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help with housebreaking

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Corn Niblet

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Our Rocky just turned 5 months old and still does not understand housebreaking. Most of the time he will go to our back door and scratch. We go outside and I say "go potty" and  then he will get a treat. But sometimes he just goes to the back door and goes there without scratching.  And sometimes he will go on the carpet right in front of me.  How long does housebreaking  take?  I have a friend with a Westie and she said it took her dog 2 years!   When I catch him in the act I yell "outside" and we go to the door immediately. All the while he is jumping up and down and throwing some kind of tantrum over it. (growling, barking, snapping) Thanks for any advice.

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Our dogs are usually totally house broken by the time they are six months for sure. What you need to do is not wait till he goes to the door. Right after eating and drinking take him out and praise the heck out of of him...don't make a big deal out of it other wise. We easily took our pups out every couple of hours during the day and evening right up to bed time. Rosie our Scottie when she was about 4 months old started peeing in the house right after we would bring her back in. I knew something wasn't right and took her to the vet. Sure enough she had a urinary tract infection. After that was cured, she never made a boo go after that.  You might want to have the vet check your boy out to make sure his water works aren't infected. It's very common .

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Idaho Cairns

You might be creating some confusion if you discipline his inside mistakes by shouting "outside" and taking him out at the same time.  He may not understand that the "outside" is the proper place instead of a place he has to go because he went inside.  He might associate the "outside" with something negative--just the opposite message you want to convey.
I have had good results by doing a couple of things--when the pup goes outside and does his job then there is an over the top celebration, treating the puppy like the second coming, clapping hands, effusive praise, cavorting, etc., hopefully driving in the idea that going outside is the finest thing since the discovery of the New World.
When the pup makes a mistake, I grasp the snout, hold it firmly, force the pup to look at me and firmly (no need to shout--dogs have good hearing) say "No Potty!", or simply "No!" and then take the pup outside to the proper place, repeating "Go Potty!".  After awhile they make the connection and besides, the outside has all those wonderful potty smells dogs seem to like.  You might want to, depending on the neighborhood, leave some the droppings out a few days to enhance the atmosphere for the pup.
Also, you need to be extra diligent about cleaning any area inside the dog has soiled--get good odor removers, scrub, and try to completely erase any smell of his accident inside.  Hard to do but worth the effort.
Be patient--99.9% of the dogs "get it" eventually but some just take longer.

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