Dog Training issue - Help needed (long)

I know the rules but I don’t have any pictures to share at the moment.

I have had a dog for about six years. Goliath is my little buddy and I would run into a burning building to save him. He is as well trained as I want him to be and he is a perfect gentleman when he meets new people or dogs. Kids love him and he loves kids.

I had indicated to my family that I would be interested in getting another dog at some point. I have heard it said that having two dogs is as easy as having one.

Cue forward to a Monday earlier this month - I get a phone call from a family member asking me if wanted another dog. Of course I was interested and wanted to hear more. It turns out that they know somebody who had two Cavalier King Charles spaniels, Jazzy, but was having trouble caring for both due to her advanced age. I know the lady in question and figured that the dog was good and I would save her some grief if she knew Jazzy was going to a good home. She knew me and Goliath and thought ours would be a perfect home.

That following Sunday I got Jazzy. The first thing I did when I got him home was took him for a quick walk so he could whiz. He did and then we went inside. Goliath came bounding down the stairs to meet his new buddy and all seemed well. When walking around for the first time Jazzy stopped at Goliaths bed and whizzed on it. Okay, I figure new home, new dog, nerves or whatever and he marked. No biggie. The next morning after I got up, Jazzy jumped on to my bed and I didn’t think anything of it because Goliath often did the same thing - went to sleep in the warm spot. Needless to say I was less then impressed when Jazzy whizzed on my bed - center of the mattress. Not a mark but a full on bladder drainer.

Well, as it goes on it seems that he isn’t just marking or getting adjusted, he is not housebroken, at all. It would seem that he was trained to use a doggy door at his previous home - and that is it. Did I mention that Jazzy is six years old?

I had said that I was not going to change the routine that Goliath and I had for Jazzy, but after a few days it became clear that I need to add another walk to our day. So I started taking the dogs out around 11:00 pm before bed. I see that even Goliath appreciates it so I will continue them. The added walks did not help the situation. Jazzy continued to whiz and poop in the apartment.

Finally, I got Goliath’s old kennel from my sisters house and figured that was going to be my best bet for training Jazzy. The first night I put him in the kennel I waited until he went nuts trying to get out and them took him out for a walk. He didn’t poop, but he did whiz and I thought all was good. He spent the night in the kennel but didn’t sleep too much as he was trying to scratch through the gate. The next morning I thought we had achieved a small breakthrough. It got even better the next night when Jazzy pooped during the late night walk - I thought great we have got the start of a good pattern going here. I put jazzy in the kennel that night and went to bed, until I was woken up at about 5:00 am by Jazzy going nuts. He had pooped in the kennel. That was two nights ago.

Last night I tried something a little different, I put Jazzy in the bathroom and I left a bowl of water and a food dish, empty. This morning I come down to find the water spilled and the bed whizzed on and all the toilet paper removed from the roll and chew marks on the door frame. Did I mention that Jazzy is six years old?

I am at my witts end. All I do is clean up after this dog and feel rage towards him. I know that most of this, if not all of this is not his fault but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to put his cute butt in a sack with some rocks and toss it into a lake. Remember that earlier I said I would run into a burning building to save Goliath? I would probably call out to Jazzy from the sidewalk in the same situation - the thing is he can be a great dog - he has the personality.

I need advice on the best way to bring him around. We have until the end of October to break him of 6 years of being spoiled (oh yes, I have not mentioned the weight and eating issues, have I?) and non-trained. I have a feeling that the kennel is probably the best way to go but I am not sure. Please help me help Jazzy.

Continue the crate training. My monsters are in their crates all night. As soon as they come out in the morning they eat, then we go outside. Same thing when I get home in the evening. Out of crate, eat, bathroom. Any other time that I am letting them out of their crate but it’s not dinner time, they go outside immediately. It may take a while, but it should work. Ginger was an outside dog for 10 years before she came to live with me in my apartment. She took to it very quickly. (I think she is grateful to not have to be outside in the rain anymore.)

There’s a dog training technique called Nothing in Life is Free. (Here’s one explanation of it, you’ll get a million more if you google NILIF.) Basically the dog shouldn’t get anything - food, attention, trips outside - until he does something you want him to do (usually sit). It’s good for all dogs in all ages and situations (not just puppies) - it reminds them who is in charge at all times, and gives them good boundaries.

I kept my rescue dog leashed to me at all times when I first got him, that really helped with this technique. I think it would also help you guys.

I housebroke a dog that was formerly stray (so he was used to just roaming around and pooping/peeing wherever he wanted). I wish I could tell you that a few nights of crate training will do the trick, but it likely won’t. It took time, a lot of patience, and tremendous praise and a lot of cleaning up after him.

