If you’ve got a heart of gold and are looking to adopt a new dog, then you’ll be looking to get a rescue dog. Giving a dog in a rescue shelter a second chance is an extremely meaningful and rewarding experience, as you’ll be helping with the problem of overpopulation on the streets, and most importantly giving a dog a second chance that they may never have gotten without you.
However, owning a rescue dog is certainly a challenge. Of course, every dog is an individual and some will be easier to train than others. But as rescue pups are generally not puppies and will likely have an unknown background, they may have been a street dog for a long time and as such will have likely picked up bad habits. As your four-legged friend won’t be used to toilet training, it will likely be necessary for you to teach them to pee outside.
Toilet training a rescue dog is very important for a range of reasons. Teaching him or her to pee outside is a form of obedience training and as such, if you successfully train them, they will respect you more and appreciate that they need to listen to your commands. Cleaning up pee is an unpleasant experience and if you train them to go outside you’ll save a lot of time and expense in not having to clear up after them or buy new items of furniture or clean the carpets. Urine contains a lot of harmful substances such as ammonia and it isn’t very hygienic for you or your family to be inhaling those fumes. Exposure can be detrimental to health if urine is not thoroughly cleaned and disinfected--another reason to get your pet to go outside. Also, cleaning up urine is an unpleasant experience and may result in you becoming frustrated with your pooch, without them knowing what they’ve done wrong. Therefore, training them to go outside can strengthen your bond.
This command can be quite difficult as your rescue dog is likely set in their ways, and although will hopefully only take a few days, it could take a couple weeks for them to learn.
To get going, you’ll definitely need a patient but determined attitude, as rescue dogs can be that bit trickier to train than a new puppy with no prior experience of the way the world works. Delicious treats as a reward for going in the correct place are important. Sort out what your pooch's favorites are, however, high-value treats such as chicken, sausage or cheese can be good, as they’re extra tasty to puppers. A crate is also a valuable tool for toilet training your pup, make sure the crate is the right size for your breed and weight of pooch. Finally, make sure you also get a hefty supply of potty training pads for your pooch, they should be readily available at your local pet store, they will ensure that the clear up is much easier for you and will help save your carpets from urine staining.
My puppy will not use the potty outside. I can stay outside all day and as soon as she comes back in she just pees wherever. We just put down new flooring and my hubby is not happy with her. I just don't know what to do... Please help!!!
Hello Christy, Some puppies who have been punished in the past for peeing inside will avoid going in front of you, regardless of where they are. Try taking her outside on a twenty or fifty foot leash, so that she can wander away from you safely, and go potty when she think that you are not looking, then when she goes praise her quietly and toss treats over to her. Tossing her treats should help her to warm up to going in front of you overtime. As she warms up, you can gradually get closer and closer to her while she pees, until you can use a normal leash again. The problem also might be an aversion to going outside, rather than an aversion to going in front of you. Something traumatic might have happened outside, she might be too distracted to go, or hates the wet ground or something similar. If that is the case, try taking her to different surfaces, such as grass, mulch, gravel, or leaves. She may hate going on grass, but be OK with going on gravel. Also go purchase a spray from your local pet store or online that is designed to encourage elimination. It's usually called something like "Go Here", "Hurry Spray", or "Training Spray", and can be found in the training or house breaking department. Right before you take her outside, spray the spray onto the area you want her to eliminate on, then take her over to the area quietly, and let her sniff the area, and wait patiently for her to circle around, sniff, and go. Also, make sure that you are cleaning up previous accidents with a cleaner containing enzymes that will break down the pee and poop enough to eliminate the smell well enough that she cannot smell it anymore. Cleaners that do not contain enzymes will not remove the smell enough for your dog to not smell it, and a smell left will encourage her to eliminate in the same area again. Also avoid any cleaners containing Ammonia because Ammonia smells like urine to a dog and will encourage elimination in that area. Last, look into crate training for house breaking. Overtime crate training will force her to eliminate outside by not giving her any freedom in the house until she goes outside, and by making the experience of eliminating outside pleasant again. Here is an article on how to teach that, all of the methods in this article can help, but the crate training will tackle the issue of not eliminating outside the quickest. Disregard that the article talks about pooing outside, it should work just as well for peeing outside too. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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We just brought him home from a rescue. He has never been with a family and so has spent his life in a shelter. He won’t pee outside. Has had several accidents inside. 2 which have been while laying down. One being in his crate. We take him out every hour but he will not go pee outside. He pooped for the first time outside today. Not sure what to do to break a life time (only 5 mos but) habit.
