Tired of the poop
November 13, 2010 8:57 AM   Subscribe

How do I re-housetrain my 1-year old puppy?

I adopted Nick, a schnauzer-mix, from the SPCA in January. He was about 14 weeks old at that point. He was housebroken and crate trained within about 6 weeks - he never has had an accident in his crate, and only had a few mistakes in the house (all of which were caught in the act and corrected). I have 2 other older dogs who are completely housebroken.

In July, I left for 2 months to work on the Gulf oil spill, and sent Nick to stay with my mom since my husband works very long days. Mom is very dog-savvy and only works part-time, so it made sense to let him hang out there with her and her dog and get more attention. The first week mom had him, he started pooping in her house. She started watching him more carefully and corrected the issue in about another week.

Fast forward to September when I get back. I bring Nick home, we resume our usual routine, and he's completely acting like he's not housebroken. Pooping, and now peeing, all over the house. So, I go back to basics. I resume praising when he does his business outside, and keep him confined in the room with me at all times. If I can't watch him, he goes in his crate. We've been working on this for about 2 months. He has yet to go to the bathroom in my presence, ever. After a few weeks of constant supervision, I will try to let him out in the house for a few minutes at a time and it never fails, he will sneak off and poop/pee somewhere in the house. It's driving me nuts.

I have used an enzymatic cleaner on the carpets and floors where he's had accidents. I've tried tethering him to me so that I can walk around the house and still watch him, but that often ends in disaster, as my other two dogs try to interact with him and I end up with a tangled mass of dog legs and leash.

I have housetrained countless dogs, but never had this problem before. Is there something I can do that I'm not thinking of? All the standard housetraining tricks just aren't cutting it.
posted by tryniti to Pets & Animals (6 answers total)
this problem overall is probably bigger than i can handle, but since you say he always goes as soon as you let him out ("After a few weeks of constant supervision, I will try to let him out in the house for a few minutes at a time and it never fails, he will sneak off and poop/pee somewhere in the house. It's driving me nuts."), why not always take him out to pee before lettinghim go free in the house? if he doesn't 'go' outside, then he doesn't get to be free in the house..take him outside every half hour till he does 'go'. so he associates doing his business first with being let free in thehouse....?
posted by Tandem Affinity at 9:16 AM on November 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

It's always recommended to consider seeing a vet if a previously house trained animal becomes un-house trained. There is quite often a health issue at the root of the problem. (In my experience, dogs don't get stupid until their terrible twos, at which point they try to forget everything they've ever known. Nick's too young for that!)

Best of luck to you both!
posted by goblinbox at 11:23 AM on November 13, 2010

We were going through a similar situation. Dog was house-trained, I left for a bit and he reverted back to pee/pooping in the house. We basically started from the beginning, like he had never been trained and it is going well. Here's what we do: 1) Keep a routine. First thing when he wakes, within 1hr of eating, every 4 hours, and/or right before bed. 2) Each time he goes outside; while he is peeing/pooping, I say "Good potty" a few times and then give him a treat within 2 seconds of him finishing. After about 1 week of the treats, he knows that when he goes outside potty, he gets a treat. Also, if I were to catch him in the act (and you can only do this when he is in the middle or within 30 seconds after it), I pick him up and in my most stern voice say, "Timeout!". Timeouts are the worst punishment for him. Dogs hate being alone. So, putting him in a room by himself for a minute is not fun. When he comes out of timeout, I make him sit and then I praise him. So, he is being praised for the sit, not the peeing/timeout.

A couple of things, only start the stern voice "Timeout!" part after a week or so of the treats and praise. You don't want them to start associating negative things with peeing/pooping or they will develop some sort of doggy complex. If you catch him in the act in the early stages of the training and can quickly get him outside, that is the best. Never scold a dog minutes after the accident, they have no memory of doing it and only associate you yelling at them with the poop/pee (again confusing to them). Not that it was inside the house.

I agree with Tandem, as soon as he is out of the crate or when you want to let him roam, just take him outside first, maybe that will help.

Good luck and hang in there!
posted by engling at 11:23 AM on November 13, 2010

Forgot to add what goblinbox said, this is after ruling out all possible medical conditions/issues of course! However, perhaps the stress of you leaving and being put in a new situation then back with you again might be a contributing factor?
posted by engling at 11:26 AM on November 13, 2010

I had a dog who had been fostered and adopted, returned to foster care and re-adopted. The families who had him before I got him said he couldn't be house trained. He would always sneak away to go when no one could see him. When I got him I basically had to keep him on a leash or in his crate at all times. After I started this he didn't pee for about 15 hours and he didn't poop for a couple of days.

When he finally did go in front of me it was at the far end of the leash and he immediately shot off in the other direction to get away from me, practically choking himself out. I assume he had been hit or had his nose rubbed in or some sort of abuse at his first home and so pooping in front of a human was a very BAD THING. With lots of praise and absolutely no correction for accidents he became comfortable going in front of me.

I'm not saying this is your situation, but I will say that it took a couple months of him being leashed to me or in his crate at all times for me to house train him. Even then he was never 100% reliable. So you might try the leash method. If he is with you he is on the leash, so he absolutely has to go in your presence. I've also seen this called the "umbilical cord" method. Here is a link.
posted by ephemerista at 11:57 AM on November 13, 2010

He can't sneak off if he's supervised. I think you need to housetrain him as if he were a baby puppy: take him out every couple of hours without fail, plus after every meal, sleep and playtime, and no unsupervised time, if you are not directly paying attention to him, he is crated or leashed to you. And clean up messes well with an enzymatic cleaner. Realize that it will take longer this time, since you also have to undo what he has learned in the meantime. Good luck, be fair and consistent!
posted by biscotti at 7:53 AM on November 14, 2010

« Older Take me from "good" to "stunning" with hair/makeup...   |   Do we have a broken heat pump, or are they really... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.