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Discussion Starter #1

I have a miniature poodle and she is fantastic. She's about 6 months old and we have been crate training her since she was nine weeks. We have been very consistent with her; always letting her out to use the bathroom after she's been in the crate for any length of time, letting her out often so to avoid accidents, etc.
This has worked very well and we've been finding that she's had to go out less and less and has the ability to hold it. She's even gotten to the point where she goes to the sliding glass door and either paws at it or barks a couple times to go out. We reward her with lots of treats and love when she does this as it is exactly what we want her to do.

Here's the couple of problems that I'm hoping someone can help with:
When we take her out (the sliding glass door goes out onto our deck and there are stairs which lead down to the fenced in backyard) most of the time she will not do her business unless we tell her to do so several times and walk down in the yard with her. The routine is: she walks out onto the deck and looks at me - I say, "Cali...go!" - she walks to the stairs and walks down two of the 15 or so stairs and turns and looks at me - I say, "Go....Cali! Go potty!" - she walks down to the bottom of the stairs and turns and looks at me - I say, "GO POTTY Cali!" - she walks out into the yard. At this point sometimes she searches extensively for the appropriate place and goes. Other times she will stop and turn and look at me again before doing so. I want her to just go. I don't want to have to tell her fifteen times to use the bathroom and I don't want to have to walk down there every time I let her out. How can I break her of this behavior?

Another housebreaking related problem I'm having with her is that she seems to have accidents in the house without warning. She is in her crate at all times when unsupervised (although I would say that other than at night, she probably spends an average of 2 hours in her crate per day). As I mentioned, most of the time she's fine. We let her out here and there and she'll go and sometimes she'll even let us know she needs to go. Last night she was playing fetch with me (a skill she's gotten very good at in a very short amount of time) and all of a sudden she just squatted and started to poop on the floor :freaked-out:. I yelled at her and told her "POTTY OUTSIDE!" as she went running toward the back door and down the steps (without stopping 8 times for me to tell her to do so). This behavior was extremely perplexing to me as I had taken her out only 10 minutes prior and she had peed and seemed not to need to poop.

I have absolutely no understanding of why she would do something like this. There is no doubt in my mind that she understands where she is supposed to potty. It seems to me that she either A) can't stand to be away from her family long enough to go to the bathroom outside; B) doesn't know she has to go and then all of a sudden can't control it (which doesn't make sense because she never wakes us up at night or early in the morning with an emergency).

Has anyone had either of these problems? Please help!

Thank you!
 

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To me it seems while going down the stairs, Cali is looking for a good girl and other reasurance that she is doing what you are asking, so when she turns to look at you while heading for the yard, re-enforce with "good girl Cali go potty", every time she stops to look at you. She may not be sure yet that you are asking her to go into the yard to go.

As far as the other problem, puppies have a need to eliminate after eating, within 20-30 min, and after playing 20-30 min, is it possible you are playing with her for say an hour and not realizing the play time is over extending this time frame? Try playing with her for no longer then 30 min, then let her out to go potty, then if you are not finished playing go back in and continue play, again take her out after say 30 min just to be on the safe side, unless she has gone poo after the first time.

Good luck and keep us posted!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
You might be right about the stairs thing - that makes sense. Cali is constantly looking to us and trying to do the right things. I think she just doesn't know that's what we want her to do. Since we get aggravated when we have to tell her 8 times to go potty I'm sure she can hear it in our voices that we are annoyed. She doesn't know if we're annoyed because she's going down the steps so she's looking at us to try and figure it out.

The other thing I'm not so sure about. I take her out ALL THE TIME. She is constantly given opportunities. One of the things that is so perplexing about this particular accident is that she did it right in front of us. Usually she will run up the stairs to hide because she knows she's doing something wrong. When we hear her run up or down the steps we know she's on her way to making a mess and we immediately call her to go outside - and she eagerly obliges. Last night we were playing fetch for at the most ten minutes after I brought her in from eliminating outside when she had that accident right in front of me. Very strange.
 

