How to Train a Husky to Not Destroy Things

Medium
1-6 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

Your Husky is the life and soul of the party. He loves being the center of attention and plays up to the role at any given opportunity. He spends his time charging around showing off whenever you have guests over. However, they all see the best of "Lucky", while you are present to witness his shortcomings. His worst bad habit by far is destroying clothes, shoes, your yard and anything else that is around. It was easy to overlook to start with, but now it’s becoming a serious problem.

Training Lucky not to destroy things could save you considerable money in replacing carpets, rugs and more. It will also save you from coming home after a long day of work to have to clean up the mess he has made. Finally, this type of training will make it easier to stamp out any number of other bad habits too.

Defining Tasks

Training a Husky not to do anything can be challenging, especially if this habit has developed over many years. Although they are intelligent they can be difficult to train. So the first thing you need to do is introduce some deterrence measures to make him think twice about destroying stuff. You will then need to combine that with positive reinforcement. Channeling his energy into something productive instead is also important.

If Lucky is a puppy the habit should be relatively new and he should respond swiftly to training. So you could see results in just a week or two. However, if the habit has been years in the making then you may have your work cut out. It could be six weeks before he gives up destroying things. Succeed and you won’t have to worry about the damage that’s about to unfold as you turn your key in the door.

Getting Started

Before you get to work you will need to collect a few things. Treats or small chunks of your pal's favorite food will be needed. You will also need to get your hands on a water spray bottle and a deterrence collar for one of the methods. Food puzzles and other toys will also be required.

Set aside 10 minutes or so each day for training. The more regularly you train, the sooner you will see results.

The only other things you need are patience and a proactive attitude, then training can begin!

The Deterrence Method

Effective
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Step
1
Remove the temptation
If he’s destroying your yard, limit his access to it. Only let him out there when you can supervise him. Alternatively, you could keep him tethered to a spot where he can’t cause any damage.
Step
2
Remove him
If you do catch him destroying something you need to react swiftly. Give a loud, firm ‘NO’ so he understands you're unimpressed. You can then take him by the collar and lead him away.
Step
3
Water spray bottle
You can also give a quick squirt of water near his face when you catch Lucky destroying something. This will quickly make him associate destroying with negative consequences from his owner.
Step
4
Deterrence collar
A deterrence collar is an effective way to show your disapproval. You just need to make sure you’re around plenty to use it when you catch him. Simply hit the remote button whenever you see him causing damage and an unpleasant spray of citronella will be emitted.
Step
5
Get all on board
It’s important everyone in the house reacts when they catch him destroying. If some people laugh or don’t react then Lucky will get confused and the end result will be pushed back.
Recommend training method?

The Time Out Method

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Step
1
Setting up
The time out method is a fantastic way to train your Husky not to destroy things. All you need to do is make sure you have a room set up with no toys or anything he might play with.
Step
2
React
As soon as you catch Lucky destroying something, calmly take him by the collar and lead him into the time out room. Then shut the door and leave him in there for thirty-seconds. Make sure you don’t scare him as you take him away, stay calm at all times.
Step
3
Release him
Once his time is up, let him out. You can then go back to playing with him or whatever it was you were doing before. However, keep a close eye on him in case he goes back to his previous crime.
Step
4
Increase the sentence
If he does destroy something again you need to take him by the collar back to the room. Only this time leave him in there for an additional thirty seconds. Continue to add thirty seconds onto his sentence until he gets the message.
Step
5
Positive reinforcement
To discourage him from destroying after he’s been released from his time out space, gently praise him as long as he remains calm. This combination of positive reinforcement with the time out step will yield results swiftly.
Recommend training method?

