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Old 11-06-2008, 09:44 PM
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GoingNowhere GoingNowhere is offline
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Default Accidents inside?

So we have a recent dilemma, and I have no idea what to do because I don't know what the source of the problem is. Boo, over the past several months, has had several accidents inside. I'm a little bit confused is all. She isn't like a puppy that just isn't house trained. She won't have an accident for 3 months and then will have three in 2 weeks. Then it'll be another 2 months and then she'll have one. Always peeing. Always in the same area. And almost always (as far as I recall) in the evening. We clean it up every time, but at this point, I wouldn't be surprised if the smell is now ingrained into the carpet for the dog, so it doesn't matter if we clean it or not.

I'm just perplexed because of the randomness, yet sameness of these accidents. We can be gone almost all day with no issues. A few times we've forgotten to let her out when she's had an accident - she doesn't ask. So that makes sense. But other times, she'll have been out just an hour or two before.

I am confused as to whether this is really a house training issue (she doesn't know that she isn't supposed to pee inside), an "I don't want to tell you issue" (she's essentially housetrained, but if she has to go badly, she still won't ask to be let out), or an "I don't realize that the living room is part of my 'den' too" issue. Therefore, I have no idea what to do. If someone else had asked this question, I would initially say "crate!" or "leash and keep with you!" but it isn't so cut and dry in this case. We could have Boo on a leash for three months without a mess - I don't think she would ever think about peeing inside on a leash. We have a crate, but Boo hasn't been crate trained, just because she was terrified of it in the beginning. I've worked to get her confident to walk through it (I have it half collapsed to make a tunnel), but she's not at the point where she could be left in it without stressing her out.

If she doesn't realize that the living room is a "part of the house" I could just train her to stay out of there. That wouldn't be an issue. We've already trained her that she's not allowed upstairs and must have permission to come to the basement. But if she just isn't telling me, I don't want to give her a reason to find a new place inside to pee.

Or of course, I could try to train her to tell me when she wants to go outside using a bell or something. She's smart, and would probably pick up on it, but if she doesn't realize that peeing inside is not okay (we've never caught her in the act yet and I DO NOT believe in correcting after the fact) it won't get me anywhere.

This is Boo's only issue that we've had as far as settling in. Otherwise, she is the perfect dog. Absolutely perfect (of course, if you have any ideas about getting rid of a large interest in bunnies, I wouldn't mind!). I just hope (for the sake of the living room rug and the aroma of our house) that I can figure this out.

BTW - in case you don't know, Boo was rescued 1 year ago and is probably 3, 4, or 5ish now. Sorry for the rambling post.

-GoingNowhere
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Old 11-07-2008, 12:27 PM
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lizzybeth727 lizzybeth727 is offline
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I don't think it's necessary to teach a dog to "tell you" when he needs to go outside in order to potty train him. I never taught my chihuahua to tell me - in fact, I've discouraged it with her because she tends to get pushy - and she is potty trained just fine.

I would suggest feeding your dog in the spot where she pees. This is a neat trick that works more times than not, especially if the dog only pees in one spot. She will learn that this is the spot where her food goes, so she won't want to "dirty it." If you're having a problem with the whole living room, start putting her dinner in a food dispensing toy and let her kick that around the whole room. You don't have to do this every day, but I'd start out doing it at least one meal every day for about a week, then go down to once a day 3-5 days per week.
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Old 11-07-2008, 02:13 PM
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My guess, having a rescue dog myself, that something is triggering off this behavior. As it sounds like it is more behavioral than physical. Although it wouldn't hurt to have her checked out. Maybe she gotten a bladder infection or something that has caused this.

Our rescue dog after having her for two weeks and never had a problem, suddenly starting peeing and pooping inside for what seemed to be no apparent reason. But she expected to get beaten after every accident, as she would slowly lie on her side, waiting for the blows. I actually think that was confused about not getting the "normal" response that she didn't know what to do and wouldn't let me know she had to go out. After about 2-3 weeks of this, and no response of any kind from me, she finally came around. She does have some high anxiety problems, that probably triggered her off, and now those are starting to dwindle down.

My suggesion would be to not focus on so much when and where she does it, as to what if going on around her when it happens. Is there more stress in your house at that time. Does she feel neglected, i.e. kids or other animals getting more attenion. Maybe she is lonely or depressed. Are there times she may seem a little off or not her normal self. What is happening around her at these times. Does she seem more anxious during these time periods? She may be giving you warning signs that you are not aware of.

And I think lizzybeth's idea of putting food where she goes, is an excellant idea. I know that I have used that with one of my other dogs and it worked. My husky would never let me know, and a bell worked great for him. We began to have a lot less accidents after that.

