Hello, I'm brand new to the group, found it just tonight, but thank goodness! I've been reading some of the 3,000+ posts and it looks like there's much good advice to be had here. So, if you will please, cast an eye on my story and see what you think?
We've had our puppy for 5 months. She's a six and a half month old Yorkshire Terrier / Jack Russel mix, long-haired. We bought her from a small pet store, very clean, and the owners seemed to be more involved with the animals than just as business.
When we first saw her, her pen was lined with wood chips. This might be important to what I'm about to tell, I don't know.

I brought her home and attempted to house train her. I'm a stay-at-home-mom. We live in the upper levels of a city apartment, no elevator. I have a year-old baby and it isn't reasonable for me to take her out every hour-and-a-half as I'm the only one home for the greater part of the day, so I thought litter box training was our best bet.

We bought a large litter box, big enough for her to walk around in. I began by taking her to the box, watching her behaviors and trying to see when she needed to go. I didn't discipline her in any way when she had an accident because I read this makes the dog afraid to eliminate in front of you. I just cleaned up.
She seemed to have a "spot" to go in so I put the litter box on top of that spot and put some of the paper towels I used to clean up with under the litter. She seemed to train very quickly the first month she was with us and eliminated and defecated in the box.
Then it all went to pot and I don't know what I've done wrong.

She began by eliminating in her bed, rather than the litter box. It got very bad and I couldn't seem to discourage her from it so I had to throw her dog pillow away and get her another. Same thing happened. Eliminating in the bed and sleeping on top of it. Then I resorted to large towels and it was the same thing. I thought at first her using the bed might have something to do with trying to eliminate the smell of the pet shop which might be clinging to the pillow. But the towels smelled like her new family so that couldn't be it.

I then attempted to reinforce "going" in the box and sleeping in the bed with praise and extra attention. She then began to go in the box, but also slept in it on top of her urine spots and ate her stool.

Now, after working with her for 5 months consistently, I have a doggie who defecates and urinates in both her bed and litter box, and is happy to sleep on top of it in either location.
She eliminates and defecates outside of the litter box no matter how clean I keep it - litter box is changed at least once per day - but just outside it. Somewhere very close, like she knows where she's supposed to go but doesn't want to put it in the same spot all the time.

I want to socialize with her but gradually her coat has become and now stays so filthy it's getting to where I no longer want to touch her. I can't bathe her constantly or her skin will stay dried out. Sleeping on top of the filth with cracked-open skin will lead to infections, so that's out. If I let her out into the rest of the house she urinates on my children's possessions, no matter how closely I watch her.

So I'm keeping her confined to one room at the moment and trying to restart the litter box training.
I've obviously done something wrong along the way. If you have any advice at all I'd be grateful. I'm at my end and we're considering selling her if the problem can't be corrected. It's a shame because she really is a sweet-tempered little dog. She tries hard to please but doesn't seem to get what I want her to do.
This is my first dog and maybe 5 months isn't a long time to work at this kind of problem, but it seems to be getting worse instead of better. It seems I've adopted a puppy who likes to exist in her own filth and it's very frustrating.
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This is my first dog and maybe 5 months isn't a long time to work at this kind of problem, ... of better. It seems I've adopted a puppy who likes to exist in her own filth and it's very frustrating.

That's one of the big problems with buying a dog at a pet store. They put them in a cage or box or pen and leave them there all the time. The dogs have to pee or poop where they eat and sleep, which is totally contrary to their nature. But since they are stuck with it, they get used to it. You now have a dog that is used to peeing and pooping on the same wood chips it was sleeping on and thinks nothing of the smell or mess of it. She might even find that comforting by this point.Confining her to the room where the litter box is has reinforced this. You need to keep her tethered to you with a leash tied around your waist wherever you go. If she shows any indication that she needs to pee (sniffing for a spot, squatting, etc.), take her to the area where you want her to go and tell her to "go potty" or whatever other phrase you want to use. Praise her to high heaven and give her a treat when she does. BUT you then have to get her away from the potty spot to play, sleep, etc.