The Focus Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Exercise
Huskies are big dogs that need a lot of exercise. His destructive behavior may be a release of pent up energy, so ensure he is getting plenty of walks. You can also play fetch with him to tire him out. Tired huskies don’t have the energy to destroy your stuff.
Step
2
Food puzzles
Lucky may be destroying things because he’s simply bored. So leave him with food puzzles to get through. This should keep him entertained for hours and is particularly useful if you’re going to be leaving him alone for long periods.
Step
3
Dedicated play time
His destroying things may also be a form of attention seeking. So try to make sure you dedicate a few minutes each day to playing games with him. Even just lying there and stroking him calmly can help.
Step
4
Rewards
It’s important he associates being calm with positive rewards. So hand over the odd tasty treat and verbal praise whenever he plays calmly. If he gets too worked up and looks like he might start wrecking stuff, quickly take away any attention.
Step
5
Obedience commands
Spend a few minutes each day teaching him basic obedience commands, such as ‘down’, ‘roll over’ and any other instructions you may need. This will help channel his energy into something productive, while simultaneously increasing your control and strengthening your position as pack leader.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Batman
Husky mix
9 Months
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Batman
Husky mix
9 Months

We just moved into a new house less than a month ago. Batman has done pretty well about chewing since we moved in. He got a controller once and has dragged a few items into the bedroom without destroying them. The problem now seems to be the blinds in my kitchen at the front of the house. They extend all the way to the floor, although when I leave, I raise them above his head level because he likes to look out there and watch me leave, etc. Even when I have only been gone an hour, he has torn through 4 sets of blinds. I'm not sure if it is simply him jumping and catching the blinds(always the same set while there are 2 side by side) or if he is purposely doing it because of separation anxiety. I know there is a dog that gets out and roams the street daily, so he may be getting excited and jumping. If that is the case, I can't do a ton about other dog owners, but I need to find out how to train Batman to stay out of the blinds. He knows it is wrong, because he acts super guilty when I come home.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
421 Dog owners recommended

Hello James, The truth is that he needs to either be crated or kept in a room where he doesn't have access to the blinds or other things he can destroy right now. It probably isn't separation anxiety if that is the only thing happening. True separation anxiety is often accompanied by a number of other behaviors like pottying in the house even though potty trained, shaking, barking or whining the entire time you are gone, trying to escape to the point of injuring themselves, excessive drooling, pacing before you leave, ect..True separation anxiety is usually really obvious. Separation "boredom" is extremely common though and what most dogs who destroy things actually have...Essentially they get bored and have learned that while you are gone no one is there to stop them from practicing their new favorite "game" (destorying blinds or barking and jumping in his case), and the more they "practice" it, the more entrenched the behavior becomes and the more they do it. The same goes with territorial barking - they see another dog, bark and go crazy - the dog leaves, so they think their barking was successful and because it was successful they continue to do the behavior, until it becomes a super exciting, highly arousing game to them - which also feeds into territorial aggression. Whichever one it is, the first step is to absolutely stop access to the window so that he cannot practice the behavior and it get worse while you are gone. At nine months of age, very few pups are ready for unsupervised freedom in the house - my own dog who is off leashed trained was not given that freedom until 1.5 because there is a destructive chewing phase that happens between 7-10 months due to jaw development and bad chewing habits that are repeated constantly can become long term - instead of things that pup will grow out of if prevented. Confine pup somewhere where he can't chew and destroy and bark out the window, give a food stuffed chew toy to teach him to do that instead while bored (the food makes the toy enticing to "train" him to chew the toy), wait a few months until it has been at least three months since he has tried to chew anything he shouldn't have or reacted to the window (I wouldn't even attempt it until over a year), and correct any jumping, barking, or destroying of blinds at the window while you are home, plus work on teaching a Place command and practicing that command until he can do it for 1-2 hours so that he learns to calmly relax in general. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Best of luck training, Caitlin Critenden

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Question
Biscuit
Husky German Shepherd
8 Months
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Question
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Biscuit
Husky German Shepherd
8 Months