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I have two miniature poodles-one is 3 months old (Paulie) and the other is 11 months (Levi). Levi was reliably housebroken by 5 months-I did take him out consistently and waited until he pooped and pottied-they tend to do this more than once in an outing so you have to give them time to finish...Paulie is getting good at this but is assigned to the kitchen (tile floor) for now-crated at night or if no one is home. But I do have the problem you have which is Levi wants me to stay outside with him-which I don't always do any more. I actually have to pick him up and take him out at times as he tends to pull back if he thinks I am not going with him-Paulie is not like that at all. Never have experienced this type of dog behavior before-maybe it is a 'poodle thing'.
 

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It sounds like she still gets very excited during play and cannot hold it yet. Maybe reserve very active play to outdoors only until she becomes more mature. You might also ask your vet what he/she thinks.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I will ask the vet next time I bring her in. This was a poop accident not a pee so I would be shocked if it had to do with her excitement. Also, fetch is a daily occurence at our house and this was a very isolated incident.
 

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I agree that Cali is looking for positive reinforcement when going down the stairs. I think she is also looking for you to go along with her because she loves you so much. Poodles are so loyal and cannot stand to be away from their owner for too long. When I try to relate your situation back to Snoops, this is the way I interpret Cali's behavior.

We have very steep front steps that are alot for little Snoopers. I would always have him sit at the top of the stairs and would carry him down. Well, the other day, he went down them all on his own. I was so proud of him and definitely gave him lots of praise! He reached the bottom and looked up at me waiting for the reinforcement. Just like people and kids, our poodles want to be recognized for a job well done! Even on our walks, if he gets too far ahead he will stop and look back. He just wants to be sure that I'm there. Do you leave Cali often? Does she feel anxiety that you are going to leave her?

As for the spontaneous poop... if it's only happened once, I wouldn't fret about it too much. So Cali didn't have to poop when you first went out. So she pooped on the floor. We can't go poop on demand, so why should we expect our pets too? And urgent moments hit us as well.. it happens. If it becomes a re-occurring problem with the poop, then I would start to question "why?"

Cali is a pup and is still learning. Don't get aggravated and don't yell at her unless it is really warranted. Even then.. don't yell but just be firm using a strong voice. You will need loads of patience when they are this young.

When Snoops was a wee pup, I would get up in the middle of the night to let him use the pee pad (he sleeps in bed with me). I would wake up earlier than usual in the morning to let him use the pee pad. I altered my schedule to suit some of his needs. This way we avoided accidents. And we were consistent so there was a routine and a learned behavior. When he hit about 5-6 months something just clicked and he started going outside to do his business. Now he only uses the pad if it's raining outside or in dire emergency (if we are out and in and indoor setting for extended time). Even then he doesn't really like to use the pad, but he does. When we first started going for walks, I would stay out with him for as long as I had to until he pooped. We go for 3-4 walks per day now which is great exercise for him, and at 9 months now, we have a great routine! Snoops and I have great communication as well. I swear, sometimes I really think I hear him speaking words to me. haha!

Anyway.. be patient - it goes a long way and Cali will thank you for it :)
 

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I have a 5 month old spoo and have had the exact same problems. I even stand out in the rain with an umbrella and wait for her but she would just walk around for 10 minutes and do nothing. Shortly after going inside, she would pee or poop on the floor. She was very thick headed about training unlike any of my other dogs and I don't know why.

She was always praised and treated but for some reason, she didn't seem to associate it with doing her business outside. It was terribly frustrating. She would squat right in front of my husband and I a just let it go on our living room floor. She always seemed shocked when one of us yelled and jumped to stop her. I never saw that in the other dogs.

BTW she was checked for a UTI a few weeks ago and there was a bit of blood in the sample. She was treated with antibiotics but still peed right in front of us when she was better.

She is pretty much completely trained now but it was a long road with her.

Hang in there. I am sure she will finally get it right.
 

