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Hello all,

Here i am asking a very common question though i'm facing an intriguing variation when it comes to my specific situation.
I just adopted a puppy ( 4 days ago ) that was used to do his businness on a litter box type of thing. He does a pretty good job holding/waiting to get outside to pee and poop but.. he doesn't use the pads i have set up at all.
I asked what people were using in the resue place so i could do the same thing and obtain success. They told me it was some sort of pine pallets/ Horse bedding. I bought the same thing but it didn't change the situation. He goes outside but doesn't pee on it no matter what.
He's on an exercise pen with plenty of space for his cage on one side, and the pad on the opposite. Is he considering the whole space as his bedroom or what ? What should i do ? I already tried to smear some poop and pee to attract him and that didn't work either..
Thank you.
 

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First, how old is this puppy? How large an enclosure was he in at the rescue, and for how long?

Dogs are very, very bad "generalizers", meaning that just because they are reliably doing a behavior in one place (house training, or sitting on cue, or laying down on cue, etc) does not mean they will be reliable in another place. When that behavior is still newly taught/learned in one place, you need to essentially start from scratch at the new place.

With a puppy, house training is a newly taught behavior no matter how reliably house trained they seem. Even with adult dogs that have been house trained for years, you need to be very careful when bringing them to a new house to instill good habits from the start, because a "house trained" dog is just more likely not to have accidents in a new place, not guarenteed not to.

I generally think its a good idea not to consider a dog "house trained" until they are at least 8 months old and/or have been in that home/environment for at least 6 months.

At this point, all the house training he had at the shelter is pretty much Nil, because he has learned that going to the bathroom in your house- or certain parts of your house- is OK.

Is there a reason you want him to be using a litterbox/potty pad as opposed to just going outside? Personally, I'm not a fan of potty pads/litter boxes for puppies because IMO they get a lot of important socialization during bathroom breaks, and (in large part) good socialization is what makes an adult dog that functions healthily in human society.
 

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When house training in the beginning, you need to be sure that you are giving the puppy 100% of your attention. If you cannot be giving him your full attention, he should be in a crate. For most puppies, they will hold it in a crate because dogs have a natural inclination to not want to go to the bathroom in their "den". If they have been kept in too large a crate at any point in their life, however, they will have learned to go to the bathroom and move away from it- be sure the crate is not too big in comparison to the puppy. It should be big enough for them to fully stand, turn around, and lay stretched out comfortably and no larger or smaller.

When he is out of the crate, I suggest either having the puppy tethered to you with a leash (I use a 6' leash and harness for this and use a caribeaner to attach it to another leash or treat bag tied around my waist), or you should use puppy gates to keep the dog gated in the same room/area as you and within sight. If the puppy is out- and this is where the 100% attention comes in- you need to be watching him closely and not multi tasking. If I have a puppy loose in the room or tethered to me, it is because I am either engaging directly with him (playing or training) or because I'm doing something where I can pay more attention to him than the task (like watching TV). If I need to cook, the puppy is in his crate. If I need to clean, he's in his crate. If I'm reading, he's in his crate.

I am also a big fan of X Pens (exercise pens), especially if you're wanting to have the dog pad or litterbox trained, although larger breed dogs will very quickly be large enough to push the pen around, for the most part. With X pens, you can keep the puppy gated very close to you (either sitting in the pen with him or just with it next to you) and he has enough room to play by himself, but he can't get into anything dangerous and can't get far enough away you can't keep a close eye on him.

I try to make a rule to be sure that until 4 months of age, I suggest making sure that for every half hour a puppy is in the crate, he is getting an hour outside of it. Make part of that time about having fun and exploring, and part of that time about learning to relax outside of the crate (I use tethering on a 6' lead to teach a puppy to be calm when outside the crate, because they're leashed they can't run around and whip themselves up).

