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    bearzawadi's Avatar
    bearzawadi Posts: 5, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Feb 3, 2010, 10:37 AM
    Having trouble with paper training my chihuahua mix. Need more space to explain.
    We have been given a wonderful, little chihuahua mix. He was abandoned and ended up with some friends of ours, who gave him to us. He's very sweet, and he's wonderful with my kids. The vet thinks he's about a year old. The only problem we've had with him is the potty training. For a variety of reasons, we have decided that paper training is the best option for our family. I've been reading online about paper training, and Bear has been doing pretty good, but he seems really confused sometimes. He will go on the paper, and we will praise him and give him treats. He'll do very well for a few days in a row, and then he'll just randomly lift his leg against a chair or something to let out a few drops, even right after he's gone on his pad. I know he's marking, but I don' know how to retrain him. I'll make the "bah!" or "no" outburst when I catch him, and I'll put him back in the laundry room with the gate up (this is where his paper is), and he'll just get so sad. It's really pathetic. Then he won't go at all for hours and hours. One time he even waited for 16 hours before relieving himself! (though that was very early on in our establishment of a training routine). We were really worried about him, and when he did finally go, we gave him all the praise and love our hearts could give. So I guess my question is this: do we continue to just keep him in the laundry room for all that time when he won't "go." I'll let my kids get in there with him and love on him, and I'll let him out for brief periods when I can watch him constantly. But otherwise, the poor guy is made to stay in the room until he goes potty. Nothing I'm reading seems to indicate that the dog will actually wait that long. Is this normal, and are we doing the right thing? I know dogs can be trained to do just about anything, but how long should we expect this process to take. We've been working on him for about a month.
    JudyKayTee's Avatar
    JudyKayTee Posts: 46,503, Reputation: 4600
    Uber Member

    Feb 3, 2010, 10:39 AM

    I think it's obvious that he thinks he's being punished for urinating, not for where he's urinating. He probably thinks one time he urinates and gets punished; the next time he gets applause.

    Is he neutered?
    bearzawadi's Avatar
    bearzawadi Posts: 5, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Feb 3, 2010, 10:43 AM

    Not yet. I've called the local humane society to see what they charge (my vet was over $250 for this tiny dog). I'm hoping that neutering will help with the marking issue. I'm still waiting to hear back from them.

    So how do paper train this little boy without confusing him?
    JudyKayTee's Avatar
    JudyKayTee Posts: 46,503, Reputation: 4600
    Uber Member

    Feb 3, 2010, 11:26 AM

    I've had rescues which were very hard to train - it's persistence and in my case not making a big deal out of "mistakes." I said, "no," sometimes distracted him "mid stream," cleaned it up - no big deal.

    Persistence and never getting upset or annoyed seemed to work.

    Maybe it's like children - I've never seen anyone graduate from College wearing diapers but in the years between being babies and going to school I was always concerned my stepchildren would be the first. Eventually they get the message.

    Wish I had better advice - but good luck.
    bearzawadi's Avatar
    bearzawadi Posts: 5, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Feb 3, 2010, 11:41 AM
    That's helpful. I do want to be patient with him. I have no idea what he went through before we got him. He was found cold, shivering, and malnourished. He seems to be really thriving in our home, and I guess I just need to hear that it takes time. He's really the sweetest dog, and my kids are so thankful to have a little doggy of their own.

    But did you paper train? And did you ever have to leave the dog in his "potty place" for really long periods in order to give the positive reinforcement?
    Cat1864's Avatar
    Cat1864 Posts: 8,007, Reputation: 3687
    Marriage Expert

    Feb 3, 2010, 12:03 PM
    Keep in mind that dogs do not like to potty where they sleep. By locking him in the room where you want him to potty, you are telling him to sleep in his mess if he makes one. That is not lesson you want him to learn.

