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My wife and I adopted a former stray, 2yo Golden Retriever mix. Most of the day, he's pretty lazy and not active and we are trying to potty train him.

Our problem is that this dog has not given us any signs that he needs to pee. He usually sits in one location and naps. But sometimes he will go and explore the house. Usually, this is when we stir around the house, but not always.

To be clear, when he's gone 6-8 hours without peeing, we go in "hawk" mode where we watch him like a hawk. This is because like lightening, he'll get up, go to the nearest carpet and start peeing. No signs, often no sniffing or circling--he just pees where he wants.

To make matters worse, we take him out every 2 hours during the day. My wife and I both work from home, so we can dedicate a lot of attention to him. He will poop outside, but he has peed outside only once. We don't play with him outside so we don't distract him and we try to pull him in the direction of quieter areas of our yard so he has a single-space to go. Regardless, he's a very attentive dog and if a car honks a horn on the other side of the neighborhood or a squirrel makes a noise in a tree, he turns his head towards it. He doesn't seem afraid, just very attentive. However, when the yard doesn't distract him, he plops down and will just lay there. Often the whole time, because he prefers to be outside (which is ironic since he won't pee out there.)

Furthermore, on multiple occasions we've taken the dog out for 15-20 minutes doing nothing with him other than letting him stroll around the yard and within 5 minutes of getting him in, he runs to some carpet and starts peeing. There have even been occasions where we've taken his harness off, and before removing our jackets, he's ran to a spot (again, no sniffing or circling) and pees!

We have read multiple articles and questions on the internet, but my dog seems to be very determined to stay inside and pee, even inside his crate. We've resorted that if he goes for a long period without peeing, we keep put a leash on him and keep him in our hands. Regardless, he's stubborn and hates the leash (his crate too) and we have to use both of those items.

Sorry for the long story, but nothing we've found has helped. What else can we do for this dog and our house?

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  • Does he pee on walks outside of the house?
    – selene
    May 13 at 14:12

2 Answers 2

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Ok, here are some facts.

  1. Most dogs are used to small dens in the beginning of life, sleeping with their siblings in close quarters. A house gives a lot of areas that may seem as perfectly acceptable places to pee that aren’t really in what your dog may consider to be their “Den” or living/sleeping area.

  2. Many owners are idiots and use pee pads for their dogs, as many owners are lazy. This gets the dog used to peeing inside.

  3. Dogs don’t like to pee or poop around their food.

  4. Dogs like to mark territory, especially if the area, or they themselves haven’t been marked by a more dominant/alpha figure.

So, what can we gather from this?

  • Well, if you can get passed human sensibilities, as this makes them feel accepted and protected as a part of your pack/household, find a way to mark your dog with your scent sensibly; on their paws or hind legs is how I’ve seen it is done in the wild, but some trainers put a sample between the shoulder blades.

  • Clean and neutralize the area they targeted in the past so it doesn’t smell like their urine and put food on it

  • Put or rub a pee pad outside on a tree or around the border of your territory/property to aide in the process at first.

Also, you have to show you have a stronger will power with greater stamina. Outlast your dog. Make them stay outside in the area you want them to pee, until they actually go pee. Only then do they get to move around, or go back inside. This can take a long time, even hours for some dogs at first, but you need to do this, and you need to catch them in the act. If they outlast you, you’ve failed.

Praise your dog for peeing the moment they do their business outside properly, by saying “Good Pee” and repeat yourself in a natural way but in a higher pitched tone, until they are done. At the end, if it is within a few seconds after completion and they are near you, while still saying “Good Pee”, use both hands to pet them.

Eventually if you walk and train them properly, keeping them at your side or behind you, and only let them go upon your approval, you will, combined with exactly timed praise, be able to turn peeing, and even pooping, into a command.

It may sound stupid, by I’ve trained my dog to enjoy pooping and peeing only when released, and upon command. They know that they are appreciated for doing it this way. You can actually see the pride in their body language afterwards at a doody well done.

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We decided to get a 2nd dog when my son was old enough to take care of a pet himself. When the dog was a puppy still, we would take him out every 2 hours (my wife doesn't work) to let him sniff around and relieve himself, just like our first dog.

The 2nd dog was so much easier to train than any other dog I have had, so I was really pleased that we lucked out with such a smart puppy (the dog is 9 years old now, so this was a while back, our original family dog has sadly passed on).

Three years later, a puppy turned up on our doorstep with no collar, and no chip. None of the neighbors knew the owner and no one answered our "found dog" ads and signs. So, we had a new puppy to train. That dog was also super easy to train (he is 6 now).

Last year, my son needed someone to watch his new puppy because his landlord said that he needed to make a 2nd pet deposit to have 2 dogs. While he was saving, we had his puppy stay with us. She was not fully trained when we got her and had frequent accidents, but luckily, she learned just as fast as the other 2 dogs (she is probably close to 2 years old now).

While there were some accidents for all of the dogs when they first started training, it was unbelievably easy to train the dogs that had a dog show them how the bathroom works.

Maybe you have a friend with a well behaved dog that would be willing to schedule a play date in your yard. If so, it could end leading to the breakthrough you are hoping for.

Just make sure any dogs you invite over are up to date on their shots and that you have reviewed recommended methods to introduce dogs to each other.

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