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Friday, 24 February 2012

A wee puppy problem


I have a Border Collie who has just turned one, and as we got him from a Welsh hill farm, he was living outside and was not potty trained.

We have had him for nearly three months now and he still has not got the concept of it. We have used a few techniques but have so far they haven't worked.

We thought we would benefit from some advice as they are very clever dogs as well.

Many thanks,

Tamsin Balmer (age 11), by email

Karen Wild, behaviourist, advises...

Hi Tamsin,

It may be that your puppy simply does not recognise the difference between indoors (not toilet) and outside (toilet). Often dogs raised in this way have not learned that they even need to worry about it! Check with your Vet that he is healthy, then go for it!

It can be a drag but go back to the steady, formal method of toilet training. Puppy has to stay confined, either in a crate or under close supervision with you (on a lead if you have to) so that you can keep an eye on him. Every half an hour, take him out to toilet. Reward well when he does go, then allow him freedom for a while – then back to the routine. In the November 2011i ssue, my article on housetraining featured lots of ideas for increasing your chances of success. Nevertheless, spotting early signs such as sniffing and circling, after meals, waking and playtime are key. Keeping a clockwork routine, and rewarding successes are the only sure-fire way to get those toilet manners under control!


  1. Yvonne Collins Dip CABT26 February 2012 at 07:30

    Hi Tamsin
    You need to forget his age and start from scratch as though he is an 8 week old puppy. BUT before you do that, you should catch a urine sample and ask your vet to analyse it - before you start training you need to sure that there is not an underlying medical problem making it difficult for him to hold himself.
    Is he doing a full pee and poo, or is he just squirting?
    Is he neutered?
    Is he getting sufficient mental stimulation?
    Once you have a clear bill of health and have determined that this is not territory marking or stress caused by insufficient mental stimulation, you can start the training.
    Make sure that you go out with him regularly and stay outside until he empties his bladder / bowels.
    Watch out for the signals that he needs to go out -often when you start to watch you will realise that he is trying to tell you he needs to go.
    NEVER react in anyway to any of his accidents.
    Clean up any accidents with a specific cleaning solution such as "Urine Off" to neutralise any odour which could cause him to continue to over mark.
    Good luck

    1. Hi yvonne

      Thanks so much for that great advice and I will be taking him to the vets for a check up .
      I never thought to think of him as a puppy
      I will make sure to put all my time and efort in to training my dog
      thanks again

  2. Yvonne Collins Dip CABT26 February 2012 at 07:48


    I have only just noticed your age - find a local trainer (check out the APDT website for a member) and enrole on a class - if you can find a trainer nearby offering clicker training, you and he will have so much fun together.

    I have had Collies for many years you will become addicted!
    Best wishes

    1. Hi Yvonne

      Thanks so much for your advice I will try really hard
      to follow it.
      I was going to find a local trainer but was not sure but It has made me more certain to do that.

      thank you again,