Need help housebreaking a rescue...
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Thread: Need help housebreaking a rescue...

  1. #1
    Allan is offline Member
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    DefaultNeed help housebreaking a rescue...

    Hi everyone,

    You may not recall me, but I used to visit this forum for advice when our lab (Yoyo) was a puppy (she is now 2 1/2). Well, Yoyo has turned out marvelously - she is the happiest, friendliest dog around and gets along great with our two cats and 17 month old daughter (who affectionally calls her "Wow-Wow"). Anyway, we decided to get another dog and went the rescue route. Meet Ozzy, a 2 year old lab/husky mix. Ozzy was clearly someone's pet in the past - he is as gentle as can be with our daughter, cats and us. He knows some commands (sit, come, etc). However, we are having two issues for which I was hoping someone here could help. (We have never rescued a dog before).

    First, Ozzy is not fully house broken. He still has accidents in the house. I would like to start crating him (which is how we trained Yoyo when she was a pup) but Ozzy is terrified of the crate. I have thrown treats in it, tried to feed him in it, etc, but to no avail. He will stick his head in to eat the food, but he will NOT enter it. Any advice on housebreaking or getting Ozzy to use the crate? Also, Yoyo tends to go to the bathroom immediately after meals. Ozzy does not. Is there any way to alter his schedule? (My concern is that I go to work after they eat and I can't wait a few hours for Ozzy to go... His walker doesn't come until 3 or so hours later, which is likely too long for him to wait).

    Second, Ozzy tends to play really rough with Yoyo. Yoyo never really liked rough play (at dog runs, she tends to only play with calmer dogs). How do I know if Ozzy is bothering her or not? Her tail seems to wag when they play and she usually does not run away from him. Are there any signs to look for?

    In any event, any advice would be greatly appreciated. I would like to end this though by saying that Ozzy is a wonderful dog. He is so loving and just wants to be around us and to be loved. He and Yoyo have formed a mini-pack of two and stay together all day. They follow us around wherever they go! We just really want to help Ozzy become house broken so that he no longer has accidents.

    Here are two pics of the new guy!

    http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/a...enoff/ozzy.jpg

    http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/a...noff/Ozzy2.jpg

    Thanks so much,
    Allan

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  3. #2
    Dani's Avatar
    Dani is offline Senior Member
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    First, how long have you had him? If you've only had him a bit, he's probably trying to figure out your routine. Make him conform to yours. Physically put him in the crate and then treat him. I've had plenty of rescue not like the crate at first, but get used to it. It will be fine. You are in charge, not him. As for the rough play, let it go on for as long as you feel it's okay. If YoYo doesn't step in, then you should. He's again, testing boundries. Make sure you are having one on one time with YoYo and with Ozzy. And then time together. He'll settle in before long.
    Dani, Rider & Rookie
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  4. #3
    Allan is offline Member
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    Thanks Dani.

    We have only had Ozzy about a week and a half. So, I agree, he is just getting used to things.... Is it okay to physically "force" Ozzy into a crate? He is really scared of going in and I dont want him to hate the crate. Assuming I should "force" him in, how long should he remain initially?

    thanks!
    Allan

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  6. #4
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    maloneandme is offline Senior Member
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    Not much to say except Ozzy is cute! And good on you for helping him out. ... I have a feeling he'll do well with you!


  7. #5
    Tanya is offline Senior Member
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    I know they say never to "physically put" a dog in the crate but to be perfectly frank - I have done it to alot of my fosters. I try to be as gentle as possible and maybe just kinda walk myself into them to slowly push them in. Sometimes I get fosters at odd times and I HAVE to crate them and there is rarely time to do it right. I leave lots of food in the crate then leave. (I generally put their meal in the crate then leave).

    Something you can do is tie him to you when you are in the house to keep him near you.

    I agree with Dani, I find the more routine I can be the quicker fosters pick up and become comfortable. They watch Rocky quite abit too.
    Charlie (foster) and Rocky

  8. #6
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    brody is offline Senior Member
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    Practise at first for a short time with you present
    put him in the crate (if you were a clicker savy trainer I'd say shape him to enter the crate - it takes between 3-10 minutes usually depending on how strong the aversion is) treat him with something incredible and let him right out

    repeat

    repeat repeat

    close the door

    increase duration - making sure there is something fabulous in the crate only

    and then when you have to head out the door do so

    take it right back to puppyhood re housebreaking - he's not supervised? he's crated or tethered or otherwise confined

    thanaks for taking on a rescue!!
    http://andrea-agilityaddict.blogspot.com/

    “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” H. Keller

  9. #7
    swanny320 is offline Member
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    By no means am I an expert, but I wonder if it would help to have the crate in the living room with you while you watch tv and put him in it and just sit next to it, treating him and praising him, so that he can learn that the crate isn't so scary after all. I'd say forcing him in isn't such a bad thing as long as you don't just bolt and leave. I'd stay with him for 20-30 minutes, talking sweetly to him, giving him treats, etc....then let him out and praise him like he just cured cancer. He is a cute fella! Thank you for rescuing him. He sounds like a lucky pup!

  10. #8
    kaytris is offline Senior Member
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    altering the type of crate might also help - if you're using an airline style crate, try a wire one , or vice versa. Otherwise, do as brody suggests.. oh, and a little bit of competition may get things moving as well. Have your older dog on leash as you encourage rescue dog to enter the crate to get a cookie. If he refuses, let the older dog get the cookie.

  11. #9
    Allan is offline Member
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    Hi everyone. Quick update - Ozzy is still unwilling to enter the crate (it is the wire mesh kind and very large). I am putting his bowl in it, but he will stretch his head as far as he can to eat (without putting his paws in). If I push the bowl one inch further, he just won't eat. I still feel uncomfortable forcing him in. One other question - Yoyo barks to let us know that she has to go to the bathroom. Ozzy doesn't let us know. Sometimes he will sniff around, and I will immediately bring him out. I have no clue how Yoyo figured out how to bark. Is there a way to teach it????

  12. #10
    brody's Avatar
    brody is offline Senior Member
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    some dogs do figure it out - others don't - and you have to figure out their cue
    some people teach dogs to ring a bell etc but if you are having trouble teaching Ozzy a crate is a safe place that might be tricky for you

    I'd be shaping the crate not luring at this point - dog looks at crate -MARK - gets a LITTLE treat
    looks again - MARK again treat
    steps towards crate -MARK reward
    sticks nose in crate MARK reward
    and so on

    mark just means catch the great behaviour - YES or a click are the most common markers
    http://andrea-agilityaddict.blogspot.com/

    “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” H. Keller

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