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From: Callie (
Subject:         More information for you
Date: December 8, 2008 at 7:40 pm PST

In Reply to: Re: how to train my toy poodle posted by Callie on December 8, 2008 at 6:17 am:

I actually did this originally for someone who adopted an older dog who wasn't housetrained. I am going to**strongly** suggest you take this dog outside. You can't do part inside and part outside and EVER have the dog housetrained -- it will simply be confused. You **Must** pick one way and do it that way ALL the time.

I'm going to assume here that you will go out. If you aren't going to do that then just substitute "go on the paper" for "taking the dog out".

Just be ***consistent*** please - it is the only way!

Housetraining – things you may not know
IF she’s still soiling inside … it’s simply because of one reason. She’s not properly housetrained! Period. Notice the word ***properly***. That’s the key here.
This isn’t a puppy, . This is an adult dog. She doesn’t forget. But she does lapse back into behaviors she learned a long time ago. Probably *before* you had her.
Sooooo you have to re-train her. And to a huge degree that has to do with communication. It has to do with you conveying to her how *you* want something done. But that doesn’t happen with you telling her one time. That has to do with you telling her over and over and over and over and making it ***impossible*** for her to screw up. UNTIL she truly “gets it”. And you won’t know that for a long time because her history is unknown to you.
Other people’s mistakes – how behaviors can be formed
You have to remember, – there is no “logic” to dog training. Most people just don’t bother to train at all. They holler. They yell. They hit. They lock the dog outside. They rub their nose in it. They get ‘mad’ every time they see the dog do “something” and often the dog doesn’t have a clue WHAT the human is referring to.
As soon as she does it … and there are no repercussions immediately – a “behavior” is formed. She got away with it – to her that means “I DID OK”.
The dog equates her SCENT with the person’s anger. Because a dog identifies SO strongly with their own scent or mark (pee or poop) that pile simply represents HER, in her mind.
So … when the human comes along 5 minutes later … 20 minutes later … an hour later … or LATER than that … and is angry/disappointed or whatever … the dog does not have a CLUE that the human is dis-pleased because the dog “put” the waste inside. Nope – the dog thinks the human is just plain upset with HER. (because as a dog she thinks “my scent EQUALS me!!”)
This is why I have emphasized taking the waste outside on paper towel. You can’t flush it. Every time you make that waste “disappear” your point is completely lost.
She has to learn where you want her to PUT it. You don’t object to her having to poop! She’s GOT to. YOU have a problem with ****where**** she puts it. It is only HUMANS who are picky about ‘where’ we go. To a dog the more places you go the BETTER. Because you are spreading your ‘scent’. For US? The idea of waste is repugnant – you have to understand she does NOT feel that way. She’s a dog.
Do you understand what I’m saying?
When she looks at a pile of poop – whether it’s poop SHE did, or another dog’s poop outside – she doesn’t see “ugh, that’s awful, smelly, nasty excrement YUCK”. Ohhhhhhh no!! SHE sees: “Wow – steak last night!! Hmmmmm, female … neutered … happy …. ME!!!”
or if outside and another dog’s “Hmmm, terrier down the street … left this yesterday …. dog nervous and sad … and … old!!”
Yes, they can tell ALL that from another dog’s poop. It’s not ‘bad’ to them … it’s interesting. They just don’t think of it the way we do. So in order to convince her she’s simply putting it in the wrong place you have to MOVE it … you have to be respectful and not angry at her. You have to make it clear you have a specific place you WANT poop to go. NOT inside. But OUT side.
Not that she herself is awful. You simply want her to relocate what she ‘does’. You literally want her to change WHERE she *does* it. And that’s frankly not a concept she’ll get until you show her very clearly.
When she goes inside WHERE does she go?
When she goes inside what time is it? (Most dogs only poop once, maybe twice a day – if she’s pooping more than that you may need to change her food!)
Does she go “on” something? Like does she target a throw rug? Is it in a particular room? Is it in a particular place in the room? Is it on paper? rug? linoleum? near the door? OR is it where she could sneak off to without you seeing?
