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A quick question about housetraining....

(17 Posts)
MotherJack Thu 13-Jan-11 18:06:24

I have recently adopted a nine year old bitch from rescue. She is a darling but I seem to be persistently coming unstuck on house training though (it soon became apparent she possibly hadn't been previously after several incidences of weeing and then a couple of weeing and pooing episodes.

In the main, she is now ok and the pooing seems to have stopped (touch wood!). I found that she is food obsessed so is so happy to go do "toilet" in the garden as she gets a biscuit on her return, but I have come home to a huge patch of wee on my bedroom carpet again. I was out for about an hour and a half after bringing her back from a really good walk.

My questions are:

1. It has been suggested to me that she thinks she is above me in the pack by being allowed upstairs, but I understand the pack/dominance theory is outdated. Is there another reason for not having her bed upstairs?

2. I usually find a large amount of wee - so is that different to "marking"?

3. How the hell do you get a wee sample from a female dog?? I need to rule out her kidneys being a problem but she is becoming paranoid about me following her around the garden and that is the last thing I want to do, make her uncomfortable about weeing in the correct place!

Any advice/hints/tips/waterproof sheeting much appreciated!

minimu1 Thu 13-Jan-11 18:30:56

Absolute rubbish re pack theory and she is above you in the pack. No reason for not having her bed upstairs. I don't have dogs upstairs as I hate housework and it is an area that may have a little less dog hair in it!

Do get a sample and check at the vets - this easily could have a physical reason. The best way is to get a flat foli or tupperware type container and just slip it under her from behind when she squats to wee. Expect her to give you an odd look though!

Got to go to parents evening be back in a while to explain how to deal with it behavioural

CalamityKate Thu 13-Jan-11 18:31:11

You say she gets a treat on her return - does this mean you put her out on her own? If so, I can pretty much guarantee she isn't associating the treat with weeing in the right place. She's associating it with coming to you. Which is great! But it won't help to housetrain her.

Go out WITH her, put a word to what she's doing WHEN she's doing it ("wee wees" or whatever) and praise gently/treat. Within a very short space of time you'll have a dog who wees on command which is very handy.

A big patch suggests she actually needed to go, as opposed to marking. Are you sure she emptied on her walk? Some dogs are reluctant to wee/poo on walks - it's a confidence thing to do with advertising their presence. Or she just might not have fully emptied. Another reason why having a dog who will wee on command is handy - you can pop them outside and tell them to go and they'll go, even if it's only a few drops.

I had no idea how to collect a sample so I just had a quick Google - one suggestion is to attach a flat dish to a stick or something so you can slide it discreetly underneath while she's weeing, rather than diving at her in a potentially offputting way grin

I'd be bringing her downstairs and crating her when you're not around to supervise. The more she wees in the house, the more she'll become convinced that the house is the toilet so you need to prevent her from practising the behaviour.

Clean up accidents with a solution of bio washing powder.

MotherJack Thu 13-Jan-11 21:31:21

Lol Minimu. My dog has very short hair so I don't get that particular problem. (It's just the wee and poo!!! confused)

I shall await your further wisdom.

You may have a point there Kate - I do mostly go out with her and praise her at the time, or shout "oooh! toilet!! good girl!!" from the kitchen window but perhaps it would be better if I actually took the treat with me rather than give it when we go back in/she returns...? Although she does return immediately on "toilet!!" I think I shall make sure I sharpen myself up a bit on it. She will wee on walks and I always praise her for that too, although interestingly she never used to which baffled me. Perhaps she is starting to feel more confident. I have only had her since October.

Do you think there is there a chance that she is experiencing separation anxiety at all. She is mostly very clingy and the majority of wees have been when I have popped out.

Right - off to gaffer tape my chinese takeaway box with some nifty alterations to a stick. I think I have put her off by getting a bit too close to her nethers when she least expected it so I shall slide this under with a stick. Thank you both, and wish me luck grin

CalamityKate Thu 13-Jan-11 21:44:01

Hmm. See this is one reason why some people say it's not a good idea to actually give a treat for weeing.

I think part of your problem is that rather than her seeing "Toilet" as a cue for weeing, she's viewing it as a cue to come running to you for a treat. You've effectively trained "Toilet" to be a recall command grin

Which is fine, but I reckon there's every chance she's cutting her wees short to come running for a treat.

If I were you, I'd drop the treating when she's tiddled. In order for a dog to associate a treat with an action, it has to occur within (at the longest) 4 seconds so I really doubt she's linking wee=treat.

I'd go out with her, put a NEW word to it and not treat.

What can also happen if you treat for weeing is that if the dog DOES associate the treat with weeing, he will associate the ACTION with the treat rather than the location - so it isn't unheard of for dogs to squat down and wee on the carpet RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE OWNER, looking up hopefully in expectation of a treat! And really, when you think about it, it's a hell of a stretch to expect them to realise that it's the location you're treating rather than the action.

It's the same principle that dictates you should NEVER punish a dog for weeing in the wrong place; they can become fearful of eliminating in front of you AT ALL (again, assuming you're telling them off for weeing, not for the location), and you're then in danger of having a dog who hides behind curtains/under tables to wee/poo.

No idea whether she's got SA - impossible to say over the net. If they're full wees though, and she's not damaging anything, I'd lay money on it just being down to her not being totally empty when she's left.

MotherJack Thu 13-Jan-11 22:06:42

Oh that has made me laugh out loud about the dogs squatting in front of the owners! And what you have said makes an awful lot of sense. (I should have shouted "Toilet" in the woods today... ooh, there's a thought - perhaps I should rename her??? grin) I did avoid saying anything until she finished on her own accord, but perhaps she is now anticipating the treat and rushing in. Damn!

