Maddening Potty Issue

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Zelda_dobe's picture
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My female puppy is 10 weeks and some change, and for the most part she's doing pretty well with housebreaking.  I've had her since she was 7 weeks and I can tell a huge difference in her potty habits from then.  She isn't consistent, but she has signaled at the door a few times, which I have praised her for and taken her out right away.  I take her outside every time I let her out of the crate and about every 30-45 minutes when she's out loose.  The only time she is ever unsupervised is when she manages to get out of the kitchen without being noticed (not often--has happened once).

So the problem is that she will pee on soft fluffy stuff without a second thought--this includes her crate if I'm not quick enough to get her out when she whines.  A few minutes ago she was sitting on a big fluffy floor pillow right next to me when she started wiggling around and she just up and peed on it.  In retrospect, I missed her signals that she needed to go because I had just had her out, but this isn't the first time she's picked a big cushion as the target.  The worst part about this particular incident is that I sat here and watched her do it, and I thought, she's not peeing is she?  I decided she wasn't (she sometimes sits down in such a way that it looks like she's about to pee), only to see when she moved that she had, so I couldn't even correct her.

Anyway, how do I handle her selecting soft stuff as a pee target?  I do as much as I can already to prevent accidents.  Do I need to take away all her soft bedding until she's reliably trained?  I use Nature's Miracle to clean up the spots, so lingering scent shouldn't be the issue. 

Thanks in advance for your help!

I don't think that she is deliberately picking the soft stuff to go potty on, it just happened that way. If she spends any amount of time in her crate then I wouldn't want to take away her soft bedding there. It sounds as if she is pretty good about the crate you just missed her a few times. Some puppies get more excited then others and it just happens. It really sounds as if you are doing all you can do with her.

BlueNemo's picture
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I respectfully disagree. Pupies and dogs will deliberately pee on absorbent material before they'll pee on a hard surface. Has she ever just up and peed on the kitchen tile with little or no warning, just sitting there and she peed? Mine either. If you put her in a crate and cover half the crate floor with a towel, and the other hald with nothing, bet you she'll choose the towel to pee on. I use newspaper in my crates, its not as soft but if they do have an accident (extremely rare), I can throw the papers away, as opposed to a blanket or such. Good luck.

I respect your opinion also but I will disagree as well. Mine will pee no matter where they are hard surface or not. I totally disagree with leaving her in a crate with only newspapers. When rereading the post it says that she will pee in the crate if she is not quick enough to get her out after she whines. So that leads me to believe that the warning was there and it wasn't quick enough.The next incident she talks about is the fluffy pillow. I seriously doubt the puppy was thinking let me go back to that fluffy pillow and pee on it. I've had several girl puppies that go through periods of not controlling it very well. It's not mischievous on there part or wanting to pee on soft surfaces v/s hard surfaces, its just a thing they go through. As well as some puppies go through submissive peeing.

Zelda_dobe you finished your question asking if you should take away all her soft bedding until she's reliably trained. Are you having most of your problems in the crate or is it different areas? How often is this happening all the time, occasionally? Most puppies do not want to soil there beds/crate by nature. If you crate is large enough you could put 1/2 newspaper and 1/2 sleeping area for her. When crate training our puppies we use this method because puppies as soon as they are able will pee out of there sleeping area.

Another thing I would do if it were me is pick up all the fluffy floor cushions until you are through this matter. It's easier to clean carpet,woodfloor, and linoleum then fluffy cushions. By the way I love the Natures Miracle for cleaning up and taking out the odor.

Zelda_dobe's picture
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Joined: 2009-03-13

After I posted my question, she went on to have three more pee accidents....all on the hard floor.  For whatever reason, she had more accidents today than she has in at least week....in the crate, on the big pillow, on the hard floor.  She did just have her second set of shots today.  Would that have any effect on her bladder control?

It's frustrating because for the past three days or so I really thought she was almost there.  Thanks for the feedback though.  It doesn't stop the accidents but it helps me feel better.  ;)     

So what is the time frame around it? example after eating, playing, sleeping? Do you think she could be going through a submissive stage? Its hard to say what exactly it might be without more detail.

rgreen4's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-26

Zelda_dobe - she's only 10 weeks old! At ten weeks they are just at the start of having control. If you miss her signal, you only a few minutes before she has an "accident". The key is to take her out frequently. Once you feed her, you should only give her 5-10 minutes before you take her out. When you let her out of her crate, you should take straight outside to pee. Then bring her in, and at most have about two hours before you take her out again.