Good luck
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Old 11-07-2008, 03:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoingNowhere View Post
She won't have an accident for 3 months and then will have three in 2 weeks. Then it'll be another 2 months and then she'll have one.
With infrequent random accidents, one question to ask yourself is if anything different or out of the ordinary happens around the same time. Things like a dinner party, out-of-town relatives visiting, visiting children who may have unintentionally scared or hurt her, increased instances of her being home alone more than usual, etc. Another thing to consider is some source of loud noises like thunderstorms, construction or road work, police sirens, etc. The accidents wouldn't necessarily happen the same day as the event(s), could be a day or so later.

It's not that those things directly cause accidents ... but anxiety surrounding events can be a contributing factor. Random anxiety can sometimes cause seemingly mysterious problems in adult rescue dogs. If that is a contributing factor it can be difficult to puzzle out because the anxiety-causing event is often tied to something in the dog's pre-adoption past.

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Originally Posted by GoingNowhere View Post
And almost always (as far as I recall) in the evening.
Also ask yourself what happens differently in the evenings at your house, as opposed to during the day. If she's normally fed her main meal in the evening, it could also be something as simple as that she needs to go out more than once after her meal ... or more often.

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Originally Posted by GoingNowhere View Post
We clean it up every time, but at this point, I wouldn't be surprised if the smell is now ingrained into the carpet for the dog, so it doesn't matter if we clean it or not.
Depends on the cleaner. Ammonia-based is bad for pet stains, especially urine. Ammonia-based cleaners actually make the smell worse as well as increasing likelihood the dog will urinate in the spot again. It can be hard to tell which cleaners are ammonia-based, many times it's not apparent on the bottle. You need to check the fine-print ingredient list ... most have these, cheaper imported cleaners often don't. But most general-purpose cleaners are ammonia-based. So are most general-purpose spray-on carpet spot-cleaners ...including ones that say they clean "pet stains". If it's anything other than an enzyme cleaner specifically made for pet odors/stains then it's a waste of time to use it for pet accidents. You need something like Nature's Miracle, PetZyme, ... or something similar with active enzymes. (Some people also swear by lots of plain white vinegar. Don't know ... never tried it as I can't stand the smell of plain white vinegar.)

A good enzyme cleaner will get the smell out. To work they must be used according to directions that are different from regular cleaners. It's not enough to just spray a little and blot. With enzyme cleaners you need to first blot up as much as possible, then saturate the spot with the cleaner. Saturation is especially important with urine accidents on carpets. The cleaner's active enzymes must get down to the carpet padding to completely remove the odor. Directions from there vary depending on the brand. Some say to wait for a specified time then blot excess cleaner, others say leave it saturated and let dry naturally.

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Originally Posted by GoingNowhere View Post
A few times we've forgotten to let her out when she's had an accident - she doesn't ask.
Those kinds of accidents can't be blamed on the dog ... even if she doesn't "ask". In those instances her use of the same spot is coincidental. That spot attracts her partly out of habit but mainly because it's currently a scent-post from previous accidents. But the reason's easily explained ... she wasn't let out and couldn't hold herself anymore.

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Originally Posted by GoingNowhere View Post
(she's essentially housetrained, but if she has to go badly, she still won't ask to be let out)
^^^^ Since you know this about her, why continue to depend on her to "ask"? Sorry, not trying to sound snarky but it does seem counterproductive.

Instead maybe try working out a schedule where she always goes out at certain times .... so she doesn't get to the point of having to go badly before anyone realizes. Waiting until she has to go badly can only increase accidents, but again the kind that can't be blamed on the dog. Bell training is a possibility if you definitely want her to "ask". But it's best to stick to a schedule, and rely on her "asking" only for those times when seh may need to go when it's not the specified time.
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Old 11-07-2008, 04:18 PM
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Quote:
With infrequent random accidents, one question to ask yourself is if anything different or out of the ordinary happens around the same time. Things like a dinner party, out-of-town relatives visiting, visiting children who may have unintentionally scared or hurt her, increased instances of her being home alone more than usual, etc. Another thing to consider is some source of loud noises like thunderstorms, construction or road work, police sirens, etc. The accidents wouldn't necessarily happen the same day as the event(s), could be a day or so later.

It's not that those things directly cause accidents ... but anxiety surrounding events can be a contributing factor. Random anxiety can sometimes cause seemingly mysterious problems in adult rescue dogs. If that is a contributing factor it can be difficult to puzzle out because the anxiety-causing event is often tied to something in the dog's pre-adoption past.
Thanks... I think you hit the nail on the head with the idea that it is probably more of an anxiety or behavior issue. Boo is afraid of thunder and fireworks and is quite submissive and can get anxious. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to sense a pattern regarding anxiety... we have people of all ages in and out of the house on a regular basis (she's fine, she likes people), the only other pet is our cat who is quite independent. The one thing that may possibly have an influence that I haven't looked into is the weather outside. Boo will go out when it is raining and will go out when it's dark, but doesn't like to stay out long - those could be influencing it.



