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Getting puppy to tell me when he needs to go outside


Mandy
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Hi, my puppy Roscoe is five months old now.  I live in a fourth floor apartment, so potty training has its own set of challenges!

Roscoe is very good about peeing and pooping when we’re outside... first thing in the morning, around 6-6,30 a.m., I take him out and he does his business right away.  We come back inside quickly, for a bit of relaxation time before breakfast and then go for a real walk around 8.30 a.m.

I take Roscoe out every 2-3 hours all day, either for walks or just for quick breaks, and he does his business.  He occasionally pees inside but lately it has been when something unusual has happened and maybe thrown him off, and yesterday it was when I had friends over with two other dogs!

Anyway, my question is, how do I transition from taking Roscoe out whether he needs it or not (he always pees while we’re out) to getting him to let me know when he wants to go?  Also lately he runs away from me when he knows we’re going out!  He can sense when I’m thinking about it and he runs off and I have to catch him!  Once we’re out he likes being outside so I don’t know what the issue is.  I bought a different harness because I thought maybe the other one was bugging him but it didn’t change anything.  

Help!  

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"He can sense when I’m thinking about it and he runs off and I have to catch him!"
That would be an excellent time to use his favorite treat.  I would never hesitate to use treats as a way to have the dog come when I needed him to do so.  Try that enticement and see if it works. 

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44 minutes ago, Mandy said:

Anyway, my question is, how do I transition from taking Roscoe out whether he needs it or not...to getting him to let me know when he wants to go?  Also lately he runs away from me when he knows we’re going out!  He can sense when I’m thinking about it and he runs off and I have to catch him!

Welcome to the wonderful, wacky world of cairn puppy craziness! I can't answer your "transitioning" question, never having had to train a pup, but others here with experience under their belt should be able to respond. As to having to chase him before going out: I understand that this is a new behavior - as is usually the case with puppies... Brace yourself! More new behaviors are bound to follow, and constantly confound you. Can you tell from his body language that when he runs away, if he is happy and playful? If so, this is often what pups do. On the other hand, if he's taken a dislike to going out, his body language would also express that. I'm guessing that he's discovering what it is to be a typical stubborn, bossy cairn terrier! The advice here has always been: We have to be more stubborn and bossy than they are!

FEAR THE CAIRN!

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Thanks for the replies... I have tried treats and if he sees the harness he won’t come to me even with his favourite treat.  I do give him lots of praise and a treat once I put the harness on him, to try and get him to respond better but so far no luck.

When Roscoe runs away it’s not the same as when we’re playing.... sometimes I do chase him when he has his little sock toy and he absolutely loves that, but this isn’t the same.  When he knows we’re going out it’s like he wants to escape!  Like I said he seems to enjoy being out and about once we get out there!  I put another post up about his walking habits (stopping, lying down, sitting, etc) and that’s still an issue too.  But then he runs along fast when I do, and sometimes walks beautifully so I don’t think he’s uncomfortable or anything.

Anyway, one time he was standing by the door and let me come and put the harness on no problem so I’m tempted to wait till he does that, but I don’t want an accident!  He is pee pad trained and I still have one set up, but he very rarely uses it any more.  

 

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"He can sense when I’m thinking about it and he runs off and I have to catch him!"

Time to "change the game".

Time to train the illusive "Roscoe Come" command But it must be with a high value treat!

In our house it is an "open for licks" Gerbers Baby Food. The 2.5 oz jar. When Roscoe comes, you give him a lick from the jar. Do this randomly  a couple or several times a day from different spots in your home. Not just when you want to hook him up for a walk.

Soon, hopefully, he will run to you. Always remembering that Cairns are independent and will only do things that is their idea!  Learned that valuable insight on the wonderful forum!!!

 Our 19 month old Katie has just finished her 3rd round of intermediate obedience classes. It took me 2 rounds of class sessions to finally grasp that it has to be her idea to complete any commands unlike the retrievers and collies. They looked bored. Katie looked happy and engaged.  She's our first Cairn after 40 yrs with Westies.