I don’t mean to get all Dog Whisperer on you, but feeling pissed off (which oh, believe me I DO understand) is the worst thing that can happen. What worked for me was to spend time watching the dog- watching EVERY MOVE for a while until I recognized when he had to go. I offered him walks constantly to get him to go, and when he went, it was like celebration time. We were in an area where he had to be leash walked for this, so I feel your pain there. It took a LOT of time and effort, but finally doing this over and over worked and he no longer went inside. The real key for my dog was never allowing him to make a “mistake”. I know you’re thinking “Well hell, I gotta sleep!!” but honestly, it got so bad with mine that I did this round the clock for a while. Drastic, but it did work eventually.

I wish you luck- training a dog that’s used to just stopping to squat anywhere is so hard. One thing that a trainer told me was to be very careful about punishing the dog when he went inside, or they may think that you are mad whenever they go, rather than associating it with being mad when they go in the house. The trainer I talked to basically said “It’s YOUR fault if the dog goes inside for not giving him the opportunity to do it outside. Deal, move on, and don’t let it happen”. It was hard to hear, but it’s what worked for me and my dog eventually.

I’ve taken in several dogs that were outside-only until I got them, and I found them easy to housebreak (all big dogs, which seem easy to housetrain than small dogs). I did correct them (NO NO! Bad DOG!) if they lifted a leg inside, and praised them when they went outside. Most of them took to it naturally and were housetrained in a couple days. Now, if Jazzy has been allowed to urinate inside until now, that would be a problem.


So the dog IS house-broken, just that his old routine included the ability to go out the doggie door any time he wanted so as not to eliminate in the house…yes?

On the other hand, Goliath is trained to go while on a leash. Walk = potty time for him.

Both dogs have been trained for their ways of going potty for 6 years.

What would you do if you and the 2 pups moved to a new house with a yard and a doggy door, and you weren’t able to take them for walks? How do you think Goliath would handle it?

My guess is you would probably have to deal with a lot of whining for walkies from Goliath for a while and escort him through the doggy door every time he wanted to potty. You would have to train Goliath to go on his own schedule instead of relying on you.

Now you have that situation in reverse for you and Jazzy. Jazzy is used to eliminating on his own schedule. He’s never had to “ask” to go outside before. When he had to go, he went outside. He knows nothing of whatever walk schedule you have set up already - that’s Goliath’s thing.

I agree with BoBettie that it’s just going to take a lot of time and patience (and cleanup!). You’re going to have to walk a lot more. I suggest walking two or three times as much to start with big big big praise when he goes potty on a walk. Then start scaling it back to your normal schedule. He’s got to learn that walking is the time for potty, and learn the walk schedule.

Otherwise, he’s just going to stay confused and you’re just going to stay frustrated. Think about it from Jazzy’s POV. Also think of how much work it would be to train Goliath to use a doggy door if the tables were turned. Put that much work into it…or more.

Generally speaking, a dog who soils his crate really couldn’t help it. They just don’t poop where they sleep unless they’re sick or you’ve kept them in there too long.

Keep with the crate training. You’ll like him more if he doesn’t chew your stuff, and he’ll like you more if you’re not yelling at him for chewing your stuff. You were doing everything right, you just expected results way too soon. I’d be thrilled if the dog was retrained in two months, to be honest. Two nights - he didn’t even really know what you expected yet, and then you changed the rules on him again! Poor thing, he must be awfully confused.

Thirding (fourthing/fifthing) that crate training is your best bet and you haven’t given it long enough. This is going to take a while. A couple things other people haven’t said:

  1. You can make it less likely that he’ll soil his crate – and generally easier to housetrain him (re-housetrain him) – if you feed and water him every day at the same time, in the morning or at noon. No food at evening/night (so no bowel movement during the night), and no water after, say, 6 p.m. If you put him on a strict feeding schedule, you will will find that it is much easier to put him on an elimination schedule because his body will get used to it: food at this time; go out and poop/pee at this time. You will almost certainly have to do the same for your other dog, since you probably shouldn’t free-feed one dog and restrict the food of another.

  2. Give the dog a towel or blanket to sleep on. After a couple nights it will smell like him and become “his” blanket. Then drag the crate into the living room while you’re watching TV, and put the blanket in it, leaving the door open. Do not let the other dog go in it, but leave it for Jazzy to go in if he wants. If he’s not interested (which he probably won’t be), put him in it for short periods (say, 5 minutes, 10 minutes) with you in the same room, doing your thing. After a few minutes, let him out and praise him. The idea is to accustom him to the crate, but not to punish him. So if he scratches or paws, correct him sharply and firmly: NO, leave him in a little longer, then let him out anyway. This involves a bit of dragging the crate around (out in the living room if you’re home and out there, in to your room at night), but the idea is to get him used to the crate without making him feel like you’re punishing him. If you are crating him and letting your other dog run loose around him, or letting your dog sleep in your room and leaving him in a crate in another room (that you’re not in), you are communicating that the first dog has higher pack status in the house than he does. To the extent you can, treat them equally.

