Older dog and housetraining

Posted by drevilla
Oct 15, 2007
I adopted a 10 year old Shih Tzu with fear aggression issued from a shelter about 8 weeks ago. He has made HUGE strides as far as his aggression and has been doing very well. The only problem I am having is his potty training.

I don't believe he was every housetrained before and the foster home he was in had a lot of dogs with issues so he was allowed to go in the house though whether he did or not is unknown.

I have tried the methods in SSF with some success. I have incorporated crate training to prevent his accidents. He is kept in his crate at night while we are asleep and now during the day while we are at work. This puts him in his crate for nearly 8 - 9 hours at a time. He doesn't seem to mind which is good, in fact most days he doesn't want to come out or if he does, he will go outside to go potty (I take him via leash outside) and when he comes back in he goes right to his crate without being told... I leave his crate door open when we are home but sometimes he does not come back out.

He is still friendly and affectionate so I don't think he thinks he is being punished while he is in his crate but I would like to allow him to run around with the cats during the day while we are at work.

The crate training is working great... He does not and will not go in his crate and he is not in a huge hurry to go outside and go potty when we get home and let him out so I don't think it is causing any damage etc...

Should I just continue with the crate training?
Posted by eyeluvdogs
Oct 17, 2007
It sounds as though your dog really sees the crate as his safe haven. He is spending quite a lot of time in there, though as you mentioned, he does not seem to mind. Is he getting any exercise once you come home from work? Maybe you could take him for a walk around the block so that he is getting some fresh air and so that he is also being exposed to the outside world.

It's great that your dog knows not to relieve himself in his crate. I wonder if he also knows that going anywhere else inside is a no-no? You could try testing this, or reinforcing it by preventing him from going straight back to his crate once you have arrived home from work. If possible, encourage him to stay out and play with you for the evening. After a couple of hours, try taking him outside to go potty. You could also try introducing a command so that he eliminates on cue. To do this, you will just need to start repeating a word or phrase everytime you see him relieve himself, and eventually this phrase will become a command. I use "Be Quick" with my dogs.

it sound as though you are making good progress with your dog, which is great to hear. Keep up the excellent work!
Posted by drevilla
Oct 18, 2007
I take him out every morning when I get up and every evening when I get home... I have started taking him out to go potty right before I go to bed, even if I have to coax him out of the crate. I'd like to walk more with him but he is a smaller dog and a full block at a brisk pace is about all he can do... he is dragging by the time we hit the last corner... Some days when he's up to it he can almost do 2 blocks but its rare.

Every time he goes to the bathroom I repeat "go potty" while he is doing it then do the high pitched 'good dog' and pet him and stuff... I'm not sure how good his hearing is though... sometimes he doesn't hear all that well.

I contacted the woman who was fostering him for a year and she admitted that she was NOT good about training the dogs... she was fostering quite a few dogs with issues so she just put papers down in the house and cleaned-up when she got home...

Guess I'll just keep working with him on it.
Posted by drevilla
Oct 31, 2007
OK... so the Shih Tzu is not getting it... Monday morning... I took him out for his walk... he went to the bathroom we came back in... I forgot to put the gate up so he couldn't go upstairs... I went to the basement briefly to clean the kitty litter, when I came back up... the dog was upstairs and he went pee on the carpeted landing of the stairs...

And then last night, we came in from our evening walk... he layed on his pillow in the living room for a few minutes... then he got up, walked over to the office (ajoining room) and lifted his leg next to my husbands work bag...

What is with this??? He just doesn't seem to get it and now I'm not sure if he's doing these things out of spite or as an act of dominance toward my husband???