Housebreaking ex-kennel dog
Six weeks ago we brought home an 8-month-old female Boxer, Lacey, who was raised by breeders and handlers in kennels and taught only commands for the show ring. Like a young pup, she pooped and peed right in front of us in the house. Right away we started training her to go outside and do her potty in our small backyard. We allowed her to defecate wherever she pleased out there, intending to later train her to confine her deposits to the designated dog potty area at the side of the house.
After about 4 weeks, the number of indoor accidents had decreased to about 3 per week, mostly #1. At that point, we started training Lacey to use the designated dog potty area, around the corner from the back door.
She is no longer going in the ivy or the weeds, but she's going on the concrete that leads to the potty area. And she's peeing in the house 2-3 times a day. We'll stand patiently for minutes with Lacey in the potty area, or she'll be outside on her own, and she won't do her duty -- then five minutes later she'll let loose a full bladder in the house.
Our guess at this point is that Lacey simply doesn't like the potty area. It is gravelled and hot, and most of her peeing in the house is done during the warm to hot daylight hours. She liked squatting in the area of the yard that was hacked down weeds and topsoil, in the ivy patch, and she pees inside either on the cool linoleum floor or on the Persian rug.
We never had trouble training pups to use the potty area exclusively and they learned to "go potty" on command. We once brought home another Boxer as an adult, and he was extremely reluctant to use the potty area until "peer pressure" from the example of the other dogs, and the promise of treats, convinced him to start going there. However, these inducements haven't worked with Lacey -- she just gets preoccupied with the treat in my pocket and forgets about doing her duty.
She's very smart, she seems to understand we don't want her using the other parts of the yard, and I believe she must understand we also don't want her going in the house. There is no physical problem or bladder infection. Our only theory at the moment is that Lacey just really hates the hot, gravelly potty area.
We're going to try to make the potty area more attractive to our girl by putting straw, wood shavings, or some other natural material over the gravel, and perhaps putting up an awning for some shade or maybe a mister.
Has anyone else had experience potty training a formerly kennelled dog? Any suggestions?
Leslie, AKA Lacey's Mom and the Potty Policewoman
Rob & Leslie