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Old 06-01-2010, 01:01 PM
ashley2112 ashley2112 is offline
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Default Toilet training regression & anxiety HELP!

My partner and I have 2 pugs, aged 2 and 3. Because of work arrangements we are living in different cities for this year and the pugs spend most of their time with him, in our permananet home. We have been struggling with our youngest pug's toilet trianing since we got him, as he was 1 year old when we adopted him and never fully trained. The pugs recently came to live with me in my basement suite and, miraculaously, the little one became perfectly house-trained. Now the pugs have returned to live with my partner in our permananet home and he has again regressed, pooping and peeing indoors. I suspect he is a bit traumatized and anxious by the transistion, but does anyone have suggestions beyond kenneling him all day? We tried leaving them locked in our bedroom (which is the same type of environemnt that they were in while staying with me in the basement suite) with disasterous effects (walls scratched, pee and poo everywhere).

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Old 06-01-2010, 01:25 PM
RawFedDogs RawFedDogs is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ashley2112 View Post
My partner and I have 2 pugs, aged 2 and 3. Because of work arrangements we are living in different cities for this year and the pugs spend most of their time with him, in our permananet home. We have been struggling with our youngest pug's toilet trianing since we got him, as he was 1 year old when we adopted him and never fully trained.
There is definatly a problem when a dog can't be house trained in a year. I assume it's not a medical problem bacause the dog was good at your place. How long did he stay there?

Quote:
The pugs recently came to live with me in my basement suite and, miraculaously, the little one became perfectly house-trained. Now the pugs have returned to live with my partner in our permananet home and he has again regressed, pooping and peeing indoors.
Dogs don't "forget" house training. I think the problem is either your partner or your house. I don't know your partner nor have I ever seen him interact with them but he is my #1 suspect. It's possible there are smells of previous potty activity in the house and that tells the dog that it's ok to potty there.

Quote:
I suspect he is a bit traumatized and anxious by the transistion, but does anyone have suggestions beyond kenneling him all day?
I don't suspect trauma as the cause of this. Many dogs are traumatized that don't have potty problems. Kenneling is the #1 fastest and best way to potty train a dog when used correctly. Until he is completely potty trained, kenneling is necessary to protect the house.

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We tried leaving them locked in our bedroom (which is the same type of environemnt that they were in while staying with me in the basement suite) with disasterous effects (walls scratched, pee and poo everywhere).
Which also tells me that partner is the problem. I think its the way he is trying to dicipline the dog and trying to MAKE him stop pottying in the house. As a disclaimer, this is a baseless guess except the experience I have had with others in potty training their dog. I will repeat, I have never seen your partner interact with or dicipline your dogs so this just a guess.
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Old 06-01-2010, 03:33 PM
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Doberluv Doberluv is offline
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What are the details of the training and/or management of this little pug? I'd be interested to know in detail what the training process is like. Also, what does this little dog do during the day? How much mental and pysical stimulation, walks etc is he getting?

I disagree that anxiety or stress has nothing to do with it. If the dog is affected by moving from place to place, changing care takers, upsetting his routine, changing diet...any number of stress factors can definitely cause regressions in potty training and elimination directly due to stress. I've seen many dogs forget what the heck they're suppose to do when changing addresses. They don't generalize very well and potty training might be down pat in one home, but in another home, it's completely foreign to them. It is true that many dogs who are traumatized don't have bathroom behavior regressions. But this is one of several ways anxiety is expressed. Some do and some don't.

My own very well house broken Chi's (at home) get stressed when I leave them at my ex's for him to care for. For 3 days, they're fine. After that, if I don't return, they begin having an accident here and an accident there. He says he takes them out, gives them a chance to go and frequently.... and they come back in and immediately have a boo boo. It's always after about the 3rd day. They're stressed when I am gone too long. And it appears that it's expressing itself in this manner.

There must not be any punishment associated with potty training, whether caught in the act or not. There are all kinds of detrimental side effects caused by the use of punishment which will interfer with not only the relationship, but with potty training itself. If the dog has an accident, it is the owner's lack of diligence in supervision, not the dog's fault.

Constant supervision must be in place, even to the point of tethering to your partner's waiste. A crate used when the pug can not be supervised and I mean if it's just for a phone call where he will be distracted for 1 or 2 minutes (pug goes in crate) or if he himself must make a quick trip to the bathroom. Dog either goes with him or goes in crate.

The dog needs to be taken out more often than it would seem needed, like every hour and not only praised when he goes, but given a high value treat the second he finishes...in addition, 10 minutes or so after eating, drinking, rough housing, napping, etc.

"Accidents" must be prevented and soiled/peed spots cleaned well with an enzymatic cleaner. If the dog smells a spot where he went before, to him, that IS the toilet and proper place to go.

In other words, the dog must be treated as though he were a new puppy just beginning to learn the ropes. He must be started from scratch. He must be set up to succeed and thus, have many more chances for reinforcement. (high value reward with each outside elimination) He must be shown what place works best. And prevented from guessing which room of the house might be the right place. This room, that corner, how 'bout over here....NO. That's too confusing. One place works. And that is outside. Yummy treats associated many times with going outside will communicate to the dog that outside is THE place to go. If absolute diligence is used, accidents inside prevented in the first place, this behavior should turn right around in a matter of a couple weeks.
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Old 06-01-2010, 05:13 PM
ashley2112 ashley2112 is offline
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Thanks for responding so quickly. I too believe my partner is at least partially to blame for the problems...but not because he is too hard on the dogs, more like he is too easy on them. That being said, neither of us have ever punished the dogs for peeing or pooping in the house...for the reasons you've mentioned. Also, Herbie, the non-troubled one is perfectily house trained.

