Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I now understand why 637 people told me, "Glad it's you and not me" when I said we got a puppy and need to potty train her. Had I known it was going to be this hard to housebreak a puppy, I seriously would have thought twice about getting a dog.

I have asked long-time dog owners and the vet; searched the internet for advice and tips; looked up dog books for information and we are -this- close to throwing in the towel.

We take Maisie outside and use the same word every time we take her out. We give her positive praise when she pees or poops outside. We have her outside for 15 to 20 minutes, freezing our tushies off, only to have her take a dump on the floor not 5 minutes after we come back in the house.

She has an irritating habit of searching for cat poop in the yard and eating it. Talk about butt breath!

She has definitely calmed down and is not so crazy-goofy anymore, but she still has her moments when the kids decide to run around the house and she joins in on the chase. We've had to remind the girls again and again that dogs chase and they catch what they chase which results in bites. Poor Middle has been the recipient of several bites and that alone makes me want to say good-bye to dog ownership. Her arms look terrible with all kinds of scratches and teeth marks and I pray they don't leave scars. Let me add that Middle has finally learned to stop flailing her arms while she runs and has not had any recent bites from Maisie.

I have days when I ask my husband to remind me again why we wanted a dog. Oh, right, to alert me when something or someone is around or to bark when phone rings or someone is at the door. Is that all?

Then the husband hears on the radio that lots of people are giving up their pets because of the economy and they can't afford the costs of pet ownership and that makes me feel bad, to contribute to the problem if we get rid of the dog. And what would that teach our kids, to get rid of something instead of trying to work things out?

So please, tell me, is there a foolproof way to potty train a dog? Like fast? And how do we get her to stop eating cat poop? Our outdoor cats are polite, they do their business in the woods, not in the yard where we play, so we've been keeping her on a leash now when we take her outside, but we really want her off the leash when we are at home.

I'd appreciate any advice or tried-and-true tips you can offer us. Thanks!


Sparx said...

Hi hon

We've trained several dogs - or rather, my parents have, and they all go through this terrible puppy phase - chewing, biting, pooping in corners. If you keep a pad of newspaper somewhere near the door and allow her to poop and pee on that it might help. She's probably still getting control of her functions so give her a safe place in the house that she can run to. Always rub her nose in her own poo and then take her to the place where she is allowed to poo, press her into a pooping position and say 'here' just so she really understands why she's being told off.

Oh, and our dog used to 'snack' from the cat little box until the day she died... good luck with that! Eurgh.

Karen Mayes said...

Ugh, about eating the cat poop :o(

Since I am a cat person, I am not the best person to offer advice. But from what I understand, it is something that puppies go through, having smaller bladders.

Hang in there... I love that photo of her looking guilty standing next to her pee spot.

barefoot gardener said...

I have to agree with Sparx. That is how I remember training every dog we ever had. And we were never able to keep the dogs from snacking on cat poop, either. ick.

Kelly said...

What I did with my dog was I would put a leash on her, of course. Bring a dog biscut with me and took her outside. I would keep saying potty, potty over and over. If she peed or potty (while I am with her on her leash), I would give her treat right away and praise her like crazy! It took us good solid two months...
Since we don't have a fence in our back yard, took us about 4 months to train her to know where to go potty and her limit in our yard. It work perfectly for us.
Now we can let her outside and she does her business without me hawking over her. And we live in the burbs.

I believe rubbing nose into the floor is cruel and doesn't work all that well, just from my expereince.

As or biting, you will just have to keep a firm voice by saying no. My dog is a border collie, with her being a herding dog, took us a while to teach her to stop nipping at our ankles.

I find that as soon as she nipped my ankle I sayd No and give her a toy to play with works well.

Patience will pay off if you keep it in order. Be firm!

Good luck and I hope I helped some. Let me know if you have any other questions.

Lisa C. said...

I like the picture of your puppy looking guilty.
I agree with Sparx. It took our yellow lab 8 months to be trained. She was going to eat some cat's poop and we tap our hands on her head telling her no, no and she stopped doing it.

Karen Mayes said...

What is so delicious about cat poop?

Kelly said...

Hi Me again ! :)

I just thought of something else..

As soon as you catch your dog trying to do business on your floor, scoop her up and take her outside right away and say potty, potty....

I did tha method with my dog. It helped a great deal in the process.

If I think of something else, I'll let you know.

Lantana said...

Do NOT let your puppy know that you are irritated. Some animals love to play head games. From my own experience a firm tap and NO! does the trick.

