Bringing home a new dog is always an exciting moment. Being prepared and being careful are important when bringing home rescue dogs. I had brough home two rottweilers from a gassing pound. Didn’t plan on it. In fact the only plan I made was that the new dogs would stay in the spare room upstairs.
Poor puppies just narrowly escaped a brush with death, so I gave them two nice soft blankets in their new ‘room’ and a lobster pot full of water, and left them to quietly simmer down and settle in.
Well one of the dogs lifted his leg and peed in the water as i was closing the door, and the other was shredding away at one of the blankets… ok..i needed a break though.
Sure enough, as a hint of more to come. These dogs were not clean at all and needed to be toilet trained. I knew from having dogs before that I had to be consistent in timing and feeding to make sure they would at least eliminate outside on our walks.
Due to their size, occasional grumpiness, and unknown history I never punished the dogs physically- not ever for anything. I kept their exposure to unknown situations to a minimum, and walked them in a very quiet industrial area during off hours.
At one point I was up to 6 walks a day with these two (walking them was yet another adventure!) and still up to my elbows in piles and puddles. It was gross, and frustrating..and after a week, the dogs got a new ‘den’ in the basement where i could cover the floor in tarp, cardboard and those little pee training pads that they sell.
At some point one of them was consistently doing his business right next to his water and food, I really though there was no hope..but kept walking them, kept regular feeding times and praised them when they did business outside- sometimes walks took 2 hours till they were done.
Toilet training really took a positive turn when i brought treats on the walk, they learned to do their business on command, and within the same week, their messy ways stopped too.
It worked for me ..I did a real positive approach of gushing over them when they did their business outside. They also got a treat if i said’ go pee’ and they lifted their leg. Smarter than i thought! And walks were not sooo long anymore.
The dogs were never allowed to roam free in the house during this period.. also because i had a cat..but i followed the ideas in NILF nothing in life is free training approach for this and it worked fine!! Also kept a dog on tether (on leash around my waist) to make sure he would not eat my cat. Did this tethering for about an hour a day for each dog.
Two weeks later..they were given maybe an hour off leash while we watched tv, and if they stayed calm when cat walked by they got a treat. Otherwise I did my best, got their attention and retreated them back to their ‘den’ area.
Probably Three-Four weeks later, they were finally promoted to having free range on the main floor, and the cat had some escape routes she could run off to. They still slept in their Den, but were getting integrated more.