My two-year-old Golden Doodle is reluctant to go in the backyard to do her business. I coax her to do so but she seems afraid to venture out unless I stay with her. Also even though she gets taken out twice a day to our dog park, she still doesn’t always indicate (bark or make other noises) that she has to go out when she needs to do more of her business. If I am not around to notice, she does it on the rug in the front parlor. I suspect it’s because the room is seldom occupied.
Thanks for your email to DogTipper…I feel your pain! We adopted Barli (now eight months old) in March, and, for the first two months, he wanted to pee in the bedroom while we were in the living room! I didn’t want to crate train him (since he’d just spent three months kenneled at a shelter) so we had to go slow and steady through the housetraining–but it has been a success.
If you’ve ruled out the possibility of a urinary tract infection or other health issue, I think your Goldendoodle might be having some of the same issues that Barli had when he first arrived at our home: he was a little afraid to go outside alone. I suspect because he didn’t have the freedom to go outside unattended at the shelter, he was worried about going out in our yard to potty.
Your dog might have had something scare her while she was outside pottying one day; many dogs go through a fear period even up to two years old when things that didn’t scare them previously can suddenly scare them.
Here are my suggestions:
- Just as if you were housetraining a new puppy, start over with your dog’s housetraining. Get on a strict schedule of taking her out first thing in the morning, about half an hour after every meal, about every hour (you can later wean that back), and right before bedtime. Don’t wait for her to tell you she needs to go but just go on schedule.
- When she goes to the backyard to potty, stay with her and praise, praise her when she does her business. (Be sure to let her finish pottying before praising.) Bring extra yummy treats (soft liver treats often do the trick) that she only gets after pottying. Praise her like she’s done the best thing ever!
- Some dogs might be a little shy about pottying at a dog park, if they’re a little fearful of other dogs. You might want to have her potty in the yard first.
- If you catch your dog pottying in the house, interrupt with a quick “uh-oh” or hand clap and rush her outside. When she potties outside, throw a party!
- Clean your rug with an enzyme cleaner so that she won’t return to the scene of the crime! It might already smell perfectly clean to you but her super nose might still detect that she’s peed there.
- If you can, restrict your dog with a baby gate so she can’t return to the front parlor except when supervised. Until our puppy’s housetraining was completed, we wound up closing off Barli in the (rugless) living room when he was unsupervised so he wouldn’t go to our bedroom and potty. It took about two months before we could trust him to let us know he wanted to go outside.
Housetraining isn’t always a “one and done” type of event. Dogs sometimes need a refresher course in housetraining after a change–a new dog in the house, a move, an illness, or perhaps a scare. I think you’ll find the refresher course in training will go faster than her initial housetraining, however. I hope this helps!! Paris