Hello Kerri, It sounds like Duke is afraid of peeing outside because he has not experienced it before, or possibly he had a bad experience doing it once. Take a couple of days when you are home and not at work and it is nice outside, such as a weekend, and spend the entire day outside with him each day. If you can do this more than two days in a row, then that would work even better. While outside feed him all of his meals there and give him plenty of water to drink there. Play with him and get him excited, and make sure that he has shade if it is hot. Doing all of that should make him need to go potty. If your yard is not fenced in then purchase a long leash such as a thirty foot leash and attach it to him and allow him to wander several feet away from you whenever he wants to go potty. He might be afraid to go in your presence because he has been punished by someone for having accidents in the past. After he is comfortable peeing outside, then you can gradually decrease the amount of distance between you and him, until he will pee in your presence too. When he does eventually go, quietly praise him and toss him four treats, large enough for him to find in the yard, as a reward for going. Do this every time that you catch him using the bathroom outside. Overtime he should become more comfortable going outside. Once he is comfortable going outside, then you can use a typically potty training schedule and techniques to teach him to not go potty in the house. Because of his uncertain past do not punish him for having accidents in the house, instead distract him quickly if you see him begin to go potty inside and rush him outside to finish, but do your absolute best to prevent the accident in the first place after he is comfortable eliminating outside and can be taken outside frequently. Make sure that you clean up any accidents with a pet safe cleaner that contains enzymes. Only enzymes will break up the pee and poop enough for him to not be able to smell it still, and be attracted to eliminating in that same spot. Also if there is a particular type of material that he tends to have accidents on, and he does not tend to pee on another type of material, then once you get him over his fear of peeing outside, keep him confined to areas with the material that he does not pee on between his potty breaks. For example, if he is used to peeing on the hard floor of a shelter or crate, and has accidents on your kitchen's hardwood or linoleum floor but he does not pee on carpeted areas, then confine him to a carpeted area, or even better, find an old piece of carpeting or an old rug and use that on the floor of a room where he can stay when you are not able to completely supervise him, between his potty breaks outside. Be sure to give him interesting toys while he is in there, such as food stuffed Kongs, puzzle toys, wobble toys that he can tip over to dispense food, and chew toys, to remove any anxiety about being in that room and to prevent bad chewing habits. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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I just adopted a rescue dog who is 5 years old but has only been trained to go on puppy pads (he previously spent his entire life inside). I want to train him to go outside. I tried to start him without pads in the house and just take him outside every couple of hours. He will poop outside when he needs to, but he will not pee. He went 24 hours without peeing and now has peed twice inside on the carpet after coming inside from long walks when he wouldn’t pee. I am ordering some pads so that hopefully he doesn’t soil the carpet again (I have used an enzyme cleaner), but I’m also afraid this will make it harder to get him to go outside. Should I take the pads outside with me to try to get him to go?
I should mention that I live on the 11th floor, so I can’t just rush him out the door if he is having an accident, I have to wait for the elevator. Also, he turns up his nose at treats, so I have just been using praise and a clicker.
