Poo, Pee Indoors. Dachshund Alone. More Questions than Answers.

Poo and peeing indoors.

Invariably during the night, alone downstairs in the kitchen, Meg has diarrhoea. When she is left alone during the day she is likely to do the same.pee and poo when left

The challenge here is in separating facts from assumptions.

Meg is a twelve-year-old Dachshund – the longest sausage I have seen! She and her sibling Mini came to live with the couple at eight weeks old and had never been apart.

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Marking or Housetraining?

When the couple go out, they usually come back to small amounts of yellow pee in various parts of the kitchen.

marking in the house

Buddy – with Marley peeping in the background

Recently this had begun to happen at night too.

So they had gone back to ‘housetraining’ the little terrier with frequent visits to the garden. Adorable Buddy is now two years old.

The only thing that has so far made any difference has been putting him back in his crate at night where he used to sleep when he was younger.

Buddy crated – no urine.

The peeing never happens in the day if people are at home. However, if they go out and leave the two dogs alone for just a short while they come back to urine.  They will be videoing them to see exactly what happens during the day when they are out. Now that Buddy is in his crate during the night there is no urine – so we can be sure the marking is not Marley.

This is not actually a housetraining problem as it never happens when the dogs have access to their humans. The cause of the marking has to be Buddy’s feelings when left.

To compound the problem, it’s only recently that the dogs have been left alone, downstairs in the kitchen, at night time.

It’s not just peeing to empty his bladder. It’s marking.

The other dog, also two years old, is a beautiful Sprocker called Marley. Now left in the kitchen with Buddy at bedtime, he too is very stressed. He cries all night and scratches at the door. He wants to sleep upstairs on their bed like he used to.

The young lady has recently moved into her boyfriend’s house and they have decided that from now on the dogs will sleep downstairs. Previously they had slept on her bed with her – both where she lived previously and upstairs in this house. Now they are shut in the kitchen.

She has left Marley to cry for a couple of nights. This obviously is upsetting and tiring for her but imagine what state the sensitive Marley will be in after a whole night of crying.

Separation is the real problem. Marking is a symptom.

They may, understandably, be cross with Buddy when they come home which can only add to anxiety which is the cause of the whole problem. Because by definition ‘marking’ is about being noticed, in case he does see any connection with their crossness and the marking which is doubtful, they should ignore it and clear up when the dogs are both outside.

Because he has always marked when left alone there is also bound to be an element of habit to it which can now be broken.

Some days the dogs are left home alone in the kitchen for nine hours. Add to this their no longer being allowed in the bedroom for the night, it does mean a lot of time apart from the couple who adore the dogs and want them to be happy.

What can they do?

Buddy and Marley

They will need somehow to make sure the long days are broken up with someone coming in the middle of the day.

Some days the young man has been working from home. He says he will now take them to work in his office when he can. They have friends who may be able to help out on other days.

Left for shorter periods, they can perhaps keep alternating crating Buddy with leaving him free in the kitchen with Marley. When he’s in the crate he won’t pee. Both dogs can be left with a stuffed Kong to work on – something not wise if both are loose together just in case there are arguments over the food. (Take a look at this: Ode to a Kong).

They can also leave toys and other things for them to do. Background music especially created for dogs could help keep them calm.

They can gate the stairs so from now onwards both dogs no longer expect to go upstairs ever again. At present they can still be upstairs in the bedroom with the couple during the day and evening but have to go to the kitchen at night.

There are some other problems we are addressing. Sprocker Marley is constantly active, running about, leaping over things, sniffing and being busy and no doubt needs more to do. The little terrier is noisy, reactive and prone to obsessing over moving shadows and reflections. They have two kittens which over-excite Buddy. General strategies to lower their stress levels along with appropriate healthy stimulation will undoubtedly help with everything.

When people work hard with only so many hours in the day, something somewhere has to give. In this case with the young man is really on board with helping his girlfriend’s dogs and I am sure they will make the changes necessary to give them more healthy mental stimulation, less arousal and less time alone.

