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Long post ahead. I've been looking for a small adult dog and finally think I've found one. I'll be getting her later this week. She's a 7 year old small dog that had been bred, but well taken care of, not a puppy mill dog. This dog is not leash trained, not greatly house trained, and not crate trained. I don't have a fenced yard, although I do have a yard. I really want this dog, but are these challenges unachievable? I don't think I can train all three at the same time. I have read a lot about the elements of training each of those, but where would you start if all three need to be trained? I think house training is the most important one because once bad habits are established with that in a new place, they'll be even harder to break. How do you house train a dog if they aren't leash trained or crate trained? I actually want to paper/puppy pad train it indoors first. My plan was this: Watch her at all times, and when she shows she has to go, take her to the paper/puppy pad, which will have a dog pen surrounding it. If she doesn't go, put her in a crate so she can't go anywhere else (and hopefully won't go in the crate). Then when she shows she has to go again, put her on the paper. From this, just gradually remove the pen so she goes on the paper. The problem with this is that she isn't crate trained very well and I don't want to give her anxiety about that. Should I skip the crate and just remove her from the pen if she doesn't go, then put her back in again if she starts to go? I understand the reinforcement with treats aspect of this. Is there a better way? Night time could be a problem too.
 

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Hi. Welcome to the forum. :D


This dog is not leash trained, not greatly house trained, and not crate trained.
I really want this dog, but are these challenges unachievable
It’s certainly a challenge, but by no means unachievable.

I don't think I can train all three at the same time
Put a leash on her and leave it on, letting her trail it. Reward her for moving at all with it. Then gradually pick it up. Rinse and repeat.

Meanwhile, when she starts to show signs of wanting to go, pick her up and take her outside. Praise her like mad for going where you want her to go, and ignore any accidents.

think house training is the most important one because once bad habits are established with that in a new place, they'll be even harder to break.
Not if you use an enzymatic cleaner to clean up any and all accidents.

actually want to paper/puppy pad train it indoors firs
Don’t. It just confuses the dog. One minute, it’s Ok to pee indoors, the next, it’s not. Take her out more regularly than she needs to, praise for going where you want her to go, remain calm (and check your body language) and clean up any accidents - remembering that it’s not her fault for the accident, it’s yours for missing the signs she needed to go.

Crate training - make it a game of Chase The Treat. Throw a treat into the crate, let her go and get it and come out. Feed her in the crate with the door open. And then slowly progress to closing the door and reopening it immediately, then build it up until she learns that you will always open the crate door.

I had to do the same, all three at the same time, but my lurcher was a lot younger. It can be done. If you can retain your patience and sense of humour, you’ll be fine. :)
 

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It might help to know what her previous environment was like. Where did she toilet there, how was she exercised, did she have a crate?

A crate isn't a solution in itself to toilet training - it can help in as much as a dog prefers not to soil where they sleep, but if she is in her crate at the time she needs to toilet, that's where she will have to do it. So, hopefully you will have her trailing a leash, just pick it up and as @LMMB says, take her out more often than she needs, to keep her empty. In theory an adult dog should be able to hold longer than a puppy but if she has never been accustomed to having to hold, she may not have developed the physical control to do so. And, for the same reason, she may not give any signals, so I'd not wait for signs, I'd take her out every hour or so, or whatever interval suits her best.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi. Welcome to the forum. :D




It’s certainly a challenge, but by no means unachievable.



Put a leash on her and leave it on, letting her trail it. Reward her for moving at all with it. Then gradually pick it up. Rinse and repeat.

Meanwhile, when she starts to show signs of wanting to go, pick her up and take her outside. Praise her like mad for going where you want her to go, and ignore any accidents.



Not if you use an enzymatic cleaner to clean up any and all accidents.



Don’t. It just confuses the dog. One minute, it’s Ok to pee indoors, the next, it’s not. Take her out more regularly than she needs to, praise for going where you want her to go, remain calm (and check your body language) and clean up any accidents - remembering that it’s not her fault for the accident, it’s yours for missing the signs she needed to go.