Hello Sarah, Congratulations on the new dog! Since Flaps is so used to using Pee Pads he probably views the grass and outside area as somewhere that he should not pee. Since he is refusing to pee outside after holding it for so long, take the pee pads with you outside and encourage him to go on there as if they were grass. Tell him to "Go Potty" when he is on the pee pads, and praise him for going on them when he does, but do not keep the pee pads available inside your home if he will go on them outside alright. You want to transition home from going potty inside to peeing outside, even if it is on pee pads outside at first. Continue to take him outside to pee on the pee pads very frequently so that he does not have an accident in the house when he cannot find one inside. When he is doing well peeing on the pee pads outside, then start putting grass and outdoor debris on the pee pad to get him used to that. Start with just a small handful of grass or dirt at first. Overtime, either gradually cover the pee pad more and more with outside debris like grass, until the pee pad is completely covered, or cut the pee pads smaller and smaller so that Flaps is peeing on the ground around it more and more. When you get to the point where the pee pad is totally covered with debris or is only an inch or two wide, then remove it entirely and tell him to "Go Potty" on just the normal ground. When you first tell him to "Go Potty" somewhere without the pee pad under him, make sure that it is in a location where you used to have the pee pad before because he will associate that location with peeing and be more likely to go. If he will poop on the normal ground without a pee pad alright right now, continue having him poop just on the ground when you can. If he poops on the pad after peeing that is fine too, but encourage pooping on the ground since he has already been doing that for you, to maintain that. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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Hello! Background: Sal was flown up to MN from Puerto Rico last night. We believe he was a street dog. I live in an apartment building, and it takes a few to get to the grass. I also have a balcony.
Situation: He would not go potty outside last night on two walks. He would not this morning either, and when we returned indoors he peed on the carpet while tethered to me, and then again on the kitchen floor. Both times I had looked away for just a second! He is eating and drinking adequately. We spent the better half of the day smelling the things and giving him an opportunity to go outside, but he never did. We would be outside for an hour, go inside into the kennel for about 50 minutes, and head back outside. This last time on the way up he started to pee in the hallway, so I clapped and rushed him down a stairwell outside. He then seemed to forget about it and not go.
-should I be doing anything differently?
-should I carry him through the hallways?
-should I have taken him right to a puppy pad?
-when he pees in the apartment should I take him to a puppy pad or outside?
-is there a time frame in which I should try the chicken broth method if he hasn't gone potty outside?
Hello Nadine, It sounds like you did everything correctly. He may just need a different approach. Does he seem nervous while he is outside? Is he afraid of being on a leash? If he is nervous while outside he might be refusing to go because of that. It that's the case, then spend time outside with him every day with treat and toys getting him used to your neighborhood so that he will relax and sniff around while out there. Look into purchasing a spray designed to encourage peeing and pooping. It is usually called "Hurry Spray", "Puppy Training Spray", "Go Here" or something similar. Spray that on the area where you would like him to pee right before you lead him over to that spot. If he seems nervous while on the leash, then spend extra time getting him used to the leash. Try to follow him around and keep it loose as much as you can while keeping him safe. Every once in a while tug on it, wait until he stops fighting it if he resists, and then give him a treat. He should start to learn to come toward you when he feels tension on the leash and also to like the feeling of tension on the leash better. You can also try using regular a ten to twenty foot leash that is not retractable, and letting him wander around to sniff while you stand further away. Do not use a retractable leash on him while potty training right now either way. The tension on the leash could be the issue. Using the long leash is a good thing to try if you have somewhere where you can take him with enough space to do that. If he does not seem nervous about being outside or being on the leash, then he may not believe that it is alright to pee outside for some reason. Possibly because of other dogs in the area. Keep doing what you are doing but carry him down the stairs instead of having him walk until he is having less accidents. I normally advise against that but in his case he may pee on the way down if you do not. Walk him out the door before picking him up if he is not about to have an accident though, so that he will learn to walk over to the door himself when he has to pee. After you spray the pee encouragement spray on an area outside, if he does pee, then have several of his favorite treats with you and give him five of them, one at a time, while praising him. Do this so that he will be more likely to pee outside again next time and will learn that it