Stake out a new place near where you hang out with your baby to be her resting spot. Don't let her sleep in her filth. Play with her and talk to her while you do what you have to do around the house. Remember she is tethered to you by the leash so she can't run off and do anything you don't want her to do and so that she gets used to staying with you and feeling part of your pack. You can have both hands for your baby when you need them because she's tied to you.

Make sure she gets constant messages about what are the playing places, the sleeping places and the peeing places in your house. If you can, it would be better to skip the litter box and take her outside to pee so she gets a really clear message about where the peeing happens and that it isn't where her pack sleeps and plays.

Paula
"Anyway, other people are weird, but sometimes they have candy, so it's best to try to get along with them." Joe Bay
1) after cleaning up the bed and making it smell nice.Elevate the bed by 1 feet higher than the litter box, elevating the dog bed differentiates it from the litter box because it gives the dog a better view from which to view the world. dogs naturally like to rest in
either a enclose hutch-like enclosure ( shelter instinct) or elevated area ( sentry position instinct )
create a makeshift ramp so the puppy can reach the bed. Position the bed farther away from the litter box.
2) What makes a dog keep the bed clean is the dog's desire tostay clean. You need to teach the puppy to appreciate being and staying clean. Give your puppy a bath atleast once a week and praise it after the bath. If the puppy's skin is drying out use a medicated shampoo for dogs ( if you are unsure as to what to get ask your vet. medicated shampoo for dogs is similar to human dandruff shampoo ). If you don't keep the puppy clean ,then the puppy is not going to think too much about of dirtying its bed but if the dog is clean than its more likely going to want to avoid dirtying its bed up. After the puppy
urinates or defecates in the litter box, don't
let it stay in the litter box. (normally, a dog will move away from the area its defecated and kick its hind legs towards the feces as if to clean its hind legs). Get the puppy out of the litter box, ask the puppy to sit nearby, clean your puppy up if its dirty, then ask the puppy again to sit/stay, then clean
the box up (and give your puppy a treat for
siting so still while you cleaned everything up).
The goal is to have a clean puppy which smells,
looks, and feels nice to touch.

3) Keep the puppy on a leash at all times in the house.During the times when the puppy is at risk of urinating or defecating in the house you need to be holding its lease. So if the dog crouches down or lifts its leg as if it might urinate or defecate in an inappropiate spot - you must quickly pull the lease and say NO very loudly - stopping it from urinating or defecating. Follow this by moving the puppy to the appropiate area and saying Poo or Pee in a purring manner and wait. If nature is really calling, then after the puppy knows its okay, the puppy will do its business in the appropiate area. Praise the puppy afterwards ( handing it a puppy treat might help too ).

4) take your puppy out for a walk atleast in the morningand in the evenings. More if possible The particular breeds you cited are naturally active and need exercise. Lack of physical activity and mobility creates stress which could impede your puppy training efforts.

5) Dogs don't normally use litter boxes but I've heardsome can be trained albeit I don't know of any myself. You might put housebreaking pad (purchased in the pet store) in the litter box - its scented to tell the puppy its okay to urinate there.

6) eating feces is a common behavioral problem but itcould also indicate a physical health issue, e.g.
dietary deficiency. See a vet.
BTW ...Why the puppy? (9 9)
Taking care of two babies at once is a considerable task.
That's one of the big problems with buying a dog at a pet store. They put them in a cage ... on and thinks nothing of the smell or mess of it. She might even find that comforting by this point.