Crate training - make it a game of Chase The Treat. Throw a treat into the crate, let her go and get it and come out. Feed her in the crate with the door open. And then slowly progress to closing the door and reopening it immediately, then build it up until she learns that you will always open the crate door.

I had to do the same, all three at the same time, but my lurcher was a lot younger. It can be done. If you can retain your patience and sense of humour, you’ll be fine. :)

About taking her out to the grass and praising her - she isn't leash trained yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So for now, carry her to the pen.
I'll put some food and water in there as well so she has a good association with the pen. Just a small bit. As soon as she goes, I'll remove her and the food and water. If I don't include the food and water, she might have anxiety. I don't want to throw in a treat with her, I want to do that after she goes. Does that sound right?
 

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I'll put some food and water in there as well so she has a good association with the pen. Just a small bit. As soon as she goes, I'll remove her and the food and water. If I don't include the food and water, she might have anxiety. I don't want to throw in a treat with her, I want to do that after she goes. Does that sound right?
I think wires are being crossed somewhere.

Is the pen inside, or outside?

If outside, there's no reason to take her food and water bowls out because you want her to associate that area with toilet. No "good" or bad association other than "this is where the toilet is. Toilet here, and you get yummies, or a favourite toy or a quick game" Toilet in the house and you don't."

If inside, you don't want to be using that as a toilet area, in which case, food and water bowls being in there is fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I think wires are being crossed somewhere.

Is the pen inside, or outside?

If outside, there's no reason to take her food and water bowls out because you want her to associate that area with toilet. No "good" or bad association other than "this is where the toilet is. Toilet here, and you get yummies, or a favourite toy or a quick game" Toilet in the house and you don't."

If inside, you don't want to be using that as a toilet area, in which case, food and water bowls being in there is fine.
The pen inside will be for potty training. She won't be used to a pen. So with a puppy pad there, food and water and a bed (it's big enough) I'll put her in there when she shows she has to go. She may dawdle, but then go on the puppy pad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The pen inside will be for potty training. She won't be used to a pen. So with a puppy pad there, food and water and a bed (it's big enough) I'll put her in there when she shows she has to go. She may dawdle, but then go on the puppy pad.
The first days will be critical and the most difficult. I'm picking her up a five hour car ride away. I have a plan figured out for the ride back - well plan a b c d etc. But we'll arrive home later in the evening, probably 11ish. She's a little Maltese. I'm not sure of the best way to do the first night and subsequent first few nights. Ideally, eventually, she'll sleep in her own bed beside my bed, and if she has to go to the bathroom in the night, she'll go to the puppy pad. But for the first few nights, I want to minimize her anxiety/trauma. Ideally, she would get comfortable in a crate. I verified today she has familiarity with a crate but isn't in them a whole lot. I don't think I should let her on my bed. For one thing, she might pee on my bed. What are the options? I have a laundry room where she'd have more room, but it is a ways from bedroom (on the same floor in a smaller house). Btw there's a chance another dog will be coming with her to help with the transition. If two dogs, should they go in the laundry room - not with a closed door, but with a barrier. What if they bark and whine all night? Should I just accept they will do that for a few nights and not give into it? Same if they stay in crates in my bedroom. Should I just leave them to whine etc.? Get them up in the night to go to the bathroom, or let them hold it? Remember they aren't indoor trained yet. And if I just bring back the one dog, is a crate she may not be used to all night be better than the laundry room? These first few days are critical for the sake of consistency and getting off on the right foot to training. What would you do in this situation? They will not be going outside to get house trained yet. It's best they get trained inside for various reasons.
 

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I'm still really confused, it would help us to advise on the transition if you could be more open on what the current situation is.


when she shows she has to go
If this fog has not been housetrained she may not show, she might just do it.
Should I just leave them to whine etc.
no --there are a lot of reasons why that's a bad idea. She /they may be distressed at the move and huge change, your job is to comfort her / them
What would you do in this situation?
OK, here's what I'd do.