In the beginning, until you know the signs the dog shows before he goes (sniffing, circling, whatever) and until the puppy gets the idea that he should tell you he needs to go out (I've had some dogs that just stared at me, some that whined, some that stood by the door, some that sit in my lap and whine, and some that bark) you should be doing very frequent bathroom breaks, as well. This means putting a leash on him and bringing him to where ever he is supposed to be going to the bathroom, stand there for at least 15 minutes, and waiting for him to go. If he's supposed to be going outside, then bring him outside/ If you want him to go on a pad, bring him to a pad. I set an alarm on my phone for every 20 minutes when I have new puppies under 12 months of age in the house until I get to know their signs/schedule.

If he goes, give him a treat and praise him, being sure you wait until he is almost done before you start praising him (you can sometimes startle a puppy into not going anymore if you praise too early and they are a very sensitive/worried dog) and waiting to give the treat until he is 100% done. I use liver treats cut into small pieces and honey nut cheerios for potty training treats, personally, because IME both are pretty exciting to dogs. You may want to also teach him a word that means he's supposed to be going so that he will go on cue, which can be helpful for days when you're in a hurry and just want him to go, though this is more true of dogs who you're teaching to go outside than pad trained dogs. I use "Go Bathroom" for my dog, my parents use "hurry up", I know a few people that use "potty", the service dog program I work with uses "Better Hurry"- choose whatever you're comfortable with. To teach them to go on cue, you want to wait until they are about to go- before they have started going, just before they actually start to- and say the phrase in the tone of voice you're likely to use most to say it. You have to be sure that they hear the phrase just before they go, and ideally only just before they go, they learn this through association, and you cannot learn through association if the two things are happening simultaneously. I also teach my dogs a phrase that means "tell me clearly if you need to go out" by every time I'm going to take them out to go to the bathroom asking "you gotta go out?". Now, if she is pestering me because she has to go, my dog will run to the door where I keep her leashes and stare at me. My parent's dog barks in answer to the question.

As you start to figure out how often he needs to go and how he acts when he has to, and as he starts telling you he needs to go, you can start having him out when you're multi tasking. Do keep in mind, however, that research has shown we are not as good at multi tasking as we think we are. We are always paying more attention- usually significantly more attention- to one thing than the other, and the thing we are paying more attention to is the thing that is more cognitive- requiring more thought on our part. If you're reading and watching the puppy, you're paying more attention to the reading than the puppy, most likely. If you're cooking and watching the puppy, you're probably paying more attention to the cooking. That's OK if you know how he lets you know he has to go, or if he is reliable about going on the pee pad. Not OK if he isn't.

If you're pad training and he has an accident, try to quickly move him to the pee pad, if possible. If you use an X pen, this can be more feasible.

Also, I would highly suggest limiting access to carpet. I pick up all my carpets when I have puppies, and keep the rooms with wall to wall carpeting closed completely so they can't get in.

When he does have accidents outside of where he's supposed to go, make sure you are cleaning it with an enzyme spray- I suggest Nature's Miracle. If he is going on the carpet, them make sure you're soaking up the pee as much as you can and them completely soaking that area with enzyme cleaner and letting it sit for a few days to dry out. Don't just wipe up the enzyme cleaner.
 

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Wait if he is only going to the bathroom outside, isn't that what you want in the first place? Is he having problems going elsewhere?

My aussie, never used the potty pads when she was getting house trained. Minus the few accidents on the rugs/carpet she only went outside. She would just choose to hold it. So while I offered it to her until she was about 5 months old, she just didn't use it. I still have a huge box of it hiding under the bed.
 
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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for all the answers.
Yeah, i forgot to mention... He is about 2.5 months old.
Going outside is great. No doubt but i wanted him to have an option for those days that we can get home on time, bad weather and etc. The winter is coming and i can't have him in the garage. I want to bring him inside the house once and for all after he learns to do his thing in a designated area. My absence is actually my main concern. He's too young to hold for several hours although he goes around 10pm and sleeps all night without a problem. I take him out between 5 - 6:30 am.
Should i put the pad outside and move it inside the pen later on ? The pen is about 4x4(feet). His crate is set on one corner and the rest of the area is free. I think that's pretty good for a little guy like him. He's really tinny...
 
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