However we had a Doberman that would actually search and find new places to HIDE and poop in the house! I think most dogs enjoy having their own space outside somewhere, not just ANYWHERE where the kiddies can step in it, but a special place just for the pup. The kids can consider this their chore, being a pooper scooper and keeping the doggie area clean.

I wish you well. And yes, I am happy that it is you and not me. I prefer cats. They are "self contained".

Keri said...

Hi, I don't have much experience with puppies since both of my dogs were older when we adopted them from the shelter. One of them wasn't house-broken-he was chained outside at his shelter so he wasn't used to holding his bladder for longer than 5 minutes! It took some time for him to build up the ability to hold in his pee...couple months, at least. Since you have a puppy, it may take a bit longer.

Perhaps, you could keep her outside until you see her poop? Using verbal commands will help: "Hurry up!" and give a treat OUTSIDE when she does her business so that she makes a connection between the treat and pooping outside.

Either way, it takes ALL dogs, young or old, a FULL YEAR to get settled into their new families. Hang in there! =D

Marijo said...

Hi, all good comments above. Positive reinforcement. I had my dog as a puppy and I guess I was lucky that he was a smart dog that I potty trained him in no time. I used a huge dog crate to keep him in at nights for a few months since that makes puppies more comfortable. Dogs tend not to pee/poop where they sleep so I would take him out right away from crate and he got it. I did not yell, spank, push nose etc. since it won't work and I would hate to scar him for life! Many times I would catch him as he would go in house and run out let him go, praise n treat afterwards.

I pretty much never had to do yard dog poop duty because he had it in his mind to go in woods, bushes, etc. not on lawn and I never trained him to do that. funny!

If you are looking for dog training reading material, I can recommend several books. Just let me know.

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

I agree the nose rubbing thing is just mean, and makes the human feel better. Dogs don't make the connection after the fact.

We have always had lots of pups and the HUMAN has to be diligent. Puppies are babies and need to go as soon as they wake up. You have to learn to read what your dog is telling you, some walk, and pace, others look for a private place,and that's when you need to quickly take them outside to a spot and have them pee or poop. It helps to take them to the same place as they are territorial and learn by repetition. They also will have to go within minutes of eating - you just have to watch for their signal. While your doing all this, talk in a happy voice and praise them profusely when they go. It will get better and spring is coming so at least it will be getting warmer. If your puppy stays in at night, you can take them to potty before bedtime and that should cut down on the accidents.

Good Luck - it will get better.

Lisa said...

I think things will get better outside when the weather warms up. We had a puppy who did the same thing... goofed around outside, then pooped as soon as we got back inside. I think the temperature difference made her want to go, plus it was harder to smell the "right" spot in the cold.

As for eating cat poop... well, it's better that the horse and cow poop my boy dog likes to eat!! All dogs, when given the chance, will eat other animal's poop and sometimes even their own. Something to do with undigested nutrients in the poo. Still nasty, though!

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

Actually the dog can get parasites from the cat poop because cats eat meat, and the horse and cow poop is vegetarian in nature and won't be giving your dog worms.

Anna said...

May I suggest that you give the CAT some Bitter Apple extract (sold in pet stores or any stores with a well stocked pet supply department; ask around)? The dog then won't eat the cat poop, hopefully!

But dogs will eat poop... Even deer droppings. All you can do is be diligent. Just take the dog out for walks all the time. And supervise the dog at all times. You can break the dog of a nasty habit, but it takes time, consistency, and diligence.

Don't play with the dog outside when you want the dog to do her business. Be business-like and walk her - don't play with her.

I find Karen Pryor to be very helpful. Google her. Positive reinforcement. One of the best things I ever did.

Oh, and I second the crate. Did wonders for my dogs.

I now have a cat and a dog. My dog keeps eating cat poop. So I've put the litter box in a closet with a sliding door. I keep the sliding door big enough for my cat but too small for my dog. Works great - until the dog learns how to slide the door. So I finally put up a gate on the door with a space large enough on the bottom for my cat, but too small for my dog.

Kelly said...

**Oh, and I second the crate. Did wonders for my dogs.**

Hi there , me again: I am sure you are sick of me by now.. Heh!

I do agree with the comment at the very above me..

We did crate our dog and it is not inhumane to do that, in fact, it did help train my dog to poop outside. Dogs do not like to do their business in the crate, since it is their sleeping spot.

When we first got Brandi, we used the crate for night time and while we were gone. We used it for about 3 months.

We don't use it much anymore, the only time we use it is when we have alot of people at our house and I don't want her buggin' people to death.

Something worth for you to consider about...

I'll try to leave you alone for now...MAYBE.. ;)

mishkazena said...

Strange. I left a comment here and now it's gone. Was it removed?