Q: I am fostering an adult dog through a rescue organization. This dog has never been housetrained and I’m having a terrible time with him. The dog has never known anything but going in his kennel. He is incredibly lovable and I really want to do everything possible and maybe pass on information to other “foster parents” so that rescued dogs who have been abused in the past have a chance at happiness.
A: Thank you for your note and all best wishes to you, the volunteers and the rescued dogs! Please see the Q&A on housetraining puppies. Also, my book and DVD (both entitled The Dog Whisperer ) go into these in much more detail.
A really good thought for this type of dog situation: Consider building (or purchasing) a “Pooch Potty” as a middle step while training the dog to eliminate outside.
Each day gradually move the Pooch Potty closer to the door until it’s all the way outside.
Petapotty Brand and others are available new and used at Amazon. Some with synthetic grass inserts, and they come in a variety of sizes to suit anyone, including mini and petite.
The most important first step is to make sure your dog cannot eliminate where he isn’t supposed to. It is also important that he can predict scheduled times when he will be let out to eliminate. Make sure no force is ever used and remember to praise and reward him whenever he’s successful. Reward with great treats like chicken, turkey, cheese, etc.
Also, read the Q&A entitled “Puppy Potty Problem” and follow the steps given under the heading, “Housetraining Procedure.” Pay special attention to the second item, which relates to “labeling” the elimination behavior.