects, so be sure to clean those as well if appropriate.

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Next I would strongly suggest crate training. It not only teaches a dog where they are supposed to be eliminating but also helps them learn to control their bladder and bowels. The crate needs to be small enough that the dog has only enough room to stand, turn around and lay down. Anything more and he will use the extra space as a toilet. The way it works is that if he has never had to hold his bladder, etc, and is crated and doesn't hold it, then he will be forced to sit in it for a period of time. They do not like this, so next time, they will try not to do that. Expect at least one accident at least but after that, then tend to hold it. The key is no time outside of the crate unless you can have your eye on them constantly to pick them up and take them out if you see the classic sign of impending bowel movement or urination. Also, scolding a dog for going in the house does no good unless you catch them in the act. If you do catch them, a firm NO and trip outside should be done. R Here is a site with more information on crate training.

http://www.inch.com/~dogs/cratetraining.html

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This is how I house train all my dogs. Inn addition, put a bell or other noise maker on the door low enough for the dog to reach. Each time you take the dog out, ring the bell. The dog will associate ringing the bell with going out and one day ring the bell to signal to you that he needs to go out. You have to respond to the bell every time though and he may use it just to get a trip outside, but it is a way for them to signal.

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You might also train to a pad or litter pan if you wanted. If you do, let me know and I can give you a few ways of accomplishing that. Now lets move on to the bolting situation. Your best solution is to teach him to sit when you open the door and not move. You will need to have a release command which basically lets the dog know he can do what he wants again. Basically you will be having your dog trail a leash around. When you need to open a door, you will have the dog sit, and slip the leash under your foot to keep him in that position. When he breaks the sit, give a firm low toned NO. He can not go anywhere or move far. When he doesn't move and stays sitting give him a special treat. I prefer to use hot dog slices (paper thin and cut in half for a dog this size) or liver sliver. These keep a dog's attention on you. As he realizes that sitting gets him treats, he will learn to sit at the door and wait for his treat despite the door being open. It is a long process and will take weeks of training but it can help the situation immensely.

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The other thing that you need to do is teach him the recall or come command. If he knows the come command already and ignores it, then you will need to use an alternate command such as "HERE" . Many dogs don't come when called because they have learned that the only time they are called is when fun time is over. People call their dogs to them to make them come inside or to stop chasing prey (cats) or to be put on leash (end of free running time) or even crated. The only association they have with the come command is negative.

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Additionally, dogs find chase to be a highly amusing game and have learned that if they get close to a human, the human might chase them. They love a good game. So what you need to do is make coming to you more pleasurable.

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The easiest way is to reward your dog with small tiny treats and praise whenever your dog comes to you when you give the command. Do this even when the dog wants to come to you. After a few treats, the dog will associate coming to you with getting treats and praise. Outside, you will want to use a long lead. Do not drag your dog to you, but say the command and if the dog doesn't come, give the leash a short tug. Start with short distances and gradually extend the distance as your dog becomes more familiar with the command. Over time, you will reduce the treats and increase the praise until praise is the only reward. Another thing to remember is to never call a dog to you to discipline it, go to the dog. During training I don't call a dog to me unless it is going to be pleasant for the dog. I usually don't have much of a problem since the dogs quickly learn that I have thinly sliced hot dog treats just waiting for them to obey me.

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I alway recommend starting inside since most dogs are more than willing to come when inside. You can even have a helper and both call the dog to them in turn rewarding the dog for coming to you.

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The next thing is to take him for regular walks every day at the same time. This will give him an outside trip to look forward to each day so he won't be as inclined to want to run.

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Now the barking is a bit more difficult, but you have several options on how to train. We had a dog that barked at everything when we first brought him home from the pound. He will still occasionally get over yappy when outside if I don't acknowledge the visitors. Here is what worked for us. We left his leash on in the house attached to a chain collar. Each time our dog barked inappropriately we gave a quick tug correction to distract him, said "no bark" and had him sit. After a few corrections right in a row, he would finally stop barking for a second. When he didn't bark I'd give him a treat. By the end of a couple of weeks, he had reduced his barking significantly. We did go through a lot of treats.

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We did this over the course of a month all together, giving treats for non barking and eventually phasing out the treats and using praise instead with a treat only once in a while. Now he rarely ever barks. As crazy as this sounds you may wish to teach the dog the speak command and then the quiet command. It seems easier to teach the quiet command after the dog has learned the speak command. We figured because we can trigger them to bark easier. The following site explains teaching speak and quiet commands.

http://www.dogskool.com/web/news/summer2002/page3.html

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You also have the option of getting a bark collar such as citronella spray collar, shock bark collars and even shaking a can of coins that will stop excessive barking. The collars are pretty effective, though it can be difficult to find one small enough for the chihuahua. Many get the smallest unit they can and transfer it to a smaller collar that will fit the chihuahua.

