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Old 05-26-2012, 06:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default House-training Rescued Dog; Discouraged

We adopted a 1-1/2 year old Beagle from the County Humane Society three weeks ago. Gracie was one of several beagles that was rescued from an out-of-state puppy mill. We know she had a litter while in captivity. She socializes well with us and our old Yellow Lab. She doesn't know any basic commands, but my wife will be taking her to obedience school starting shortly.

In the meantime, we're not getting anywhere with the house training. We've been rewarding her immediately after she does something outside, associating "pottie" with "treat", but it's not registering with her. She still doesn't signal or give any sign that she needs to go out. Most of the accidents in the house have been poop. We walk her in the morning and give her a couple of chances (before and after breakfast) but often she just lays in the grass or bays to come in. We stand outside and keep saying, "Go pottie, Gracie". As a result, sometimes when we get home in the afternoon, she's pooped and/or peed in her crate.

Is it possible that the habits she developed in the puppy mill are too engrained to overcome? Or is just too soon for us to see any change? Thanks everyone.
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Old 05-26-2012, 08:34 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I have lived thru your story many times with my rescues. I was actually in tears sometimes trying to get Molly to "get it". Molly would be outside forever with me trying to get her to go, and she would come inside and pp in her crate or have an accident in the house. I think that it really takes time and patience. Gracie was first caged in a puppy mill and probably was not let out of her cage to relieve herself. Then she was at the shelters and now at your house. I don't have magic answers but I do know that she can change and learn. Molly is amazing now about going outside and not having accidents. Once Gracie gets into a pack order in your house, she might start to follow the lead of your Lab. Her training classes will help her also.
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Old 05-27-2012, 08:56 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Mollys Mom is absolutely right. It takes time, and patience. Three weeks is really not enough time for her to learn - she is still learning to trust you and to adjust to such a radical change in her situation.

There are some 'cues' that you can watch for: sniffing around a small area, suddenly getting up/leaving an interaction to sniff. You may want to look at her 'button' (anus) - often the pressure of poop will change its appearance - it may look swollen or stretched.

Take her outside to potty on a leash. Take her to the area that you want her to do her business in, and plant yours elf - don't move. Watch her behavior - she should sniff around, and when she cannot go further, she will go - eventually. Outside is so stimulating - even scary to a dog that has not been allowed to leave a cage or small area. Unless you limit her to a very small area, she will be too distracted to do her business.

Good luck - it takes time, but is worth every second!
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Old 05-27-2012, 07:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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We ended up getting a doggy door for our rescue beagle and it has been a lifesaver. Zero accidents since we got it! Just a suggestion. He won't go in his crate though, so not sure it's much help in that area.
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Old 05-27-2012, 10:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Have you tried standing outside with her on the leash and giving your command? Jackson, who we are trial adopting, sometimes responds better to that. You need to give the command, and then wait until she goes. Letting her not go and leaving for the day just sets her up for failure. Sometimes, you might need to wait for 20+ minutes for her to finally go. Keep it up! She will be so worth it!!
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Old 05-29-2012, 09:55 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Try taking for a long walk after a good potty break.
Set her up for good behavior. Ignore and clean accidents.

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Old 05-30-2012, 10:44 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks everyone. We've had some success since I posted my message. The last three days, she's done her business outside. We're hoping this means that she understands what "go potty" means and associating it with getting a treat. But she's doing this when we take her outside, not because she's signalling us to go out... that's still not happening. Something interesting is that she never pees in her crate overnight unless we put a towel in it for her to lay on. She scratches the bottom, trying to make a nest, so we gave her a towel and she loves laying on it... but always pees on it, so we stopped doing that. I think that's a behavior from the mill!
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Old 05-31-2012, 12:26 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Even if she's not letting you know she needs to go out, that's progress, and she'll catch on in no time! One great suggestion I've read is to put a bell where she can reach it and ring that every time you go outside - then she'll learn to ring the bell when she needs to go out. I haven't tried this yet (because I can't find a bell) but with the way beagles (and dogs in general) catch on so quick, it shouldn't take long!

For the peeing in her crate with a towel: Is it a lot of pee or just a little dribble? If it's just a little, she may be marking to identify the "den" as hers. I haven't seen this but was reading a dog trainer's diary online, a fastidiously clean person who kept replacing the bedding until she realized what her dog was doing with a dribble of urine. Once she stopped whipping the "soiled" blanket out, the dog was happy with just that little bit of marking.
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Old 06-01-2012, 09:03 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Very good, Mrs. Archer! Yes, it was just a little pee. She sleeps fine without a towel in her crate, so we're going to stop using one.

It seems to be getting better each day. This afternoon, she managed to poop in the basement when we weren't watching her. But a few hours later when I put dinner in her bowl, she refused to eat and kept looking at the door. So, we went outside and she pooped some more. It's progress!
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Old 06-02-2012, 08:32 AM   #10 (permalink)
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So glad to hear you are having some progress. When we rescued our beagle about the same age as yours, although he didn't come from a puppy mill we had to start a schedule with him. We'd try as close as possible to take him out at the same times everyday. We selected a specific section of the yard for him to go "pottie" and would take him out on a leash at first. I know from house training 3 puppies in the past that you need to just stay positive and give it time. It can be frustrating but given the circumstances that they come from before I think we can all understand that it will take some time. Never give up, keep reinforcing and praising and she'll have success. Sometimes it just takes them to understand they are finally in their loving forever home for it all to start to click. Good Luck!
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