Need advanced help - puppy won't potty outside

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Need advanced help - puppy won't potty outside

This is a discussion on Need advanced help - puppy won't potty outside within the Housetraining forums, part of the Dog Training and Behavior category; I need some real help with my 3 month old miniature schnauzer - Millie. I've done a ton of reading on potty training, so I ...

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Old 07-03-2012, 11:25 PM
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Unhappy Need advanced help - puppy won't potty outside

I need some real help with my 3 month old miniature schnauzer - Millie. I've done a ton of reading on potty training, so I don't need to the basics.

My plan was kennel training. I have her "house" just big enough to sleep and turn around in. However, if I put her in there for any period of time she poops and or pees. So, this kind of negates the kennel training idea.

In any case, I have her on a regular eating schedule and can tell when she needs to potty. When I see her starting to go, I stop her (without scolding) and bring her downstairs to the doggie area. I live on the 8th floor of a condo and have to use an elevator.

I can spend 20-30 minutes out there and get nothing. I have a pocket full of treats and I'm ready to reward! I can do this any number of times but she won't go until we're back in the house. When I catch her in the act, i say her name to stop her, wipe some of the urine on a napkin and bring it down to the same spot, hoping the scent will encourage her. Same with poop. No dice.

I'm out of ideas. She's a sweet dog and I love playing with her. We're having good success with other training like walking on a leash, etc. We really don't want a "pee pad" as the ultimate answer.

I don't mind cleaning up "accidents" and I know it takes time. But if she never goes outside, I can never give positive reinforcement.

Thank you SO much for any advice!
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Old 07-04-2012, 06:58 AM
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Sounds to me like she actually is house trained... that is she has patterned to potty in the house, particularly in her crate. House training is simply forming habits, and that is the habit she has, and dogs get very attached to their habits!

Seems like the whole problem may have at its source the fact you live on the 8th floor which has made it impossible to get a small puppy outside quickly enough. Truly, an 8 week old puppy has only moments to "hold it", not nearly enough time to go down the elevator. So its not a surprise that this problem has developed.

At this point you have a challenge to change things. There are two principles to house training
1) PREVENTION of accidents
2) REWARD for success.

You are all set up for the second principle, but of course you need her to potty outside so you can reward.

The Prevention thing you don't have happening yet, and this is going to be tough. Is there anywhere you can put her that she does not like to potty? Obviously she has learned to potty in her crate, so that won't do. It may be that your only "leak proof" prevention strategy is literally to hold her on your lap or have her on a short leash with you all the time in the house. But you absolutely have to find a strategy to prevent her from pottying in the house.

I would pick a weekend when you will be home and with her for a couple of days all day and night. Now you must prevent her from pottying, however and that means prevent her from even starting to potty. The "interrupter" strategy is not working, and to be honest, may be making your problem worse as she becomes hesitant to potty while you are watching, which means she won't go outside on the leash. Although you are not scolding her harshly, you are teaching her that when you watch, she mustn't potty. Do you see? She does NOT understand the "inside/outside" distinction to your correction.

So anyway, pick a couple of days when you can be with her 24 hours for a couple of days. Keep her with you at all times, and take her out frequently. I like your idea of the urine soaked napkin. If you can take her to a potty place other dogs use that might also help, particularly if there are other dogs outside demonstrating! Potty is after all, a social activity for dogs!

Now when you take her out, you need to be very low key. Don't coach her or hover over her or encourage her. In fact you need to take the pressure off her. Even use a longish leash and you turn sideways, and avert your eyes. She has learned not to potty while you watch, right? If you can put a bush between you and her that might help.

When/if you get that first success give her the absolute best treat ever. I'm not talking some manufactured treat. I'm talking a piece of cooked chicken or small bit of cheese, something very special that she rarely gets. You want to make a very strong positive impression. As far as verbal praise, take it easy on this. Coming on too strong with our "primate praise" can actually back fire on a small puppy. That's why the food treat is so important. It is a clear reinforcer. Humans fussing and freaking out with joy, is not always what puppies find the most rewarding.

If you can get that first success, then you have a place to start and build from. Remember though that potty training takes a LOT of repetition of success, so your job will have just begun at that point and you need to keep up the prevention and reward routine very vigilantly for at least 100 successes before you can start to give her more freedom in the house.

Now if you don't get any success after this weekend attempt, then I would go ahead and pee pad train her, with the eventual goal of taking the pee pad outside and transitioning her that way. That's a different route with its own difficulties, but it may be what ends up being the most workable.
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Old 07-05-2012, 09:58 PM
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Still struggling...

