I recently adopted a 14 week old shepherd/lab mix named Snickers. She had been in the county shelter for 6 weeks when I adopted her, and I can only imagine what she went through before and during her imprisonment. She's a perfect lady except when it comes to potty time. I've been rewarding her when we go outside on our regular schedule, but she gets so scared if I say "no" and send her to her crate when she goes in the house. Like...shaking and panting and she shies away if we come to get her to come outside. I have no idea what to do...I just want to finish this last bit of training without her being afraid I would hurt her, which I could never do to any animal. Suggestions?
It going to take some time to undo what you have done so far. What you should do WHEN CATCHING HER IN THE ACT is without saying anything, quickley scoop her up and take her outside AND STAY WITH HER until she does her thing. You may catch yourself waiting 10 or 15 minutes. Don't worry its normal for it to be a while before she pottys outside after being interrupted. Yes, you may leave a trail of pee all the way out the door, but always carry her outside. This teaches her the proper place to eliminate.
If you find a "pile" or "puddle" in the house after the fact, you do absolutely nothing except clean it up. Don't fuss. Don't be in a bad mood when cleaning it up. It's there because YOU didn't do your job. Your job is not to let her out of your sight until she is completely potty trained. When you leave the house or go to bed or will otherwise be distracted, put her in her crate and take her outside immediately upon releasing her from the crate.
You need to learn how to not fuss at her for doing something wrong. The easiest thing to do is distract her and redirect her to more desirable behavior. This is necessary because of the fear she has of you at this point. Hopefully it won't last forever. Most people are geared towards correcting (fussing ... or more) the dog and never showing her proper behavior. They point out what is the wrong behavior but never think to show the desired behavior. Don't fuss ... teach.
Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring-it was peace. - Milan Kundera
I think I worded that badly, start to finish.
She's wonderful about doing her thing EVERY time I take her out (I've been trying to stick to a schedule so I put her food down on a regular basis, and take her out soon after every time). Even if she doesn't really have to go, she will because she knows that's why we're outside. I only SAW her go inside twice...it's WHEN she goes inside that's the problem. As I said, I would never be able to so much as raise my voice to a pet. They certainly don't deserve that kind of treatment. Snickers seems to have pretty bad seperation anxiety. It's only if I, for example, close my bedroom door to change clothes or otherwise seperate myself from her, that she soils the house. She does this ONLY with me, and this is still an issue even if my husband and roommate are both with her. I understand that this partiality is a common thing with Sherpherd breeds, but that, coupled with the anxiety issue, tend to be a little overwhelming.
I didn't realize until this afternoon that it really isn't a potty training problem. I'm sorry to have confused the issue