Posted : 8/15/2009 10:06:41 AM
This is so common and relatively easy to fix when they are this young
The problem is that puppies learn to eliminate in connection with a substrate. Basically, they get used to going on a certain kind of surface. This makes them think, "hmmm, I need a wee - find grass!" But it ALSO makes them think, "Hmmm.... grass. Oh, I need a wee."
Sometimes, if they don't get enough opportunities to go in the right place, this backfires and the pup thinks "hmmm, need a wee - must find carpet!" or even: "Oh look, carpet. And now I need a wee."
The way to fix this is just to take the pup out to the right place as OFTEN as you can. AT LEAST every hour - that is the barest minimum, and most dogs that age need more frequent opportunities. So, every hour on the hour AND after eating, drinking and waking and after (or during) long periods of chew or playing. All these stimulate the need to "go". So does anxiety, fear, excitement, excercise and stress, so try not be get frustrated about it and never scold her or correct her for mistakes. Keeping her sedate indoors will help and saving any excited play or running about for *outside*.
Don't stay out there ages, because chances are she is either HOLDING IT till she gets back to (what SHE thinks is) the RIGHT spot, or she doesn't even NEED to go until she gets back inside (see above). If she doesn't go within a few minutes, then go back in and keep her confined or tethered and under your *constant watchful eye*. Try again in 10-15 minutes - or sooner if she shows signs.
Most pups do not like to soil on or near their bed, unless their early home life has overridden this clean instinct. If this instinct is intact, then a crate is invaluable, because if you take her out and she doesn't perform, you can bring her in and confine her there until you try again in 10-15 minutes. Given this kind of schedule, EVENTUALLY she will pee in the right spot and you can grab this opportunity to praise her and give her a SUPER TASTY treat.
Getting the reward right is important. Some dogs get kind of neurotic about toileting, and if she is one of these dogs, then "throwing a party" when she gets it right can actually be detrimental to the process. I find that if I have a very high value food reward, throwing a party is not necessary anyway. So, the treat should be EXTREMELY YUMMY. SOmething REAL stinky, and something she NEVER gets at ANY other time. Something like liver brownies or soft cheese can really help to stick the lesson in the dog's mind very effectively and they REALLY make the effort to "hang on" because that heavenly amazing tidbit only happens when pee=outdoors.
As well as something yummy, you can give her "life rewards" for good peeing. These are the ones that will be given long term, long after the treats have been phased out. Some dogs hold off on peeing outside because the moment they do, they get taken in and they would rather be playing outside. If she likes romping outside, then let her do it straight AFTER she has been. This is incentive to go (can't run wild until business is finished) and a reward for going. If she just wants to get inside, then get back inside promptly when she has "been". Make going for a walk one of the rewards on offer for "good peeing" - this is what we do for poo and it's great because we rarely need to carry full poo bags about.
Timing is important too. Keep some of the special treats in your pocket so they are ON HAND the moment your pup does some "good peeing". The reward must be delivered within a second or two of her completing her pee, otherwise she won't connect the reward with the right thing. So, as soon as she is done, step up to her and give her the treat and lots of warm, calm praise. If you call her for the treat, or take her indoors first, you can't be sure she hasnt connected the treat with coming to you, or coming indoors.
Lastly, for the next week or so, use a cue (busy busy, be quick, be clean, hurry up, go squat) and say this ONCE as she is going in the right place. Reward. After several successful repetitions you can use this to prompt her to go when you are outside. Pick a word she won't hear INSIDE, and for the same reason, don't say "Good girl!" when she is peeing.... yeah, my sister accidentally trained her dog to pee when she said "Good boy!" Smart dog