I have a 5month old male pup, Apollo. I got him at 6 weeks for my 10 yo son. A coworker had an oops litter and was in a hurry to get rid of them. After bringing Apollo home, I noticed when I would take him outside to potty, he would love to go in my flower beds that contained rocks. It didn't take long to teach him to go in the grass. To this day though, I continue to have issues with him going in the house or in his crate. I learned not long ago that this coworker kept the pups on a cement patio, so I've read it can be difficult to potty train if they learned to go on hard surface at the beginning.
In the past with other dogs I've had, I used the rub the nose in the mess, spank and take outside along with setting timers and watching for cues and it didn't take longer than a week to house break. This has absolutely not worked for Apollo. What makes it hard is we have 1.5 acres that is not fenced so it is left to us to take him out on a leash.
---setting a timer frequently. He would go outside, come back in playing and just stop and go right where he's at....shows no cues he had to go again. Or we go outside for a long time, nothing. Go back in, reset a timer for 5 minutes, but he'll go before the timer...again he shows no cues. He knows when I say let's potty, to run to the back door, but he doesn't let me know on his own when he needs to go out. (I've never in my life not seen the timer method not work!)
---crate training. I work night shift. I was setting my alarm every 2 to 3 hours to get up to take him out. This helped until he learned what time I get up for good and in between the last alarm and before I officially get up, he would pee in his crate and then cry. I think he learned when he goes in crate, we take him out, and clean it. So, I started letting him wait it out in his mess. Eventually it didn't bother him and he would lay in it...after a few days of this battle of the wills he stopped for a time. When it started again, I put a divider in there. This did help until he became too long legged and when he slept stretched out his legs were sticking out. My bf is currently not working and home a majority of the time so he lets him out frequently during the day and at night while I work. We have had incidents where we take him, he goes, back to crate, stares at us and pees in the crate. Now I do admit recently he has been better about holding it. He's smart. He knows as soon as that leash goes on, we go straight to the grass and he's quick about doing his business. Yes, we give him lots of exciting praise, or treats, extra play time etc...
---umbilical method. Well, when he doesn't show you cues he needs to go and just randomly pees even while attached to you, I don't know what to say. I stopped this and letting him in the house when less than a month ago, I had him in bed with us, bf called him over to him and Apollo stepped over me to walk to him then stopped between us and peed in our bed before I even saw his stance, it happened so fast.
I'm scared to let him back in the house to try again because bf gets frustrated easily with the pottying in the house (we moved there a year ago and he feels like it's tearing up the house). Money is strapped at the moment with him not working or we would build a dog run. We let him out frequently, take him walking in mornings and evenings with play time. I think he wants to be by our side at all times. Bf wants to rehome him bc he's frustrated with him not housebreaking and seeing him in crate. I don't want to do this, but I know I have to think of Apollo too and it's not fair to him that bf lost his job after we got him and money is strapped right now. Apollo is so smart other than this potty stuff lol!
Yes, I have used enzyme sprays, tried vinegar and regular dawn dish soap to clean up messes.
Any other advice?