Italian Greyhounds/potty training
I've had my ig since Feb. We lived in an apartment on the top level. I had been having problems with her listening and using the potty outside. She won't use it outside because it is too cold. So I got her a sweater. Even in the warm weather she will hold on using it until she comes inside. I've used treats. I tried crate training her but she'll go and use it inside her crate. I've tried everything. I am about to move in my new home and I don't want her to mess up the flooring. I would hate to give her up because I love her and is so attached to her. Please help me!
Hello! Well I have to say this is the most common question about IG's and the most frustrating. IG's can take several years to be completely potty trained. The average IG will be a year to three years old before they are considered "potty trained" and even then it is typically only 80% accuracy. This is one of the most difficult breeds to housetrain because they are so adverse to any type of weather.
You didn't mention the age of the IG so I assume it is a younger dog. It is concerning that she is willing to potty in her crate, that is not typical of an IG - unless they have already become accustomed to pottying in the crate. This can be very difficult to stop. Remove all bedding from crate so that if they potty there is no way it is absorbed - IGs don't like to be messy and they will typically avoid it. If the crate is too large, then they will pee on one side and lay on the other, this is counterproductive as well. I have found that setting up a playpen (Xpen) with the bottom half of a crate in it (in this instance you can put a towel in the bottom of the crate) and a potty pad outside the crate will encourage the dog to lay in the crate and potty on the piddle pad. This doesn't work all the time but it can work. Beware though, IGs find piddle pads as awesome chew toys so you will need to either get a pottypad frame or use a hospital bed pad made of fabric that is washable so she can't eat it. :)
You can attempt to potty pad train her, or you can continue to train her to go outside but my advice is that you take her outside on a leash and keep walking around with her until she potties, it may take hours at first. Once she potties then praise praise praise - have an extra special treat in your pocket and act like she just won the lottery. IG's really want to please but they do need to know "what is in it for them." You celebrating will teach them that this is what you want. Warning, this could take an hour or more the first time you finally are successful. I have been outside walking in circles for over 2 hours before doing this - but once they get it, they truly get it. You have to be consistent, don't come back inside with her until she has pottied, even if it takes a long time. Once she understands, she will get faster at it. While you are out with her, don't let her sit still, keep her moving, this encourages her bladder to work. If she just sits then she can hold it until you freeze and finally give up, but if you keep her moving, her body will naturally want to do its business. It is a good idea to figure out how soon after eating/drinking she will need to potty so you don't have to wait so long.
Around the house I recommend umbilical training. This is a training method that puts her on a leash with you all the time, when she isn't on the leash she is confined. This way if she tries to go potty, you can quickly catch her and move her to the paper or outside. The key is consistency, you must be prepared to drop everything to immediately move her to the potty area, then praise her if she goes in that area. You can work on paper and there are some sprays that will attact them to the paper, this makes potty training easier in the winter months when IGs will really really really NOT want to go outside. You have to keep consistent though, always praising and always giving treats when she does what she needs to do. Clicker training is really good for this. However you choose to do it, stay consistent even when it is rough. :)
The key with any type of sighthound is positive reinforcement - they always want to please but can't be forced to please. These dogs are loving and special as I am sure you know, but they are sensitive and so always remain positive and I know you will have success.