Everything that has worked for me in the past is failing miserably. When I let her out, she knows to go but she's terrible at alerting me1 especially if I'm asleep; nor does she seem to have an desire to hold it while we're gone.
I rescued a Great Dane last summer
and I still have not been able to fully house break her. I'm not sure of her past, but she's generally a cautious, untrusting dog. In fact, it took about two weeks before she'd even let me casually let her in the back yard. She seems pretty happy and adjusted here, but has some hard, seemingly innocuous triggers.
I have house broken many dogs in the past
My typical method is to vigilantly keep an eye on them, catch them in the act, calmly tell them "no" while leading them into the back yard2, then wait for them to finish outside, and then praise them. This has never taken more than a few weeks; in the case of my pointer (which I still have) it only took one. The pointer has even helped me house break other dogs letting me know the other one needs out. Unfortunately, the second you touch her caller she kind of sprawls, start shaking, and when we first got her she would even pee herself.
She has been pretty difficult to teach anything. I haven't been able to teach her to sit. I'm guessing it's in part to her being 3.5 y/o and likely never worked with. I really want to keep her4, but she's wrecking my carpets. Worse, I have a small child and another one on the way and I'm getting to the point where I don't want them playing on the floor. We have made great strides with her socially, but almost none behaviorally.
What I've tried so far
- To mitigate messing up while I'm away, I:
- Pick up food/water bowls before leaving for work
- Take her out before bed and it's the last thing I do before I leave
- I lock her in our bedroom while we sleep
- Crate training
- She accepted the crate just fine, but is content to bomb the crate and lay in it.
- I'm still trying to introduce clicker training
- She doesn't seem to get it. She's very lean and not at all enticed by treats3.
- Sprayed pet repellent on all of her usual spots.
- I would love to leave her outside during the day, but she just sits at the back door barking/scratching. I suspect this method may have been abused in the past.
- Extra walks in the evening help
- I will not try diapers
- I don't want to use pee pads
- She never alerts me herself. I just notice her getting antsy when I'm awake.
- Noticed I didn't say drag.
- ... and almost everything gives her diarrhea.
- This is not a decision we're considering lightly. We tried to do a good thing by rescuing and the burden is becoming overwhelming.