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I have a 13 year old neutered male doxie that has always been super iffy with the house breaking. He has a doggy door to the back yard he can use any time he wants, but occasionally just says "nah, I'm doing this right here." Sometimes he is sneaky about it and goes piddle a little in the other room, other times he will do it with me in the room. He goes through phases with it, and is more prone to doing it when other people are in the house.
Over the last year or so when he goes outside or when I walk him, he rarely does either 1 or 2 on the grass, instead just stopping mid-stride and just letting loose. This could be because is little legs have trouble with the tall grass at his age, or pure laziness.
The thing is that I'm going to be moving soon and I'd REALLY like this to not happen in the new house. It has a lot of dark carpet and if he leaks all over the place we will never know until it stinks and then not know where to clean. Plus my wife would loose her mind.
So, what can I do to reinforce house breaking with an old dog that doesn't seem to give a literal or figurative $#!+ anymore?
 

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Firstly, I would go to a vet for a complete ceck up. Sometimes older dog just can't hold on as long as in younger years. It could be a physical problem. Like is is sometimes with old people.
Don't be angry with him unless you know the reason. It would be really bad for him if you punish him because of a physical problem.
Then go out with him as often as possible, especially after sleeping, drinking and playing.
 

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Firstly, I would go to a vet for a complete ceck up. Sometimes older dog just can't hold on as long as in younger years. It could be a physical problem. Like is is sometimes with old people.
Don't be angry with him unless you know the reason. It would be really bad for him if you punish him because of a physical problem.
Then go out with him as often as possible, especially after sleeping, drinking and playing.
I've been trying to be good about not punishing him when he goes in the house. Its an instinctive reaction, so I have to pump the breaks pretty hard.

This is nothing new. He has been doing this forever. My first wife, who insisted on getting him, didn't seem to know anything about actually training dogs, and I had never had one before, so his initial house breaking wasn't very good. A lot of this is just echoes of that.

I've been trying to escort him outside as much as possible, but obviously that isn't going to happen when we are at work all day. I don't think the new house has a sliding door for the backyard so I can't use my doggie door anymore. I'd think about crating him all day, but there is an additional wrinkle. My daughter busted her leg playing softball. She is going to have a plate put in her fibula which means she's going to be home for a few weeks while she recovers. If I crate him he is going to bark A LOT. However, she may not be mobile enough to let him out during the day. Plus its a new house and I'm worried he's going to start marking it.
That's why I want to get in front of this now and have a strategy for handling this.
 

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I agree that a vet check up is in order.

Assuming there is no medical issue, I would go back to basics. Take him outside regularly (first thing after waking up, after playing, 20-30 min after eating, and regular intervals throughout the day). Take him to the exact same spot in the yard and if he does his business, use a cue word/phrase (I say "do business," others say "potty," it can be whatever you want but be consistent) and REWARD. Lots and lots of praise and a couple treats. Make sure you are quick with the praise and treats because you want him to connect the reward with the behavior (doing business outside). Otherwise you will not be reinforcing anything. DO NOT rush him inside immediately after going. Let him hang out for a while, run, play, then go inside.

Inside, you must supervise. He cannot be trusted to wander through the house alone and go into other rooms. Keep him in the same room as you. If he starts to go, pick him up and take him outside to his spot. Reward for finishing the job outside.

You need to be vigilant and diligent. Aim for no accidents inside. None! Accidents = practicing wrong behavior which eventually leads to developing a bad habit. This will require that you go outside much more frequently, probably more times than he really needs to go. Might be inconvenient, but housebreaking is hard work!

While you are away at work or wherever, you may need to crate him for the time being. But you or someone else needs to take him outside frequently (every 3 hours or so). Do business first, get the reward, then play and stretch the legs, have a drink, then back to the crate. You are using the crate to teach him that he CAN hold his business until he is outside and to prevent accidents. The longer you go accident-free, the better the chance that he will stop going in the house.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I agree that a vet check up is in order.

Assuming there is no medical issue, I would go back to basics. Take him outside regularly (first thing after waking up, after playing, 20-30 min after eating, and regular intervals throughout the day). Take him to the exact same spot in the yard and if he does his business, use a cue word/phrase (I say "do business," others say "potty," it can be whatever you want but be consistent) and REWARD. Lots and lots of praise and a couple treats. Make sure you are quick with the praise and treats because you want him to connect the reward with the behavior (doing business outside). Otherwise you will not be reinforcing anything. DO NOT rush him inside immediately after going. Let him hang out for a while, run, play, then go inside.

Inside, you must supervise. He cannot be trusted to wander through the house alone and go into other rooms. Keep him in the same room as you. If he starts to go, pick him up and take him outside to his spot. Reward for finishing the job outside.

You need to be vigilant and diligent. Aim for no accidents inside. None! Accidents = practicing wrong behavior which eventually leads to developing a bad habit. This will require that you go outside much more frequently, probably more times than he really needs to go. Might be inconvenient, but housebreaking is hard work!

While you are away at work or wherever, you may need to crate him for the time being. But you or someone else needs to take him outside frequently (every 3 hours or so). Do business first, get the reward, then play and stretch the legs, have a drink, then back to the crate. You are using the crate to teach him that he CAN hold his business until he is outside and to prevent accidents. The longer you go accident-free, the better the chance that he will stop going in the house.
Are older dogs that have a decade of this sort of behavior any harder to get trained? Is there anything special I have to adjust for an older dog?

Crating him is easy enough when no one is home, but my daughter won't be able to handle his crying for 8 hours while we are gone if we do that. (I thought it was impossible for a dog to whine for 8 hours, boy was I wrong.) He already has separation anxiety problems for which the vet prescribed Prozac. He will sleep in his crate if someone is in the room him, but if you lock him in or leave him alone in it, he starts this robotic whine-bark thing that you could get a metronome to.
 

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I would crate him only if theres no other possibility. Try first to put him in a small room when he's alone. Turn of the light so that he will sleep. This would allow him to stretch sometimes what is important in this age. Otherwise he could get problems with his ankles when he has to less space.

But how SchnautzerGirl8810 said, you should start with basic training like with a puppy. The age when a dog needs to learn it doesn't make a huge difference in the method to train. But it could take much more time.
 
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