is okay to go out there. If you do not wish to use Puppy Pads for the rest of his life, then do not use them now. Many dogs struggle with telling the difference between pee pads and carpet, rugs, and clothes. Once the pee pads are removed a lot of dogs begin peeing in other locations inside. Some even pee on other locations while the puppy pads are present. If you cannot get Salvador to pee outside following the above recommendations this coming week, then you may want to teach him to use a doggie toilet on the balcony temporarily. For this toilet use a litter box filled with cat litter or make your own grass toilet. You can make a grass toilet by placing a piece of grass sod in a large shallow plastic bin. If cat litter boxes are too small for him, then you can also use those types of plastic bins and fill one part of the way with cat litter to make your own litter box. Purchase an Exercise Pen and place the litter box or grass toilet in one end of the Exercise Pen and spray the toilet or litter box with the pee encouraging spray. Place Salvador in the Exercise Pen where the toilet is and leave him there until he pees or poops. Make sure that he has shade and water if it is hot. Take care not to let him overheat. Go far enough away that he does not feel like you will scold him if he has an accident, but close enough that you can still see when he goes potty. Right after he goes potty at some point, praise him and go over to him and give him several treats, one treat at a time, then let him out of the Exercise Pen. Do this for all of his potty trips. When he becomes more willing to go potty in there, then tell him "Go Potty" when you take him there. A litter box will be less smelly and messy to clean but the grass toilet will be better for training him to go potty outside and easier to transition away from. Continue to take him outside to go potty, even if he will not go yet, while you are teaching him to also go in the Exercise Pen toilet. If he does not go outside, then put him in the Exercise Pen until he goes. When he has learned to go in the Exercise Pen toilet, then take the piece of grass sod or liter box outside and take him to it outside and tell him to "Go Potty" there. Reward him if he does. When he will go potty there, then gradually decrease the size of the grass sod or deconstruct the litter box a bit at a time until the litter is just on the ground. Finally, there should be no litter or grass sod left and he should be going on the ground normally. If you feel confused about whether or not he is afraid of peeing outside or how to apply any of this, then I would recommend hiring a local trainer with good recommendations and showing that person this response and your question and seeking their help. They should be able to evaluate why is not willing to go potty outside and choose a good course of action. You can also try getting him used to being outside and used to a leash or a long leash first, and then move onto the Exercise Pen and grass toilet after if you are not sure where to start. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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My girl has been out of the shelter for four weeks, but when leaving the apartment to go to the bathroom or for a walk she refuses to leave past the building door to the outside. She becomes extremely fearful only when she sees the outside. She has no trouble going in the backyard at my parents house, but has to be carried to the doggie encloser at my apartment. How can we work past this fear, so she can go potty and go for walks regularly?
Hello Naeema, Work on generally building Marley's confidence in a variety of locations between your apartment entrance and where you take her to go potty. Grab several of her favorite toys, treats, people, dogs, or whatever else she enjoys and bring to several spots along the path between the apartment and bathroom. Spend time practicing tricks and giving her favorite treats, act silly and exciting, play games with her with the toys. Do this often so that she Will anticipate those areas being fun and not scary and her association with being outside will change. At first, practice in the furthest area she will walk to by herself. As she progresses, move the fun sessions farther and further away from the apartment toward the bathroom. If she will not progress, then you may need to carry her to the different spots at first and then play with her there. Start closer to the apartment and have her walk on her own and let the fun be a reward if she will walk a little bit though, then gradually go further as time passes with practice Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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We just re homed a 9 month old Siberian Husky and we have had him for 3 days so far and he has yet to go to the bathroom outside , we take him on super long walks and to the park ect (because we don’t have a back yard) but we live right beside a park. And he still won’t go 😞 we even tried to have our yorkie also go when he was taken out and he saw sniffed and just didn’t care.
He will not go at all and will hold it all day long until he really has to go and than he will go in the house.
I talked to the owners before us , and she mentioned that he only went In their backyard , not even on walks ect that he would always wait until he returned home and was in the back yard ... what can I do for him? Because he’s perfect but I can’t have him relieving himself in the house when we were told her was house trained already.
