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Hey, all. We adopted a lab mix a little over a month ago and are struggling with house-training. I wanted to toss out our particulars to see if anyone has an idea of what we might be missing. I've only house-trained one puppy a very long time ago and he was super easy, so I'm at a total loss, as I feel like we're doing everything "right." Sorry this will undoubtedly be long, I tend to be wordy…
We take him out to potty every hour or so unless he's napping, even though he can definitely hold it longer. For the first several weeks, we took him out on a leash and stood quietly in the spot we want him to go and once he went, we'd say, "Yes! Go potty!" and praise him lavishly. We weren't treating him to begin with, as I had read some dogs will pretend to potty in order to get a treat (and I've seen it with my mom's dogs), but starting a couple of weeks ago, we added treats to the praise routine to try and help with the inside accidents. We no longer use a leash and he seems to consistently know the "go potty" command. Unless it's first thing in the morning and he has to go badly, in which case he goes straight there, if he stands with us on the deck instead of heading to his potty spot, we point, snap, and say "go potty," and 9/10 times, he hops down and goes right away. We still say "Yes! Go potty!" and get excited and he races back to the deck for a few treats. Then if we ask "Do you have more potty?" he'll wander off to one of his poop spots if he has to go, then we repeat the confirmation, praise, treat routine. He always goes at least a little bit when we take him out.
We still haven't gone more than a couple of days without an accident inside, sometimes more than one, and there doesn't seem to be consistent triggers before he has an accident, nor does he only prefer certain material to pee on (he's never pooped in the house). Sometimes it's admittedly our fault, as we're learning he obviously needs to be taken out just after a bath, and once or twice, I've neglected to take him right out after a training session or bout of playing. But in all cases, he's been out to potty less than an hour before the accident. We cannot give him any sort of bed or blanket on the floor because they are consistent targets for accidents. But he also goes freely on our hardwood floors, our tile floors, and our rugs, in multiple rooms. We use baby gates and have him sequestered wherever we are so we can watch him, but we've caught him in the act many times now, made a loud noise to get his attention, said "NO" and taken him outside to finish. He always stops mid-pee and he always finishes outside. We've been using Nature's Miracle and I just got a different enzyme cleaner to try, but he's not going in the same spots over and over again, so I'm not convinced smelling old urine is the issue. He sleeps in bed with us and has never once peed on our bed or anywhere in our room and easily holds it all night.
We decided not to crate train him to begin with mostly because he'll almost never be left alone and we do prefer our dogs sleep in bed with us, but we finally got him a crate a few days ago, as I keep reading it's the number one tool to help with accidents. But seeing as watching him and catching him in an accident when he's out of his crate doesn't seem to be helping, and we're obviously not going to just leave him in the crate all the time, I'm really not sure how much it will help. He does love his crate, so that's a relief, but I stupidly took pity on him and got him a new bed for it yesterday and he almost immediately peed on it. Sigh.
Other than seeming to be going through a fear period (he suddenly became nervous and unwilling to go for walks after being fine with them, so I looked into it and this seems to fit), he's happy and healthy and eats well and drinks plenty (obviously…) and is doing well with his training and loves everyone. So… Help? I just don't know what to do at this point and I'm feeling extremely frustrated.
Thanks so much for any thoughts!
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