Thank you for your ideas and help, Tess!

We had two places she never pottied - the sofa and the bed. So, we've tried to use those as our "kennel" for the training. However, she "rained" on our parade today. After a long nap, I knew she really had to go. I took her out for 10 min, in for 5, back out for 10. She was wimpering and pulling the leash back to the building's front door most of the time. I brought her in for her 5 minute "kennel time" on the bed. I was going to fold laundry for a few minutes when she peed on the bedspread - right in front of me. Argh!

Oh... To respond to your question, she has peed right in front of me numerous times in the house.

She has pottied a grand total of 5 times outside and we've gave treats and love. But she still will do ANYTHING to avoid pottying out there. I don't get it! There are plenty of dogs in our building so there's tons of "pee spots".

I did switch from store bought treats to little pieces of real bacon. She REALLY goes crazy for that so maybe that'll help.

Thanks again for the advice.
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Old 07-06-2012, 06:29 AM
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Well, with all that additional info, I'd be having a pee pad in the house for her, even if you don't make a big reward out of using it. Perhaps place it, and her, in her crate and she'll go on the pee pad. Don't take notice of it one way or the other, but at least you have somewhere for her to go where clean up is reasonable for you.

You could continue as I suggested to try the grand attempt to get her to go outside. But again, recognize that its not a "revelation" for a puppy as in "oh! Now I get it... they want me to pee outside!" That's not how their little brains think.

Instead, potty training is a Habit. They potty where they always pottied before. So right now, practically speaking, she is nearly always pottying somewhere you don't want her to form a habit doing so. In other words, because of your set-up, and her previously established habits, she continues to strengthen the habits you don't want.

Get yourself some pee pads and put them in a crate or in a penned off area of your apartment. You may or may not eventually get her totally weened off of them, but right now, she is simply learning to use every other place in the house as her toilet, and that is not what you want her to be learning.

Yes, the bacon treats for peeing outside are terrific.
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Old 07-06-2012, 06:40 AM
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One question, does the puppy enjoy being outside, or is it still a big scary place for a wee puppy? If so, that may be part of the hold up right now...
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Old 07-06-2012, 08:01 AM
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Good morning and thanks again for the advice!

Yesterday, she went potty a total of nine times (3 outside and 6 inside). The three outside times, we kept her on the sofa with us until we knew she was really dying to go. But several inside instances were immediately after trips outside.

The question of what she thinks about "outside" is tricky. She fights not to go out the front door. But at the same time, we are taking her out when she really needs to potty and, thus, wants to be in our unit to go. She is almost always distracted out there as we live in downtown Madison. And, this morning, she was so scared by the noise from a nearby construction truck the she was shaking (that's never happened before). She pooped (from stress I think) but was so freaked out, she wouldn't even smell the bacon treat. I walked her elsewhere for the rest of the visit but she wasn't interested.

On a positive note, we had some fun kennel training with hotdog bits last night. And, since she peed on the bed, I kennelled her over night. Used the same hotdog treats for that. She whimpered after a few minutes and I gave her one stern "no" from the bedroom and she was quiet all night!!! After 5.5 hours, I got up and gave her a couple more hotdog bits through the cage before taking her out. It didn't look like she pottied at all!!! Definitely no poop... Pee is hard to tell but the towel seemed dry (I changed it anyway to be sure). That was a huge win... We'll see if it was a one-time deal or not.

Thanks again!!!
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Old 07-06-2012, 08:36 AM
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Is there a park nearby that you can go to? Maybe you need to get her used to being outside first. I would take her to a park or somewhere where there is not too much distraction and play with her. Don't even think about her pottying. Just make it a play date. Try staying outside for a few hours bring a blanket so you can both rest when necessary. When she relaxes she will probably go potty. Give her treats and praise but then move on to playing again. Let her see that being outside is fun and an OK place to potty. Don't take her right back in after pottying otherwise she may hold off if she thinks play time is over too.
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Old 07-09-2012, 02:24 PM
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Thank you again for the help. Though we obviously still have a long way to go, Millie has made some huge strides. She has been very good in her kennel and is not going potty in it much anymore. She also has begun to figure out she gets a treat for pottying outside - she looks up at me and at my treat pocket after she goes.

She still wants to go in the house but that'll change in time, I think. We are definitely moving in the right direction!
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Old 07-09-2012, 02:25 PM
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PS. Today - 5 outdoor potties, 1 indoor "accident". Woot woot!
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Old 07-09-2012, 05:57 PM
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You are working miracles.
Keep up the effective strategies!
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