Hello Cheyenne, Check out the "Crate Training" method from the article that I have linked below. Follow that method very strictly until he begins to go potty when you tell him to "Go Potty" outside. Do not skip giving him treats, giving him a very strict crate schedule for now, and purchasing a potty encouraging spray and spraying that in the yard. The combination of schedule, crate, spray, "Go Potty" command, and treats should all work together to help him go. Using the crate very strictly for a month or so, until he stops having accidents inside and goes potty outside consistently, should also prevent most accidents in your home in the meantime. Since he is older, instead of taking him outside every one-to-two-hours like the method describes, take him outside every four hours and then every hour after that if he does not go when you take him the first time. Repeat the trips outside every hour until he goes potty one of those times, then he can have up to two-and-a-half hours of freedom in your home if you are there to supervise, before going back into the crate until it is time to take him potty again after it has been four hours since he last peed outside. If he is still having accidents with that schedule or has an accident in the crate, then take him more often and give him thirty minutes less of freedom in the house after he pees outside before putting him back into the crate until it is time to take him again. Here the link to the article. Follow the "Crate Training" method. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside That method should force him to start using the bathroom outside fairly quickly, and the spray and the treats will help him to want to go there more again in the future. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
I am having a similar issue- I just took in a large 9 month old Labrador-golden retriever-poodle who had 0 obedience training. He never walked on a leash and was outside most of the time.
He will pee mostly to mark trees and bushes. Out of 5 nights he has slept in my house, he has pooped once and peed and pooped once in the middle of the night. My husband and I work full time so we haven't been able to crate train him properly and he refuses to go near the crate we got him!
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I rescued a second dog as a companion to my now retired service dog. They play together really well, but we are having issues with feeding and potty training. Sissy was puppy pad trained, and she's a real chow-hound. She took to using the doggy door immediately and going potty outside, but she's started going inside the dog door, and running back upstairs if I follow her down to get her to go outside instead. I started putting potty pads down near the door, but then she'll go in the middle of the floor instead. Along with this frustrating regression, she peed in my bed the other night, so I kept her in the kitchen overnight (since she won't go into the kennel). As soon as I let her out this morning, she ran straight into my room and peed in my bed before I could take her downstairs. On top of that, my first dog has gotten scary skinny since she eats his food after finishing hers. I called a local behaviorist and the want hundreds of dollars to work with her, but I'm afraid the bedwetting is a dealbreaker.
Hello Leslie, First of all, get both dogs used to eating at two designated times per day, typically morning and evening. Watch the dogs and discipline the younger dog if she attempts to eat your older dog's food. Your older dog will not stop her so you need to be the one to, and the food should not be left out all the time for free feeding. Feed the dogs in two separate areas of the kitchen while you are in there eating your own food, to supervise. Give both dogs fifteen minutes to eat, and whenever the younger dog tries to eat the older dog's food, get between her and the older dog's food, tell her "Out" firmly, and then walk toward her calmly but firmly until she gets out of the area. Repeat this until she stops trying to get to the food that meal. You are telling her with your body language to leave the food alone because it belongs to you. Since it's your food, which it is, you decide who gets to eat it, not her. After fifteen minutes, take both food bowls up whether they have eaten it or not. If you come home during the middle of the day, then lock the older dog in a room where the younger dog cannot get to him while he has fifteen minutes to attempt to eat. Feed both dogs again in the evening the same way that you did in the morning by supervising them on two separate ends of the kitchen. If you cannot supervise them one meal, then lock them in separate rooms or crates with their own food bowl for the fifteen minutes. Give the older dog extra food at night if he did not eat all of his other food earlier during the day when you put it down for fifteen minutes then. Sissy needs to be formally potty trained. She needs to be taken outside to go potty on a leash every four hours unless she is in a confined area where she will hold her pee. When you take her outside, tell her to "Go Potty", and when she goes give her three treats, one at a time. If she does not go, then confine her in a small space like an exercise pen or crate or attach her to yourself with a six or eight foot leash so that she cannot sneak off. Take her outside to try again in an hour, or sooner if she starts to act like she needs to go, sniffing, circling, trying to sneak off, or trying to get your attention. Repeat this every hour until she goes. Taking her outside on leash so that she has to focus on going potty, giving her treats to motivate her to go potty outside instead of inside, and keeping her on a schedule and confined or attached to you should help. Once she learns to go quickly while on the leash with you and is motivated to go potty outside because of the treats, then you can walk her over to the doggie door, tell her to "Go Potty", and watch her from the window while she goes potty outside. When she comes back in after going potty, then you can give her a treat, without having to go out with her. From there you can phase out the treats and always walking her to the doggie door. If you are not home during the day, then you will either need to crate train her so that she will hold it for eight hours without an accident or you will need to hire a dog walker to take her out mid-day and she will need to stay in an exercise pen while you are gone. You can give her a food stuffed kong that has been filled with dog food, soaked in water and mixed with a bit of peanut butter, and frozen to entertain her in the crate or exercise pen. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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We just rescued Mousse about 4 days ago. We adopted her knowing she was a very anxious dog. She was extremely reclusive the first day but slowly came downstairs. Now she just likes being in the same room. Mousse will hold her pee and poop for over 12 sometimes 24 hours until shes about to burst then relives herself at night for us to clean up in the morning. She is terrified of being outside. She might have been tied up so walks are a no go. Keeping her outside for long periods of time is difficult since we don't have a fence and she pulls very strongly towards the door every couple minutes when she gets scarred.