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She is still very young... don’t expect dogs to be fully housetrained until a year old. If you let her out do not use different ways of saying the command - it might looks like she gets it... but she can still be confused especially if you say many different words combined with “potty”
For example: “potty outside” “go cali” “go potty” “ go potty cali”

The best way to do it is to take her to the grass yourself, tell her once to “go potty” and then praise her when she does eventually do it. And praise like you are a crazy person and the second she squats to pee or poop.
It sounds like you have the basics down... you might want to just try and keep it as simple as possible so she really gets where you are coming from.

My dog goes on command... most of the time... immediately. I love it!
But sometimes they don’t have to go right then and just needs a couple of minutes.

She’ll get it... you just need a little bit of patience... remember she’s just a puppy.
As far as pooping in the house.... make sure you have her on a feeding schedule... as passion4poodles mentioned, puppies usually need to go a few minutes after they have eaten. If you feed her exactly at the same time everyday, you should have no trouble predicting when she would need to go.
 

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Boy, Ponki...I wish that had been the case with Taffy. I put her out after every meal by 10 minutes after she ate and would leave her outside for sometimes an hour. I would stay with her and say 'go potty' every now and then. No luck. As soon as I let her in, she ran down the hall and pooped. I tried the whole single command thing while I stood with her on the grass and praised the dickens out of her if she finally voided. But she would still come in the house and void right in front of me in less twithin 15 minutes to a half hour. I have had Taffy outside playing for hours with Billy and Brandy. We leave the garage door open for them so if it rains they can run in and lay on their beds. Taffy would come in from outside to poop and pee on the floor, then go back outside to play. Oh my gosh! She was completely backward.

I had only one other dog that just didn't figure it out. Years ago I had a beautiful black and tan cocker spaniel and she NEVER housebroke. I finally re-homed her because I couldn't deal with it anymore after a year of working with her. There was nothing wrong with her physically...she just didn't understand no matter how I tried to reinforce the lesson.

I can't tell you how happy I am now that she has finally figured it out. I don't even know what finally made it click with her.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thank you all so much!

Thank you all so much for your help! My boyfriend and I appreciate it very much. Cali, overall, is doing wonderfully. She's a great dog, but I'm a first time dog owner and I just don't know some of these things. As I read your comments they make a lot of sense when I relate them back to our situation.

I have a couple of separate questions which I will also be posting today. Hopefully I'll get helpful comments in response to those as well.
 

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Boy, Ponki...I wish that had been the case with Taffy. I put her out after every meal by 10 minutes after she ate and would leave her outside for sometimes an hour. I would stay with her and say 'go potty' every now and then. No luck. As soon as I let her in, she ran down the hall and pooped. I tried the whole single command thing while I stood with her on the grass and praised the dickens out of her if she finally voided. But she would still come in the house and void right in front of me in less twithin 15 minutes to a half hour. I have had Taffy outside playing for hours with Billy and Brandy. We leave the garage door open for them so if it rains they can run in and lay on their beds. Taffy would come in from outside to poop and pee on the floor, then go back outside to play. Oh my gosh! She was completely backward.

I had only one other dog that just didn't figure it out. Years ago I had a beautiful black and tan cocker spaniel and she NEVER housebroke. I finally re-homed her because I couldn't deal with it anymore after a year of working with her. There was nothing wrong with her physically...she just didn't understand no matter how I tried to reinforce the lesson.

I can't tell you how happy I am now that she has finally figured it out. I don't even know what finally made it click with her.
LOL!!! That's too bad spoospirit... I've never had trouble housetraining any of my dogs.... and I've housetrained quite a few fosters too. I guess each dog (just like kids) have their time and place. I can't believe Taffy went inside to do her business and then went out to play!!! (sorry... that's pretty funny!)

I've also used a method I would highly recommend.... it's taking their poop and putting it where you want them to go outside. It's really gross - but works like a charm. When they smell it they will think it’s their toilet area. You can just take one tiny piece of poop and put it on the lawn where you want them to go.... with puppies it’s always good to point it out to them every time you want them to go in that spot. (have them sniff it )

The thing with dogs is they do have a distinguished toilet area.... and if you don’t teach them where it is, they eventually just do it where they want. That’s why crate training is so effective... most dogs won’t poop where they sleep or play.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Update:
We have adjusted our tone of voice when Cali heads down the stairs and that has already made a big difference. Seems like she was looking for the approval from us that was suggested.

