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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 18959
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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How do you house train a small dog that will not be housed

Customer Question

how do you house train a small dog that will not be housed trained? I am going mad, I have tried absolutely everything.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.
JaCustomer,
My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.
In order to supply you with an informed answer, it is necessary for me to collect some additional information from you. When I receive your response or repy, it will likely take me between 30-45 minutes to type up my reply. I hope you can be patient. It is late so depending on when you respond, it may be tomorrow morning.
I know you think you have tried everything, but if you could give me more detail on how you have tried those methods, it would be helpful. For instance, with crate training, how long did you leave her in the crate and how often did you take her out to eliminate?
What did you do if she went outside?
Do you go outside with her?
Have you smacked her when you caught her going?
How did you try to paper or pad train her?
What are you using to clean up any "accidents" with and how are you cleaning?
Is she going on carpet, floors or does she have a preference?
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.
jaCustomer,
I did hope to get a response back from you and perhaps you thought you responded, but if you scroll up you will see that no response has been received.
There are several ways of house training and you might feel you have done everything you can, but often you just need to make a small adjustment to the way you are training to get results. So I'm going to give you some instructions on paper and pad training, crate training and then a suggestion that I personally developed that seems to at least help transition dogs from going inside to outside.
Lets do pad training first. For training to pads or paper, 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. These are the times when you will be taking your dog to the enclosure. When you feed or give your dog water, first thing in the morning, last thing at night and after extended play times.
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 may 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. 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.
Repeat this according to the circumstances I mentioned earlier concerning when he should be going and a few extra times during the day to try and avoid accidents. 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.
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.
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.
Second method is similar but you would leave him in the enclosed area all the time unless you are taking him for a walk, and just slowly removing paper and decreasing the area inside the enclosure that is papered. As long as he continues to use the paper, you are not moving too fast. Once you are down to a small area, he should be trained. I suggest this because while the dog is contained in an area with paper, the dog may not be as stressed as when there is a cage all around him.
Third method
Set up a contained small area with the paper. Then you will have the dog on a leash attached to you. I attach the leash to a belt loop on my pants. This way he is always where you can observe him easily and stop him before he starts urinating and place him in the potty area. When you see him start to lift his leg or squat, give a quick short tug on the leash and in a low toned, firm voice say "NO". Do not be upset. Pick him up and put him in the potty area. With this method it is best to just stand outside the area looking around ignoring the dog until he goes. Remember praise is everything.
A few key things to remember with dogs. You can not yell at a dog. It does not teach them anything even if you are yelling when they are doing the bad behavior. To a dog a high tone, loud noise is associated with play such as yips and barks from another dog. With a dog all commands and corrections should be in a low toned, firm voice. A mother dog corrects their puppies with growls and nips. Other dogs command them with growls. Also, no correction or punishment for accidents unless you can catch him in the act and then the correction should be as outlined above. If you use one of the non-leash methods, you will want to let him trail a leash so you can grab the leash and make a proper correction if it is needed when he isn't contained.
I also recommend a long walk each day with this dog to establish that you are the alpha dog and if you can possibly do it, an obedience class. I hope one of these methods works so you will be able to keep him.
Now onto crate training. The following site goes into a great deal of detail on the subject. http://www.inch.com/~dogs/cratetraining.html
This is how I house train all my dogs. In 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.
Now one way of teaching a dog to go on grass outside is to bring some inside for them to get used to. You take a large pan like a kitty litter pan or even a baby swimming pool. You create a platform frame with wire on top. Place newspaper or other absorbent material such as wood shavings under the platform and place sod on top of the wire frame. Since it is grass, your dog will go on it. You can remove solids and can spray the urine so it moves through and down into the absorbent material underneath. This lets you use the same piece of sod for a while before needing to replace it. You do need to replace the material under the platform.
I hope this information is helpful to you. If it is, please rate positively at this time. We can still continue our conversation. If you need more clarification or information, please respond and I'll get back with you as soon as I can.
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.
Hi Stephenie,

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

Jane Lefler

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