House breaking 4 month old Lab mix

Discussion in 'Dog Training: Principle and Practice' started by Adamf, Nov 12, 2018.

  1. Adamf

    Adamf Registered Users

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    Romeo is an 4 month old Lab mix. He's a rescue, so we aren't sure about the mix. The vets feel his is part pointer or blue heeler.

    He's a terrific dog, cuddly, playful and he seems very adaptable to training. I've never trained a dog myself so I suspect the problem is more on my end than his.

    To house-break him, we read some articles on this site and started crate-training him.

    We're fairly satisfied with the results, but we are still having accidents and after a few weeks, I feel I'm doing something wrong.

    Here's how we are training him:

    As advised from the articles, our goal has been to train him to know to hold it until we take him out. We've set it up so he likes his crate and we feel we've done well here. He clearly likes his crate and he never has accidents in his crate.

    At night, he sleeps for 8 hours and never has an accident in the crate. I work at home so during the day, he is never in the crate more than 3 hours, usually less.

    The moment we take him out of the crate, we take him out to the yard, we walk him to his bathroom spot in the yard, he immediately pees, we give him a small food-treat and further reward him with praise. We typically have to walk him a little more in order for him to poop, and we reward with a small food-treat and praise again.

    We keep a simple form on a clipboard and we all fill it in when we take him in and out of the crate, so we all know the last time he was out, if he went to the bathroom, and if there were any accidents in the house.

    The problem occurs after we take him out of the crate, take him out for a walk, and bring him back inside.

    When we go back inside, we give him some time out of the crate to exercise. This time varies widely. It could be as short as a half hour, or as long as 2 hours. If it goes over 2 hours, we will walk him again. Sometimes, during these periods after he has walked and before we put him back in the crate, he'll have a pee accident in the house. Oddly, these accidents can occur as little as 15 minutes after we just walked him. It is usually pee accidents. Poop accidents are now very rare. We clean up the pee and use an enzyme remover to discourage him from using that spot again, but he chooses another spot.

    Obviously, we don't reward or praise him for accidents in the house, but I don't feel we are doing enough to discourage him from going in the house - or communicating with him that he should hold it when he is in the house.

    Do you have any advice on how to make him understand that he should hold it if he is in the house?

    Thanks
     
  2. Michael A Brooks

    Michael A Brooks Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Hi @Adamf

    I think you are doing the house training well.

    I would try the following:

    1. Raise the value of the treats for urinating outside.
    2. Put urinating under a cue such as wee.
    3. Walk the dog around for a longer time outside, so that you have the opportunity to positively reinforce the behaviour and more chance of voiding the bladder in the garden. Teach your dog some exercises while you are waiting for him to urinate. So the cue wee should come at least 10 seconds after you've given him a release cue. You should wait at least 10 seconds to avoid the dog thinking the release cue is the cue for urinating.
     
  3. Adamf

    Adamf Registered Users

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    Michael, again, thank you so much for your help.

    I understand this.

    I don't understand this. How do you "put urinating under a cue?"

    I understand this.

    I do not understand this. I don't know what a wee or release cue are. I understand that they are commands, but I don't know how to incorporate them into training or where they belong.

    Thanks,
    Adam
     
  4. Michael A Brooks

    Michael A Brooks Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Hi @Adamf

    to put urinating under a cue, you are going to use capturing. As she begins to urinate say wee, Yes and give her a treat when she finishes. In time, try to anticipate the urination so that you get the cue in before she actually starts to urinate. Mark and treat.

    When you tell a dog to sit, how does does he know when he is allowed to get up? A release cue tells the dog, you have finished the sit, you may get up and sniff the area area. Watch the birds. Whatever you like, as long as you don't pull me. Common release words are Play, free, finish.

    In the other thread on chaining and watch you were saying to your dog, watch, sit. You faded the word sit. Watch then became the cue for a chained set of actions/behaviours. If you don't give a 10 second gap, between your release cue, say "free" and "Wee, then the dog will start to anticipate the chain of cues, even without you saying wee.. If you say Free/Finish or whatever the release cue is, he will end up urinating. That could result in embarrassment. If you wait at least 10 seconds, then there is little likelihood of you teaching a chain of cues, with just the utterance of the first cue.

    Why do you want urination under a cue?.In your case you can get your dog to empty his bladder on the tree in the garden rather than inside your house. Be mindful that male dogs in particular like to mark their territory, and do not completely void their bladder. Some bitches display an identical marking behaviour. You might need a number of repetitions. In time when you have the bahaviour under cue, you can start discriminating. if he urinates a lot, it one go, then give that action a jackpot. If he just marks, then some uninteresting kibble.

    Each Sunday I take my dog to obedience class, she loves playing with another Lab after class. But before we go I tell her wee wee. She races off to the garden. I can tell by the time she squats and the flow whether she is just marking. Consequently, while we are travelling by car I know I don't need to stop to let her get out to urinate.
     
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  5. Adamf

    Adamf Registered Users

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    Again, Michael, thank you so much for the detailed responses. I'll absolutely apply them.

    I read this and I feel a little intimidated. You take your dog to obedience class? Why would someone who obviously knows how to train dogs as well as you do need routine obedience class? I hope you're the one teaching it.
     
  6. Michael A Brooks

    Michael A Brooks Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Hi@adamf

    She enjoys going to class. And as long as she does, I'll take her

    I am also an instructor at the Club.
     
  7. Adamf

    Adamf Registered Users

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    Yup! That figures!
     
  8. Jo Laurens

    Jo Laurens Registered Users

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    I take my puppies to every class I possibly can, which typically means many classes a week - and only one of them is my class. It is very important for pups to learn to focus on their owners around other dogs, and I don't have a room full of strange dogs at my house to practise with....

    It's also important for socialisation.

    Anyway, the toilet training: Little puppies don't want to toilet off their property because often it involves confidence which the pup doesn't have yet. When a dog toilets, they are kind of also saying 'I was here' in dog graffiti and leaving a 'message' for other dogs... Little puppies don't have the confidence to do that, yet, and will try to hold on until they reach their familiar home - where they feel safe to toilet.

    So, I would suggest always taking him to your yard or garden so he can toilet there before you come back inside - even if you have just finished a walk....
     

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