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We got a new dog about a week ago and the shelter told us he is a little over a year old. We were told he was housebroken but he isn't. Out of the week he's been home, he's peed maybe 4 or 5 times outside and pooped once. Everything else has been in the house. The few times he has gone to the bathroom outside, we praise him and give him a treat. We have him on a regular feeding schedule, we let him walk and exercise (trying to get things moving), we take him out several times a day (especially if he goes by the door or whines), and keep him in the kennel when we're gone. He stays in our room at night because he whines too loud and keeps us awake in the kennel. He had been going to the bathroom in our spare room (where he would sneak off when we'd look away for a minute) so we started closing that door. Now he has gone in his kennel and also in the hallway and bathroom. When we take him out, he is so distracted. He will follow a scent for so long and not go to the bathroom.

Today, I had the luxury to stay home so I have kept a very close eye on him. Every time he whines or goes near the door, I take him out for 15 minutes at least. I've done this 5 times today (and it's only 2pm) and he hasn't gone- he's got to go so bad but just won't go outside.

Any idea what is going on with our dog? Suggestions? We are so frustrated. He is so sweet and we just don't know how to help him be successful anymore. Nothing seems to be working.
 

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This can happen. This is a big adjustment for the dog. The only really good way to get through it is to go back to square one and start house training him again as if he were a puppy. This time around he'll probably move through the steps quicker so it might not take very long.

I would also suggest to take him out on a schedule and walk him for longer when you take him out. You might find that he needs the time to relax when he's out side. After all it's a new environment for him and he has a lot to process. Walking him for longer will give him more time to get his head around where he is and you might find that he does his business best after you've been out for 30-40 min (or more).

It may also help for now to walk a sort of "standard" route (again, 30-45 min) while you're house training him. Make sure the route has lots of grassy areas if you can. This will keep his world small and help expedite him becoming more comfortable with his new surroundings.
 

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Perhaps you can combine his time outside with a few sessions of training. A little kibble from his daily ration in your pocket, ask him to sit, touch (touch his nose to your hand), look (put the kibble near your eyes to make him look at you). And lots and lots of praise!

I am thinking a little fun for the both of you will relax you both, and with you training him to pay attention to you will refocus him from being too distracted with his nose-work (scenting) :)

To satisfy his need for scenting you can hide some treats (or kibble) around the house for him to find. If he is kept busy in the house, he will be more likely to get down to "business" outside.

Focus on the fun, and as your dog learns that you like spending time with him he will focus more on you.
 
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