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Remedial training for the "rescue" dog. Advice please!

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  • Remedial training for the "rescue" dog. Advice please!

    Looking for some dog advice please.

    In early to mid December we took on another dog. A friend found a stray dog who had clearly been running wild for a bit. No microchip, no tatoo, no tags, no one looking for her.

    We were contemplating getting a second dog so we thought we would give her a try. We decided, based on her clearly exceptional temperament to keep her.

    Had her spayed, vaccs, etc. Docs figured she was about 9 - 12 months old (and pregnant, btw) She is mostly German Shepherd, with a touch of something else. Smaller, about 44 lbs.

    She is mostly a delightful dog. Exceptional temperament, good with my kids, good with my horses, good with my other dog, almost good with the cats (needs to be supervised around cats...is a little too interested in them) smart, good off leash, apparently a quick learner.It was clear she was pretty much a blank slate as far as any sort of training. Tweny minutes and a handful of treats and she pretty much had "SIT" nailed.

    House training is still an issue. Will be good for a week then have a bad day. She will not go on laminate flooring. Carpet however..different story.

    She is also a determined chewer. She has a variety of chew toys but must be watched like a hawk or she will find something "unauthorized".

    Here is what we are doing:

    She comes out with us in the a.m. to feed horses/clean stalls. She is off leash for about 30 min and has the opportunity to run around.

    During the day she is confined to the ensuite bathroom. She has never had an accident in there. Or in our bedroom, for that matter. She get breakfast when she goes in there, also has a rawhide and a Kong with frozen peanut butter. Once she gave the corner of the vanity a chew but I sprayed it with Bitter Apple and she has not tried since.

    When we get home, my son takes her and the other dog out. We don't have a fenced yard (home is temporary until we build) so I can't just let them loose unsupervised. If it is not horribly cold (has been consistently -22F here all month long...) he will be play with her for a while, kicking and throwing a Jolly Ball.

    When DH comes home (6:30) he takes her out again and walks her until she has had a BM.

    At night, she and other dog go out to the barn with me, she is loose and running around for about an hour.

    When I go to bed, she comes into the bedroom with us as she has never had an accident in the bedroom.

    The problem: In that period after DH has walked her and I go out at 9:00 p.m. she will, if given the opportunity, chew anything she can get or sneak off to pee or poop. Once, in the course of 20 unsupervised minutes, she chewed up the corner of an antique chair and peed and pooped.

    We tried close tethering her to my 11 yr old son. Mixed results. One day he was sitting on the bed reading, clearly absorbed in his book and she was on a short leash next to his bed. He did not notice her POOPING ON HIS BEDROOM FLOOR. Okay, he is not sufficiently attentive.

    I tried close tethering her to me. This sort of works but I am running around, making dinner, throwing in laundry etc. I almost tripped over her carrying a pot of pasta water. Not ideal. DD is only 3, DH not interested in having dog tethered to him.

    We tried introducing her to a crate, she wants no part of it, no way no how. I think we have to persist with the crate as it is a good life skill. However, I don't really need it during the day as she is fine in the ensuite. At night she is fine in the bedroom (other than the fact the she chewed holes in 2 of DH's shirts. She found them lying on the bedroom floor. Seems to me there is an easy fix to that particular problem )

    She has unrestricted access to chew toys and dog toys. When I catch her chewing something she should not I say "NO" and direct her to a chew toy.

    Basically my question is:
    Can we be doing something else? I am sure she would love to attend nightly agility classes but that is just not going to happen.

    Do we just persist with the current regime and hope for the best? Am I going to have this dog tied to me every evening for the next 15 years?

    Also, how do I introduce a crate to a dog who seems to have a strong aversion to it? I have used it for other dogs but they were accustomed to it from puppy hood.

    Any advice would be appreciate. Thanks.
    Last edited by Mozart; Feb. 8, 2013, 07:31 PM.

  • #2
    for the crate training, start here.


    I'll write up more on housetraining later.


    • #3
      I used a folding toddler corral in addition to the crate when I was housebreaking my puppies. I could move it between work areas while I did chores, so they could watch me when I was cooking dinner or folding laundry. She might like the corral better than a crate, as its less claustrophobic. Plus you can just use it like a fence to gate her off from areas where you don't want her to go.


