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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Help please! Taking on board what others have said and crating Mitzi for 15 mins/half an hour during the day in her crate. A few howls and then she is settled.

We've just had a section of the garden sealed off for her...lovely long run with shaded areas for her to do her business. I put her in there when I thought she wanted to wee. She's been using the area most of the time, but we just had a gate put on and Mitzi has finally found her voice and let us know! I left her for about 10 mins - waited for a quite second and then went to her. Went back into the area with her and closed the gate behind us and played for 5 mins. Brought her back into the house. How do we get to a point that she is happy to stay in there, dig around, play without howling the place down.
 

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Hi Tosh,

Hang on in there – it sounds like you’re doing brilliantly with Mitzi!

Just to clarify, will Mitzi be allowed in the rest of the garden or is this sealed section so that you can leave her unattended? Can she see you from this sealed section and how big is it? Can she get in there by herself when she needs to go or do you need to open the gate? How many times have you put her in there? Does she have toys?

We don’t have a large garden and to be honest we couldn’t be bothered with sectioning bit off as it was too much hassle, what with the cats. I also resigned myself to the fact that Saffi would probably dig a lot as a puppy and so we didn’t do much work in the garden this Spring. In fact the digging has been minimal and if we lay vet bedding on the grass (especially now the weather is warmer) she’ll happily play by herself in the garden for a while but she wasn’t necessarily like that from a really young age. What I would say is that when we were house training Saffi we didn’t just leave her to it – if you’ve chosen a key word (ours is ‘toilet’) you need to be able to see her do it and praise her so that she knows she’s doing it in the right place!

Keep up the good work!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Turi,
Thanks for the encouragement - today's the lowest I have felt. I don't know what it is, but just feels like whatever I'm doing is not right.

We have a fairly large garden. Mitzi 'poo corner' is down one side. Between us and the neighbours fence there is a path with a fence on the right (between us and the neighbour) and two hedges on the other side, with a gap between each hedge. It's about 30 yards long and about 4 yards wide. There are bushes and a couple of tree trunks, some of it is in the sun but lots in the shade. We've had that area made secure with chicken wire all the way round and between the two hedges she can see into the garden. It's not our intention to keep her there all the time...just for her potty breaks/digging/or time out. We have been taking her to the area and wait with her to 'be clean' (our chosen words) and have been praising her. I've even been giving her treats when she's done it, and not when she does it elsewhere in the garden.

I thought, perhaps stupidly, that she would love the area and would be happy to be there. I've taken her back in there with me, taken the gate off, put it back on, when she's on both sides of it. I filled a kong with a little chicken to keep her occupied, but after a few minutes she was howling again.

Also, we haven't got her on a lead. The trainer is starting today, so we walk to the area with her and she follows. But sometimes she just runs off and does it elsewhere in the garden. In fairness to Mitzi, she hasn't done that too often.

Perhaps the area is too big? The trainer suggested we put her crate out in the area, but I don't really want to be bringing it in and out of the house.
 

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We all have those days – it will pass, I promise. You and Mitzi need to get to know each other, your limitations and your expectations. This doesn’t happen overnight – I feel like I love Saffi more and more each day as I get to know her ways. The same will happen with Mitzi.

I just had to draw what I think your garden looks like – getting some strange looks at work! I’m really impressed, I wouldn’t have thought to do this.

Perhaps it will just take some time… carry on for a few days and see how you get on. Initially only leave her for a couple of minutes and then build up… four minutes the next time, six the next. If she’s quiet and gets involved with her toys and treats then give her lots of praise – make that tail wag! If we’d left Saffi anywhere for ten minutes when we’d first got her she would have howled the house down! Dogs are pack animals and want to be with their pack all the time. You have to teach them to enjoy their own company and at the moment she’s just settling into her new home and finding her place within your pack. She will get more confident.

Just a thought… perhaps she doesn’t like it because it’s where she goes to the loo? For the reverse principal that puppies will remain clean in their crates perhaps she doesn’t want to play, lie down and chill out in an area that she’s started to associate with the right place to ‘be clean’. I’m no expert, it’s just a thought!

We didn’t put Saffi on a lead until the week she had her first walk in the outdoors.
 

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Hang in there Tosh, you are doing really well I promise.

I had days with Millie where I though I'd never get her toilet trained etc. It really did feel like two steps forward one step back. But it does all come together.

Just remember two things and it helps. One, they are only babies and it takes a little time for them to learn what is expected of them. Two, they are very sociable dogs and want us to be around them a lot of the time, especially as puppies.

Millie is now over a year and will happily take herself off outside or upstairs. But still 80% of the time she likes to be in viewing distance of one of us.

This run you have in the garden, can she have access to it directly from the house. Not necessarily for now, but for later. I know my Millie will take herself outside or ask to go outside. It will be easier for you if you can open the door and she's directly into the run area. Which obviously means you will have to have access to get beyond the run area.

:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Really appreciate you taking the time to offer advice and I'm impressed that you tried to draw the area.

Diana who is helping train Mitzi says that we are making more work for ourselves but all the books I've read say you can train dogs to go to an assigned area BUT it takes a long time to achieve this. We think it's worth trying as we have the space. It looks like we'll get her an outdoor den and see if that works. Will also try what you have suggested about timings and see what happens. What a day...time already for a glass of red wine!
 

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Thing is Poo's are not really independent dogs. Previously I have had terriers who have all been able to get on with life but I do find a Poo really likes human company and reasurance and will protest loud and long if you ignore them! They will grow out of it but it is just the way they are and why we love them. Do not expect too much to soon stick to the routine you want and eventually it should be ok but Poo's are people dogs and there is no getting away from that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks Julie/Sue - she's being much better this evening. The run is a short distance - 10 yards from the side of the house - but it can't be linked to the house. I think I have to view it if the majority of the time she is in the right place, she is doing very well. You're both right about being sociable - one of the reasons we got a poo. I guess getting into the routine is the main thing. And I have to remind myself its very early days.

Really appreciate all your help and guidance. I'll keep you posted.
 

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Really just a case of not expecting them to be able to go off by themselves and do what we want. They depend on us for leadership and guidance but once they get it then full steam ahead! They need us for reasurance so be consistant and hopefully all should be well!
 
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