Potty Training Question:
Q: Over the past 3 months, Rigby is pooping in the house. Sometimes it's when I leave him alone & other times it's when I'm here. Last week I brought out his crate again so I wouldn't come home to it but yesterday I brought the gate out so he's not so confined. I don't know what the right thing to do is. Last week my housekeeper went in my office to clean & he had peed on the side of the dog bed I keep in there all over my wood floor. Since I don't go in that room every day, I have no idea when I did it. I've always had to keep a gate up on the stairs because if he goes up there, he always poops in one of the bedrooms on the carpet. He never poops on the wood floor or tile floor, always on my area rugs or carpet upstairs. Any advice would be gratefully received.
Unfortunately dogs do choose to pee on the nice carpet, as opposed to the linoleum floors, and during times of potty problems, area rugs tend to be a target for trouble. Whether a puppy or a grown dog, potty training or re-training is always the same. A dog needs to respect their own space first, before they will respect yours. You are on the right track of bringing the kennel and the gate back out. Confine Rigby's space so you can see if he dis-respects his own space also, or just your space. Test the amount of area he can be trusted in, and expand the area when he is successful.
For now, I would close off the rooms you are not using. To re-initiate those rooms into his life, you will need to spend time in those rooms, with Rigby, to let him know it is not his personal latrine. Don't worry too much about how the system went sour, but just begin correcting it. He may have had an "accident" one day, and when it went undetected, it now became a "convenience", and then a habit. You just need to change the "habit". Remember, they say for a human, it takes 21 days, or 100 tries to break a habit. It is not instant, so stay focused on the goal, and keep directing your dog to the right potty place. I have found in our 2 week dog boot camp, we could correct any naughty behavior, but the new good behavior must continue to be reinforced so that no one falls off the wagon, or in this case wee wee does not go to the wayside!
Here is a link to a potty training blog I wrote with step by step directions.