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Hey All!

Thank you in advance for reading this. I know many new additions struggle to learn their new schedules and may experience some initial bathroom issues. However, our new addition seems to be struggling with this to an extreme degree. We're hoping that some outside perspectives might help us come up with things we haven't thought of or realized yet.

We've housetrained puppies before, and our new addition is a one year old rescue named Hazel. She is lovable and affectionate and seems comfortable in the house. She is not timid around us and actually craves attention from any humans around. The shelter told us she was housetrained but we quickly discovered that that was not the case. For the first day, Hazel was not able to pee or poo outside. We thought that was normal and that she would adjust as her schedule was repeated over the next few days. We've been crate training her and using our normal schedule with extended walks to familiarize her with her surroundings. Despite this, she has repeatedly gone more than 36 hours without going to the bathroom. She has had two accidents indoors and one at the doctors office. Other than that we have only seen her pee outside once in a week. We wanted to positively reinforce the behavior of going outside and were planning on using the word potty and to habituate that with a treat reward. Unfortunately, she has not gone enough for that to be meaningful. We have tried pee spray, turning around and trying to ignore her, finding places to take her off her leash, and even trying to find dog parks that are empty (we are not sure what her social skills are like and she appears to be aggressive towards other dogs). No matter how long we walk for or the different environments we take her to, she will not go anywhere. She is also holding her poop but it seems that at a certain point that comes out on its own. We are really at a loss for what to do. We don't want to give up on her, but we were not expecting this level of difficulty based on what the shelter told us. No matter what we try it seems that things are getting worse, not better.
 

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How old is she? It's very possible that she is too afraid of being outdoors to even think about doing business out there. Start with getting her used to the backyard or wherever your go-to potty spot is with tons of treats. Scatter hot dog in the grass and let her sniff it out. Relax and play with her there. Don't expose her to too much stuff too soon. Just keep walks short and close to home. Better yet if you can limit exposing her to new places at all for 3 weeks or so, until she is settled in and has actually come to grips with the new norms of her new home.
 

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Have you tried taking her to the same exact spot every time you go out? It worked for my puppy, at first I got impatient and began taking him other places in hopes he would find a place he liked, but as soon as I consistently took him straight from crate to "toilet spot" and back in crate if he didn't go, and then out to the "toilet spot" again he began sniffing around and feeling safe in that particular spot. Even if you interrupt an accident you take her straight there?
 
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