Would you like to be a member of our research panel? Join here - there's (nearly) always a great incentive offered for your views.
Nearly 38 wks and my dog is stressing me out(27 Posts)
Hi, I will be 38 wks on Tuesday and really struggling at the moment with SPD and just generally feeling pretty rough and also quite depressed. One thing that is really getting me down is the behaviour of my dog - a cross between a chihuaha and a dacshund. She's started to poo in the house in the early hours of the morning. She's done this before, but she stopped for a while and now she's doing it again. I live alone so there is noone else to clean it up. I do everything I can to stop her doing this. I let her out in the garden as late as I possibly can which is usually midnight, which means I can never have an early night. I also let her out every couple of hours during the day and also take her a walk daily, but it makes no difference.
When I do go to bed, I feel stressed and anxious knowing I'm going to get up to find the hallway or the kitchen covered in poo. It would be ok if she let me know she needed the toilet, if she could just bark then I could get up and let her out, but she doesn't.
At 3.30am this morning I heard her wandering about so I went downstairs to find poo all over the kitchen and had to get the mop and bucket out and start cleaning the floor. She may be doing it because she senses the baby is due and feels jealous (my sister stayed last week and my dog did a wee outside her bedroom door).
I just can't cope with this any more and don't know what to do. I love my dog and would miss her if I gave her away but I can't keep on doing this. Not being able to sleep properly because of a dog and having to clean up poo daily when the dog is seven years old is just crazy and when the baby is here it will be a total nightmare if she keeps doing this.
My sister suggested putting her in a cage at night which i think is a great idea but i tried it before with her and she just cried and barked.
I wondered if anyone else had any suggestions as to what I can do?
Thank you, Sarah
Sounds like a nightmare! It could definitely be because she senses the baby and is now acting up, but my friends dog was pooing all over the house and it turned out it actually had something wrong with it!
Not saying your dog does but if this is something completely out of character it could be a couple of things. Does she get regular exercise? Are you still treating her the same way as you did before you were pregnant? Have you changed her food? Are there any things you can think of that have changed for her apart from you obviously being pregnant could be having an effect on her?
Also how are you reacting to her when she does poo? Are you just cleaning it up and walking off or are you making her aware she is doing wrong?
Hi Laura, I don't think there's something wrong with her as ever since I had her as a puppy she has spells of messing in the house. To be honest I think I don't spoil her as much as I used to and there have been changes. For example she is no longer allowed on the sofa or on my bed. I also think she misses my ex partner who left a few months ago as she was very close to him and whenever she sees him she goes crazy. I try to fuss her as much as I can. She's on the same food and it's a good brand - James Wellbeloved.
I always tell her off when she does a poo and she always looks guilty. I'm sure she knows it's wrong. I've also noticed she runs up and down the stairs after she does it, so I'm not sure if she's trying to let me know what she's done. Also, sorry if it's tmi but the poos she does in the house are different to the ones outside. The ones in the house are in little blobs all over the floor whereas outside there are just one or two big lumps.
I guess also the walks I take her on aren't very long, as I can't walk far at the moment. Still though, she has a garden to do her business in. I'm going to buy a cage today, but I know she will hate it, but I don't know what else I can do.
I'd take her to the vet. It could be because she knows the baby's coming but the fact the poo is different suggests something could be physically wrong.
It's worth a shot if you're going to think about rehoming her.
Thanks, I think I will do. She had a check up a couple of months ago and was fine, but it's probably worth another one. The poos themselves are solid not runny and look healthy, but I'll see what the vet says.
I also suggest taking her to the vet to check for physical causes.
You might find it useful to post on the 'doghouse' topic on here. There are lots of lovely, experienced, dog owning mumsnetters on there who will offer you some great advice if it is a behavioural problem. She could well be stressed because of your partner leaving and the baby being imminent.
Good luck with both the baby and the dog
I agree with agrestic any change in poo should be talked about with a vet. I don't know how much your vet charges but if you don't want to do that I have always found somewhere like pets at home very good for advice with my cat. I know it's tmi but is the poo hard or runny?
By the sounds of it she is definitely stressed out. Whether that's due to something physical or her mental wellbeing you do need to speak to someone about it. I am aware that chihuaha's are quite needy pets and any change to their normal daily life can upset them very much. I know it's annoying putting her in a cage at night but you can't be dealing with cleaning up poo every day especially as you'll be giving birth soon.
We had problems with our last dog being really unsettled at night and waking us up. Someone suggested a DAP plug in, I was sceptical but it worked wonders. Regarding poo on the floor, we had this with our current dog, not due to stress just going too often. We changed to Burgess Sensitive dried food which has made a real difference. These tips may not work but both things are available from Amazon and a fairly inexpensive way to try to solve the problem.