      • #4
        @chew toys: She has unrestricted access to chew toys and dog toys. When I catch her chewing something she should not I say "NO" and direct her to a chew toy.

        change this. She should have some chew time that is special just for that. I'd probably use just before bedtime as a designated chew time. I'd have either a kong or a nylabone as the chew toy, and she'd get it 30-60 minutes before bed. Sort of like some people read to relax before bed. When you have unrestricted access to something, it becomes less valuable so she's less likely to see it as special. Special toys are played with (chewing is recreation time for dogs) more. Just before bed, put it away again.


        • #5
          @Victoria Farrington.....who is a truly wonderful trainer.



          • #6
            and you are right, she needs to be crated to get her potty trained.


            • #7
              You'll need a crate to potty train her - it's not as cruel as you might imagine it. Having her locked in the bathroom for 3+ hrs while you're away (I understand, you're busy and likely have work) but dogs should be let out at least every hour to pee - and it looks like during that 3 hr period after 6 she isn't getting the time out to go to the bathroom, which would understandably make her pee elsewhere. Like 3dog said, you are going to want to not let her have "free access" to her toys - as this diminishes the value and all of the sudden other things become way more enticing. What has worked for me is leaving a "low value" toy (maybe a stuffed toy they only play with occasionally) around as the "always there" toy while you're gone -- and at night during those three hours that the most "ooopsie" moments seem to happen, allow her to have a more "high value" toy.

              The article 3dog posted for crate training is a great place to start - just because she doesn't want anything to do with it doesn't mean she has a choice. All of my dogs didnt like crates when they were first introduced either; and now, if I can't find one in the house, I'll be sure to find it in its crate asleep. (:

              Another thing you might want to do is close all the doors around the house - which makes it so that she is forced to be in a localized area -- near you. If you can't keep an eye on her while doing your PM duties (I have a hard time doing that too) you can at least keep her contained to one specific area. Have you caught her in the act yet, as far as relieving herself in the house? She may not be aware it's a problem. I'd start with the crate training and really go back to basics - as if truly teaching her for the first time where it is appropriate to relieve herself: i.e, praising her when she does it outside, scolding her if you find her in the act inside.
              AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012


              • Original Poster

                Good advice guys, thank you. I am convinced there is fabulous dog buried under the poopy chewer!

                I try to keep door closed to the kids' bedrooms.....they are not so diligent at it themselves. Unfortunately the rest of the house is open concept, I can't block off her favourite area.

                I have unfortunately not yet caught her in the act...she is very quick and very sneaky! I do praise her everytime she relieves herself outside.


                • #9
                  how much training do you do with her? "a tired dog is a good dog". She seems to have plenty of physical exercise, but it's all unstructured free time, right? she needs a job in life, particularly if she has shepherd in her. So try to devote ten minutes a day to some kind of upbeat, mentally challenging training- basic obedience, rally obedience, maybe try free-shaping tricks, or look up the new sport of nosework. You can do that at home, with stuff you already own, and most dogs enjoy it and find it mentally challenging.

                  It sounds like there is a particular time of day she's a problem? so plan to do your training then and then pop her into the crate with her chew, for scheduled chew time. Make the crate fun- it's where you eat, and have your chews.

                  I'd pick up all the chews and dog toys- leaving them all over makes it harder for the dog to figure out what is chewable and what is not, and of course de-values them. If you teach the dog that all chewing happens in the crate, it's black-and-white rules, easy to learn. Plus eating chews at random times during the day can make the pottying schedule difficult.

                  Most dogs should only poop once or twice a day, at rather regular times.

                  Housebreaking is simple, but requires full attention- if you devote yourself to a full two weeks of strict confinement when no one can watch the dog, and strict observation to help the dog figure out the rules, plus out often, reward when the dog goes in the right place, usually they get it right away. Sometimes there are medical problems- most dogs only poop once or twice a day at very predictable times, so if the dog is pooping much more often take a look at the diet.

                  I just re-read it, and this struck me:

                  When DH comes home (6:30) he takes her out again and walks her until she has had a BM.
                  The problem: In that period after DH has walked her and I go out at 9:00 p.m. she will, if given the opportunity, chew anything she can get or sneak off to pee or poop. Once, in the course of 20 unsupervised minutes, she chewed up the corner of an antique chair and peed and pooped.
                  perhaps the entire problem is he doesn't walk her LONG enough during this evening walk? as soon as she goes once, she's back in. Maybe she needs to be taken for a longer walk and allowed to poop repeatedly and pee more before being brought back in?
                  I find dogs have a circadian rhythm such that they tend to want to be active in the morning and evening, and tend to poop during those periods. She, instead, is in the house during this critical evening activity period.
                  Last edited by wendy; Feb. 8, 2013, 07:45 PM.


