Toilet Training a Dirty Dog

A new puppy came home three weeks ago, and introduced into my life innocence, joy and a torrent of dog urine reminiscent of the elevator scene from the Shining.

She’s slowly cottoning onto the fact that piddling in the house is not exactly the done thing, with one exception: bedding. She’ll wee on that like a bushfire. Then lie in it. Sleep in it, even.

All the basic housebreaking techniques - caging, restraint and so on - rely on the well-known fact that dogs learn very early not to void themselves where they eat or sleep. Unfortunately, this lesson didn’t get taught - according to the breeder, the mother has the same habit. If I get her up every couple of hours to go to the toilet that can keep the bedding dry, but it doesn’t seem to be clicking that wetting the bed is a bad thing to do. For the record, her favourite spot to piddle outside is directly in front of her food and water dish.

Does anyone know a technique to housebreak a dog in this sort of situation?

How old is the dog and how often are you taking her out?

When you crate(d) the puppy, what size crate do/did you use? If the crate is too big, the puppy may decide there’s enough space for sleeping AND peeing. A smaller crate (big enough for puppy to stand up and turn around, but not big enough for much more movement) may be needed to impress upon her the virtue of not peeing in the crate.

Almost eleven weeks and every couple of hours. That’s not clicking as training, though - she’ll go while she’s outside, but can’t comprehend that there’s literally anywhere that’s off-limits.

Sufficiently small - small enough that she can’t fit into it two weeks later. As I said, though, she’s happy to go, then sit or lie down without even moving off the wee that she’s just had, cheerfully wagging her tail while her undercoat acts like a sponge. There’s no sense that her urine’s in any way an undesirable thing to associate with.

It’s not like I’m an expert on this, but we got a shelter dog a few weeks ago and housetrained it in the following manner, presuming your dog doesn’t have any urinary tract infection or anything:

No bedding in the crate. He likes to pee on fabric, for whatever reason, so we eliminated the bedding. He seems to prefer hard surfaces, anyway, so this wasn’t an issue. The first day in the crate he peed it. He also enjoyed peeing on the floors.

Basically, we watched him like a hawk, and took him out every one and a half to two hours, even at night if he was awake. No, it wasn’t fun. Every time we caught him in the act of peeing in an inappropriate place, we gave a verbal cue he was familiar with (a firm, but not angry, “NO!”) and immediately ushered him outside to finish his pee out there. When he peed outside, we’d give him praise and occasionally treats. Praise and treat also during your regular potty breaks outside. If you don’t catch him peeing, there’s no point in reprimanding him. You missed your chance, better luck next time.

Now, for us, we saw results within five days. He had one accident this week, none last week, and maybe one the week before. The first three or four days he was pissing the house five times a day.

Whether this will work for you, I don’t know. This site has a lot of good advice. Good luck!

Also, wash out the urine with an enzymatic cleaner. From my understanding, you must eliminate all traces of her urine odor, otherwise, it will encourage her to keep peeing there.

Thanks for the tips - I’ve been doing the watch-and-correct, but it doesn’t seem to be breaking through. Unfortunately all of the tips on that site make the usual assumptions - dogs won’t go on their bedding or next to their food, which isn’t something I can use. I’m definitely using the enzyme cleaners - both in the wash and on the floor.

I actually don’t see that site making those assumptions. It suggests some of those things, but suggests other methods if those don’t work. It’s an 11-week-old puppy. It’s going to take a little while to train her. Keep doing what you’re doing, take her out every one and a half to two hours, don’t leave her in the crate for too long. The general rule is that a dog can hold it for his age in months + 1 in hours.

Does it seem to you like she can’t hold it? It might be worth getting her checked out for a UTI if so.

I’ve heard this is a problem with puppy mill puppies. Here’s the ASPCA’s ideas when dealing with that.

You might have to do the puppy mill bathe-immediately thing.

Also, when you take your dog out to do #1 & #2, keep it on a leash and only take it to the places that you want it to use as a bathroom. Don’t let the dog choose. Be the boss.

ETA: And, good luck!

I’d take her to the vet and have her checked out. Tell the vet what is going on. I’ve known two puppies, both female, with congenital deformities and they couldn’t help themselves.
I’s rule out any thing medical before working on the behavior.

For starters, that’s an unethical breeder.

On-topic, here’s my (lengthy) take on how I successfully housetrained a completely untaught puppy.

We used something similar to these on our rescue dog that was in the habit of marking everything inside.

They worked great. He tolerated it well, even wore it for 10 hours at a time with no problems.

IMO, one of the greatest things ever made.