And neither of them should be on the furniture. If you are going to keep Jazzy off – as you certainly should, since he’s urinating on the bed – then you need to keep Goliath off as well.

IOW, and long story long, you may not be just dealing with a housetraining issue, you are probably also dealing with integrating a third dog into what has to date been a 2-animal pack (you and Goliath). The pooping and peeing could well be confusion, nervousness, a sign of attempted dominance, loneliness, or all of the above, as well as housetraining confusion. Please remember that this little guy has just lost his home and his Person and doesn’t know where he fits in your home. Treat the dogs equally to the extent you can; be strict with scheduling eating, drinking, and walks; be consistent with crating; be firm but loving; and give it some time. More that two days. More than two weeks. More than two months. It will be an investment, but I’m sure it will be worth it for all of you.

Good luck!

ETA: If you have a wire crate, you might also try throwing a blanket over it, leaving the front (door side) open so he can see out. This makes it more den-like, and perhaps more likely to be viewed as home-like and safe. For some adult dogs, unused to crating, an open (meaning, not covered, but still locked) wire crate makes them nervous because it confines them but does not make them feel protected.

Lots of great advice here. Another technique I’ve read about for difficult to house-train dogs is when they’re out of the crate, they’re attached to you. Put the dog on a leash, the leash on your belt. If you can’t have the dog attached to you, he goes back in the crate. The dog is never out of your sight, so if he starts thinking about eliminating, you’re right there to stop him and take him outside immediately. It helps set him up for success.

ZipperJJ is right about dogs who aren’t used to a doggy door. My brother and his aussie moved to a house with two other dogs and a dog door with fenced yard. The aussie will still not go outside on her own a year later. But then she also won’t go pee without being told to when we’re outside playing or camping. She’s *very *trained.

My best advice is patience, patience, patience-- coupled with the crate training. I also second the idea that when the dog isn’t in the crate that they are literally attached to you. We did this with our second dog when she was a puppy and it worked like a charm.

Both dogs will need a lot of time and patience to adjust to their new pack order. Any time you introduce a new animal it requires readjustment, especially if both were the alpha dogs of their previous packs.

You also might want to (gently) inquire about his previous habits since it might provide a little insight into his background. Are you 100% certain he was ever completely house trained? I am sometimes amazed and the lack of training that some people will tolerate. I have a family member who considers her dogs house trained, but about 50% of the time they use the basement as their bathroom. This does not bother her in the slightest and she justifies it by saying “well, they see the cat using her litterbox down there, so that’s why they think it’s ok.”

Things seem to be getting better. I think Jazzy is starting to get into our routine. Yesterday was great, except when I needed to go and find my keys for the afternoon walk Jazzy stole away to relieve himself. I was able to catch him in the act, well just after the act, and correct him.

He hates the crate and I have been letting him follow me around during the day and I now keep close tabs on him but won’t leash him to me. I just need to get him to enjoy the crate because every other dog I know likes their crates.

Thanks for all the input and I will post updates for the next few days and then follow up in a week or two.

Peanut butter.

Simone gets peanut butter smeared on a Kong-brand toy with dental grooves in it when she goes in her crate.

She ONLY gets the peanut-butter-toy when she goes in her crate.

She is NEVER punished by being crated – the crate is a safe place, not a dungeon.

She LOVES her crate, sometimes she doesn’t come out of it immediately when we open it.

If I open the peanut butter jar – even to make something for myself – I know I can find Simone sitting extra pretty in her crate, waiting.


I’l second this about the crate- it has to be a fun, happy place. Favorite toys, nice blankies in there, a shirt or something that smells like you. Maybe even try feeding inside the crate for a while.

Update -

I mentioned before that I caught Jazzy in the act on Friday night and gave him stern correction. On Saturday afternoon I again caught him in the act, again just moments before going on a walk, and expressed my disappointment in my tone of voice (not raised, just disappointed). Well, ever since then he has been perfect.

I may have pushed my luck last night when I went out for new years dinner and left jazzy out of the crate, but I had a feeling. Anyways, no surprises when I got home, and he happily pooped on the walk about 10 minutes later.

I take back the bad things I had said about Jazzy - he is a good little dog.

Hey, that’s great news! I’m housebreaking another puppy now (he’s about finished with an occasional accident) and he has a favorite spot to poo when he does- right in the guest room on the floor. So now when I come home (even when he’s been crated), we walk in there to “check”. If there’s nothing, he gets HUGE good boys. If not, he gets the big disappointment act. He mostly does this in the morning before we’re up or he sneaks in, so I like to set him up for success by checking when I already KNOW he hasn’t done anything. So far so good! He loves to go check and get praise when we’re done.