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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
SO,... I posted on here feeling demotivated a few weeks ago, and this lovely community responded and made us all feel better.

Then this (note the grass to the left, which is where he is trained to pee/poop, and the poop on our welcome mat inside our enclosed front porch. Where he plays, sleeps, and walks daily...?!?!?)
Flooring Wood Mammal Carnivore Floor


I think we need professional help. I say this because:
  • After 2 mishaps at 13 weeks of age (the first week we had the pup), we have been quite serious about crate training
  • Pup is under watch or in the crate all of the time inside of the house
  • When we go outside, we ring bells on the door to try to teach pup how to ask to go out.
  • When pup does his business in the grass, which he does nearly immediately after his feet hit the grass, he gets a "good boy!" and a treat. For a #2 he gets several pieces of real bacon - the best treat he ever gets.
  • When we've seen him sniffing around inside or walking away from us, we run and grab him and take him outside. Twice he started peeing so fast that he dribbled before we could catch him, but otherwise we have a good track record.
  • We have enzymatic cleaner that we use immediately and we do not spare on how much we use to clean any accidents. We have a UV light to find any places we may have missed. There is not a specific place, room, or surface type inside the house that seems to be a common accident location.
  • After he peed inside an outer room that was door open to the grass and his pee spot, we back-tracked and went back to no free roam if we are all inside the house unless he is under supervision (in assumption that he didn't want to go out while we were in).
  • After he ran around a corner in our bathroom where I had door closed and was washing kids' hair; and he started to pee before I could even look around to see what he was doing back there, we back-tracked and for a few weeks have been back to no paws on floor outside of the crate unless he is tethered to us by leash. Even in a tiny bathroom with door closed.
Since my last post, it's been over 2 weeks of no accidents (16 days to be exact). We take him outside before going in the crate, after coming out of the crate, after playing, after a nap, and otherwise just every hour or so. It's rather excessive, but 90% of the time he indeed pees as soon as his paws hit the grass. He seems to know that's the routine, and is perfectly willing to play along even if it's just a few dribbles.

Yesterday I was sitting outside on our porch for 2-3 hours. Pup was running all around me. A few days ago we started opening the front porch door and leaving it open (it's an enclosed porch, with tile floor like our deck). Pup sometimes goes in and jumps up on the couch to nap while we are outside and in his view. On this day, he was running happily through the yard, barking at the rabbits, coming back up to check in and going back to run. When he had to go poopy, he came up, went INSIDE the porch, and pooped on our welcome mat. I won't joke - I cried. He purposely left the grass, left his pee/poop spot, to go inside the porch to poop. The VERY NEXT MORNING, I could not find his leash (I have 3 kids age 7 and under, so until the 5 new leashes arrive and maybe even then it's essentially impossible to find one at all times) for his morning pee/poop break. So I just took him outside. He ran away from me straight into the open door of my nanny's house (she lives in our compound in a separate cottage), and POOPED ON HER RUG. On the porch, I could only imagine he just decided anywhere was good enough and happened to be near the inner porch. But yesterday morning he left the routine we've had for over 2 months to purposely go inside to a place he has never had an accident in and poop on the rug.

OMG. What have we done wrong? This dog is otherwise SO SMART. He's the 3rd puppy I have house trained, and this is just different. It seems to me like he's happy with and understands well that when I take him to grass he should pee/poop - and he does. Immediately and happily and like a champ. But otherwise he's perfectly happy to just go wherever he is. Preferably, it would seem, on a rug. And now it seems he PREFERS inside - when he had a tiny bit of choice, he went inside! While we did have a few accidents early on, it was nothing that would make me think he would have developed a rug preference. And in fact his accidents have no rhyme or reason. The nanny's rug is hard woven, the porch mat is scratchy, the bathroom accident was on tile. It's never the same location or room or surface twice. So what's going on?

I think we need professional help. Does anyone know of an online or telephone consult service that might be able to talk us through this? We live in Uganda, so it's both a bonus (we can afford to pay someone full time if that might do the trick, but obviously have to train the PERSON to do the right thing which might be harder tbh), but also a serious con because we don't have all of the wonderful professional dog trainers that we would have had back home in the USA.

Any help would be so appreciated! I've told the kids our Christmas gift to this dog will be him being allowed to sleep on their bed for the first time (it's their gift, too, they are going nuts to have him around more and not in crate or on leash). BUT that this gift is going to require us to work hard every day from here to there. But these recent two accidents make me feel like even that isn't going to work. We're doing something wrong, and I just don't know what... We need to fix it so that we can indeed deliver on this pup's Christmas gift!

Thanks in advance!


TLDR: After weeks of no accidents, pup purposely left the grass where he knows to pee/poop in order to poop on our welcome mat inside our enclosed porch. Then he ran away from me on our normal morning pee/poop walk that we have been doing daily and consistently and successfully since first week of August to go inside the nanny's house and poop on her rug. It makes no sense, and I feel like we need professional help/advice.

On the pics, might be hard to see, but directly to left of the porch are stairs going to grass. He had been running down to grass and back up freely for 2 hours. Choose to return to poop on the welcome mat. The grassy area in the one pic is just beside his preferred grassy pee/poop area. (ignore the wild monkeys, it was just the only pic I have on my computer at the moment to show what is just to the left of the porch - grassy area, and to show the dog happily going down there all on his own)
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Just a quick update, this is him this morning. Happily lounging around on the very same welcome mat he pooped on 2 days ago. This dog does not and has never peed/pooped inside his crate or where he sleeps/rests. The one time we went too long with him in crate, he went nuts trying to get out because he had to pee, and we made it just fine. He has never pooped/peed on a couch, bed, etc.