    Not knowing the dog's history. I would be concerned that he might have been abused before he was abandoned. Yelling at him, may feed into fears that he already has. Locking him away definitely seems to be causing him stress. A stressed animal is one that is unpredictable. He may seem nice now, however, if the stress continues, he could snap at someone seemingly without provocation.

    Make certain that you clean up any places he marks with an enzyme based cleaner to totally get rid of the smell (you may not smell anything, but he does).

    I don't know why you have chosen not to take the dog outside to potty. It would actually be best because it would allow him to mark something other than your home. It would also give him exercise and socialization that he needs to help him be a healthy and happy animal.

    If you really want to keep him indoors, I would suggest crate training. It will give him a safe place to call his 'den'. When you take him out, take him to where you want him to potty. Tell him 'potty' (or your choice of commands-one that won't confuse him). Wait until he goes. Praise him. Let him out to play, train, socialize, eat and drink. Take him back to the 'bathroom' every hour at least, until you know how long it takes for his food and water to go through his system. Put him in the crate when you can't keep an eye on him. But try not to leave him in it for long periods. You don't want him using the bathroom in it.

    IF there is one place in particular that he tends to mark, block that area off unless he is being watched. If he looks like he is about to lift his leg, don't make a big fuss be as emotionless as possible don't say anything to him, pick him up and put him on his papers and give him the command. Make certain that he goes and give him praise.

    Also, make certain that he can get to his papers when he needs them.
    bearzawadi's Avatar
    bearzawadi Posts: 5, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Feb 3, 2010, 12:59 PM
    We do take our dog outside several times during the day. The kids love to go out with him on a leash and let him run around with them. But there are several days each week when we are gone from the house all day. I want our dog to have a place that is OK for him to use when he can't "hold it."

    We have designated our laundry room as the safe place to go potty, and when he does go there, he always goes right on that pad. When I have to put him there for long periods, the area is laid out in such a way that I can set his gate up outside of the laundry room in the hallway. I put his bedding outside of the laundry room, far away from his paper, so he has more room to wander. He can even be closer to us that way, and he can see us from where he is. He is certainly not sleeping in his mess, and I'm always careful to put a fresh paper down after he soils one.

    As I said, one of my kids will often get in there with him to play with him so he won't feel secluded and alone. Most of the day when we're home, he just hangs out with us. He seems to be a very happy and content little guy. I know he's smart, and I know people have been able to paper train their dogs. The people we got Bear from have a really tiny chihuahua, and they live part of the year on a houseboat. They've had their dog since she was a puppy and were easily able to train her that there was a safe place for her to potty when they're on the boat. I think it must be easier if you're teaching a puppy (who has no hidden issues from a possibly abusive past)

    I know there are many opinions out there about paper training. Some people are totally against it, but some people just rave about it being the answer for them. I really need advice from people who are not anti-paper. Of course, I want to do what's best for my dog. We love him! We want him to enjoy the outdoors when it's safe and not rainy and messy (and we do live in an area that gets a lot of rain). Also, we don't have a fence around our yard, and we often have coyotes around our house. This dog is about seven pounds, and I've even had hawks circle overhead when we've been outdoors with him. But don't get me wrong: we will continue to take him outside with us on a leash. I just want to be sure I'm not missing anything.

    I hope I don't sound defensive. As I read back through this post, I feel on the defense a bit. When you suggest taking him back to the "potty" place and saying, "potty," I feel misunderstood. We are doing much of what you suggest:
    "take him to where you want him to potty. Tell him 'potty' (or your choice of commands-one that won't confuse him). Wait until he goes. Praise him. Let him out to play, train, socialize, eat and drink. Take him back to the 'bathroom' every hour at least, until you know how long it takes for his food and water to go through his system."

    We can't take him back every hour because he wants to hold it for several hours. Do we just leave him in there until he goes? No matter how long? That's my main question.
    Thanks for all your help. I really do appreciate it, and would especially love to hear from anyone who has rescued a dog and paper trained him.
    Cat1864's Avatar
    Cat1864 Posts: 8,007, Reputation: 3687
    Marriage Expert

    Feb 3, 2010, 02:08 PM
    I am sorry there was a misunderstanding. Your original post made it sound like this was where he was expected to use the bathroom all the time.

