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!