Biscuit keeps chewing everything from the trampoline, to the kids bicycle seats, to the carpet and walls, as well as some cable wires. We are pretty sure it’s not from teething because he has all his adult teeth now and has various toys to chew on including a kong toy. He doesn’t seem to grasp the word “no” and only responds when called by two members of our family (there are seven of us). We know he’s still a puppy, but would like some advice on how to stop this behaviour.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
421 Dog owners recommended

Hello Lewis, Most puppies actually go through a second chewing phase between 7-9 months actually because jaws are developing - this period tends to be more destructive than the first one because their jaws are stronger and they have adult teeth to chew through things with. - It needs to be addressed to prevent long-term bad habits, but it is completely normal. Check out the article linked below for how to deal with it. I suggest following several different tips there, like confinement in a crate when you can't supervise, teaching commands like Leave It, using deterrent sprays for things he tends to chew over and over again, and making his own toys more enticing by stuffing with dog food. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-not-to-chew/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Loki
Siberian Husky
3 Years
0 found helpful
Question
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Loki
Siberian Husky
3 Years

Ok so I found this guy in a dumpster at 8 months he's very close to me cries and howls when I go to work or anywhere he loves me very much what can I do

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
421 Dog owners recommended

Hello Eric, There are a couple of routes you can take with the separation anxiety. The first step is to work on building his independence and his confidence by adding a lot of structure and predictability into his routine. Things such as making him work for rewards like meals, walks, and pets. Working on "Stay" and "Place," commands while you move away or leave the room, and teaching him to remain inside a crate when the door is open. Change your routine surrounding leaving so that he does not anticipate alone time and build up his anxiety before you leave - which is hard for him to deescalate from, and be sure to give him something to do in the crate during the day (such as a food stuffed Kong to chew on); this is the general protocol for separation anxiety. It is gentle but can take a very long time for some dogs. Another protocol involves teaching the dog to cope with their own anxiety by making their current anxious go-to behaviors unpleasant, giving them an opportunity to stop those behaviors long enough to learn something new, then rewarding the correct, calmer behavior instead. This protocol can feel harsh because it involves careful correction, but it tends to work much quicker for many dogs. If you go this route, I suggest hiring a trainer who is very experienced using both positive reinforcement and fair correction. Who is extremely knowledgeable about e-collar training, and can follow the protocol listed below, to help you implement the training. Building his independence and structure in his life will still be an important part of this protocol too. First, check out this video from SolidK9Training on treating anxiety. It will give a brief over-view of treating separation anxiety more firmly. This trainer can be a bit abrupt with his teaching style with people but is very experienced working with highly aggressive, anxious, and reactive dogs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5GqzeLzysk Make sure you are implementing what he teaches there in other areas of his life too. Second, purchase a remote electronic collar, e-collar, with a wide range of levels. I recommend purchasing E-Collar Technologies Mini Educator for this. If you are not comfortable with an e-collar then you can use a vibration collar (the Mini Educator is also a vibration mode) or unscented air remote controlled air spray collar. DO NOT use a citronella collar, buy the additional unscented air canister if the collar comes with the citronella and make sure that you use the unscented air. (Citronella collars are actually very harsh). The vibration or spray collars are less likely to work though, so you may end up spending more money by not purchasing an e-collar first. The Mini Educator has very low levels of stimulation, that can be tailored