View Full Version : Housebreaking and using the doggie door

Skeeter's Mom
July 10th, 2010, 06:14 PM
Hello, everyone!

I've got a situation regarding housetraining our new puppy.

My husband and I work full-time. We leave around 7:00 am and are not able to come home until 5:30 - 6:00 pm. 2 weeks ago, we adopted a 6 month old terrier mix (looks to be part Jack Russell) from a shelter. Our other dog, a 2-year old terrier mix, absolutely adores her and they have became the best of friends. They are free to roam the back yard at will through a doggie door in our computer room that leads to the back, so both dogs can go out to potty as needed.

We put her in the computer room at night (with free access to the doggie door, along with toys and a bed), and she doesn't soil this room at all. In the morning, we let her out and meet her outside (she meets us out back by running through her door). We make sure she potties before she eats. After she eats, we take her out to potty again. Before leaving for work, we put her in the computer room for the day so she doesn't soil the other rooms, and the food and water (and our other dog) is outside so she's never hungry or lonely at any time. In the evenings, we let her out to play and socialize with us, and we will go out with her every hour during this time as well.

However, it never fails... she will always manage to pee somewhere in the house... sometimes it's in the kitchen, sometimes it's in the living room. It's never the same spot. It's as if she simply does not "get" the connection between going outside and being praised, as odd as that sounds. It's as if she feels the compulsion to relieve herself and will do so, and if she gets praised for it, it's simply a small added bonus. Correction does not seem to deter her at all.

We have been having some difficulty housebreaking our new dog, despite following all of the conventional advice we've read... we use positive reinforcement (lavish praise, play and sometimes treats) when she potties outside, we use a familiar verbal cue when we take her out and she goes, if we catch her going inside we interrupt her with a loud verbal cue (no violence) and immediately take her outside. We also clean up her messes with special odor-removing products. However, none of this seems to help at all in conditioning her to go outside.

My main question is: how do people who work full-time manage to potty train a dog? So many articles I've read say you need to keep the dog with you at all times, but for the vast majority of us, that's simply not possible. We do the best we can... our lives have pretty much revolved around her and her elimination for the past two weeks, and so far we have not seem much progress at all. It's odd... there's no messes when we come home, but despite how often we take her out after we come home, she still tries to sneak off and potty on the floor somewhere. Tonight I've managed to catch her in the act TWICE and verbally corrected her and took her outside. Also, we've noticed that she never poops in the house... she only pees. Is this unusual? She has no problem using the doggie door to go outside and play, but she doesn't seem to be movitated to use it to potty outside. How can we encourage her to take the initiative and let herself out when she needs to go?

Sorry for such a long post, but we really are at our wits' end. This is very difficult, frustrating and confusing. Any help is appreciated.

July 14th, 2010, 02:05 PM
I'm sure you're feeling frustrated by all those sneaky little pees, but it actually sounds like she's doing well, especially since she's new to your home. I think you guys might be expecting too much, too soon! It's FABULOUS that she's already using the doggie door and not having accidents when she's confined in the computer room, so I think you guys are on the right track with her.

I think the answer to your problem will be to try the umbilical cord training method that you can read about in the training section of our website. I think the mistake you've been making is allowing her freedom around the house too soon... using a leash on her at all times when she's in the house with you and outside of the computer room will prevent her from wandering off and having accidents while she's learning the rules of her new home.

I'd stick with that program for at least a couple of weeks... during that time, you'll walk her, on leash, from wherever she is in the house over to her dog door when you want to take her out for a potty trip... that way she learns the path to the dog door and gets in the habit of making the long march over there when she needs to potty.

After a few weeks, check back in and we'll figure out if it's time to start to gradually allow her some more freedom.

Hang in there!!

Skeeter's Mom
July 24th, 2010, 03:46 PM

I want to thank you so much for your advice and reassurance. For the past few days, Skeeter has been quietly slipping out the doggie door, doing her business and coming right back in again! Without any prompting from me! We are still having a few accidents, but they are becoming less and less frequent... she is actually starting to take the initiative to go out on her own. Every time I catch her doing it, she gets a big "potty cheer" from me :thumbup: I'm sure the neighbors think I'm loco, but I don't care - we're on our way to success!!!

I'm so glad I found this board!

July 26th, 2010, 07:09 AM
Great!! :thumbup:

So glad to hear it's going well!! Keep up the good work and keep us updated on her progress!