As for the other items you brought up, the dogs get tons of excercise (off leash park every day if not out on the leash, daycare once a week) and have lots of space to run around and play in. Dyuring the day when he is at work we've kept him in a kennel but were told by our daycare that it isn't fair to keep him cooped up all day for so long (usually 9-10 hours so instead We keep them in a barricaded area so they can look out the window and usually do pretty well there (no accidents at all in the day) but then as soon as we give them more freedom Oscar has another accident. I suppose we just need to not give as much freedom.

The problem to me is that he is obviously house broken. he was very successfull when he lived with me for 4 months, it is only upon his return home that he has regressed. I really have to think it is a combination of the lack of MY structure and discipline and the anxiety of the move...if you have other hypotheses or ideas for how to help him I appreciate it. Restarting the house-training seems the most obvious choice at this time...although he is already house-trained in some settings!


Thanks!
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Old 06-01-2010, 06:51 PM
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Dogs are often trained in some settings but not others. That's very common because dogs don't generalize very well...not until they become pros with tons of practice with learning. Dogs will come, sit, stop barking when asked in various contexts, but not in others. until they've had a sufficient number of reinforced, successful repititions in those other contexts.

When certain variables present, such as anxiety or possibly a physical problem, a different location, a different diet, family members change, people, other pets come and go....behaviors aren't on what's known as stimulus control and therefore, the dog is under-trained because he's not trained or practiced in all contexts that he will encounter later on. Or the dog has some stressful and unusual stimuli upon him. Lots of behaviors regress all the time anyhow. It's not anything to be alarmed about when a behavior falls apart.

My advice would be to do what you can to reduce any stress the dog may have...the best you can. You can't do anything about the move. Maybe some extra obedience practice (all fun and games) or some tricks...something fun ...basically more individual attention but constructive attention. Maybe a novel and fun place to take a walk...someplace he's never smelled or seen before...if he would enjoy that and is not timid or upset about new places, people, things etc.

Even though he wasn't peeing or pooping before and now he is, doesn't necessarily rule out anything medical. It could be coincidental that this has happened in one place, but not the other. I'd want to double check with a vet to make sure there's no bladder infection, virus that's making him poo all over the place... or anything anatomical that could possibly have anything to do with it. (not likely, but still, worth double checking, I think)

I think if he's tearing up the walls in the doggie proofed room, this is a sign of separation anxiety. Maybe not full blown, but some level of anxiety and/or boredom. And being very anxious for long periods will increase unhealthy levels of stress hormones and increase respiration, heart and blood pressure rates etc. Stress in dogs can upset the digestive system and cause dogs to "let loose." I really think leaving the dogs for 11 hours is too much with no one to take them out for a walk, give them some attention and fun. I know it's hard when you have to work and I don't mean to sound critical. And I know that people do it with their dogs all the time. But I have a feeling this is too much for this particular little dog.

And I'd really work on prevention of accidents and diligence about taking the dog out more often that I was talking about..... the high value reinforcement for successes. (I'm glad to hear that you guys are smart and haven't punished the little fella for something he can't help. So many people do, so I always mention it, just to cover all bases) A big, huge thing will be the vastly greater opportunities for successful out-door pottying, thus the more reinforcement. Those rewards (chicken, steak, hot dog pieces) are like putting money in the bank. (well....in theory. Not in our present economy. lol) They build and build until you have something.

Maybe someone else will think of something that's escaping me. Things escape me a lot lately. LOL. But I think with some added work, this can be turned around. Let us know how things go.
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Old 06-01-2010, 09:59 PM
Maura Maura is offline
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You know that confining the dogs work, so confine them. You don't HAVE to give them free access to the house when you are gone.

Why this is happening is a big guessing game. My guess is that he can smell urine or poop in this house and is reacting to it by overmarking. If he was relieving himself in a single spot, or even a couple of spots, you could overcome the problem. Since he is going all over the place, this makes it much harder. You must really clean all of the spots he has used. You can use Nature's miracle, or even a solution of white vinegar, but you have to make sure you get all of his spots. In addition, if possible, divide his food into four portions, feed him right on top of the potty spots. This doesn't always work but it is a cheap solution. Most dogs won't pee or poop where they eat (I just fostered an exception to that rule).

I would also leave behind a good chew toy when leaving in the morning. It should be a real favorite, and only be given when partner leaves for work. Chewing helps to relieve stress.
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Old 06-02-2010, 12:46 AM
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Do a Google search for interactive dog toys. They make lots of puzzle type toys that dispense treats and take some brain power to figure out...keeps their minds busy. They're really neat, but some are quite expensive. If she's going to be alone for such a long time, one chew toy is going to get boring. Some of them need supervision when playing with them, so be careful to look for very safe things that she won't chew up or choke on. I'd observe her with them on a week end or something before leaving her alone with them.
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"When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty."

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Old 06-09-2010, 09:16 PM
Timbernee Timbernee is offline
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Paper-training teaches a dog that it's okay to eliminate in the house. Get rid of the paper. Don't know why you're even using it. Dogs can't understand the concept of an "indoor toilet". They can understand that there is a place to eat and sleep (living space, aka the inside of your house) and a separate place to eliminate.
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