Have you worked with giving her a specific signal to give you so you *know* she needs to go out? Like teaching her to ring a bell or bat at a doorstopper? So she can tell YOU she needs to go? Or are you simply trying to let her out “enough”. That’s scheduling and that does not work. It never does with an adult dog. She has other things that have been trained in her and just waiting until you don’t notice her is too tempting.
Fixing it
1. Moving her waste is critical. Pick it up with paper towel EVERY single time. don’t ever flush it. Every time you just flush it you reinforce her going where she did. Every accident is an opportunity for training.
2. Consistency is the key. Pick it up and move it outside **every** time. Take it to the same spot outside **every** time. Take her outside ON LEASH **every** time. Show her you moved it **every** time. When you are taking her out to go ****MAKE A POINT**** of going out IN the rain TO the spot.
3. Absolutely prevent her from screwing up. Part of re-training is getting her to do it RIGHT over and over and over and over and over and over (do I have enough ‘overs’ yet?) and OVER again. Not once. Not twice. Not 2 or 3 days. But WEEKS.
This is why I said before to attach her to a 6 foot leash, put it on a belt and put the belt on. Keep her so close to you that you are alerted every single time she gets up. Every time she sniffs. Every time she MOVES.
Yes, this is darned inconvenient. This is WORK. But this is re-training. This is noticing when she is sniffing … when she’s agitated (they get agitated when they feel the urge to go) … when she’s walking back and forth looking for a place to go – maybe a place you won’t SEE her.
4. BUT it’s so important. Catching her *in the act* so you can re-direct her.
You can *not* just let her out. Because you don’t have instant control that way. You can’t direct her movements – you can’t take her TO that spot and watch her go.
My guess – and I’ve seen this many many times – is that she never potties in front of you. Is that true? Do you walk her on leash and does she pee/poop IN FRONT of you knowing you are watching? Many dogs don’t. Because some human had a fit at some time and punished them – and again – it never occurred to the dog that WHERE wasn’t appropriate. They are creatures of the *immediate* -- it was WHAT they were doing they thot was bad. so … I’ll never go in front of a human again. I’ll hide. I’ll sneak away.
5. The Process
So you have her leashed TO you in the house. If she starts to poop in front of you … don’t freak. Just say “Oops – not here! Let’s go OUT!!!” and RACE for the door.
Now… when you get outside, she’s going to be totally distracted. So get her to focus. Stand patiently in that one spot where you have been taking the poop … and even use a trigger command like “gotta poop!” or “go potty”.
If you take her out on leash and always keep her in that one area UNTIL she goes (and go straight back in if she doesn’t – no playing). You can, as a reward, let her OFF leash when she’s done – so ‘playing outside’ becomes a reward then.
If she doesn’t go pretty much right away—go back in the house and watch her. But that urge to go will become more insistent – and you may have to go in and out many times but she WILL poop if you keep it up. Eventually she will go outside when you are with her and you can then praise her and have a party!!
But if you try to just “let her out” – again you lose control. You can’t reward her *instantly* (and it must be instantly – not 2 minutes later when she comes in … it has to be that *instant* for it to really train her). You lose time between the behavior (pooping) and the reward. You lose her focus. You can’t do it, . It will cost you months in frustration and training that’s pointless.
Conclusion (finally)
Dogs LOVE to go to new places and ‘mark’ – that’s a doggie thing! But that “inside vs. outside” concept is SOOOO difficult if they have, IN THE PAST, been used to going inside successfully (in other words – going inside when no one objects ***at that moment***). And generally, if they “hide” from you they can be successful.
So you have to prevent her from screwing up inside and “reinforcing” that bad habit.
You have to catch her “in the act” ready to go so you can make her go outside
You have to overcome past learning – probably that it’s ‘bad’ to ask to go out in the rain.

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