                  • Original Poster

                    True that her physical activity is not structured. I could do 10 minutes of something structured at the end of the day, after the barn chores and before I go to bed. Unfortunately, I can't do it during her "danger time" as that time coincides (coincidentally...) with the time when I am most busy, making dinner, bathing kids, getting them to bed.

                    Unfortunately, I am the only one "tuned in" to what is going on with dog.

                    It would be great if he walked her longer...or I can say "you make dinner, I'm walking the dogs" lol...

                    Our weather since Xmas has been sooo unhelpful. Only the occasional day above -20 Celsius (-4 Fahernheit) and there have been several days out here on the Canadian prairie where combined temp and wind chill have been -40C (-40F). I kid you not. Not fit for man nor beast out there. Note to self: Next time I get a new dog....it will be summer time!!!


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Mozart View Post
                      Unfortunately, I can't do it during her "danger time" as that time coincides (coincidentally...) with the time when I am most busy, making dinner, bathing kids, getting them to bed.
                      she probably has observed the times people are more attentive. That's why you need a crate or an expen. I prefer a crate as there are surgeries/injuries that require long term crate rest.


                      • #12
                        When DH comes home (6:30) he takes her out again and walks her until she has had a BM.
                        This could well be part of the problem. If she likes going for a walk but gets brought back in the moment she does a poop, she's not really being rewarded for pooping outside. Really important that the celebratory party begins after the poop event. Lots of praise, treats, enthusiasm - and don't cut the walk short! Might even be best to pick a spot where she is expected to do her business, wait 'til she does it there, and THEN go for a fun walk.


                        • #13
                          When DH comes home (6:30) he takes her out again and walks her until she has had a BM.
                          This could well be part of the problem. If she likes going for a walk but gets brought back in the moment she does a poop, she's not really being rewarded for pooping outside. Really important that the celebratory party begins after the poop event. Lots of praise, treats, enthusiasm - and don't cut the walk short! Might even be best to pick a spot where she is expected to do her business, wait 'til she does it there, and THEN go for a fun walk.


                          • #14
                            Another crate training tool. http://www.amazon.com/Susan-Garretts.../dp/B0013GJJG6


                            • #15
                              Agree that the walk shouldn't end with the bm... I did that with my childhood dog and before long a twenty minute walk was a forty minute walk!
                              I also learned that the first dog i got as my own is a certified two-bagger. I'd pick up after him, chuck that only bag in the trash, only to be horrified at my lack of planning when he would squat again! And yes he would also go in the house if he didn't get that second half done.
                              Another thing, is she guzzling water in the evenings or after that walk time? You may need to structure her water time at first when she's still so oblivious about peeing inside.

                              But at the same time, i wouldn't label her really as oblivious to the rules of the house, if she's hiding her accidents. If she's scolded after the fact or too harshly it may just reinforce her sneakiness, so be mindful of that.


                              • #16
                                I had a GS rescue for 11 years and she was the best dog!

                                Here's what I'd suggest for crate training & the witching hour. If you can put the crate in the kitchen for a couple weeks it will be easiest.

                                Before she's eaten, make a couple of slices of bacon. Put it in the crate and lock the door. Don't let her in the crate with that fantastically smelly bacon. Talk to her & get her to the point where she's begging you to let her at that bacon. Then ask her to sit and open the crate door. Instead of you wanting her in the crate- you're granting her the privilege. First day, leave the door open. Second, close it, latch it, and reopen immediately. Then walk across the room come back and open it immediately. Think about making opening and closing the crate door a part of the dinner routine- stir/open door, start microwave/close door. Once she thinks crate=bacon, ask her to go in before a treat, then go in and wait for you to close the door and treat. Wait until she's pretty comfortable in her crate before you start leaving the room with the door closed.

                                On the chewing, see how much of her meals you can take out of her bowl and deliver in other ways. We mix of greek yogurt and dog food and in a kong. Our dogs go nuts for it. There are a lot of toys that will dispense bits of food/treats when the dog chews on them. There are also some dog puzzles that do the same thing. If meals involve a lot of chewing and take and hour+ instead of 2 minutes she'll burn off a good amount of her chewing urge.

                                You might also see if DH & son can do some training with her while you prep dinner. Something as simple as the two of them sitting across the room from each other and calling her back and forth would give doggie some attention and you a few minutes to focus. Eventually you could take this to hide & seek where your son hides while DH keeps the dog and then sends her to find your son- a good way to keep them busy but not underfoot.