Good luck and best wishes with your baby.
You definitely need to take her to the vet to be checked out. She's having a response to a stressor which you do need to find the cause of, but it sounds like an accumulation of things. Please don't tell the dog off, as frustrating as this behaviour is the telling off leads to a vicious circle of this type of behaviour - she's going because she's nervous, then she's nervous of going which makes it kick in naturally. The running up and down stairs is also stressed behaviour.
You could buy a DAP (?) diffuser which releases happy hormones for dogs, they also do a collar which ensures they always have the hormone near to them, handy when going out of the house etc. The Victoria Stilwell pages (Positively) have great advice on them too.
You can help her to stop this behaviour, she just needs a different response to stressors which you will have to help her with. I know how frustrating it can be and being pregnant you do not need this at all. I hope you get it sorted out soon.
Sarah0001, I could have written a very similar post!! My gorgeous adored shih tzu had me all to himself for his first 10 years, and then a year ago my son arrived. I am serious when I say the funny behaviour started when I was pregnant, was at its WORST when I was breastfeeding, and candidly all has never quite returned to the same. I am sad about this, but I will also say that when a baby comes priorities do change a bit.
My dog didn't poo inside but he became really challenging...SO needy, constant pained expression, refusing to walk, refusing to eat, just staring at me...when I would go to feed he would come and stand at the door of the nursery and look at me like I was the worlds greatest disappointment.
I was horrified by this, and really upset...and irritated....until one day I decided that he would have to work it out. He still get loads of love and attention, and now a baby who loves him so much his first word was the dog's name!!!! I know he is much loved in a happy home, so he needs to get over it. And just like you some rules had to change, and like all family members he needs to play along.
Another good step is that my son is finally mobile and interesting (and still besotted with the dog), and slowly they are becoming buddies. The dog is still jealous, and certainly looks down on the baby, but every once in a while, when he thinks I'm not watching, I catch them having the most adorable play. I have done my absolute best, I feel no guilt, but accept that maybe some dogs just don't 'do change'.
To be clear, my flexibility here does NOT stretch to pooing inside!! That cannot continue, the notion of cleaning up poo in the middle of the night at 38 weeks makes me cringe with despair for you. Take her to the vet, but I will bet it is anxiety related...and be prepared to respond to the anxiety not the pooing.
Agreed with a PP that a DAP infuser/spray may work (I have had dogs in that past that they have and haven't work for). And strongly agree with the PP who suggests not telling her off. Unless you catch her in the act she has no idea why you are telling her off.
The difference in poo could be due to something being wrong so worth checking.
In the mean time I would suggest back to basic training. Praise and treats when she asks to go out and when she goes in the right place eg, garden or puppy training mat (second suggestion below).
Another idea could be putting a puppy training mat down by back door or wherever she goes at night (if she always does it in same ish place?) at least then until it's under control again it is much easier and less stressful to clear up and you could probably phase it out or always leave it down at night if need be. If it turns out she's incontinent or whatever.
Sometimes as an owner (and parent suppose!) problems can't always be eradicated but they can be managed.
Oh also what time does she stop being fed or Is she free fed? Either way make last feed 1-2hrs before bed. Then she'll be empty
Any change is always going to hard on the pet. She knows she's doing wrong and i wouldn't have thought telling her off will make any difference at all. Once the vets hs ruled out and medical problem, I agree re getting the diffuser to see if that helps. Also, look at her feeding time and make it earlier (5pm?)
You don't need to stay up til midnight but how about setting your Alarm so you can get up and let hrs out? Also, yes she will get less attention but try to set aside some time each day for her.
First of all I would persevere with crating. It's important you do this gradually to get her used to it. Have her bed in the crate and praise her for voluntarily going in it in the day. Leave the door open first. Then start shutting it fir shirt periods. Ignore crying and barking. This should reduce and settle if you keep sessions short to start with. Don't make a big fuss upon release as this builds anxiety.
I second treesparrows advice, once she is used to the crate you will have no bother, in fact once the baby arrives you might find that she voluntarily retreats to it for some peace! Try putting an old item of clothing in there so she can smell you and consider a radio left on low for company
Crate, definitley! We have a 7 month old puppy and his toilet training went backward a couple of months ago (due to being trusted out of his crate at night so back in he went. Clean all night again now. Crates can be their sancutuary and as Hotpie says, they may be grateful of it when the baby arrives and you'll be wihing you bought a bigger one to jump into yourself :-)
Toy breed dogs are notoriously difficult to housetrain so if she's still fairly young it's definitely possible that she'll have toilet-training regression if stressed. It's also important that it's just you with the dog as this means she is likely to be tightly bonded to you and distressed by any changes in your attention to her.
