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Housetraining a Rescue Dog

I am trying to crate train a rescue dog who is fine about going in the crate and never soils it in any way. I feed him in the crate and then take him out about 45 minutes later. As I have to keep him on a long leash he will pee, but will not do the business whilst on the leash. If I let him off he manages to escape into neighbors gardens as he has burrowed holes in hedging which I am trying to cover but he keeps getting through.


After 20 minutes I take him in and he then does it in the house. How can I make him understand that he should never do it in the house rather than not just to not do it in his cage. He seems to open his bowels several times a day whilst I thought if you feed twice a day, they go twice a day as a kind of reflex.

My daughter is looking after him and she has a young pup which she lets free around the house and he is a nightmare. She is reluctant to use a cage I bought her but I can't force her to. The older dog is not encouraged by the habits of the young pup. He was staying with me before but because he is too boisterous my daughter has him, but he has never been housetrained to the extent that he knows not to do it at home. It was more through vigilance than training that he didn't do it at my home, any help would be appreciated.

Margaret from Swansea S. Wales

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By guest (Guest Post)
September 26, 20060 found this helpful

Hi, I would try walking him. I know it is a pain for a while, but that may be the only way to get his bowels moving when you want to. He may not realize that outside is for potty. Or take him out, bring him in, set the timer for 10 or 15 min and take him out again. If he don't go, put him right back in the crate when you get back in and keep doing the timer thing. I know it is a pain, but you never know what the rescue dogs have been through and it is wonderful you chose to give him a second chance.

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By guest (Guest Post)
August 28, 20080 found this helpful

It doesn't matter that your dog was a rescue or not when it comes to training. Dogs don't wallow in self-pity. They live in the moment. It does NOT make training any more or less difficult than if you got a dog any other way.


You MUST take your dog for walks and give him more exercise than he's getting. Dogs need at least 2 - 1/2 hour long walks a day (am and pm preferably) PLUS a few short "pee" walks for good health and behavior.

There are NO breeds or sizes that need less activity. You can NOT train them to behave with less.

Letting your dog into your yard does NOT exercise them. The size of your yard doesn't matter. If you aren't healthy or refuse to get the exercise you need together with your dog' take the dog to a dog park and let him run there. As you say your dog is too "boisterous", you already know your dog is not receiving sufficient exercise.

One of my dogs requires a certain amount of walking to poop. He's 11 yrs old now and his habits have not changed. An extremely intelligent Doberman. If he doesn't get his long morning walk' he will poop twice in the house and it isn't small. When he gets his proper walks, you couldn't make him have an accident no matter how you tried.


Someone who didn't know this about my dog would believe he was "untrained" and describe him as you describe your dog if they failed to give him the exercise he needs. The good thing is that the dogs who need physical movement to poop tend to operate like clockwork. My boy needs between 1/4 and 1/2 mile (we go about 2 miles in the am) and he goes completely. On routine paths' I know where he will go before we arrive and it's hardly ever is off by more than a few feet.

Do this and he has zero accidents of any kind. Fail to take him even if it's horrible weather and it's a mess. I can't make him understand away his physical need to move even though HE hates bad weather more than any of my dogs. Your dog isn't being stubborn and it's not that the dog likes to poop in the house. He simply needs a certain amount of physical movement in order to "get things moving". You can't make him understand or "vigillant" away his physical needs.


Just take the dog for a long walk about an hour of after eating and give simple praise when he does his business. (Go sooner if his system moves that quickly.) Give a simple "Good Boy", pick it up and move on. The dog needs to have a relaxed atmosphere in order to function as I'm sure you can well understand. You won't need to focus on watching the dog, crating, timing his movement and other stressful things. It REALLY WORKS that easily. Your dog may need to poop twice in walk so don't rush home as soon as he poops once. Hey, we all have our quirks. :)

It may take a trip or two to get his routine down but it really takes all of 2-3 days at most if your dog has very quirky habits. Most are miraculously "trained" on the first walk. You just have to maintain the routine. Constant pressure to poop only at certain times without the physical movement he needs will NEVER work. It will only frustrate you both.


No matter how busy you think you are, you will come to love am and pm dog walks. Your dog will be much calmer and better behaved. In turn, you will be more relaxed and in a better mood/feeling better as well. You will really enjoy being with him and you will enjoy the companionship of other dog owners and neighbors as you get out more. The difference is amazing.

The meal timing and walks must be very routine. My dogs get some biscuits in the morning but not a full meal. Unless your dog has some health issues, 2 full meals probably isn't necessary as long as they get their snacks. If the 2 meals works well with his long walks, by all means continue.

I give the primary feeding right after their walk when i come home from work' before the long pm walk/run. Of course they get some treats at various times in the day but they're generally small.

If that's all that's a problem with your dog, you got a GEM! Sounds like he could be trained for tricks with great ease. The fact that the dog doesn't want to poop in his own yard tells you that he DOES get the concept of cleanliness and not pooping in his "den". The only reason he goes inside is because he couldn't poop earlier without the movement he needed and once he got the movement' he simply had to go!

With the tiniest amount of effort on your part, he will be a wonderful companion that you will not want to part with for any reason.

Don't worry about crating him. Doesn't sound like he requires that kind of training tool. I use old comforters for my dog beds as I like to be able to wash them once a week and that might be a good way for you to go.

I hope you give this a try. Please post to let me know if it has helped. Good luck!

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May 11, 20100 found this helpful

Keep him on a regular feeding schedule and make a note of what times he goes to the bathroom, and take him to the place that you want him to use as his 'toilet' outdoors. After they get used to going in the same place, they will go there on their own. It's all a matter of knowing when to take him outside in the beginning. Consistency is important. I always potty train my dogs this way from puppyhood, and it never fails for me.

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