 

NB. For the sake of the story and for confidentiality also, this isn’t a complete ‘report’ with every detail, but I choose an angle with maybe a bit of poetic licence. The precise protocols to best use for your own dog may be different to the approach I have worked out for Buddy and Marley and I’ve not gone into exact precise details for that reason. Finding instructions on the internet or TV that are not tailored to your own dog can do more harm than good as the case needs to be assessed correctly. One size does not fit all so accurate assessment is important, particularly where fear is concerned. If you live in my own area I would be very pleased to help with strategies specific to your own dog (see my Help page)

Enjoyable Walks Begin at Home

Enjoyable walks with Izzy can be better if she’s calmer before leaving

Enjoyable walks with Old English Izzy Izzy, a stunning 14-month Old English Sheepdog, is extremely friendly, very bouncy and perhaps a little overwhelmed by the all the attention she gets.

When I arrived she came to the door and gave one Woof. Thinking she may have been uneasy because I was taking no notice of her (something she wasn’t used to) I said hello. This stressed her sufficiently to make her do a small tiddle on the floor.

She very quickly relaxed however. There was a bit of jumping up but she was so friendly and biddable. A delight.

 

Izzy is treated like she’s the centre of their world (which she probably is!)

Izzy is adored by four ladies and other family members including young children. Whenever she wants attention she gets loads of it. To look at her you can see how hard she must be to resist. However, it does leave her with little incentive to give them her attention when they want it.

She has constant access to food, so food isn’t a sufficiently valuable currency for rewarding and paying her for doing as asked. She could instead be working for some of her food.

What prevents enjoyable walks is Izzy’s pulling like a train on lead and going ‘deaf’ when called if she’s engaged in something she would prefer to be doing, like running off to play with another dog.

She is wild with excitement before the walk even starts.

The lady, having been pulled over by her, will no longer walk her alone, so one of her three adult daughters will come after work and accompany her.

There is a massively exciting greeting at the door when the daughters arrive, possibly with grandchildren too, to the extent that Izzy will pee on the floor. In the normal way of things it would take quite a while for the effects of this degree of excitement to subside and they immediately go out for the walk.

Soon Izzy will learn that ‘good things come to a calm dog’ while they give her time before leaving, doing their best not to wind her up in the first place. Enjoyable walks should then be a lot easier.

Walking equipment needs to be changed away from that which depends upon physically restraining the dog to equipment that encourages her to walk comfortably and willingly beside them. I use a good harness with D-ring at the chest (Perfect Fit) and a loose training lead. Equally important is that they all practise the correct walking technique.

I demonstrated with the lead on Izzy’s collar. She was excited when I picked up my lead so I sat down and waited. Then I called her to me (reward) and asked her to sit quietly – once. After a moment she did so and I attached the lead to the collar so that it hung from the front under her chin. I then walked around the house with her following me on a loose lead.

To make my point I now turned the collar so the lead attachment on top of her neck. Izzy immediately pulled due to the ‘opposition reflex‘.

I rested my case.

‘Coming back when called’ also begins at home. If she won’t come in from the garden until she is ready she certainly won’t when there is something exciting to run off after on a walk.

So, with a mix of a calm start, better equipment, a technique where she walks nicely because she wants to, being conditioned until coming when called is a habit along with a slightly different overall relationship with her humans at home, enjoyable walks should be achieved before too long.

 

NB. For the sake of the story and for confidentiality also, this isn’t a complete ‘report’ with every detail, but I choose an angle. The precise protocols to best use for your own dog may be different to the approach I have worked out for Izzy. Finding instructions on the internet or TV that are not tailored to your own dog can do more harm than good as the case needs to be assessed correctly. One size does not fit all so accurate assessment is important. If you live in my own area I would be very pleased to help with strategies specific to your own dog (see my Get Help page)

Adult Dog and Toilet Training

MaltipooGorgeous Maltipoo Teddy – a Maltese Poodle mix – is now twenty-one months old, but he still regularly toilets indoors.

