Unusual pooing (separation anxiety?)(2 Posts)
Hi wondering if you could help us with this as all the advice I'm finding online seems to not really fit our situation.
We have 2 labs, one pedigree and one lab x collie. They are 8.5 and 9 respectively, so not young dogs. We've had the pedigree one since he was a pup and the cross since he was 18 months, he's a rescue and has anxieties anyway probably due to what happened to him before he came to us (we don't have any information). He's a lovely boy, as the vet says 'lives on his nerves' but is gentle and has never shown any sign of aggression whatsoever. He's a bit of a bin raider which has presented us with challenges on securing the bin but we're winning with that I think.
Anyway, in the last year the 9 year old lab x has started pooing in a specific spot every time DH goes out. Every. Single. Time. He's not alone, he has the other for company, he also does it when I'm sat there with him - i'm not kidding! I can be home and my husband out and he'll just squat and curl one out right there. Sometimes it's when we're on the school run and both out (completely necessary - kids at 3 separate schools) so we're only out 20 mins max.
Lab X is very much the 'alpha' dog, the lab follows him around, washes him etc. Both dogs obey DH immediately, they'll obey me eventually and won't do anything the kids ask them to do. They're also very naughty with our respite lady and won't do as they're told, he poos when she's there too.
It's quite literally DH walks out of door, dog shits.
WTF do we do? If ever we're going out they're either walked or put out in the garden before we go, every single time even if it's just for the school run. DH being with him forever more for every second just isn't an option!
I've tried rewarding with biscuits every time we get home and there's no poo but we're now at a point when there are no times I could give the reward...
The treats won't work because there is far too long between when he might have pooed (but didn't) and getting the reward. Also, it's tricky to get reward the absence of something right so the dog knows what he has been rewarded with.
Here's what I'd try...
Whatever the surface is he poos on I would clean the heck out of it. If it's carpet, an industrial carpet cleaner. If it's hard surface then some good bleach. Your looking to totally destroy any scent at all the dog can pick up on. I would then buy a cheap rug that it a totally different surface to anything he has ever toileted on (e.g. fake sheepskin or velvet) and put it down where he normally goes. This is to try to break any link between the location and pooping.
I'd then work on breaking the link between husband going out and pooping. I'd do this by having husband fake-leave a zillion times only to walk straight back in (literally 2 seconds after) and put the dog straight out in the garden. Leave the dog out there for ten minutes to make sure that, if he wanted to poo he would do so. If I was success for a few goes - i.e. 10 straight attempts with no pooing during the 2 second fake out - then I would slowly increase how long husband pretended to leave for from 2 seconds to 5 seconds, to 10 secs, to 30 secs, to a minute and so on until he can fake leave for 5 mins successfully.
While all this is going on he will, no doubt, need to really leave the house for work etc. In those cases, if you can be there with the tastiest treat imaginable (roast chicken or beef os good) then it might be good to spend 5-10 mins doing some simple training tricks for treats while hubby sneaks out. Sit, lie-down or whatever the dog knows and finds easy. It just acts a nice distraction so the dog doesn't pay attention to him leaving so much and is entertained for a few mins after he has gone.
Any accidents = just clean them up without saying anything to the dog at all. Best not even look at him then carry on as normal.
It cannot hurt to go over the top with praise and fuss anytime he does poo outside.
It'll be a pita but two weeks of real focus and hard work might just regain you a easier life again.
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