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I think I've covered the items you mentioned and I've given you proven techniques to stop the behavior, so I'm confident that with consistent training, your boys issues will be resolved and you may even find yourself looking forward to playing with your boy and even playing a game of chase with him where he runs from you and then you run from him.

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I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .

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Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 16725
Experience: Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 16+ years
Jane Lefler and 4 other Dog Training Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 10 months ago.
Hi Greg,

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Jane Lefler
Customer: replied 9 months ago.

This is our first dog, so we don't know exactly how to do box training. We have kept him in the family room, where he has rarely had accidents and out of the living room where most of them occur. He has done much better, but the weather's getting colder, so he can't spend much time outdoors. We need to move on to box training. Could you describe exactly how this is done? Also, you make reference to the classic signs of impending urination or BM. What are they?


Also, we are running out of Urine Gone. Is there a cheap source for that or Nature's Miracle. Lastly (for now), most of the urine areas are on hardwood floors. Are we supposed to saturate the wood? They are damaged already, and I don't want to make it worse, but I really need to stop him from eliminating indoors.


 


Total newbie dog owner

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 9 months ago.
Greg,
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I'm really not an expert on cleaning wood floors. If they were mine and were already damaged, I'd let it soak in a little, get it dry again (I'd probably try space heater for this) and I'd seal the wood. Once it is sealed, any urine should not be able to soak into the flooring anymore.
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For bulk cleaner, I'd call around to some professional cleaning companies and see if they wouldn't sell you some bulk enzymatic cleaner. I don't know of any suppliers but have gotten gallons of it from professional carpet cleaning companies in the past.
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Almost all dogs except very young puppies will sniff around and even circle before eliminating. Now dogs do sniff for other reasons like they smell food but if your dog suddenly gets up and starts sniffing around, then odds are the dog has to eliminate. Of course, starting to hunch over indicates a bowel movement and lifting the leg is urination for a male dog.
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For training to pads, paper or a box, this is the best way to go about it with the least amount of stress on your dog. It will take some effort on your part. In the area that you want him to use the pad, set up an enclosure. You can use child gates, free standing pet enclosures, or anything that will serve to enclose the area you want him to use.

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You will want to start this when you are not working or when you can spend a couple of hours in the morning and evening exclusively doing this. Enclose or barricade the area and put pads over the entire area. Scent one of the pads and place it where you will leave it when there is only one pad. When you and your dog get up in the morning, instead of taking him outside, take him to the enclosed area and put him inside it. You can leave him a few toys but basically put him in the enclosed area. It is best if you can stay there and keep an eye on him. Do not engage him with talk or play or reassurances. Just be there so you can see him when he actually goes. He will be reluctant, but do not cave in to whines or cries. You must remain calm and in control and ignore him. Sit in a chair and read or do some other activity to keep you occupied while he is in there so you are not focused on him but can still see him. It may take some time, especially the first time, but he will eventually go on the pads as he has no where else to go. When you see him start to go, you can say in a low calm voice “good potty”. It needs to be in a low quiet voice so he isn’t startled into stopping. He will be confused as in the past you have probably scolded him for going in the house. Give him lots of praise for succeeding and perhaps a little treat and you can then remove him from the enclosure and open it up so he has access if he want to use it. The first time may take an hour or more, but if you do it first thing in the morning, it is likely to take less time.

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Repeat this each time he would normally be taken outside to go closing the enclosure so he can’t get out until he goes. After a few times going in the enclosed space and being praised for it and getting treats he should not be as reluctant to go in the enclosed area. Continue to praise and say the key wood “Potty”. When he reaches the point where he is going to the bathroom almost immediately in the enclosure on the pads, you will want to start taking up some of the pads so only a portion of the enclosed area has pads. Repeat as if the whole area was covered. Your dog should go on the pads and not the floor. If he does, continue the praise and treats. Slowly reduce the number of pads in the area until you are down to one or two only. If he should happen to miss the pad or go off the pad, add some more for the next time as you probably were taking them away too fast. At this point he knows the pads are where he should be going.

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Once he is going on the pads and you are down to one or two pads, don’t close up the enclosure when you put him in it. He should still use the pad as he is now used to it. When he does, again praise, praise and more praise, let him come out the opening. Continue this process if it is necessary, but with the enclosure being open, you may now find that he is going there on his own. Once you notice he is using it without you putting him in there, you should be able to take away the enclosure or barrier. He should now be trained to use the pad.

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Depending on how quick a learner he is, you may find he starts going in and using the pad early. If so the barrier can go earlier, but you should still only slowly reduce the number of pads he has to go on, so he doesn't miss, use the floor and think it is ok.

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One option that I don't think I've mentioned is having a large flat pan like cats use. build a little chicken wire topped platform inside it and place a small piece of sod on top. You can train your dog easier to go on grass if they are already used to using grass. It also stops them from thinking it is ok to go on any paper hanging around. What I like about this is that you can remove solids and spray the sod to move the urine down into the bottom where it can be emptied to cut down on any odor.



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