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Old 01-01-2013, 10:24 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Litter Box Drama

So my toy poodle pup Winry is almost 5 months old, we have had her since she was 6 weeks old. She took to crate training quickly and learned to hold it until we brought her outside. However, she deems ANYTHING outside of her crate as "outside" and will go around the house if grass is not readily available at the instant she needs to go, despite constantly being told no and shown the proper place. Probably normal I suppose, but still is not great because I don't want to just leave her in her crate 24/7.

So I had the fabulous idea (ha ha) to get one of those litter boxes with the grass on top that allows pee to seep down into the litter basin so that she could easily have a place to go inside when we could not take her out. I paid a pretty penny for a setup that had good reviews, sides to keep mishaps in, and pretty realistic grass. She has a little playpen that she stays in during the day when we're not at home and it has a door that we can leave open when we're here so she can go back in her pen when she needs/wants to. I put her little potty grass inside there when I first got it. She pretty much just used it for a second bed and place where she took all her treats to snack on. So I altered things and created a setup to where she could either lay on her bed or pee on the patch. She would just hold it forever and cry like crazy. I thought maybe she didn't like the idea of pottying in a closed-off location that seemed like a crate. So next I put her open-doored crate on one side of a doggie door with her litter pan on the other side on our small porch so that she could use it in the great outdoors, making it more like real grass. She will just potty all around it, never in it. I've tried the potty sprays to no avail, I've tried bringing her to it and telling her "go potty" (a command she recognizes elsewhere) ready with treats in case she actually does what she should, and it just doesn't work.

She is a VERY hyper little dog and has troubles sitting still for anything. She does know the commands "sit" and "lay" but can only hold them about 10 seconds, about the max amount of time she'll stay on the litter grass when I tell her to. I'm sooo frustrated with it! We've been trying everything we can think of for about two months now. I've considered switching to one of those wee wee pad holders instead of the grass setup, but I am hesitant because she is a major shredder of any papers. Any advice? I hate keeping her cooped up so much, but I just can't trust her. Our schedules are crazy so we can't always be here to take her out. I would LOVE for her to be able to take care of her business by herself.

As a side note, we got a second puppy (a 7 week old Shih tzu) 3 days ago. I had previously bought a spare grass patch that I decided to use for her. I set her on it the first day, she used it, and has been going to it regularly for potty ever since. Are Shih tzus easier to train than poodles? Or did I just get lucky with her? Poodles are supposed to be the smartest dogs, so I don't get why Winry hasn't figured it out.
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Old 01-01-2013, 11:26 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Have you thought of using a piece of real turf in the tray until she gets the idea?
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Old 01-01-2013, 12:34 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Have you thought of using a piece of real turf in the tray until she gets the idea?
Yes, I have thought about that, but I've read from people who have done that before that it is a great idea in theory, but there is the issue of dead grass, which can be a turn-off to dogs. There's actually a company that sends appropriately sized pieces of turf weekly or bi-weekly for dogs, but reviews say receiving live grass is hit or miss. Not sure where I'd go to buy my own small pieces. Certainly don't need a large roll!
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Old 01-01-2013, 01:25 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Man, the housetraining is SOO frustrating isn't it? Quick question: do you reward your pup when she goes in the right place?
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Old 01-01-2013, 02:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I don't know if poodles are the smartest dogs but what I found is that Sushi's intelligence is different from my other dogs and that he's got a high "emotional" intelligence. He forces me to think and find other ways to make him understand what I want from him, including using a litter when I am gone for long periods of time or when he is sick. I did the same thing for all my other dogs but for him it did not work.

The first thing you need to do is figure out why your poodle doesn't want to use the litter, it could be the smell, the feeling under his paws, the first contact he had with it, it could be anything. Once you know why he is not using it you can figure out how to teach him to use it. Poodles make us smarter;o)
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Old 01-01-2013, 02:32 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Man, the housetraining is SOO frustrating isn't it? Quick question: do you reward your pup when she goes in the right place?
At first I didn't when we were just doing outside. I was told not to because the pups become too dependent on the treats, so I just threw a little party with lots of praise whenever she went potty outside. After I started trying to use a litter box as an alternative for her, I tried to get her to go in there with a treat as an incentive, but I thus far have not been able to reward her with a treat for going potty in the box because she has not done it. She's pretty good about going in the grass outside when I catch her in time, but utterly refuses to use her box, even if I put fresh poo in there with the potty spray and take her there when I KNOW she needs to go, treats ready and all. So stubborn!!
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Old 01-01-2013, 02:37 PM   #7 (permalink)
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The first thing you need to do is figure out why your poodle doesn't want to use the litter, it could be the smell, the feeling under his paws, the first contact he had with it, it could be anything. Once you know why he is not using it you can figure out how to teach him to use it. Poodles make us smarter;o)
I don't think she hates her litter box, she just doesn't want it to be her potty. She takes her treats there to nibble on them, goes in there to stretch, hops around in it when she's feeling excited, etc. She just does not see it as a bathroom, despite me putting her potty scents on it. I'm not sure how to redirect that thought process or if I need to try a different kind of box, etc.
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Old 01-01-2013, 03:07 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I don't think she hates her litter box, she just doesn't want it to be her potty. She takes her treats there to nibble on them, goes in there to stretch, hops around in it when she's feeling excited, etc. She just does not see it as a bathroom, despite me putting her potty scents on it. I'm not sure how to redirect that thought process or if I need to try a different kind of box, etc.
You can try starting from scratch with a new litter, you can make your own, I use drainage mat (tiles or runners) that I sand (it's to rough for puppies paws). I put it over a crate plastic tray with puppy pads under it. Always put urine on it before showing it to the dog. This is going to cost you nothing and you can make it the size of an existing crate tray you have already. Good luck!
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Old 01-01-2013, 09:36 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I have had a lot of foster dogs, mostly pugs, pug crosses, most recently a shih-poo. I no longer foster because we have a baby (human) in the house and I hate to say I got pretty burned out. Anyways, I had to potty train many dogs. I found what worked best for me was any time the dog was out of the crate, it was on a leash, attached to me. If there was a time I got too busy cleaning or cooking or whatever, I would put the dog back in the crate. After the dog was a little more reliable, I would use a "drag line" which was just a leash attached to a harness with the handle cut off of the leash. This way if I saw the dogs giving signs it had to "go" I could grab the leash and get him/her outside quickly. I very very slowly would give the dogs more freedom. If we had an accident I would step down their freedom for awhile. I found that many times house breaking problems were a result of way too much freedom too soon. I don't know if this is your problem, but if it were me, any time that pup was out of the crate he would be attached to me.
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