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Dog Training/Siberian Husky Potty Training


Hello Barb,

I have an 11 month old Siberian Husky named Dallas.
Since she was a puppy she has always been very typically stubborn and hard headed. My  question for you is, how can I prevent her from eliminating in the house? First, I would like to give you some background information on the situation to help explain the whole issue. I spent the time to try and instill good habits from day one by rewarding her when she went outside and always cleaning up when she did have an accident with an Enzymatic cleaner with her out of sight and crate trained her. She seemed to be taking to it fairly well even at her young age. I obviously never expected perfection because she was still so little. When Dallas was about 2 months of age me and my Fiance' unexpectedly lost the house we were renting due to the owner not paying the mortgage and it eventually, without our knowledge, going into foreclosure. This left us high and dry without a place to live and without funds to purchase a new place and at this point I was already very attached to my little girl and couldn't imagine giving her up but how could I find a hotel that would accept animals let alone have a 2 month old Husky who isn't thoroughly potty trained in a hotel without her damaging things or ruining the carpet when shes out of the crate. My only logical option at the time was to take her to a local boarding place that a friend of my fiance works at. They were very good to her and really went above and beyond in the duties to help us in this rough time. Unfortunately for the 2 months she wound up being boarded her potty training was nearly non existent and by the time I got her back any progress I made was gone. I expected this and just went back into her old routine the second I got her home.

Okay, now here is my dilemma. I can't seem to potty train her no matter what I do since she has been back. When she is crated she doesn't care if she lays in her own feces or urine and seems to have an accident within a few hours or less of being in her crate. I'm assuming this behavior steamed from being boarded for a long period of time( Side note: She was walked 3 times daily and was in an outside/inside kennel so she had access to go to the bathroom outside anytime)Also she constantly eliminates in the house in random spots. I watch her and when she goes to go potty in the house I sternly say "NO" and walk her outside immediately and if she goes I praise her and give her a treat. I have noticed though she rarely ever goes potty in the house when I am watching her, she waits for me to be distracted for literally 3 seconds and takes the opportunity to do it. I still clean with an enzymatic cleaner with her out of my sight.

So I was wondering what am I doing wrong? I own my own company and I feel like every waking minute of my free time is devoted to her. I love her but quite honestly this is severely wearing on me. I try to always make sure she has toys to keep her stimulated and let her play in the backyard and take her for walks. Also she is healthy. She JUST had a check up and she is in tip top shape so its not a medical issue.

I apologize for my rambling. I would really appreciate any tips or corrections you have for me.

Thank you in advance

Hi Stephanie. Once a dog gets used to lying in her own feces and urine, housetraining becomes a real challenge.  Along with that, your dog is prorbably experiencing a lot of stress because of the change in living situations during her first year of life.

My first bit of advice is to get rid of whatever crate you have now and get a new one.  It should be a wire crate with plenty of room for the dog to stand up and turn around in.  Put it in a new location in the house. Throw away all her bedding and replace it with something different.  If you were using a dog bed, put down towels for a while - or just keep it bare.  You want to create an entirely new environment for her while she's crated.  

If her urinalysis was clear (no UTI evident), then we'll have to assume that this behavior is stress related.  Try a Thundershirt on her for a few hours a day.  Put a Comfort Zone/Adaptil DAP plug-in diffuser in her crating area.  If you can find the Adaptil collar online, they work even faster.  Both these products alleviate anxiety and you can Google them to find places to buy them.  

Also, I might recommend an OTC product called Anxitane that promotes relaxation.  This is also available online.

You need to allow her less freedom to make mistakes in the house.  If you can't monitor 100%, she should be crated.  When you're home with her and she's crated, take her out the moment she wakes up.  Stay outside with her and be sure she finishes.  Don't bring her right back in the house.  Stay out and play with her for a while to stimulate the bladder and bowel muscles even more and be sure she empties herself before you come back in.

Teach her a way to tell you she has to go outside and eliminate:  

Huskies have tremendous requirements for exercise.  They need to run and play hard.  Is there a doggie day care in your area that you could take her to a couple times a week?

I would also suggest finding a good group training class in your area.  Building confidence through positive reinforcement training can make a huge difference in a dog.  
Here's the best places to find trainers. Hopefully you can locate one in your area.

Please let me know if you have comments or follow-up questions for me.  Good luck!

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Barb Gadola, CPDT-KA, KPA CTP


I can answer questions related to problem dog behaviors, teaching polite manners, puppy raising, and any type of training-related issues. My website page, offers a wealth of information on training and behavior issues as well.


I've been training dogs since 1989 and own and operate Distinctive Dog Training LLC in Keller TX. I specialize in providing practical and positive solutions for families through personalized training in their home.

Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner
Victoria Stilwell Positively! Licensed Trainer
Association of Pet Dog Trainers
Association of Animal Behavior Professionals
Truly Dog Friendly Coalition

BS in Education
Graduate work in Behavioral Psychology
Karen Pryor Academy Dog Training Program
Certified Professional Dog Trainer

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