So I generally do not go to bed until 11 or 12 so I will take Pearl out before I go to bed. She usually pees almost immediately, but I never can get her to poop. The first night home with us I didn't get her to and she had an accident. Last night I walked around our house and up and down the street with no success. This of course led me to sleeping super light and getting up to see what she was doing every time she moved. Fortunately she didnt have an accident last night. She can usually tell us when she has to potty by coming up to us and putting her paw on us. If we don't understand right away she will start whining. So far she hasn't done either of these at night as far as I know. She has never been crate trained and always allowed to run the house at her previous home, so I struggle with the thought of crating her. So I ask everyone here if anyone has any tips or suggestions? I'm going to try taking her out an hour before I go to bed tonight so that if she doesn't go then I can wait and try again.
I've taught my Puff a number of things but among the ones I'm most pleased with is to pee and potty more -- or less -- on command. [The "more or less" refers to how quickly she responds, not the quantity ]
It was a fairly unintentional but propitious happenstance: When Puff was a puppy during her house training, I taught her to use a tray for pee-peeing and going potty. I used the commands, "Puff pee-pee!" or "Puff potty!" whenever I saw her about to assume the relevant, appropriate position-- squatting with tail somewhat elevated (to pee) or back arched and tail more horizontal (to potty). We easily transferred that to the outside and it's been a blessing -- especially when it's below zero and windy or when it's stormy and raining, or when I want to get back inside soon.
But you can easily accomplish the same thing.
Go on online and look up how to form "Conditioned Responses" (AKA "Conditioned Reflexes).
As the graduate student lab instructor for a comparative psychology & other courses, I taught many of my fellow graduate students how to use these principles with hooded rats, hamsters, & guinea pigs.
Peeing for dogs is quite volitional. They easily and frequently leave pee-mail messages for their cohorts. So it's under excellent control. Pooping is not as volitional-- it depends on the material moving from the small intestine to the colon and ready to be evacuated so that's a slightly different matter.
BUT the procedure for establishing a conditioned reflex is the same.
"Conditioned" means "learned." So a conditioned response or reflex (CR) could as accurately be called a "response to a learned trigger or stimulus" while the Conditioned Stimulus (CS) similarly could be called "a stimulus (or cue) which had no previous effect but, with training, now produces the response."
CRs are established when a stimulus (sound, light, voice command, etc.) just precedes a response or reflex. (Read online about Pavlov and the history of "classical conditioning" for more info.) [FWIW, "conditioning" in psychology decades ago meant any kind of "learning" -- "classical conditioning" (developed by Pavlov) is one form of learning as distinguished from others such as "operant conditoning" (developed by Skinner)]. An example of classical conditioning (at least for me) is that when my bladder is nearly full, the sounds of water flowing makes me want to empty it soon. Another example is that at night, whenever Puff hears me pass gas, she immediately jumps off our bed anticipating a fragrance she'll find totally undesirable.
So, presuming you've now read enough about the principles of Classical Conditioning, you DO understand the very critical time relationship for the Conditioned Stimulus to provoke the Conditioned Response?
AND, the importance of repetition (practice)?
If so, I suggest you carefully note the times of day WHEN your dog regularly wants to pee and potty.
My Puff had certain times when she was a pup which then morphed to other times when she was a young adult and then to several other times as she's aged. I strongly recommend you work within whatever time frame is natural for your dog.
Whenever your dog squats to urinate (female) or begins to lift a leg (male) -- which will be relatively frequent if other dogs have left pee-mail messages in your area -- look for the beginning of that posture and begin your "mantra". Mine is "Puff, pee-pee!" Since peeing for dogs is VERY volitional, this -- AFTER ENOUGH TRAINING -- will take place almost instantly.
Also, whenever your dog begins to arch it's back and assume its posture to begin defecating (almost always an enlargement of the anal sphincter will be obvious), begin a similar "mantra" -- mine is "Puff, potty!"
I STRONGLY RECOMMEND that you do this on every outing (3X/day?) for at least THREE weeks before trying to produce the CR. And then, ONLY during your dog's preferred elimination times.
My 12 year experience with Puff is that she usually will squat and pee immediately whenever I give her that command.
But defecating requires that the digested food in her small intestine be moved by/through peristalsis into her colon and then, from there, past her anal sphincter.
It seems to me that reciting our mantra: "Puff, potty!" does hasten considerably the movement of that food towards its ultimate release. When I'm in tune with her natural times, we function very collaboratively together. It makes evening walks in zero temperatures a matter of a few minutes rather than more -- or time away from a desired TV program just a brief interruption--hopefully scheduled during a commercial. Occasionally, I'm sporadically going, "Puff, potty! Puff, Potty!!" hoping to hasten her fecal material to its desired end.
Hope this helps.
BUT do NOT go just by my above description. You DO need to understand more about the principles of Classical Conditioning so read about it and understand it. There are MANY sources for such information.
Last edited by Bob Pr.; 04-30-2013 at 09:28 PM. Reason: correct a typo error; expand, hopefully clarify the explanation
Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]
Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":