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Help me toilet training my 5mo puppy

(7 Posts)
FATEdestiny Mon 13-Jun-16 13:16:58

5 month old pedigree cocker spaniel girl. Brilliantly paper trained, maybe that's the problem, that she's too well paper trained? As long as she has clean newspaper down, she will always hit the paper when she wees/poos. But I am struggling with the next stage.

I was expecting to be able to move the paper to just outside the back door, leave the door open and that she'd use that. So while we had warmer weather I was working on this (I'm a SAHM, so home all day and happy to leave the back door open for pup). But she's just ignoring the outside paper and taking to weeing/pooing directly on the floor instead. Something of a backwards step. I've gone back to paper inside, near the back door for now.

She does sometimes wee/poo on her walks, but this is fluke rather than routine. She's happy mooching around in the back garden but if she needs to go she will usually come inside and toilet on the paper, then go back out.

She dislikes the back door being closed when she's outside. I have started shutting her outside for 10 minutes at routine times - first thing in morning, last thing at night and after dinner - in the hope that she will go then. But she just sits by the back door waiting to be let back in. If I leave the door open instead she will mooch around the garden and is happier out there, but will come back inside when she needs to go.

Please help. Do you have any suggestions?

TrionicLettuce Mon 13-Jun-16 14:05:38

This is exactly the issue with using paper or pads as an intermediary stage in house training. You've effectively taught her that it's perfectly acceptable for her to go to the toilet inside.

I'd immediately ditch the paper completely and go right back to basics. Take her outside regularly and stay put with her until she goes, then lots of praise when she does go out there. It shouldn't really take too long for her to grasp it at this age, especially if she caught on quickly with the paper training.

I wouldn't leave the door open either as whilst they're learning this can confuse matters. You need to actively train her to go outside, she won't just do it of her own accord because the door is left open.

DogsMightFly Mon 13-Jun-16 15:27:11

Can you more or less predict when she will need the toilet? I.e., first thing in the morning, before or after play, before or after eating?

I ask because we were desperate with our dog and, as sad as this sounds, we wrote down the times and situations every single time our dog toileted for a week, to get an idea of when she was likely to need to go. Then at those times we put her on a lead, got some roast chicken out of the fridge, and took her into the garden to a particular area in the garden, and walked her back and forth. No playing or fun or interaction - this was all about getting her to go to the toilet. If she did wee/poo, then we said 'Go wee' when she started to go, made a huge fuss when she finished, lots of praise, and fed her several pieces of chicken.

We also said 'Go wee' whenever she toileted out on walks and rewarded and praised her.

We tried to head off or predict any times she might go indoors, but of we missed it, whenever she had an accident indoors, we ignored her - no treats, no 'Go wee' cue words.

Our aim was to link the cue words, great reward (chicken) and praise with toileting outside, versus no reward and no praise inside.

Eventually, we could take her in the garden, say 'Go wee', and she would start sniffing around and then wee. When that happened, we still went outside with her, but off the lead and said the cue words so that she learnt the difference between going out for the toilet and going out for a play/explore. She now also pretty much always goes in the spot we took her to on the lead when we were training her.

It's the one thing that took AGES with our dog. She was great at all other training, but just didn't get toilet training for months. It was because we pad-trained indoors first, which we really regretted! She got it eventually though with a lot of persistence and chicken!

Oh and we have since trained her to ring bells to let us know when she wants to go out to the toilet. She loves training in general, so this added an element of fun and worked really well for her.

DogsMightFly Mon 13-Jun-16 15:36:22

PS when we were at the lead stage, if she didn't go, we'd bring her back in, keep a really close eye on her, then try again every 5-10 minutes. I remember one time I went outside with her on the lead, in the rain, 6 times on the trot. When she had a wee on the 6th trip out we practically had a party! I actually cheered blush

FATEdestiny Mon 13-Jun-16 21:01:57

Strange that she didn't take to paper training. She's the third cocker I've had from puppy and the other two have progressed easily from inside paper to outside paper to asking to go out when they need to go.

Just shows they are all different. Thank you TrionicLettuce, I'll do the taking her outside thing instead. So some questions:

- With no paper in the kitchen, do I let accidents go unnoticed or should I show the weeing/pooing inside is not desired?
- Do I go out with her on a lead (back garden is secure and lead not required)? Or just be out there but don't play/interact aside from praising a wee/poo?

What would you advise regarding night time? Currently in a door-open crate and paper down by the back door. I was waiting until she got to the 'asking to go out' stage when I planned on a week or two of door shut crate nights to teach her to hold it until morning.

Should I go for night training straight away or just accept accidents overnight. Should I continue with paper overnight for now?

I am quite keen on cue words DogsMightFly, we have several established already. So will definitely established a 'go wee' type cue. Unfortunately I can establish no rhyme or reason to her toileting. So will just need to go out every hour where possible.

TrionicLettuce Mon 13-Jun-16 21:17:01

If she has an accident in the house just clean it up with no fuss. If you do anything like tell her off it's only likely to put her off toileting in front of you rather than stopping her going inside. Use a good cleaner (either something specific like Simple Solution Urine Destroyer or a solution of biological washing powder/liquid) to remove any trace so she's not encouraged by residual scent to go in the same place again.

If your garden is secure the only reason to keep her on lead when you take her out is if she's fooling around playing all the time rather than having a wee/poo.

1frenchfoodie Mon 13-Jun-16 21:33:21

FATE praise for what you want (toileting outside) is key, rather than chastisement for what you don't want though unless she is nervous a sharp 'no' may be appropriate.

We use a wee/poo cue (swizzles) and were religious in the first few months (he is 5mo now, lab x cocker) in rewarding with praise 'good swizzles' and a bit of kibble. Now he gets verbal praise if we spot him but has been going exclusively outside for months and doesn't really need reinforcement. He will go out and pee for us if we use the cue word e.g. last thing at night.

Happy training. Our guy is half cocker and at least half mad but really eager to please. He sits for verbal command or hand signals and will stay until told he can move - even if I go out of sight. He'll also wait to be told he can retrieve a thrown ball - self-restraint we'd not thought possible in the early days smile

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