I don't want a dog toileting in the house. As @LMMB already said, puppy pads give mixed messages about whether indoor toileting is allowed or not. So, I'd have a soft harness on her, and every hour I'd pop on a leash and take her out. I know she isn't leash trained, but her lack of familiarity to a leash for me is secondary to getting her to toilet outside.

Take her out and the instant she toilets outside, huge praise and reward - tiny pieces of sausage raining from the sky.

When she realises outdoor toilets = sausage and indoor toilets = zero, she will start trying to hold until she is out there to get her reward.

I would not bring home two, it sounds like you will have your hands full with one.

I'd have her bed or pen or crate (whatever she is happy with) next to my bed. If she stirs, get her outside to toilet. If she cries, comfort her gently. By being there for her you will help her settle and be more confident as she learns there's nothing to fear because you are taking care of things.
 

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The pen inside will be for potty training. She won't be used to a pen. So with a puppy pad there, food and water and a bed (it's big enough) I'll put her in there when she shows she has to go. She may dawdle, but then go on the puppy pad.
The first days will be critical and the most difficult. I'm picking her up a five hour car ride away. I have a plan figured out for the ride back - well plan a b c d etc. But we'll arrive home later in the evening, probably 11ish. She's a little Maltese. I'm not sure of the best way to do the first night and subsequent first few nights. Ideally, eventually, she'll sleep in her own bed beside my bed, and if she has to go to the bathroom in the night, she'll go to the puppy pad. But for the first few nights, I want to minimize her anxiety/trauma. Ideally, she would get comfortable in a crate. I verified today she has familiarity with a crate but isn't in them a whole lot. I don't think I should let her on my bed. For one thing, she might pee on my bed. What are the options? I have a laundry room where she'd have more room, but it is a ways from bedroom (on the same floor in a smaller house). Btw there's a chance another dog will be coming with her to help with the transition. If two dogs, should they go in the laundry room - not with a closed door, but with a barrier. What if they bark and whine all night? Should I just accept they will do that for a few nights and not give into it? Same if they stay in crates in my bedroom. Should I just leave them to whine etc.? Get them up in the night to go to the bathroom, or let them hold it? Remember they aren't indoor trained yet. And if I just bring back the one dog, is a crate she may not be used to all night be better than the laundry room? These first few days are critical for the sake of consistency and getting off on the right foot to training. What would you do in this situation? They will not be going outside to get house trained yet. It's best they get trained inside for various reasons.
You do not want the dog/s to learn to toilet inside. Not on pads, not in a certain room in the house, not on a certain type of flooring.
Accidents happen, but that's your fault for not remaining vigilant enough.

Do as Joanne says - put her/them in a harness/es and lead/s (if she's hand shy, clip the lead on once and let her trail it) and take them out every hour. Praise like mad for going in where you want them to go. Ignore any and all accidents and clean them up with an enzymatic cleaner.

Let them sleep in your room with you. Either in their crates, or on their beds, or on yours (believe me, if they wake up and move, you'll know - you'll feel it). They're more likely to settle with you around than in the cold sterility of the laundry room.

And if they do cry all night in the laundry room, it might not (probably won't) go on for a few nights - it could go on for months until they learn, not that they're safe and there's nothing to cry over - but that you don't come to them whether they cry all night or not.
 
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I agree that it is easier for a dog to learn to only pee/poop outdoors, so it is worth investing the time and energy to take them out suuuuper often and prevent as many accidents as possible. Seems like a huge chore in the beginning, but by far the easiest solution in the long run. But sometimes there are valid reasons for teaching them to potty indoors. This video covers it all and it is full of good tips and tricks.


I think having food, water and beds in the potty area is not a good idea, as dogs tend not to want to pee/poop where they eat and sleep. If you need to use the indoor toilet, it should be a spot only for toileting and nothing else.

