Impossible to Housetrain?

(8 Posts)
LunaNova Sun 08-Mar-20 20:25:51


I'm writing as I'm completely at a loss with one of our current pooches when it comes to housetraining (although I'm not sure if that is actually the issue?!).

We've had Luna, our cocker spaniel cross, for two years (she's nearly three) and when we first got her she was pretty much housetrained except for the odd wee accident. Then something seemed to change and she seemed really reluctant to poo outside in the garden.

We've since moved to a new home but the problem persists, she will happily wee outside but tries to avoid pooing. She never ever has accidents when she's left home alone, it's always when someone is in and we can go weeks and weeks in between poo accidents. We avoid 99% of the accidents by walking her regularly but every few weeks she will have an accident seemingly out of the blue, when she has these accidents she doesn't ask to go outside she just goes then and there. Recently, they've been more infrequent and a few of them we've been able to put down to her being poorly, but tonight she's had another accident literally 5 minutes after being outside. She was walked a couple of hours ago and went on the walk so it certainly wasn't expected.

We've seen a vet and ruled out anything healthwise, and behaviour wise she's spot on with everything else. Is it a housetraining issue? Or is it just that she is impossible to fully housetrain? I've never had this with any of our other dogs and we've gone back to basics multiple times with Luna but it still doesn't seem to stick. It's all just very unpredictable.

Any thoughts?


OP’s posts: |
Nojeansplease Tue 10-Mar-20 14:41:12

we made a schedule to notice patterns, then we knew when to be more vigilant Or when an accident was less likely to happen.
That may be worth trying out.

Are you using an enzyme cleaner where she has been?
Is she always going in the same place (or the same textured place - you can remove access to this place or textures if you know she is due to go but hasn’t been outside)

Are there any other signs she needs the toilet (before asking to go out ours will sometimes pace for example ) That perhaps you are missing?

Are there any other patterns - time of day, how she’s feeling, mood in the house. Could it be fear or stress? Attention? Any changes in diet or routine around the times it happens?

Or not feeling safe to do it outdoors for some reason (loud noise, a sound or person she doesn’t like etc)

LunaNova Tue 10-Mar-20 20:15:51

@Nojeansplease thanks for your response. To answer your questions:

Yes, we have a schedule. Typically speaking, both our dogs are fed pre-bedtime and usually have a walk first thing at approx 8am. Usually Luna will relieve herself on this walk. In the event that the schedule is changed slightly, we adjust the time of the walk to approx. 10 hours after her food as that seems to be when she needs to go. Usually when she goes out for her evening walk, she doesn't need to go unless she's had a lot of treats in the day.

We always use an enzyme cleaner, and usually it's the kitchen that she has accidents (tiled flooring), although she has been known to have an accident in the living room (carpeted) and because they are so infrequent it's hard to say whether she has a preference in the house. On a walk, she will go on either the pavement or grass and doesn't show any particular preference.

She doesn't seem to show any signs of needing to go at all, she doesn't sniff around, pace or anything like that. We did have a behaviourist out for our other dog and even she was surprised that Luna showed no signs of needing to go (almost like she's caught short rather than it being a 'I've needed to go for a while'). When we're on a walk, she will literally be trotting next to me and then suddenly squat.

Recently, it could be that there are a few changes (I'm 37 weeks pregnant), but this was going on before that so I'm loathe to say it's the cause - in fact since I've been pregnant she's been a lot better. Without fail she gets the walks she needs everyday as my husband will take them if I'm not up to it and we're quite lucky in that where we live there is a huge wood and field at the end of our street so we have great stimulating walks available to us.

The last point is the only thing I can think is the cause but I'm not sure how to tackle it. At our old house, she was fine until it snowed (when all these problems started). Then she seemed to hate going outside at all. This then transferred to our new house - if she needs a wee she will literally ask to go out, dash out to the nearest bit of grass, wee and she's back in within a minute. Our other dog is happy to mooch around outside and play, but Luna hates it. Even in Summer when we're sat outside, she will sometimes just sit by the back door waiting to be let back inside, she's even reluctant to play fetch (she loves fetch) out there.

I presume the last issue is the real reason she doesn't ask to go out for a poo (as it takes longer than a wee?) but I'm not sure what we can do to desensitise her to this as we've tried playing/being out there with her and nothing seems to encourage her to move away from the back door.

OP’s posts: |
Nojeansplease Tue 10-Mar-20 22:12:53

Could you approach it like crate training?
Give her meals out there? Or the absolute best treats that she can’t resist being scattered around or an amazing chew she can only have outside? And build up time and confidence out there slowly?

Congratulations too!

nancyjuice7 Tue 10-Mar-20 22:15:09

Is she only fed once a day?

LunaNova Tue 10-Mar-20 23:21:44

@Fizzledout, that might be a good idea! Especially now we are getting lighter evenings and can spend a bit more time out there with her. It's just really weird because she loves playing outside on a walk, just not in the garden!

@nancyjuice7 technically yes, both our dogs get their main meal (raw fed) in the evening but get a bone/stuffed Kong/decent sized chew in the morning (basically something that requires a bit more thought from them rather than food in a dish). Usually though once she's been out in the morning for a walk she can last all day even though she goes for an evening walk as well.

The accidents are really infrequent and don't really follow a pattern and a lot of the more recent ones (since November) we've been able to put down to her being poorly, it's just the odd time it seems to have no particular reason. We tend to go 1-2 months between accidents so it's not like it's not possible.

We've had some challenging dogs to house-train over the years (our other current dog was originally a street dog and had never been in a house) but none have been as difficult as Luna!

OP’s posts: |
Nojeansplease Tue 10-Mar-20 23:25:20

Also by schedule I meant schedule of her toileting
Ours is like clockwork for poos
So if you know it’s due and she won’t go out you can maybe up the vigilance


LunaNova Tue 10-Mar-20 23:35:03

@fizzledout yeah normally we can say 100% it's approx 10 hours after her "main dinner" that she has to go, it's just sometimes she has an "anomaly" poo that is extra to the one she has on her morning walk - this happens so infrequently and never at the same time or under the same conditions so can't work out what triggers it!

We have considered that it may just be something as daft as her having a bit of a sensitive stomach and perhaps something just doesn't quite agree with her - like I mentioned most of the accidents recently we've been able to link with her being poorly (IE she's also been sick or has been really lethargic when it's happened), but she has been fine the following day and had a vet check and all okay!

OP’s posts: |

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