I was afraid of that when I saw the wood chips. They were biggish like something you'd line a flower bed with. It seemed impossible to me the caregivers could find puppy messes in that particular bedding. She was only about a month and half old when we got her, but any time spent away from her mother using the wood chips was time she spend learning it was okay to go anywhere and sleep around it.
Now to completely change gears - I live in Germany and as far as I know pet shops here don't sell dogs or cats. At least where I live they don't. In order to purchase a puppy you must go to a private owner. We found the ad for this particular shop among the private ads. In the past I've had communication difficulties over the phone (language barrier), so I decided to check it out. We discovered it was a small business in a rural area just on the border of Belgium.

I have to say, other than the wood chips, I'm reluctant to fault the owners of that particular shop for being abusive, knowingly or unknowingly. It wasn't like the shops in the States where the pups cower in tiny metal cages, nor did it seem they were getting puppies from puppy mills and passing them on to the unsuspecting public. It was more like them being the middle man between local private owners and the public.
In the whole store there were only two pups and no cats. When we asked about the future possibility of having more to choose from, we were told it could be anytime depending when they received new dogs and we'd have to keep calling back to check.
The pens were large, about eight feet by four feet. The two pups were housed together. There was a large, grassy, well-kept yard as big as a field available no more than a couple feet out a door, and animals were exercising in it when we arrived. There was even a fine-netted area to allow the flight birds exercise. I didn't see any evidence the animals were treated other than with dignity. Like I said before, it was a far cry from the pet shops I've visited in the U.S.
Confining her to the room where the litter box is has reinforced this.

Ouch. Ignorance in motion. I knew I was doing something wrong. :>
You need to keep her tethered to you with a leash tied around your waist wherever you go. If she ... gets a really clear message about where the peeing happens and that it isn't where her pack sleeps and plays.

Thank you, Paula. That sounds like excellent advice. I'll start immediately.
1) after cleaning up the bed and making it smell nice. Elevate the bed by 1 feet higher than the ... create a makeshift ramp so the puppy can reach the bed. Position the bed farther away from the litter box.

My mother, a former mail carrier no less, kept her own private pack - 7-8 dogs at a time. She wasn't aware of dog rescue, just took it on herself to take a new one in, heal it, attempt to place it when she saw a need.
I have never seen her do this, nor have I heard of it. But if you say it works, I'm willing to try anything at this point.

Moving the bed farther away from the litter box seems like a good idea. Currently the bed and box are at opposite corners of the kitchen. I'm thinking of moving her in where we sleep, though. She's quiet, has been from the beginning, but tends to shift and wander around at night.
2) What makes a dog keep the bed clean is the dog's desire to stay clean. You need to teach the puppy to appreciate being and staying clean.

Yeah. I'm thinking of trimming her coat. It's been in the dirt so long it's acquired a permanent stink, even after the bath.
Give your puppy a bath atleast once a week and praise it after the bath. If the puppy's skin is ... you cleaned everything up). The goal is to have a clean puppy which smells, looks, and feels nice to touch.

Sounds good.
3) Keep the puppy on a leash at all times in the house. During the times when the puppy is ... its business in the appropiate area. Praise the puppy afterwards ( handing it a puppy treat might help too ).

Hm. I tried that. It scared her. She peed in self-defense and was confused when I took her to the box. However, I didn't have her on the leash or keep her with me constantly. I suspect that will make a big difference.
4) take your puppy out for a walk atleast in the morning and in the evenings. More if possible The particular breeds you cited are naturally active and need exercise. Lack of physical activity and mobility creates stress which could impede your puppy training efforts.

I will.
5) Dogs don't normally use litter boxes but I've heard some can be trained albeit I don't know of any ... in the pet store) in the litter box - its scented to tell the puppy its okay to urinate there.

Funny you should mention not hearing of dogs trained to litter boxes. The box and litter I bought at the pet shop was designed specifically for small breed dogs. I wonder if I've been scammed. And if so, I wonder what do the older ladies and gents do who are mobile-challenged. I've seen many an older lady with a tiny pet on a leash. Surely they're not going home to piles and piles of dog excrement, nor do they seem to be people who have the energy to pick up after an animal all day long. There must be a way to do this.
6) eating feces is a common behavioral problem but it could also indicate a physical health issue, e.g. dietary deficiency. See a vet.