Quote:
Also ask yourself what happens differently in the evenings at your house, as opposed to during the day. If she's normally fed her main meal in the evening, it could also be something as simple as that she needs to go out more than once after her meal ... or more often.
she is fed morning and evening, but the fact about the randomness of her accidents leads me to believe it's less about feeding and more about an infrequent occurrence (such as the weather, etc). That's something I hadn't thought about


Depends on the cleaner. Ammonia-based is bad for pet stains, especially urine. Ammonia-based cleaners actually make the smell worse as well as increasing likelihood the dog will urinate in the spot again.

We use "Simple Solution" cleaner, bought at a pet store. I just checked... no ammonia. I almost wish it was ammonia based... may have simplified my problem if I could just switch cleaners!


Quote:
Those kinds of accidents can't be blamed on the dog ... even if she doesn't "ask".
I know... I tried to make it clear in my first post that I don't blame her when she hasn't been let out. I was just trying to make a note that a few of the accidents have been times like those, and a few have been when she's just been let out. Just wanted to make it clear that I haven't seen a pattern regarding 'let out' times.


Quote:
^^^^ Since you know this about her, why continue to depend on her to "ask"? Sorry, not trying to sound snarky but it does seem counterproductive.
we don't wait for her to ask. She gets let out frequently - at least every few hours, and she'll stay out for a while in the fenced backyard if she wants to. I was just debating whether I should try to train her to ask to be let out.

Thanks for the concerns though! Boo has never been reprimanded for any accidents, but of course it's something I want to fix as quickly as possible. It's just hard when I don't know the exact source of the issue. And because these accidents are so infrequent and weirdly dispersed, it's hard for me to believe that she's just not housetrained.

Thanks!
-Goingnowhere
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Old 11-07-2008, 04:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by v-girl View Post
My guess, having a rescue dog myself, that something is triggering off this behavior. As it sounds like it is more behavioral than physical. Although it wouldn't hurt to have her checked out. Maybe she gotten a bladder infection or something that has caused this.

...

My suggesion would be to not focus on so much when and where she does it, as to what if going on around her when it happens. Is there more stress in your house at that time. Does she feel neglected, i.e. kids or other animals getting more attenion. Maybe she is lonely or depressed. Are there times she may seem a little off or not her normal self. What is happening around her at these times. Does she seem more anxious during these time periods? She may be giving you warning signs that you are not aware of.

Good luck
Thanks. I do really think the idea that this is more a behavioral anxiety type issue is probably right. I just don't know what the trigger is. Boo likes most people, wants to play with our cat (who hates her and anyone else but the immediate family), and is overall a pretty calm dog. Unfortunately, she is quite the worry-wart so it's quite possible that something is triggering this that I haven't thought of!

And do you know if there are any other symptoms of a bladder infection?

Thanks!
-GoingNowhere
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Old 11-07-2008, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by lizzybeth727 View Post
I would suggest feeding your dog in the spot where she pees. This is a neat trick that works more times than not, especially if the dog only pees in one spot. She will learn that this is the spot where her food goes, so she won't want to "dirty it." If you're having a problem with the whole living room, start putting her dinner in a food dispensing toy and let her kick that around the whole room. You don't have to do this every day, but I'd start out doing it at least one meal every day for about a week, then go down to once a day 3-5 days per week.

Interesting idea! That never crossed my mind, but it's a logical idea. It's not the whole living room, just a certain area.

And a question for anyone - do you think that my training her in that room isn't helping? I train her in there mostly, because we have more open space in there. I dont see how trick and obedience training could have anything to do with that, but do you think it could? She's a good learner- I have no doubt that she'll catch on quickly once I figure out the issue. So right now, I guess my issue is more figuring out why she's doing this, so I can work from the root of the problem. Boo needs to feel comfortable here. And while I have no doubt that she's a happy dog, I recognize that I don't know her past, so I'm doing my best to understand her without that vital chunk of time.

Thanks!
-GoingNowhere
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Old 11-07-2008, 06:06 PM
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Training her in that room is probably helping her to not have accidents there as often. If it's a comfortable place to train, by all means continue training there.

I don't think that knowing her past is really as important as it might seem. It is nice information to know what a dog's past was like, but SO much of a dog's training depends on the trainer and the family that he/she lives with. All dogs have little behavior quirks, even puppies bought from wonderful breeders.
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Old 11-07-2008, 06:36 PM
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Okay, that's good then! I know what you mean about the behavior thing, it's definitely true. When I was working with a rescue, there would be dogs that would be given up or returned for one thing that never resurfaced in a different home. We were slightly hesitant to get Boo - the shelter told us that she didn't like having her neck touched and had growled at a man who went to get her out of her kennel once. It put us off, but we went back several times to meet her, and she was the BEST choice. No substantial problems whatsoever. Of course, it would just be nice to know what her life was like previously, for both my personal interest and the knowledge of what/if/how she was trained and whether she had the same quirks before coming to live with us.
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