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Not an exact duplicate because of my puppy's background.

So, I have an almost one year old puppy, some sort of Chihuahua+Terrier mix (8 lbs). I adopted her when she was 8 months old, and was advised that she had been moved from pound to pound (as an ambassador for events and such) for 5 months, meaning by the time she was 8 months old she'd been living in a shelter for most of her life. Nothing is known about her life before the shelter, so it's entirely possible that by the time she came into my life there had been no attempt at house-breaking her whatsoever.

So, now I have a one year old puppy whom I've been trying to house train for 4 months with little to no effect. She won't go to the bathroom in her crate (that's where I feed her), so that's a plus, but she seems to prefer to go in the house than to go outside. I'll wake up or get home and immediately take her from her crate to outside, where she'll pee and poop if I'm lucky. Typically she'll just run around until I have to bring her back in, at which point she'll immediately run off and poop in the corner. It might also be good to point out that she's on restricted water (only while eating or after exerting herself), but she still manages to pee... a lot.

She knows that she shouldn't be doing it, because she'll never do it if she knows I can see her and when I do find it she cowers/hides (even though I've never been aggressive towards her or even yelled).

What can I do? What's the trick? I'm starting to worry she'll never be housebroken.

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When you take her outside, take her on a leash and bring treats with you. If she goes, give her treats and lots of praise. Only then can you let her run and play after she successfully goes. If she does not go within a few minutes, take her back inside and put her back in the crate for about 15 minutes. Then go back outside and try again.

Also, remember that a dog does not always eliminate everything at once. Are you taking her for walks? If you take a walk for at least 15 minutes or so, she will have more opportunities to go outside. Always praise her lavishly and give her treats.

It sounds like you need more supervision inside for a while too. You need to watch her constantly when she is not in her crate. It might help to attach her to your belt with a leash while inside. You need to catch her in the act inside, ideally before she actually starts to go, and immediately get her outside.

Housetraining is possible at any age, but gets to be more difficult when a dog has formed habits of going inside. You need to be very vigilant until good patterns and habits are in place. Finally, make sure you are cleaning up any accidents with a good enzymatic cleaner (I use Nature's Miracle) so that there is no trace of odor left.

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  • Thanks for the advice :) I started her with walks initially but she just treated it as play time, so now I'm trying out having a designated spot to go. I also really like the leash to the belt idea, even if it will drive her nuts. – Oso Feb 3 '16 at 20:50
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    Glad to hear she is housebroken now ;-) – jalynn2 Feb 8 '16 at 18:13

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