Just finished article "Why Are Cairn Terriers Hard to Train" (wagwalking.com) = very good insight into this irrepressible breed. Google to read.

Enjoy these puppy days, they are over sooo very quickly.

Cheers!

Dianne

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Thanks Dianne, I will try your idea with the baby food!  What flavour do you use?  Maybe the puréed chicken, Roscoe likes regular chicken so that might work.  

I do have him in puppy obedience classes right now... we go weekly for five weeks, and tomorrow is the fourth one.  We are learning a few different things but I think the main goal is getting your dog to look you in the eye and listen.  Like your Katie, Roscoe is very happy and engaged when he’s in class and he really enjoys it, and he’s really good when I continue the training at home too.

He’s really great with so many things, which is why I’m so baffled by the harness/going out deal.

I’ll check out the article you mentioned as well Dianne, thank you for your help.  Hopefully we shall have success sooner rather than later, lol!

Mandy

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29 minutes ago, Mandy said:

 if he sees the harness he won’t come to me even with his favourite treat.  

Hmmm...Anyway you can find a harness that he could wear all the time?  Pups have a nano second attention span...

so when he finally alerts you to go out you can hook him up quickly, give praise and treat and make for the ground.

Like you, we have to take 19mo Katie down stairs as we don't have a fenced yard. In addition to her regular trips, she lets us know when she has to go out by pushing at the door  - we hook her up and off we go.  I just can't remember when that started...had to be her idea,...!!! 

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9 minutes ago, Mandy said:

1.  I will try your idea with the baby food!  What flavour do you use?  

 2. but I think the main goal is getting your dog to look you in the eye and listen.  

1. I have beef...the stronger the smell the better.

2. Look at you - Still working on this! Finally cheated with using medium treat (pup-peroni training treats) I show it to her, let her smell it and then when I want her look at me hold the treat next to my nose... cheating, I know, but calling her name and making chirping noises where of no use! She would much rather lunge and kisssy face  the pup behind her than pay attention to me. Needless to say, we have been in "training" for over a year. I am pleased with our progress and happy to entertain the other trainer/owners. Even have elicited applause from the audience for her antics or for successfully completing the off leash "come" command. Ya' gotta love that!

 

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I guess I could leave the harness on.  I do leave it on if we’re at someone else’s house or if we’re heading out again quickly.  I just feel like when Roscoe’s inside for very long he should be “free” and unencumbered! 

It made me smile when you say things have to be the dog’s idea!  I’ve really noticed that too... Roscoe likes to be the boss and often likes to tell me which way we’re going to walk!  Sometimes I let him choose, but other times we need to go a particular way and then I have to do some convincing!

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Hey Dianne, in our class to get the dog to look at you this is what we do... crouch down facing the dog and have a treat (I use little pieces of cooked chicken) in each closed hand, so the dog can’t see them.  Put your hands on your knees or on the floor in front of the dog, and the dog will sniff both hands and try to get the treat.  Keep your fists closed and eventually the dog will look up at you, as if to say “what’s going on??”!  It nearly always works pretty quickly, but if not, keep the treats hidden and make a little noise to get your dog’s attention.  Then when he looks up at you he gets the treat and some praise as well.  

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Oh, I will give that a try. Thanks. Should work well for getting and keeping Katie's attention.

My trick works well when we are doing figure eights on heal. Keeps her attention away from distraction of the dogs passing in close proximity.

Those classes are so helpful for learning new tricks.

I have had ( and even years before with the Westies) the same teacher for all three class and she is forever coming up with fresh ways to shape our behavior. Amazing. Endless learning!!!

Cheers!

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  • 2 years later...

Love the baby food jar idea.  I am storing up this forum’s great advice in anticipation of my next pup.  My last Cairn was 2nd hand at 8 mos.  some of the bugs had been worked out, others, not so much….it took a long time to get her to ask to go out…a long time.  End result, best dog ever! I think it’s the hard ones that are so worth it.  

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