Crate training mulligan

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I have a 5 month old standard schnauzer who has proven difficult to house train. Admittedly we have only half-assed the crate training up to now (crate for night and when we aren’t home) but we are starting again with renewed purpose because if he is going to keep living here we have to succeed at this. So I’m wanting a critique of our methods and advice of where to go next, but first some back story. tl;dr skip to ****

I’ve not really house trained a puppy before. I read a book on crate training, and it just seemed like too much crate time, and he cried a lot in it. But my husband has fairly recent puppy experience and he says this guy is just much harder. Could be breed related, or because he’s male and our other dogs have been female. I don’t know. He seemed to be blaming me for not watching him well, but now with Corona and him home more he sees that this is just not going well, and the dog has even more accidents on his watch, and he rants about him DESTROYING OUR HOUSE and I’m like well it’s only when I leave the room. But whatever. /Marriage rant

ABOUT HIM: Some problems are that he acts busy sniffing a lot, so we never know if he’s looking for a place to pee; and that he also doesn’t change his stance to “assume the position,” in fact sometimes he just pees walking and if it’s dim in the room I won’t know he left a pee river until I get up, so i can’t really even interrupt him, almost ever. When he was younger evenings were tough because he seemed to pee every five minutes. It was crazy! (I did start crating him more in the evenings. I’m not totally dumb) But he’s better about that now, though if he is going to have an accident it will usually still be evening time. I really have taken him out quite often. He actually resists going out sometimes because it’s just so often. But still the accidents.

HOUSE ISSUES: our house has an open floor plan (think roller rink with a staircase in the center) so there isn’t really a great place for a baby gate and there’s LOTS of places he can go that I can’t see him. All the potential gaps are too wide. We installed these curtain things that pull across wider areas on either side of the stairs but they aren’t great: he can get under them (they’re flexible) and also my daughter ran into one and pulled it out of the wall, so if I’m to try using it again I have a hole to patch first.

WHAT WE HAVE TRIED:We got some bells for the back door to teach him to alert us, and he will ring them quite purposefully to get out there for a drink of water if the indoor bowl is empty, but will not do it to tell us he needs to pee. I have begun thinking he just doesn’t really know that it’s wrong to go in the house. We have been doing the positive reinforcement only for outside, but I’ve begun scolding him for indoor accidents even if I don’t catch him right away. I know it’s not advised but wtf do I do. He sometimes seems to pee without realizing, like walking around or like a couple of nights ago after he hopped on the couch to see what my kid was eating. He had already left a puddle behind said couch (unbeknownst to hubby who was “watching him”) and then while on the couch peed more. Sometimes I think he has a GU condition or a UTI.

****so….the last two days we do this. We get up, he goes out on a leash, pees, comes in, breakfast, then supervised house privileges for an hour or so, and then crated for a half hour. Then out on a leash, pees, plays in house for 30-40 min, then crated for 30 min. Walks here and there, playing tug, etc. then crated for some time. And pretty much like that all day. We set a timer. If I get busy cleaning or something he goes in. If he’s asleep in there I don’t get him out when times up. He seems to tolerate this well. When he was younger he just didn’t seem to rest in his crate and it was torture for us since he would just yelp. So we ended up letting him just sleep where he wanted. Now this is better, and we all do well with it. A couple days a week I go to the office and he is crated for 6 hours and he’s fine.

Question is, what next? How long do I keep this up, and how do I know when to trust him longer out in the house, when I can’t realistically watch him perfectly living in a roller rink? My understanding of crate training traditionally is that you gradually expand their den area until they come to see the whole house as their den and they don’t want to pee in their den. How can i make this work? And is it too late? He’s had so much experience peeing in the house, will he ever learn?

Puppy tax. Look at that face.. would I pee in your house? Yes I would! IMG_0742.jpeg

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