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Laurie
March 25th, 2008, 10:40 PM
My husband and I just adopted a 2 year old female beagle/pit mix from a shelter. Her name is Bela. She was brought in as a stray, so we know nothing about her past. Bela was at the shelter about 5 months before we adopted her. Often shelter dogs are conditioned to pee and poop in closed quarters. That said, she's already had several accidents in the house. We're pretty sure that she's never had any formal housebreaking. She seems very distracted by all the new sights, sounds and smells, which makes it very difficult to get her to focus on her business. What can we do to keep her calm outside? How long should we wait to take her out after she has eaten? How many times a day is normal to take her out?

Dana
March 26th, 2008, 12:03 AM
Hi Laurie and welcome to the forum. Congrats on your new rescue dog! :thumbup: I can imagine that after so long in the shelter Bela may be having a hard time adjusting to her new and exciting life. I think the first thing you should do is to get her on a pretty strict schedule so that she knows what to expect when. And, keep a record of her potty trips, whether she goes and when she eats and drinks. This usually helps to identify any patterns of mistakes so that you can adjust the schedule to best suit Bela's needs. This will also help to pinpoint how long you need to wait after she eats for her to poo. Most dogs go within an hour of eating, so you need to really watch her after a meal and get her out at the first sign that she needs to go.

Since she is brand new to you and seems a little confused, I'd be taking her out every hour or two when she isn't crated. Have you been crating her at all yet? I would certainly recommend crate training for when you are gone and during the nights when you sleep. When you are home, keep track of her with umbilical cord training (http://thehousebreakingbible.com/training/umbilical-cord-training.htm) to prevent accidents and to learn her signals that tell you when she needs to go. Once she is doing well you can start to reduce the number of trips per day. Most adult dogs are fine with 3-5 trips per day.

Since she is distracted when you take her out to potty, it is very important that you take her to the same quiet spot every time for her potty breaks. You might stand in one spot and wait a minute or two, or walk back and forth in a small area for a short time. If she doesn't go, take her back in. If she goes, praise her abundantly and take her on a nice walk as a reward. Right now her goal is to explore the new and exciting world- show her that she can, but only when she potties! This should help her to understand which trips are for potty breaks and which ones are walks.

Please let me know if I missed any of your questions. And post a pic of Bela in the Introduce Yourself forum when you get a chance- it's nice to pair names with faces :)

Laurie
March 26th, 2008, 08:59 AM
Hi Dana:
Thanks for the advice. It all sounds good. My husband and I work during the day, so we keep her in the kitchen with a baby gate. Our kitchen is about the size of her living space at the shelter. So far, she has not had an accident in there. I've been coming home in the afternoon for lunch to give her a bathroom break. This morning, we activated the two minute rule and the walk as reward - and it worked. She's very smart, so I think she's going to get the message real soon.

Dana
March 26th, 2008, 09:27 AM
I'm glad to hear that she is keeping the kitchen clean- that's a great sign that she wants to be clean. Some dogs would make mistakes in an area that large. Please do make sure that your kitchen is "puppy-proofed" so that Bela can't get into anything dangerous. And keep us posted on her progress!