    I quite understand wanting to keep the little guy safe. Small dogs are very vulnerable outside.

    Since, you are wanting this to be a life-long habit, you might think about looking into the real/artificial grass mat in a trays for indoor training. You could probably find plans to make one (if you are better at do-it-yourself, than I am. :) ). Papers might be confusing to him since you are also taking him outside.

    Your friends' dog probably adjusts to the papers because she is using them in an area where that is all she has known.

    There are also various products that can reduce problems by repelling him from an object or area and to help eliminate his scent from where he has had an accident. There are also aids to make the paper more attractive.

    The best way to train or retrain any animal is consistency and patience.

    Good luck. He sounds like he is a great addition to your family.
    bearzawadi's Avatar
    bearzawadi Posts: 5, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Feb 3, 2010, 02:30 PM
    I know it takes a lot of data gathering to assess my situation. You're right. My first post did sound like we were only letting him use the paper and never taking him outside. I thank you for your gracious response.

    I've thought about those grass patches. We have a screened in porch, and since the little fellow can hold it for so long, I've thought about putting the grass patch out there for him, and just helping to reinforce the "outside is the best place" attitude he seems to already have. I guess he'll be OK on those days when we're gone for a long time, or I could just continue to block him off in the laundry area with a paper pad while we're gone. One problem, though, when I do let him on the back porch, he marks EVERYTHING - the grill, the rocking chair, the kids rubber boots, etc... But he clearly prefers to do his "big job" out there, and does it pretty faithfully on a pad I put there for that purpose.

    I do wish someone would help me out with my this question:
    How long is appropriate to leave him in the potty area (our laundy room). Last night he was there for about six hours (we were away from home). When we got home, we let him out, played with him, gave him food and drink, let him run around the house a little. Then I tried to put him back in the laundry just to get him to "go." When he didn't, I let him out again briefly, and when I turned my head for about 30 seconds, he had tinkled on the corner or my bedskirt. :(

    So I could have taken him outside before he did that, but I knew he needed to go and wanted to give him the opportunity to go in the right place inside so that I could praise him. Instead, I (regretfully) exclaimed out in panic and picked him up and took him to his pad. The poor dear immediately went into his depression mode. So I just spent some time holding him and comforting him until he perked up (after I'd given him about 15 minutes of privacy, hoping he'd finish the job, which he didn't).

    Am I doing him a disservice by making him stay in that cordoned off area for these long periods? Sometimes, he will do his business so beautifully. He'll even be free to roam the open areas of the house (aka.wood floor areas), and I'll happen by the laundry room and see a fresh urine spot there, meaning he went there and relieved himself ALL by himself. Does that ever make us proud! Then he'll suddenly start marking every upright object in sight. I am using the enzyme stuff, though there's an area in my bedroom that's carpetted and I don't know if I'm getting it deep enough because he keeps revisiting it. I'm just keeping my door closed for now, so he can't go in there without an adult set of eyes.
    JudyKayTee's Avatar
    JudyKayTee Posts: 46,503, Reputation: 4600
    Uber Member

    Feb 3, 2010, 02:54 PM

    I did paper train one dog - a large breed when he was a puppy because of the winter weather. I was eternally sorry I did that because every time he saw a piece of paper on the floor until the day he died "that look" came over his face.

    I also had a neutered yellow Lab, great dog - but if I didn't stay vigilant he would mark furniture if someone unfamiliar came to visit my home.

    I have always allowed my dogs to roam free (the last two had crates inside a pen at night, indoors) but you really have to be vigilant.

    With my dogs - and, as I said, they have been rescues - I just never get overly excited or overly upset about anything they do. Nothing is a big deal, I don't reward with food and they do what I think they should do.

    I think you have to give this little fellow a chance to feel loved and secure.

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