Just got a wonderful 8 week Dobe, Baron. Having a bit of a dilemma on how to house train him in regards to one spot outside. He does not have accidents in the house, which is great; he really does want to go outside.
At the breeder's he had tons of grass to run around in, so obviously he is comfortable going in grass. I built a special spot for him with smooth pebbles in the corner of the back yard - my family has always had this spot with our dogs, and it saves us cleaning up poo in the whole yard. The problem is that he HATES the spot. I can take him out for 5 mins or 20, it makes no difference. He howls like I'm torturing him. I use the keyword 'quick quick,' put him in the spot on a leash attached to the fence, and look away so I don't make eye contact or give attention. Eventually he just sits and stares and howls. I know he doesn't 'get' what I want, but I don't seem to be making any progress. But if I carry him out front and say 'quick quick' he immediately trots to the usual spot (I have been carrying him to the devils strip out front) and relieves himself. I have a huge party and everyone wins. I have literally spent an entire day before setting the timer for 10-15 min intervals, taking him to the pebbles, trying the phrase, then placing him back in his crate til time's up and trying again -- he held out a whole day and pooped 3 times and peed twice on one walk, after I felt like I just had to let him relieve himself. I don't want to make him sick.
I had stopped temporarily training him in the back because he was scratching the heck out of his ears, newly cropped, and they got a bad infection -had to take him to e.r. vet clinic yesterday. We have better antibiotics and ear care things now, and are making great progress, so I'm hoping he'll be back on track within a day or two. But as it is, if I put him out there in the pebbles he scratches continually til I turn around to stop him - defeating the purpose of ignoring him. He is too distracted by the itching to go.
... My point and question is, if he loves grass so much do I have a better shot at potty training him to one grassy spot in the back yard? Should I give up the pebbles altogether? I feel like he would respond to the grass more easily - but would that confuse him since the rest of the yard would still technically be 'off limits'? Right now I am helping ears heal by taking him out front because when we go on walks or to the park it will still be acceptable for him to go in the median... But the cone comes off next Tuesday and I have to decide how to handle the back yard potty 'spot' training. I think he already associates 'quick quick' with relieving himself (amazing as that might sound) so I thought if I keep doing that til next Tuesday maybe he will recognize the phrase when I place him on the pebbles and he will go???
The other tricky piece is that I am moving into an apartment tomorrow (finally after a lot of hectic planning and delays), and have been staying at my boyfriend's place, because he has a yard and owns a house which is ideal for puppy -- so the spot is at my boyfriend's house, and I will probably just train him to relieve himself on command in one spot of grass in the back yard area of my apartment complex when he's hanging out with me. Is this too confusing? I don't want to demand more of Baron than he can handle :/
Any advice greatly appreciated! Thank you!!