specifically to your dog. It also has vibration and beep tones that you can try using first, without having to buy additional tools. Next, set up a camera to spy on him. If you have two smart devices, like tablets or smartphones, you can Skype or Facetime them to one another with your pup’s end on mute, so that you can see and hear him but he will not hear you. Video baby monitors, video security monitors with portable ways to view the video, GoPros with the phone Live App, or any other camera that will record and transmit the video to something portable that you can watch outside live will work. Next, put the e-collar on him while he is outside of the crate, standing, and relaxed. To learn how to put the collar on him, check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLxB6gYsliI Turn it to it's lowest level and push the stimulation button twice. See if he responds to the collar at all. Look for subtle signs such as turning his head, moving his ears, biting his fur, moving away from where he was, or changing his expression. If he does not respond at all, then go up one level on the collar and when he is standing and relaxed, push the stimulation button again twice. Look for a reaction again. Repeat going up one level at a time and then testing his reaction at that level until he indicates a little bit that he can feel the collar. Here is a video showing how to do this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl3V8vYobM Once you have found the right stimulation level for him and have it correctly fitted on him, have him wear the collar around with it turned off or not being stimulated for several hours. Next, set up your camera to spy on him while he is in the crate. Put him into the crate while he is wearing the collar and leave the room. Spy on him from outside. Leave however you normally would. As soon as you hear him barking or see him start to try to escape or destroy the crate from the camera, push the stimulation button once. Every time he barks or tries to get out of the crate, stimulate him again. If he does not decrease his barking or escape attempts at least a little bit after being stimulated seven times in a row, then increase the stimulation level by one level. He may not feel the stimulation while excited so might need it just slightly higher. Do not go higher than three more levels on the mini-educator or one level on another collar with less levels right now though because he has not learned what he is supposed to be doing yet. The level you end up using on him on the mini educator collar should be within the first sixty levels of the one-hundred to one-hundred-and-twenty-five levels, depending on the model you purchase. If it is not, then have a professional evaluate whether you have the correct "working level" for him. If he continues to ignore the collar, then go up one more stimulation level and if that does not work, make sure that the collar is turned on, fitted correctly, and working. Also, make sure that you use the long prongs instead of the short ones since his fur is longer and thick - most high quality collars come with both options or the option to order one or the other. After five minutes to ten minutes, as soon as your dog stays quiet and is not trying to escape for five seconds straight, go back inside to the dog. Do not speak to him or pay attention to him for ten minutes while you walk around inside. When he is being calm, then you can let him out of the crate. When you let him out, do it the way Jeff does is in this video below. Opening and closing the door until your dog is not rushing out. You want him to be calm when he comes out of the crate and to stay calm when you get home. That is why you need to ignore him when you get home right away. Also, keep your good byes extremely boring and calm. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5GqzeLzysk Put a dog food stuffed Kong into the crate with him. Once he is less anxious he will likely enjoy it and that will help him to enjoy the crate more. First, he needs his anxious state of mind interrupted so that he is open to learning other ways to behave. Once it's interrupted, give him a food stuffed Kong in the crate for him to relieve his boredom instead, since he will need something other than barking to do at that point. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Bentley
Huskey mix
12 Weeks
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Question
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Bentley
Huskey mix
12 Weeks