I agree with previous posters that it would help to know how the dog lived (specifically, relieved herself) so far, to maybe come up with some creative ideas about making the transition easier. I don"t quite understand how the dog was well taken care of, and yet is not house trained and not used to the leash. But in any case, it would be helpful to understand how the dog lived until now, and what her life will be like with you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I agree that it is easier for a dog to learn to only pee/poop outdoors, so it is worth investing the time and energy to take them out suuuuper often and prevent as many accidents as possible. Seems like a huge chore in the beginning, but by far the easiest solution in the long run. But sometimes there are valid reasons for teaching them to potty indoors. This video covers it all and it is full of good tips and tricks.


I think having food, water and beds in the potty area is not a good idea, as dogs tend not to want to pee/poop where they eat and sleep. If you need to use the indoor toilet, it should be a spot only for toileting and nothing else.

I agree with previous posters that it would help to know how the dog lived (specifically, relieved herself) so far, to maybe come up with some creative ideas about making the transition easier. I don"t quite understand how the dog was well taken care of, and yet is not house trained and not used to the leash. But in any case, it would be helpful to understand how the dog lived until now, and what her life will be like with you.
I really don't like the way you try to compare the fog to the owner and put shame on the owner. Why do you do that? Are you trying to make this experience more enjoyable? Shameful? Painful? The thing is, I don't know a lot about how the dog lived, obviously. I wouldn't have to ask all these questions to try to reduce the distress and trauma the dog may experience.
Here, I'll a same specific question again. If the dog cries and barks in her kennel beside my bed, should I ignore it and leave her there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I'm still really confused, it would help us to advise on the transition if you could be more open on what the current situation is.




If this fog has not been housetrained she may not show, she might just do it.

no --there are a lot of reasons why that's a bad idea. She /they may be distressed at the move and huge change, your job is to comfort her / them


OK, here's what I'd do.

I don't want a dog toileting in the house. As @LMMB already said, puppy pads give mixed messages about whether indoor toileting is allowed or not. So, I'd have a soft harness on her, and every hour I'd pop on a leash and take her out. I know she isn't leash trained, but her lack of familiarity to a leash for me is secondary to getting her to toilet outside.

Take her out and the instant she toilets outside, huge praise and reward - tiny pieces of sausage raining from the sky.

When she realises outdoor toilets = sausage and indoor toilets = zero, she will start trying to hold until she is out there to get her reward.

I would not bring home two, it sounds like you will have your hands full with one.

I'd have her bed or pen or crate (whatever she is happy with) next to my bed. If she stirs, get her outside to toilet. If she cries, comfort her gently. By being there for her you will help her settle and be more confident as she learns there's nothing to fear because you are taking care of things.
The reason I want to indoor train her is because there will be times I can't take her outside. So I want indoor training to be the priority.
So, if I put her in kennel at night in my bedroom and she whines and cries and barks, should I ignore this.
 

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No. Don't ignore her, give her some comfort. If you had a child who was afraid of, say, the dark; you wouldn't ignore them. Have you read something about ”rewarding” their crying? If so, that's an old theory. You can't reinforce fear with comfort, if you were afraid of spiders and I gave you a hug when you saw one, you wouldn't become more afraid. The,animals that stop crying when you ignore them don't do it because they suddenly realise everything is ok, they do it because they give up.

The site is playing up a bit so I can't quote but I can assure you that @DogRun is not trying to blame any owner, they are a very helpful member - but honestly, you aren't making it easy for us to help you, you need to meet us part way.

And, I'd add - taking a dog out is about far more than toileting. It's about exercise and mental stimulation too. Going out is a big part of dog ownership.
 

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I apologize if I came across as judgmental - I see plenty of red flags in this situation, however, I can understand how my comment on that is not helpful to you as you prepare for your new dog.

One idea that often works with small dogs (if you want her to sleep in a crate) is to place the crate on a chair next to your bed/head/pillow, so that you can easily reach in with your hand for comfort, and so that the dog can hear/feel your breath. It’s surprisingly calming and comforting for a lot of dogs, sometimes all they need to be calm in the crate.
 
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