house training four-year-old puppy-mill rescue

Posted by Sheafe
Apr 17, 2009
Liberty, a 4 yr old Cairn female, was a rescue from a puppy mill.
Had no behavior training until she spent 2 mo in a foster environment
with other rescued Cairns, before flying to us in a crate from upstate MI. She's been with us for almost five months."We" are a retired couple without other pets.

"Libby" was frightened of her shadow, but soon assimilated, and is a
wonderful companion except for the house-training problem.

Housed (and confined to) kitchen, she is regularly walked outdoors for elimination

However, given the chance to run around indoors...... which she does with
great exhuberance..... she sometimes stops and Pees on the carpet,
and has also (rarely) defecated there as well.

No matter the attempts to have her "warn" us when she needs to
void, she continues to Pee on the carpet... which she doesn't consider
to be "off-base." (She also occasionally uses the small 2'x3' throw
rugs in the kitchen.)

Question: How do we train Libby to know OUTSIDE is the place
for her to Pee/Poop? We think by five months she should have
"caught on."

( We have a small, enclosed, "designated" area that worked fine
for our last, now deceased, dog)

Your learned suggestions are appreciated.
Posted by Sparky
Apr 25, 2009

Training your Carin female will take time and plenty of patience. The one thing that you can not forget is she was from a puppy mill. In these mills the animals are kept in small cages and don't usually get any exercise or bathroom breaks. Your poor dog is used to peeing and pooping in a very small confined area, mainly in her cage. So she was never taught respect, nor had limitations or boundaries- let's just face the fact that she was never taught anything, the poor soul.

So her relieving herself in your house isn't about confidence or dominance, it is nothing big to her. I would suggest that you keep your eye on her whenever she is out of confinement. If you see her squating to pee, quickly pick her up and take her outside. Dogs aren't able to finish peeing when they are abruptly picked off the floor. Then take her outside and make sure she finishes her job. Also dogs provide some kind of sign that they have to poop. I would suggest watching her in order to pick up those signs, however subtle they are. Although this reply sounds like you have to follow this dog around whenever she is out of the kitchen, it shouldn't take her long to figure out that the bathroom is outside.

Another thing you could do that would help is when she goes to the bathroom outside, give her a treat and make a big deal out of it. But if she is caught going in the house, remove her, take her outside to let her finish and when she is done, give a small bit of praise, but no treat. It may take a bit, but I have confidence that she will figure out that if she goes outside, she gets TREATS! After she catches on, you can start weening her off the treats, but it will take time. I would also advise you to keep calm when she is caught doing potty in the house, this is all new to the poor little thing. She didn't have the best start in life and probably hasn't had any training for the first 4 years of her life. So patience is the goal, and she isn't trying to wear you down, she just doesn't know any better.

I will say you are quite a person to rescue a dog from a place like that. Most adult dogs that come from puppy mills are put down because they are thought to be undesirable. I give you all my praise and thank you for taking her out of that situation. I hope I helped even a little, but more imporantly I hope she appreciates the type of person you are.

One more bit of information for you. I have owned 2 male carins in my lifetime and I have to say that they are quite stubborn. They usually have a mind of their own. A breeder once told me that if I thought males were stubborn, the females are even worse. In my experience in training these dogs I have had to be very assertive. Training carins takes ALOT of patience and you won't be able to give up to easily, they figure things out and will take advantage of it. Getting angry or upset won't help, you might find that you need to walk away for a little bit....I know I had to a couple of times because they started to make me angry...but when I calmed down we got started right where we left off and by golly, both of my carins were able to be trained. In fact so was I, they trained me to keep my patience and showed me that walking away sometimes, does help.

I wish you all the best,