Before the poop on the mat accident, he did what he is doing now - laid around on this mat. Then he suddenly decides to leave the grassy pee/poop spot to poop on the mat?? We cleaned it well with enzymatic cleaner, and now he's back to sleeping on it. But WHAT THE HECK. I am so baffled and depressed...
The breed description for Lowchen says they can be hard to house train. But this is just another level.

(he is 5 months old, we've had him for 2 months now. Crate trained from day 1 at our house)

Dog Dog breed Carnivore Road surface Flooring
 

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Honestly? I don't think you need a professional (especially as you aren't sure of the quality of trainers there). I think you just need four things.

First, a little more time. Honestly, you are getting there, all puppies have setbacks (despite what Ian Dunbar says) and some just take a little longer to train.

Second, a more defined barrier between outdoors,where toileting is allowed, and indoors, where it isn't.

Third, I'd lift the mats for now (where possible). The texture of a mat and of grass is similar, and also very different to the tile, so I can see why your pup is going on the mat.

Fourth, chocolate. Or wine. Your choice.

Hang in there.
 

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Take a deep breath. And be patient. And stop thinking that something is terribly wrong. This is a puppy, which means a baby. If your six year old child were still forgetting to close the screen door after repeated attempts to explain how important it is, you wouldn't panic and think he needed a psychiatrist...you'd just think "He's six. He will learn." This is a baby dog. He will learn. Soon you will look back on all of this and laugh.
 

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Everyone got it pretty much covered, but wanted to chime in on a few things.

1. Part of the reason why Lowchens and small dogs in general are considered hard to house train is people forget how tiny their bladders are. Like, about an apricot and even smaller.

2. Some dogs need training refreshes when they hit "teenagerhood." Which you are around. Not everyone has this issue, but it isn't unusual or mean you're doomed, or failed, or that the dog doesn't get the gist. Just...that it makes you wonder where their manners went. Like when some teenagers seem to forget how to put away their clothes or pick up after themselves.

And a hint: even dogs not strictly raised the Ian Dunbar way can become phenomenal and trustworthy. I know, because several of my childhood dogs and mine own were not raised this way because we/I didn't even know he existed. But it all worked out, and did so well. A lot can change in two months. You got this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Honestly? I don't think you need a professional (especially as you aren't sure of the quality of trainers there). I think you just need four things.

First, a little more time. Honestly, you are getting there, all puppies have setbacks (despite what Ian Dunbar says) and some just take a little longer to train.

Second, a more defined barrier between outdoors,where toileting is allowed, and indoors, where it isn't.

Third, I'd lift the mats for now (where possible). The texture of a mat and of grass is similar, and also very different to the tile, so I can see why your pup is going on the mat.

Fourth, chocolate. Or wine. Your choice.

Hang in there.

JoanneF, if I ever get the opportunity to meet you in person, I'm taking YOU out for some wine. :)
In seriousness, thank you.
Good point on mats, we've lifted them all for the time. And decided that grass-only is the new rule (outside has a bricked area that is outside, but enclosed on 3.5 sides by our house, our garage, and nanny's house, and pup like to go potty there. In thinking of defining indoors and outdoors, we've decided we will live with a too-strong grass preference in order to define indoors vs. outdoors now.
Being patient wouldn't be as hard if it weren't for 3 young kids in this mix. The amount of energy it takes to ensure pup is in the crate, or on a leash, or whatever, is other-worldly...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Take a deep breath. And be patient. And stop thinking that something is terribly wrong. This is a puppy, which means a baby. If your six year old child were still forgetting to close the screen door after repeated attempts to explain how important it is, you wouldn't panic and think he needed a psychiatrist...you'd just think "He's six. He will learn." This is a baby dog. He will learn. Soon you will look back on all of this and laugh.
Oh, I can't wait for that time! It makes me feel better to be reminded. This too shall pass. If I survive it. And my kids with it. Right now it's not "close the screen door!" It's "WHY are you running around with the puppy in here when he hasn't gone out yet?" and "NO teeth on skin, why are you sticking your hand INTO his mouth? Look, the poop pup is trying to NOT gnaw on you..." And etc. 🤦‍♀️
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Everyone got it pretty much covered, but wanted to chime in on a few things.

1. Part of the reason why Lowchens and small dogs in general are considered hard to house train is people forget how tiny their bladders are. Like, about an apricot and even smaller.

2. Some dogs need training refreshes when they hit "teenagerhood." Which you are around. Not everyone has this issue, but it isn't unusual or mean you're doomed, or failed, or that the dog doesn't get the gist. Just...that it makes you wonder where their manners went. Like when some teenagers seem to forget how to put away their clothes or pick up after themselves.

And a hint: even dogs not strictly raised the Ian Dunbar way can become phenomenal and trustworthy. I know, because several of my childhood dogs and mine own were not raised this way because we/I didn't even know he existed. But it all worked out, and did so well. A lot can change in two months. You got this.

Thanks for this.
We told ourselves small bladder at first, but now he holds it no problem 10+ hours overnight. And oh man, we've progressed to teenage hood regression without ever having had a good moment of potty training. Can it even be called a regression if you never progressed? Oh my...
My past 2 dogs weren't Ian Dunbar method either. They seemed to just get it after several weeks of consistency, I'm not even sure I noticed all that much that suddenly they were barking to go out and all was well with the world. But yeah, all pups are different (obviously!) Thanks again.
 
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