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Dogs/My 2yr Havanese started going on our new rugs


I live in an apartment in NYC and my 2yr dog is trained to go both outside and on a wee wee pad. She rarely has accidents. But we moved to a new apt and bought shag rugs for the living room and den. She started peeing and pooping on the rugs. I have sprayed them with white vinegar and bitter apple. I have penned her when I catch her doing it. Now the den door is closed and I barracked the living room with boxes. But this is not a permanent solution. Any thoughts.

Oh dear.  I wrote an article awhile ago on how dogs think about house breaking, but in short, dogs have to be house broken all over again when the circumstances (or rugs) change.  When you make a change, it is no longer considered their den to them and they feel free to go on the new area.  Start from the first step again as if she was a new puppy.  The good news is it shouldn't take as long.   Below find the article I wrote.
Dogs will naturally keep their dens clean, it is an instinct.  When they are babies they will try and get away from the sleeping area and then go to the bathroom.  The older and stronger they get, the further they go away from the sleeping area to go to the bathroom. When a dog is crate trained and left in the crate longer than his physical ability to “hold it”, they are forced to go to the bathroom in their den and will adapt to that way of thinking.  The dog must now be housebroken starting from the beginning. They must learn to keep their bed clean again by being confined again to a room (not a crate) where there is a bed and pads/papers  so they can start to keep their bed/den clean.  An ex-pen can be used also.  This must be followed up with constant surveillance until the dog is stable in their habits.  
The premise is to give your pup a choice of going to the bathroom in their bed or on the papers/pads you have provided.  Put a bed on one end inside a room (a laundry room or bathroom or kitchen will do) or ex-pen.  Leave six inches between the bed and the papers and put the pads/papers down inside the whole rest of room/pen….  I recommend the puppy pads with the housebreaking scent to start, then you can switch to any kind of papers.    Make sure the bed is washed and clean…maybe even a new bed. Now when he/she is left in there she has the ability to pee somewhere other than her bed…Also she is used to smelling like her bed, she must be washed as well.  Otherwise she will try to make the bed smell as she does.  As the days go by, and once she starts going on the papers instead of the bed, I want you to pick up a small portion of the papers and reduce the size of where she can go, leaving more space between the bed and the pads.  As she learns to go more and more on the pads, you will be able to pick up more until you are down to one pad.  This pad can now be put near a door and eventually outside the door.   She must be praised when she goes on the papers.
At the same time you are doing this you will continue to take her out and treat her when she goes outside.    Make sure to read all of this so you understand more on how a dog thinks.
A common mistake is made if you have a dog confined to a bathroom or kitchen area, and he starts becoming housebroken in that area, most people think that  “WOW!  MY DOG IS HOUSE BROKEN AND HE CAN NOW HAVE FREE RUN OF THE HOUSE”.   NO!!! You may be thinking that, but the dog is thinking (when he gets out of the room) “I am out of my den now so I can go to the bathroom here.”  Do you see how they think?  They keep their den clean.  So you have to teach them that the whole house is their den, one room at a time, not just the kitchen.  To do this, you must  housebreak…. dogs   in each room of your house..  When first introduced to new rooms, the dog should be kept on a leash which is attached to your waist.  This way you can correct  or praise the minute your dog even sniffs.
Another mistake that is made, is in the mornings….when a dog first gets up, he has to go relieve his bladder.  So we let them out and he urinates outside or on the paper/pad.   During the time he was sleeping, his bladder filled. When it filled, his kidneys said  “Oh the bladder is filled I better not send anymore urine there until he empties it.   So in the morning the bladder is emptied and the kidneys immediately start sending the stored up urine back to the bladder.  Sooooooo within about 20 minutes or maybe less,  the dog has to go again.  And if you are not there to let him out, he might just go wherever he is at the moment.  Keep him with you after he gets up.  Keep watching him so you can watch for signs of restlessness or sniffing.  When you see this, hurry him to the door saying,”Do you have to go out?”   and “good potty”  when  he/she does, etc.  If you do this often enough he will get the idea.
Naming the act is the best thing you can do.  Eventually the dog will go when you give the command “Go Potty”.  Just keep saying “Good Potty” every time he does it right and eventually he will ‘get it’.
You can also put a bell on the door and get him used to ringing this when he has to go out.   This way no matter where you are you will hear the bell and know he has to go out.  


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Nancy Perry


You can ask me anything on dog training, dog breeding, dog grooming. What type of dog you should get. Pertinent facts about different breeds. I am also specifically knowledgeable about terriers and the diets that help maintain coat excellence. I have trained and helped owners train their dogs.


I have worked in dog training for 35 years. I have been a dog groomer for 25 years..

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