My belief is that he has never learnt to hold on and wait. At the slightest excitement or anxiety he may simply release it – whether pee or poo. If there is not ready access to the outside he will do the same. At nearly two years old this will be a habit now.

The house is unusual in that there is no door to the garden from the kitchen but just french windows from the sitting room, and Teddy’s access to this room is necessarily limited unless he’s accompanied – because they don’t want him messing in there.

It has never been easy for him to get to the garden door and they haven’t been consistent which door they take him out of either. Sometimes the man takes Teddy out of the front door instead.

Teddy could sometimes be sent or taken out and then as soon as he comes in toilet on the kitchen floor. The lady wants to take him to places with her, but hasn’t done so after he peed on the floor of the hairdressers!

Maltipoo lying down with toyIt is possible that a change of diet to something top quality may help a little, along with keeping Teddy’s stress levels as low as possible.

They need to go back to basics with puppy toilet training and build up a reliable routine. Teddy has to learn that outings will be regular. Taking him out every hour or so to start with, gradually lengthening the gaps between trips, should do the trick. It’s not enough to open the door and send him out – he should be accompanied.

When he does go they need to show him that outside is indeed what they want. As soon as he finishes food should be dropped on the grass in front of him – showing him the grass is where he should go.

They shouldn’t bring him straight back in again when the job is done either. He likes being outside with them – so why punish him by coming straight back in after he’s performed?

Toilet training doesn’t happen by itself, unless we are very lucky and there is easy access to the outside. The older the dog the harder it gets because indoor toileting becomes learned behaviour.

They need a consistent routine whereby Teddy is very regularly taken out of the garden door, accompanied so he can be rewarded on the grass. Sometimes he actually does ask to go out at the door but they shouldn’t to rely upon it.

This is a case of what they get by way of success will depend upon just how much time and effort they put in, rain or shine. They just need to really work at it for a while.

NB. The exact protocols to best use for your own dog may be different to the approach I have planned for Teddy, which is why I don’t go into exact detail here of the strategies we will be using. Finding instructions on the internet that are not tailored to your own dog can do more harm than good. One size does not fit all. With this kind of issue, I suggest you find an experienced professional. If you live in my own area I would be very pleased to help (see my Get Help page).

Westie/Bichon Frise Puppy is over-excited

West Bichon Frise Sally stand by the back doorPuppy's coat looks like fluffy dandelion seedWhat a lovely time I had today! Sally is a five-month-old Bichon Frise/Westie mix, and as her lady owner says, her coat looks like a fluffy dandelion seed head. She is a well-adjusted, independent little dog, with puppy exuberance and sometimes, naturally, pushing her luck!

Sally tends to get over-excited when people come to the house, jumping all over them and perhaps making a puddle, but this isn’t her fault. Because she is so cute everyone makes so much fuss of her in such an exciting way, she is thorougly wound up. It’s hardly fair, because then her lady owner tells her to get down and gives commands and gets cross in an effort to make her behave, which stirs up even more.

In order for a dog to calm down and not jump all over people, the humans need to approach her differently. The more noisy and excitable people are, the more noisy and excitable the dog will be.  People need to give her a break and take no notice of her for a little while to give her time to calm down. Then when they do say hello, not to make it so exciting that it hypes her up again.

Without a single word from me, and with no more than my looking away, turning away, gently tipping her off and giving gentle hand gestures for a while, Sally very soon got the message that she wasn’t to jump all over me, and you could see she was a happy relaxed little dog for it. I could then give her some gentle quality attention.

Sally still sometimes messes and wees in the house. Some puppies simply take longer to get the message than others, and it’s possible that although she knows toileting outside is good, she doesn’t understand that this doesn’t apply to inside as well. She is never scolded, fortunately. I have often found that the more important the messing indoors is to the owner (often due to worry about damage to the flooring), the slower the puppy will be in become completely house trained.

With fewer commands and a casual and calm approach, Sally will be able to work out for herself what she should do and it will take the pressure off her. I am sure the toileting will soon become more reliable with a few new strategies in place.

I can help you, too, with these problems or any other that you may be having with your dog.