First of all STOP telling her off when she toilets indoors - she doesn't feel guilty - the face she's displaying is anxiety as she recognises from your body posture/tension etc that you're upset. Secondly this telling off is attention and in a well-bonded dog ANY attention is better than no attention so you are reinforcing her behaviour and incentivising her to toilet indoors. You have to give her zero attention for toileting indoors and LOTS of praise for toileting outdoors. This sounds like attention seeking from an anxious dog - the good news is that because she's so responsive to you, you'll easily be able to retrain this behaviour.
Clean the soiled area with biological washing powder/liquid as this breaks down the scent to the dog. Using bleach or other ammonia based cleaners only makes the area smell more like a 'toilet' to a dog's sensitive nose.
If she won't tolerate a cage then use a baby gate to restrict her access, make sure she gets lots of positive attention for good behaviour and ignore the bad behaviour - think of it as pre-toddler training
This article is a Useful guide
Crates only work if you train the dog to accept them as a safe place and not as a punishment, if she's not used to one then she will cry if you put her in one. You'd need to start by making positive associations with it (i.e. put yummy treats in there for a while without closing the door and build up).
I'd get a vet check to be sure there's no UTI or other issue going on, then you know that it's behavioural and can tackle it.
Toy breeds can be problematic however my parents have dachshunds who were perfectly housetrained (well most of the time but they are 15 now and have the odd age related mishap).
I think in most cases where dogs start acting up it's usually because of anxiety from the owner rather than the pregnancy per se, she can sense that YOU are different and that your smell is also different, so that can make anxious dogs do things like mess in the house.
Do you spend time with her engaging in positive activities? Do some basic games/impulse control work etc and generally work her brain so she has less energy to expend on anxiety.
Everything Sunshine says - Do NOT tell her off even if you catch her in the act. Dogs do not feel guilt - her expression and posture are in response to yours - you are angry and upset but giving her negative attention.
Do not show a reaction, put her outside as if everything was normal, clean up with a biological detergent (you can use washing powder) then spray the area with a vinegar and water solution to help neutralise the area.
Crate and basic training her will help her and relieve some of her anxiety, she will have a safe haven to retreat to once the baby is mobile too.
Seek an APDT (Association of Pet Dog Trainers) Behaviourist - they will be able to help you with reward based training to repair your bond and help her come to terms with the changes in your household.
Its very common for dogs to respond negatively to a new baby especially when they have been the apple of their owners eye and sole beneficiaries of their attention.
Your little dog has been your baby and now you have a human one on the way, its only fair to help her adjust to being a dog. You may not have realised how much your behaviour towards her has changed, but she has.
As a former dog behaviourist/ trainer I used to see a lot of dogs who developed problems before and after babies came along, but with a little dedication on your part you can sort this out.
Is it possible to install a dog door to the outside?
Thank you all so much for your brilliant advice. This will help me so much. I have some positive news since my last post, I bought a crate on Saturday and put a lovely big soft blanket inside along with a couple of treats. I left it out for her all day with the door open and praised her whenever she went inside. She seemed wary of the crate at first, preferring her old bed, but in the evening, I found her snuggled up in there! My plan was not to shut the door at all the first night and then do it in short bursts, to get her used to it, but to be honest I just couldn't face another night of cleaning up poo so I took a big risk and closed the door that night. To my amazement, she didn't cry or bark at all and slept in there all night. When I opened the door in the morning, she didn't want to get out at all and after she'd done her business outside, ran straight back in ! The same happened last night and she seems genuinely happy to be shut in there at night. I've also been giving her lots of attention and praise which is helping. I'm still going to take her to the vets and will also buy one of the DAP diffusers to calm her anxieties. I'll also have a look at Victoria Stilwells website. I know its very early days and could be a coincidence but she's seemed happier the past couple of days and maybe its because I'm less stressed. I didn't realise how in tune with my emotions she was and it's true, I have been very stressed lately for a number of reasons and the poor little thing must have really picked up on it. She's an extremely sensitive dog. Fingers crossed though things will only get better from now on.
Thank you again, Sarah xxx
Well done Sarah that's great. Keep the crate as your dog's 'safe place' and make sure you teach kids this rule too - it's incredibly useful for reducing any dog-child tension if the dog has a place to chill out and not be disturbed
Thanks Sunshine. Yes, I think this crate will come in so useful as her safe place like you say. I'm so pleased that she seems so happy in there. I thought she'd hate the feeling of being trapped inside when the door's closed, but instead I think it gives her a sense of security and it's her own little den that she can escape to. She also has a proper bedtime routine now where she knows that once the door of her crate is closed, then it's time to go to sleep. Before, I'd often hear her wandering about the house at night, which may well have been anxiety related. x
Really pleased to read the progress! Well done for persevering.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.