We have also gotten her on a better feeding schedule. She hasn't had any accidents since the one on Monday - cross your fingers! She is being baby-sat this weekend by a friend of mine so I'm hoping this continues.
 

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This isn't going to come off very nice.

Why are you yelling at your dog to do something? Does your dog speak english?


Problem: You are having to much interaction when you take your dog to go out to the bathroom.

Solution: Leash your dog!!! on a 6 ft leash. Take your dog outside in the back yard and stand in one spot. Do nothing, don't move, and say nothing untill your dog goes to the bathroom. Then give your dog lots of attention and treat him like he solved world peace.

If you can do this you won't have any problems. You can't treat your dog like a child, your dog won't understand. You won't get results. It will be your fault and not the dogs.
 

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bkitchen0406, I totally disagree with you, about not having interaction with dogs, because as you put it, they do not speak english. You're right on that account, they do not speak english, spanish, chinese or any other human language, but they DO understand whatever language that their owners speak to them. In fact they can have quite large vocabularies. One time we went through 100 words with a dog that we owned, just courious as to how many words that she did understand, before we got tired of counting, I'm sure that this dog had a lot more then we tested her with. I believe that it all depends on how much time you spend with your dog and how much you actually talk to it on the size of vocabulary it will learn. In fact, the very first pooddle that we ever owned, came from a hispanic family, was 1 year old when we bought her, and she only understood Spanish for a while. Since we speak English in our house hold, for a short while I think that this dog was Bi-lingual, but now all she understands is English. We talk to our dogs all the time, and if they do anything wrong we do raise our voices to them, and they definately know that we mean business and that we do not like their behavior, and it works well with them and for us. To just take your dog out on a long leash and let it do its thing whenever, w/o any verbal instructions sounds pretty weird to me, but everyone has their own way of doing things I guess, what ever works for you is okay I suppose, but I sort of feel sorry for your dogs, not having any real interactions with their master.
 

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Praising Immediately

And praise like you are a crazy person and the second she squats to pee or poop.
I've been afraid if I do this with my new puppy it will distract him and he won't finish. Is it okay if I wait until he is done? Or should I really do it immediately?
 

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I've actually had that happen with Taffy. I would praise her as soon as she started to go and she would stop immediately to come over for loving. I was defeating my own efforts. It only took a few times of forgetting that I needed to wait until she was done to praise the heck out of her for me to stop doing that. I was so anxious to show approval that I would forget that I had to wait.

Now she will watch me while she is going but I don't say anything until she is done so that she will complete her business. Then she gets all kinds of hugs and kisses and loving for doing the right thing.
 

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Some things are open to discussion and opinions, however I promise you that what I mentioned above will solve your problems. I have retrained 3 poorly trained dogs this way. When I help someone with their dog that is my friend or because I just like the dog, I don't have time for games. I combine a lot of different documented styles of training into what I believe works the fasted and is the most humane. There are a million ways to train a dog, but this will work.

I simply explained how to handle the dog once it is outside for potty training. This is where the owner is having a problem. I have yet to see anyone else mention a method that would work for correcting a dog that was trained the wrong way. It is much harder to retrain!

FUZBUTZ- Your contribution is completely irrelevant to the topic of discussion because you are stating the obvious. We all know that dogs can learn lots of verbal commands. This has nothing to do with correcting bad behavior or poor training. If you don't understand then I suggest you do more research before you wast my time. I love to hear opinions that can teach me something new or correct my mistakes, however there is nothing more hindering then useless data.
 

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BKitchen0406

Although we may not always agree with one another or the approach we decide to take, I think it's important that we all should be able to make comments without being personally attacked. If you can't refrain from putting down the comments of others such as Fuzbutz or anyone else here, I think you should reconsider your choice to participate on a forum. I'm not saying you can't disagree, but do try to do it with a little more respect.
 
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