Ive been taking her outside ever couple hours for about 20 minutes or so and give her treats to reinforce that outside is good. Sometimes she is too nervous to be interested in treats but has never relieved herself outside. We've been using "go here" spray but she is yet to find interest in that. She never potties inside in front of us. It's always at night or when were gone.
We feel at a loss. I work from home and feel like I can barely get anything done in between taking her out and cleaning up messes.
Hello Hillary, In your case, I would actually suggest training her to use a real grass pad inside of an exercise pen in your house right now, while you also work on getting her used to being outside in general, then transitioning her to peeing outside later on. I suggest using a real grass pad because you want her to get used to going potty on grass so that her training will transition to outside and she will not learn to pee on fabric type material, like pee pads, carpet, and rugs. I suggest the exercise pen because that will help her differentiate between the "bathroom" and the rest of the house, and it will make this process easier for you. You will need a strong, reinforced exercise pen for her. The type that's used at pet stores for training. There are a lot of options online. Just look for one that is very sturdy or that can be physically attached to the walls in a corner so that she cannot knock it over with her strength. Since you are also working on her socialization with you, set up the exercise pen in a room where you spend a lot of time, without carpeting, so that she can be in your presence. You can occasionally toss or hand feed treats to her while she is in the pen learning, after she has started peeing on the right spot, to help her with her fear of people. At first reserve treats for when she pees on the grass though, until she will do that regularly, then you can reward her at additional times to help with socialization too. When you are in the house and her bladder is empty and she is out of the exercise pen, then keep a zip lock bag of treats or her dog food if she likes it, in your pocket, and occasionally drop treats on the ground beside you as you move about. Later you can work on teaching her commands and making her work for that food to also build trust and respect, but that step will be a litter bit in the future. Check out the article that I have linked below for how to teach her to use the exercise pen and real grass pad. The article mentions litter box training, but in your case you can simply substitute the litter box for the grass pad. Only use one litter box because Mousse is larger and do not remove the exercise pen at any point, since you will be transition her to peeing outside and don't want to remove the exercise pen until she is potty trained to go outside, to discourage her from peeing inside at that point. Follow the "Exercise Pen" method from the article below. https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Here is a link to a real grass toilet. Each one is advertised as lasting a couple of weeks. It might last a bit less with her size though. You will have to experiment. https://www.amazon.com/Fresh-Patch-Disposable-Potty-Grass/dp/B005G7S6UI You can also make your own grass pads by dividing up pieces of grass sod into sections and putting one section into a wide, shallow plastic bin. Continue to work on getting her used to being outside over the next couple of months, and then you can transition to regular potty training when she is not afraid of your yard. As she gets more used to being outside overtime, if she happens to pee outside while you are practicing overcoming her fears, then keep treats in your pocket and reward her a whole lot any time she happens to pee out there. That will help potty training go faster when you get ready to officially start outdoor potty training. Congratulations on the new dog! Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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