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 Dog Behavior Library
Elimination Training For Resistant Dogs
1) Neuter the dog if not already done, and double check all medical tests have been done.
2) Increase confinement. Don't allow ANY time alone where an accident might happen. This might mean confinement during the day in a small room, or purchasing an "exercise pen" from the pet store. These "x-pens" create a space about 6x6 feet. They fold up, and are useful for traveling and confining the dog, and can even be recycled later into preventing access to parts of the house or garden.
3) Crate train the dog. (See separate instructions.) If the pet eliminates in the crate, change the environment to a small room or x-pen. In a small room, cover the floor with papers. Don't let the dog see you clean up the mess (move to another small room or tether out of sight.) Gradually reduce the size of the papered area, and give big praise for outdoor elimination.
4) Don't physically punish mistakes, even if caught in the act. Verbally scolding incorrect elimination in the act is fine, but the concern is that the dog may misunderstand, and only learn not to eliminate when you are watching. This actually makes correct training more difficult, since when you take the dog outside on a leash, he or she may be inhibited because you are present.
5) Take the dog out even more frequently. The entire goal of this process is to catch the dog doing it right and praise and food reward correct elimination. Be sure to take food treats with you when you go out with the dog.
Be sure to feed meals and not leave any food down between meals during housetraining.
6) Increase the exercise before elimination. Exercise acts to stimulate elimination, so get up earlier in the am (just until the training is completed). Take the dog for a LONG walk, up to 1 hour or longer. Keep going until elimination happens. Do quiet praising during the act, then big praise and food treats afterward. Be careful that the dog doesn't get the idea that eliminating means the walk is over, or they may hold it just to get a longer walk.
7) Feed different diets depending on the goal. If you want the dog to be able to hold the feces longer, give a low residue food like Rx Diet I/D. This is most appropriate for the working week. On weekends where you have time to work on elimination training, feed a high fiber food intended to increase stool, like Rx Diet R/D. The idea is to force the dog to defecate while out on one of the frequent walks during the weekend.
8) If the pet urinates during the night, pick the water up at least 1 hour before bedtime. Give an opportunity to urinate at the correct toilet area just before bed. In the morning, take the dog straight outdoors on walk or to the toilet area without a greeting. After the correct elimination, then give the greeting. Withhold all praise and attention to reward correct elimination.
9) In severe cases, you may try a stool softener 2 hours before going for a walk. This may help or it may make it more difficult for the dog. Only used in select cases, and if the problem worsens, remove immediately.

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