Definitely. Last night I read many other posts recommending the same. Excluding health problems, info I found online suggested she may be doing this out of guilt. Makes sense. I guess she sensed my disappointment in the mess.
BTW ...Why the puppy? (9 9) Taking care of two babies at once is a considerable task.

You're telling me! I plead ignorance. The baby, you see, is under control. He's happily being played with, taken care, kept clean, etc. This being a priority, of course.
Where I ran afoul was assuming that playing with and petting a dog a couple hours a day, keeping the litter box cleaned out, keeping the food bowl stocked with nutricious goodies and clean water three times per day, and spending 2-3 months of persistent, patient litter box training was going to be enough. It literally feels like I have a second baby, albeit a furry one that can already walk.
Our local animal shelter, I too late discovered, has a program where you can borrow a dog, take it home for a couple weeks to see if you and the animal are compatible. I sincerely wish I would've known about and participated in that program. I doubt it would've deterred me from getting a dog, but I would have been much better informed.
2) What makes a dog keep the bed clean is the dog's desire to stay clean. You need to teach ... week and praise it after the bath. If the puppy's skin is drying out use a medicated shampoo for dogs

You can bathe a dog quite often without drying out the skin/coat. The key is to use a mild shampoo and rinse, rinse, rinse. Any shampoo left on the skin will cause irritation.
A decade ago, I used to take my arthritic smooth collie, Dino, to an equine swim center (main clients were steeplechasers & jumpers) for swim therapy three times a week. The pool was heavily chlorinated (horses will poop in the water - ugh) and he had to get a bath after each use. Dino was a white smooth collie with a sable head & rump stop - and under the white fur was sensitive pink skin. He had skin trouble all his life but oddly enough his skin greatly improved after we started his swim therapy & he got three baths a week. His chronic seborrhea vanished and his skin was a healthy pale pink with no signs of irritation. It was an unexpected benefit.

So IMHO you can bathe your little guy any time he gets dirty. At least he's little, unlike Dino at 60 lbs, so it should be fairly easy to scoop the little stinker up & put him in the sink. I would keep a squirt bottle of diluted puppy shampoo next to the sink for convenience. Since you mentioned he was a long-haired dog, I'd suggest you get his coat trimmed down - it'll make bathing him much easier. Remember to rinse, rinse, rinse. Give him much praise and cuddling time when he's clean so he'll see the benefit.

Chris and her smoothies,
Pablo & Lucy-Goosie
2) What makes a dog keep the bed clean is ... skin is drying out use a medicated shampoo for dogs

You can bathe a dog quite often without drying out the skin/coat. The key is to use a mild shampoo ... Remember to rinse, rinse, rinse. Give him much praise and cuddling time when he's clean so he'll see the benefit.

) This post made me smile. Thanks for sharing the wisdom. I am going to bathe the puppy and keep a watchful eye on the integrity of her skin, and if she shows any other signs of irritation (scratching, rolling). Going to the pet supply today to get a good shampoo.
LisatheSequel (Email Removed) said in
6) eating feces is a common behavioral problem but it could also indicate a physical health issue, e.g. dietary deficiency. See a vet.

Definitely. Last night I read many other posts recommending the same. Excluding health problems, info I found online suggested she may be doing this out of guilt. Makes sense. I guess she sensed my disappointment in the mess.

There can be many reasons for a dog eating poop, but guilt, or any other emotional response is not one of them.
You could spend a lot of time figuring out why your puppy eats poo (though Paula was probably bang on) and how to fix it; but in my experience no matter why they start it quickly becomes a habit. The only solution is to break the habit by cleaning it up right away.

Matt. Rocky's a Dog.
This is a good advice. I definitely will try it on my pet.
John S.

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