There seems to me a issue with the tv remotes being chewed up, he gets mad when I kennel him up and leave he destroyed his bed this is the 2nd one I have replaced ,he howels the hole time I am gone? he seems to run to me when my boyfriend scoles him he gives him the evil eye and refuses to acton any command he ives him when he is mad at him?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
421 Dog owners recommended

Hello Lorrie, At this age chewing things up is completely normal -including chewing up the bed. The howling in the crate is also normal if you haven't spent time crate training him and let him practice getting used to it. Almost all puppies do these things at this age. He most likely is not listening to your boy friends commands when scolded because he doesn't understand well enough what to do and is just reacting in fear to the emotion of getting in trouble. Check out www.primopads.com for a more durable non-absorbent bed. I generally do not recommend soft beds in crates until dogs are over 1 year of age and past potty training and chewing ages. The primopad should come with zipties that can be used to lock the bad down to the sides and corner of the crate to keep him from being able to pull the pad up to chew on the edges. You also need something non-absorbent in a crate because something absorbent may teach your pup to go potty in a crate because the bed just absorbs the pee so the pup doesn't feel a need to keep the crate clean by holding it - also puppies this age can only hold their bladders for a maximum of 3-4 hours during the day even in a crate due to bladder size, so he will need a potty break or two if you work during the day. 1. Crate Train him and crate him while you are done to avoid him chewing up things - if you don't do this, then chewing can become a bad life-long habit and dangerous for him because you cannot him not to while you are not there. While you are home, work on teaching him to Leave It, and while you are away confine him somewhere safe like a crate - if you do these two things, then he should outgrow the chewing between 1-2 years in most cases. 2. Check out the Surprise method from the article linked below to help him get used to being in the crate. Also, don't let him out when he cries unless he truly has to go potty or is quiet for a second - when you let him out whenever he cries you remove the opportunity for him to learn to self-sooth and self-entertain in a crate (give a food stuffed chew toy in the crate to help with these things), and you teach him that crying gets him out when you want him to learn that patience and calmness gets him out. Most puppies will cry for the first two weeks while adjusting. For some it only takes three days to adjust though, working on the surprise method can help that time go faster. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate 3. For the listening, work on obedience more. Practice lure reward training a little each day, teaching things like come, Sit, Leave It, Down, Wait, Heel, ect...You first just have to work on teaching him the meaning of these words using treats to lure him into doing the command, then you have to phase out the treat gradually so that he can do the command without food most of the time, then you have to proof the command to help him learn that he has to do it even when he doesn't feel like - this can look like practicing Come on a long leash so you can gently reel him in if he doesn't come, practicing Sit using the Leash Pressure method from the article linked below, and practicing heel using the Turns method from the article linked below (don't expect too much with heel right away, he will first just have to learn to like a collar and leash, walk in a straight line, then heel). Come - The Run Away method first, then Reel in method later when he is ready: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall Sit - The Treat Luring method first, then the Pressure method later when he is ready: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-sit Down - The Treat luring method first, then the Pressure method later when he is ready: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-to-lay-down Heel - the Treat Lure method first, then the Turns method later when he is ready: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Leave It - The Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Finally, when your boy friend corrects, instruct him to be calm about it if he isn't already. You can use No or Ahaha calmly to tell pup that what he is doing isn't correct and gently give consequences, but the mindset needs to be calm and focused on teaching pup the rules and commands right now (does he know what TO DO instead of the unwanted behavior - if you are not sure he does, then teach him what to do instead). He is usually just being a puppy at this age and doesn't know better yet, so help him learn and be consistent. The most qualified trainers who work with the most aggressive dog behaviors are extremely calm and consistent while they work to gain the dog's respect and trust. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Mazy
Husky
7 Months
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Mazy
Husky
7 Months

Mazy was abused and left in crate for long lengths of time even up to a Day before she was rescued by us. Our issue is we cant crate her without her defecating and stepping/laying in it. We found that she is better left in a larger non confined space. So we gave her the run of most of our house mainly living room and kitchen. The problem now is everyday she seems to target something random to destroy like plant decorations or maybe a picture. Even though she has plenty of toys and bones that she plays with all the time but when we leave she just wants the things she shouldnt have. We already do a lot of negative reinforcement like yelling NO! and she will run away and hide. Not sure what else we should do. Any recommendations?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
421 Dog owners recommended

