An online consultation.
This is the story of an adult dog who will pee regularly indoors.
In all other respects, Eddie is the perfect dog.
They describe him as ‘not fully housetrained’ but I’m not sure that really the case. In some ways he is housetrained – if meaning ‘trained to go in the house’!
They have had puppy pads in the house since he was a puppy, so he’s largely been trained to go indoors. Eddie is now 18 months of age.
Eddie ‘won’t pee in the yard’.
They have a yard with paving and flower beds, but not grass. From the start they have taken him for a short walk around the block when they think he needs to go. One reason they made an appointment with me was because several times a week Eddie will pee in the house.
They want Eddie to ASK when he wants to go – or at least to indicate by going to the door.
Often he will pee is just inside the front door either on a pad or the doormat, but it can be in other places as well.
When he gets the desire to pee, what happens? There is no clear way of communicating to the couple that leads to a quick and easy direct exit.
Too much delay and distraction.
Being taken out to for a toilet walk involves a delay and some excitement for Eddie. The gentleman has coat and outdoor shoes to put on; the lead and harness to put on Eddie.
I wonder whether Eddie actually connects what is a short walk with their purpose for it, which is for to go for a pee?
Now they will build up a routine where he goes to the back door instead until he learns to toilet out there. He will if they persist.
They must regularly take him out the back even if only for a couple of minutes. If he doesn’t ‘go’ which initially he probably won’t, they can then go on their walk as before.
Eddie being restless will now become a cue.
Now, every time Eddie is restless they will take him straight out the back. First, at the back door they will reinforce him by rewarding him before going out. Being by the back door will be how he lets them know.
Soon, I guarantee, he will be going to the back door for himself (and earning the reward).
He will, over time, connect being restless with going out into the back yard.
They will make having a pee out there as conducive as possible by getting real grass turf. Any time he does does it, they will reward with something he gets at no other time – cheese. They will put it quietly on the ground in front of him. No fuss or excitement.
The placement of the cheese should also encourage WHERE he pees as well as just peeing.
Putting it on cue comes next (they say ‘Eddie wee wee’). It’s pointless using a cue before the behaviour is learnt.
Some of the peeing is in the night – he sleeps in their bedroom but goes downstairs to do it. Because taking him out would involve the gentleman getting dressed and going for a walk, taking him out is not practical.
So now they will shut the bedroom door so he can’t get out – and – a touch of genius, hang bells on the door.
Eddie will doubtless paw the door so he can get out to pee on his favourite pee spot by the front door. The bells will jingle. Someone will wake up.
Now they will follow Eddie downstairs and let him out the back.
(Later they can transfer the bells to the back door and the couple will get their wish, for Eddie to let them know when he want to pee!).
First thing in the morning when Eddie may be bursting, he will be taken immediately out into the back yard, followed by their usual walk if he does nothing.
They will lift all puppy pads, remove a peed-on rug and lift the front door mat.
It will take time but I’m sure they will get there so long as Eddie knows exactly where he should go.
Interestingly, in the summer when the door was always open he did take himself out into the yard. Maybe a dog flap would help for the time being.