This is my dog-thickness showing through, but won't she be sad when she doesn't get a treat anymore? Or is it more that I shall be sad to see her hoping for a treat.... She is so happy to be.. recalled... by the word "toilet".... bugger!

It's funny that I always knew not to tell off for things you haven't actually seen occurring (i.e. toilet accidents etc) and even if you do see it then it's just a "no!". And yet I haven't been able to reverse it in my mind.

It's 12 years since I puppy trained my last one and I wasn't expecting to have to do it with this one. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it wink

Thanks smile

MotherJack Thu 13-Jan-11 22:10:07

I meant to say, no, she's not damaging anything. She has ripped a duvet and a blanket off the settee up, but that's when I have been in. She was digging herself a nest I believe!

CalamityKate Thu 13-Jan-11 22:10:09

Teach her something else to give her the chance to earn treats grin

Maybe rename her Voilet (people will think she's called Violet and you've got an "Ooo-arrrr" yokel accent) grin

CalamityKate Thu 13-Jan-11 22:12:06

Oh, puppies are such fun, aren't they? They're all different and never fail to drive you mental amuse and entertain you!

I thought I was pretty dog/puppy savvy until I got my last pup.

She Is A Chewer.

CalamityKate Thu 13-Jan-11 22:14:21

Oh and she took bloody AGES to housetrain, too. But then so did a lot of her relatives. Hugely to do with their environment when they were still with their Dam.

MotherJack Thu 13-Jan-11 22:21:37

Voilet grin

She is pretty good at recall in all fairness. Both by using her name and the word "toilet" of course. [slap]

My last (and first) pup was hell - he was teeth on legs and he was about 2 before I worked out how to stop him biting.

This new (old) one is so calm and lovely (and smelly... she has actually been given some hibiscrub by the vet and I am nearly up to the point where she will tolerate a toothbrush!!) but she was really rather rotund (putting it kindly) in October and had clearly not been walked for some considerable amount of time, if at all - she was out of breath after 5 minutes walking!

Scuttlebutter Thu 13-Jan-11 22:34:03

She sounds lovely, and as though you're doing a great job with her. Love the idea of calling "Voilet" grin

I'd be a bit disturbed if I went for a wee and found someone behind me holding a chinese takeaway dish! Good luck with that! Let's hope the vet can check her out - the poor girl may have an UTI which could be causing this.

We found with our greys (they come sort of semi - housetrained) that it was important to go out the garden with them and lavishly praise them when they performed, and reward accordingly with biscuits and sausages. You can still now find me in the garden most nights at about 10.30 surrounded by 3 greyhounds all wanting their pre-bed, post-performance sausage smile This method really does work though along with taking them out there regularly every couple of hours to begin with - they pick up the message pretty quickly and now they ask us if they need to go, although we still operate a pretty good routine.

MotherJack Thu 13-Jan-11 22:51:08

Sounds like you time your post-performance sausage far better than me, Scuttle!

I'm certainly trying to do my best with her. Like all dogs, she deserves a family and a lot of love for the rest of her years smile

Scuttlebutter Thu 13-Jan-11 22:57:03

Well, it was frustrating in the beginning. They got it right 90% of the time from the get go but there would be occasional accidents where we'd missed the signals (quite subtle at first). As time has gone on, we've got better at reading them and they've got better at telling us grin In a funny kind of way it reminds me of how DH and I have got used to communicating better with each other (if that makes any sense confused

Also I don't need to reward DH with sausages!!

MotherJack Fri 14-Jan-11 08:13:16

Imagine what your DH would do for a sauasge though, Scuttle! grin

Hallelujah!!! Mad lady in dressing gown follows dog with half a box on a stick. Comes in triumphant. The crowd goes wild!

I am also now teaching her to give her paw when she comes in so she can still have a treat. I'm a sap. I really am!

minimu1 Fri 14-Jan-11 08:23:49

Makes sure all medical reasons are ruled out at 9 years there easily could be a medical reason.

Then Hum I disagree with Calamity about treating wees and would definately do so.

Every hour to start with (yep boring I know!) go outside with the dog and when she wees say the word so toilet good toilet etc whilst she is weeing. When she has stopped treat with the yummiest treat you have.

IF she wees inside totally ignore it. Remove the dog and then clean the wee with specialist cleaner or biological washing powder and boiling water. I find the specialised spray much easier. Another tip is to use a nappy to soak up the dogs wee.

ALways go outside with the dog after a while the dog should always be weeing outside. It will take an older dog longer to learn and you will have to be patience but it will happen.

There easily could be a degree of anxiety as she could easily be confused. When you return from being out for a while do not make a big fuss of her when you come back or when you leave. Just leave or just come back in make a cup of tea etc and then fuss the dog. If you fuss her it makes her think there is a reason to worry and it is a big thing when you come and go. Make it matter of fact and so will she. If she has weed do not as mentioned above make a fuss or tell her off.

Imagine if you were told off for weeing you would get more stressed and more likely need to wee!

She will get there

MotherJack Fri 14-Jan-11 11:46:46

Thanks Minmu - I'm doing all the stuff you suggest inc the washing with bio - and I certainly don't tell her off for her weeing (very useful tip on the nappy by the way) - so I'm feeling it has been a combination of a timing thing thing with the treats and her age - she HAS got much better so I shall persist whilst sharpening up on my timing of praise and reward.

I took a wee sample to my vets this morning and it's a bit inconclusive really - they say she does not present as a dog with kidney problems so they are not keen to test for that and the urine sample came back fine (what about that for service - sample in at 9.30 and results at 11!) - although he did say that sometimes blood is in the urine with an infection and other times not. On the plus side, I have just got back from the vets with her after she cut her foot open whilst in the woods this morning. He said the antibiotics she has been given will sort out an infection.

Thanks to everyone for your advice smile

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