Hello Alex, First, even though she cannot be crated because of her history she does need confinement. 7 months is the height of the second destructive chewing phase and it is natural for her to chew right now to relieve jaw discomfort - you need to ensure through limiting access to your stuff when you are not home, that this chewing doesn't become a long-term habit that persists even after the chewing phase pasts, and that she has interesting chew toys to learn to chew on instead. First, cordon off part of your house, either one room that she doesn't seem to have accidents in or part of your home like the kitchen and breakfast room. In that same dog proof everything as well as possible - nothing loose, accessible, no cords, books, baskets, trinkets, ect...just one big boring room. Fill a could of hollow chew toys with her dog food. You can even place her dog food in a bowl, cover it with water, let it sit out until the food turns to mush, mix a little cheese, liver paste, or peanut butter (no xylitol-it's toxic to dogs) into the food, place a straw all the way through the toy (to prevent suction), very loosely stuff the toy(s) around the straw, then freeze overnight, and remove the straw before giving the toy. You can make several of these at a time and grab from the freezer as needed. She can eat all of her meals as stuffed hollow chew toys even. You can also purchase a device like Pet Tutor or AutoTrainer that will automatically dispense a treat after a certain amount of time to encourage calmness - but I am not sure I would invest in one of those yet because she may chew the device as they are expensive. When you are home, work on teaching self-control. No tells her what not to do what doesn't help her learn what to do instead of develop the impulse control to stop doing it. Check out the article linked below and how to teach Leave It and use deterrent sprays. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-not-to-chew/ If you are diligent with confining in a dog-proofed room and teaching self-control when you are home and teaching her to chew her own chew toys by stuffed them with food, she should outgrow the chewing between 1-2 years, hopefully around a year. I wouldn't give total freedom in the house until past 1 year and until there have been 3 months without a chewing incident. When you do feel she is ready, give is gradually, 10 minutes first, 30 minutes, 1 hour, 3 hours, ect...if she chews during that amount of time while transitioning she is not ready yet, wait three more months, then try again. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Koa
Husky
15 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Koa
Husky
15 Months

Hello, my husky is still not potty trained and she’s over a year. She goes on her pads when she goes inside, which we keep in the same location. She has started to pee outside but usually just when she feels like it and only sometimes on command. She has never pooped outside only inside on her pads. I’ve tried crating her, keeping her outside for long periods of time, rewarding her when she does go outside, however she still hasn’t fully transitioned to going only outside. Any tips on how to house break her?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
421 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kendra, I would put a pad outside since she is familiar with that, and take her to the pad outside to potty (obviously put a new one in that same spot when it gets soiled but keep the location of it outside the same for now. When she is completely comfortable peeing and pooping on the pad outside, then start cutting off pieces of the pads overtime to make them smaller and smaller, until she is pottying on the grass right next to it consistently - at which point you can remove the pad and continue just to take her to that spot, and finally take her to similar spots in your yard too. Reward her whenever she goes potty outside, by saying "Go Potty" when you take her outside and giving a treat after she pees, and a few treats after she poops - one treat at a time. While doing the above outside, I suggest removing all pee pads from inside, as well as any area rugs if you can since many dogs will struggle with peeing on those when you remove pee pads at first. Very strictly follow the Crate Training method from the article linked below. This method only gives freedom while you know she is empty - right after going potty outside. She then goes back into the crate when her bladder or bowels start to fill up again, until time to take her back outside to potty again. This removes the option for accidents inside and ensures that she really has to go potty when you take her outside. Don't put anything absorbent in the crate or that can mess this up. Since she is older than the puppy described in the article below, she can stay in the crate for 7-8 hours while you are at work most likely, but when you are home, take her potty outside every 3 hours, then every 1 hour again if she doesn't go when you take her - putting her back into the crate between potty trips until she potties outside during one of the trips outside. Repeat the trips outside every hour until she goes potty there, then give her 2-3 hours of supervised freedom in the house. After that time either take her outside to go potty or crate her. Give less free time if she goes potty during those 2-3 hours. If you suspect she has to poop but doesn't after peeing, either put her back into the crate and try again 30 minutes - 1 hour later, or keep her attached to yourself with a leash between potty trips so she can't sneak off, and try again in 30 minutes - 1 hour, or sooner if she acts like she needs to go (sniffing around, trying to sneak off, whining, barking, squatting, ect...) Crate Training method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Clean up any old or new accident spots with a cleaner that contains enzymes - to remove the smell so she isn't attracted back to that spot again and again, including the spot where pee pads normally go in case they leaked. You may also have to block off the area where the pee pads consistently were for a long time, until she is 100% on pottying only outside all the time. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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