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Old 09-23-2010, 06:37 PM
rlm3355 rlm3355 is offline
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Default Random pooping & a dog's memory?!

One of our two dogs is about to send my fiance over the edge! The dog in question is a 2.5 year old hound mix who has -always- been a really finicky pottier. I tried a search for this situation and it didn't turn anything up, although if I missed something, please link me :]

So anyway, let me tell y'all what a normal day is like:
Wake up at 8, walk the dogs, and they both poop/pee.
After breakfast, they go back into their crates for the day.
We get back at an average of three, and walk them again. Our other dog will poop, she will not.
We eat dinner, then hang out in the living room.
We walk them again, and she may or may not even pee.

Then on some days, like today (say, once every other week), we'll be eating dinner, and we'll go into the kitchen to get something, and a huge pile of poop will be sitting on the floor! (this is about how it goes: )
And I have no idea what to do! This has only been going on since we moved into our new house that has a stairwell that she likes to do it in, and a kitchen that's out of our view! She stays around us 98% of the time, but that two percent that she slinks away.... she poops.
We already barricaded the stairs, but I don't want to climb over a gate to the kitchen forever because my 2 year old dog can't hold her poop!

So what the heck do you do for a grown dog that's developed this new habit?

And finally, can somebody please explain why it's so important to catch a dog in the act? My fiance thinks that she will remember what she did 10-15 minutes after the act, but I keep saying that it's probably useless to try and discipline her after the fact.

I wish we had a fenced in back yard, but we don't, and we don't have the time to stand around outside till her business becomes urgent enough for her to actually use the bathroom! (I tried that- I regularly stood outside for 30 minutes with no results.)

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Old 09-23-2010, 07:39 PM
Maura Maura is offline
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Have you used treat rewards. Give each dog a little sliver of cheese or piece of meat or something every time they go. This will set up an expectation. Everytime that you take the dogs outside have them sit at the appropriate door. They should be out of the swing of the door, preferably a little behind you. They wait until you tell them "out". No reward necessary, going out is the reward.

At the usual time that she poops in the house, take her to the door, have her sit, give treat. Go out. Repeat this a couple of times each night. You want to teach her to go sit by the door when she has to go out. In the meantime, keep her near you so she can't slink off some where to potty.
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Old 09-23-2010, 07:43 PM
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milos_mommy milos_mommy is online now
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After you walk her in the afternoon...if she doesn't go potty, put her back in the crate.

Take her out again in about 15 minutes. If she doesn't go, back in the crate.

Don't give her the opportunity to poop on the floor. When she poops outside, praise her like crazy and give her treats. After only a few days she should learn that going outside = very good and going inside is just not going to happen.
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Old 09-23-2010, 07:58 PM
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Doberluv Doberluv is offline
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In particular, read post #7...Mordy's post.

Basically, you're going to treat her like she's a new puppy just starting to learn. You need to start from square one.

Punishment does more harm than good when potty training. It has nothing to do with memory. What it has to do with is that she can't tell what you're punishing her for. She has done how many behaviors in the 10 minutes since she pooped? Maybe she's walked across the room, sat down and scratched behind her ears, picked up a toy. How is she suppose to know what you're punishing her for? Dogs don't have morals and don't have our value system. Period. They don't have the same cognitive abilities as we do. So your husband is dead wrong to think it's effective to punish her even more than 3 seconds after she poops.

Punishment, even if caught in the act can cause numerous side effects that aren't good at all. It can teach a dog that it is not safe to eliminate in the presence of humans. So, that's why she slinks off to hide it behind a chair or another room. She doesn't know it's morally wrong or that your rug cost thousands of dollars. It's just scary to poo in front of people. Period. That's as far as it goes. She doesn't think in terms of "right" or "wrong" in a moral sense. That's a human's thing, not a dog thing. So, to project human morals to that onto a dog is called anthropomorphizing and it has nothing to do with how a dog thinks or learns.

Dogs that get punished a lot for going to the bathroom often won't go when they're on a leash because's scary to go in front of humans.

Punishment erodes trust in a dog's people. It does nothing to teach the dog what you do want.

If it is felt that punishment is needed, it should be reserved for the humans who failed to supervise her adequately or take her out often enough and reinforce her for going outside.

She must be taken out a ridiculous amount of times...more than you think she needs. She must be praised and given a treat immediately upon finishing. Outside must become the best and only place to go. Dogs do what works. (for themselves) Outside will work if that's the only place she can go and on top of that, the only place where high value treats are given and loads of praise in association with going to the bathroom. The more chance for reinforcement, the better she'll learn. Inside won't work for her because you will prevent her from going inside by your diligent supervision. There is no need for any punishment whatsoever if you follow these protocals.

Dogs that are stressed will sometimes go in the house when they didn't before.

Dogs have memories, but they learn by assocation, by pairing things together. So that is why reward or punishment has to happen within about 2 or 3 seconds of a behavior or they'll miss the association. But punishment has too much chance for undesireable fall-out. Prevention, reinforcement (something the dogs LOVES) and making only outside pottying work and make it work stupendously. Then she'll get onto it, probably in a couple of weeks if you're absolutely diligent, barring any medical problem or high levels of stress from anything changed or upsetting in the environment.
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Old 09-24-2010, 07:21 AM
rlm3355 rlm3355 is offline
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Thanks guys, will give those things a try!
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