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New rescue housebreaking questions


isv12
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My wife and I adopted a border collie female last weekend from a local kill shelter. She was being kept in the "cat room" because she was completely overwhelmed with the noise and activity of the kennel. After 5 minutes there we knew she needed to get out and be given a chance. The vet confirmed that she was loaded with worms and Lyme positive. We had her vaccinated and will go back in 3 weeks for boosters and have her spayed within a month. She seems to be about 1 year old.

 

Other than needing an intense about of TLC and time to trust us, her biggest issue is using the bathroom in her crate. Since we don't know her background we assume she learned to use the cage at the shelter and probably wasn't taken outside (she wouldn't walk on a leash/neck collar). We take her outside very regularly all day until going to bed but she is only going every night between 11pm and 3am or so. As soon as we hear her rearranging her crate we clean everything up and put her back. Absolutely no correction or fussing, just a rub on the head telling her she is ok. We have tried to let her smell something soiled of hers outside, and even had her watch our other two dogs "go" in the yard. She is not loose in our house and is being kept away from them for now though.

 

Any suggestions for this shy little girl?

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Can you give her a crate inside of an ex pen, door of the crate open and something to potty on in the pen? I had to do this with my old Papillon when I adopted him as he was very used to going in his bed.

 

This retraining to reconsider her bed as a toilet, combined with a lot of praise and opportunity to go outdoors, and she will get it.

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It sounds like you are on the right track. If I read your post correctly, she is fine during the day, but messing in her crate once at night between 11p and 3a? If so, it sounds like you are making great progress.

 

You have hardly had her for the blink of an eye. Depending on her age, you are having to deal with changing a long-term behavior. Be patient and keep to your schedule. Once she is not going in her crate anymore, you can GRADUALLY begin to lengthen the time between potty breaks.

 

Definitely give her treats when she potties outside. Praise is good, but treats seem to make a stronger impression (generally - depending on the dog). I found a hound dog in the woods a couple of years ago and kept her until a place opened up in a local no-kill shelter. As you can guess, hunting hounds are usually not house-broken, spending their lives in outside kennels. Even she picked up the idea of bathroom breaks outside - but it took 3 weeks, and even then it was a work in progress.

 

Jovi

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Bless you for giving this little girl a chance. Not to change the subject, but I assume she's being treated for the Lyme?

 

As for the housebreaking, you need to treat her as if she's a puppy. Is it possible for someone to get up in the middle of the night (sounds like you're getting up anyway) and get her out before she has a chance to have an accident? For example, set the alarm for midnight and take her out (assuming she hasn't gone before then) and gradually (over a couple of weeks) set the alarm later and later?

 

Also consider adjusting her feeding/drinking schedule so she's less likely to go at night. It sounds as if she's waiting until it's quiet and private before doing her thing....

 

I agree with Jovi that perhaps providing puppy pee pads outside of her crate in an X-pen will also encourage her to at least go outside of her crate.

 

J.

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1. Thanks for taking in a rescue that obviously needs a lot (of work and such)

 

2. Are you feeding her in the crate? If not, I would do so. I may even think about putting the food directly on the floor of the crate. I would do this for one meal a day, probably dinner. For the other (if you feed 2 times a day) I would think about handfeeding her and work on teaching commands at the same time. It will help with bonding. I would feed the eveniong meal as early as possible as well.

 

3. I would probably not put any bedding in the crate.

 

4. I would take water away from her around 7pm or so. I know some don't agree with doing that but sometimes you have to do it.

 

5. Putting the crate inside an x-pen and the piddle pads are an option to try.

 

It just sounds like she needs to learn that pottying in the crate is a no-no and she doesn't know it yet.

 

Good luck

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Well maybe just posting here was good luck! She went #1 outside for the first time around 1030pm last night. We praised her so much I'm sure the neighbors thought we were nuts! She got a treat too (which she has just started to take from our hand). She made it through the entire night with no accidents, went #2 early this morning (530am), and #1 again for my wife around 730am!

 

Seems like we are on the right track now. I guess she just needed to get comfortable around us before making the decision to go! Interesting thing is that we had her out of the crate and just hanging out with us for almost an hour before she went last night. She had relaxed enough that she was yawning and stretching in front of us so maybe that bonding time really helped.

 

Re: the Lyme's disease

she is getting 4 pills a day of antibiotics (doxycycline) and will keep getting them for one month. She likes string cheese so feeding the pills has been easy!

 

She also got a large dose by pill of de-wormer (sorry, forgot the name) the first day after she went to the vet.

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Seems like we are on the right track now. I guess she just needed to get comfortable around us before making the decision to go! Interesting thing is that we had her out of the crate and just hanging out with us for almost an hour before she went last night. She had relaxed enough that she was yawning and stretching in front of us so maybe that bonding time really helped.

 

 

Congratulations on your bathroom success!

 

I am not surprised that your shy girl didn't want to potty in front of you. Since one frequently does not know the history of rescues, there are multiple reasons why a dog does not want to eliminate in front of humans. Based on her improvement, she has crossed that threshold. Keep treating her!!

 

Jovi

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Bree is still doing well with going outside...no accidents!

 

She seems to have kennel cough though as her coughing/choking started a day ago. The vet told us the doxycycline should help and just to watch her, so she will stay sequestered from our other dogs a little while longer.

 

Otherwise, her personality is really coming out! She is still very shy/sensitive, but is much more alert and interested in us and her surroundings. We can already tell she is very smart since she will try to direct us back to the basement door when we are outside and she's ready to go in. She can also open the door if we haven't shut it completely. Although walking on the leash still bothers her, she is learning to come to us so we will start working on some basic manners/commands!

 

Any other suggestions for these first weeks together and bonding?

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  • 2 weeks later...

First...thank you for adopting. :)

 

Second...go to the Rescue portion of these boards and read D'Elle's entire (it is long) account of fostering a rescue....Kelso (also the title of the thread.) It will be very helpful to you in dealing with a new rescue.

 

Third...I am no expert and am new to Border Collies after 25+ years of German Shepherds. I have adopted two Border Collies. I may be wrong, but this breed seems so very different than the mixed breed or the GSDs I took in. Much more sensitive and complex. My first BC I feel I rushed too much...to outside socializing and to obedience class and training (she had been trained before by her owners.) With the second one, I am just taking my time. Both of my dogs took way longer than I anticipated to totally adapt to a new home. So with the second one, we are just enjoying watching him learn about us and his new environment. He has been with us six months...obedience classes maybe this spring. I'm sure there are others who can shed more light, but as far as the bonding, I am now just taking things slow and letting them develop on their own.

 

Fourth...pictures would be nice...please post some. :D

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