Then when you take her outside and she goes, make a big deal out of it. She should understand that you are very pleased when she does it outside. If she has an incident in the house, don't holler or raise your voice, but just gently let her know that you are not pleased. She will gradually get better, and you will be able to lengthen the amount of time between outside trips, but it will be a slow process. She will start to get a lot better when she is about 4 months old.

It has been raining a lot here is S. Georgia and of course it has upset the dogs schedules. Princess (4 1/2 months) like Red don't like the rain, and I was not diligent in noting what she did. This evening I got a gift. My fault. I should have taken an umbrella and stayed out with her until I saw her go. It has been almost a month since this had happened.

Zelda_dobe's picture
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Details....I'll give you an example from this morning.  I woke up and took her outside around 6 a.m.  She was back in the crate for about an hour while I took my shower and whatnot.  Outside again around 7, then in the kitchen loose.  I set the timer for 30 minutes thinking that a trip out every 30 minutes would be prevention enough.  I fed my kids, fed her, took her out, played with her, took her out.  The kids went out on the deck to play, and she went with them.  She came back in, stood in the middle of the kitchen and peed without even going into a squat.  I caught her, said no and took her out.  Praise for going in the grass. 

Am I just expecting too much from her given her age?  I really thought that I was taking her out often enough... 

at 10 weeks old probably. she is just a baby and she will learn. I'm a big one on word association as they have the capability to learn many words. When i start potty training I take them out from the crate at a time I know that they have to go. I say lets go outside go potty. I put them in the area where I want them to return time and time again to potty, they have there own space not anywhere they want to go. I don't like to find it all over the yard or where my kids play. This also makes potty training quick as they know that they are not out to play but to do business. I will keep repeating the word go potty hurry up,until they go. This is usually done on leash to begin with so they don't run all over the place as soon as they go I make a big deal out of it while repeating what a good potty. If the area you are training the potty place to be is on the opposite end of the yard I will carry them over and keep repeating get over there do a good potty. Now I open the doors tell them get over there do a good potty and they run right over to the designated area.

I think she was probably playing outside and didn't have to go at the time or was just to busy. I always start everything out with the go to the potty area if that makes sense that way I know when they have gone and when they may need to. If you don't already have a designated area I would establish that. This also holds the smell in the ground for them and makes it easier. When they know that they are out for business only and not to play it makes a big difference with how long it takes. You'd be surprised at how many of them get sidetracked with all the good smells and things and don't do their business out of the shear excitement of all the fresh new smells of the day.

rgreen4's picture
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Absolutely. Young puppies have an attention span of about 10 microseconds. I would be feeding Princess in the kitchen and she would hear a sound and be off to investigate. At that age I always took her outside by herself. Now that she is 4 1/2 months, she, Red and I go out together most of the time. I am there to observe, and they are pretty good. When you put her out with the kids, it was play time, not potty time.

Just when your kids play together, all other obligations and duties are forgotten. Just always remember, you now have three kids, not two. The third one is very ambulatory, does not speak English.

Zelda_dobe's picture
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Thanks everyone.  So, it seems that the only thing wrong with my puppy is that she's a puppy  ;D  She's doing great and I really appreciate you guys taking the time to reassure me.

no problem let us know how she's doing, cant wait to hear the updates. Pictures are great also :)

BlueNemo's picture
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LOL well I wish you'd explain to MY dogs that they dont intentionally pee on soft things...  A couple years ago I have a dog bed custom made, a big, thick felt doggy mattress. I took the bottom half of an XL plastic crate and put the bed in it and put it in my kitchen, since thats where my dogs liked to hang out. After a week or so I noticed it was starting to stink in the kitchen. I mopped and bleached and cleaned and scrubbed and still it smelled like dog pee. Finally I caught one of the dogs deliberately peeing in the bed. I threw them outside and picked up the mattress, it was soaked, I mean SOPPING with pee, the crate bottom was full of pee, it was disgusting. And the dogs were all USING the bed, sleeping in it!

I have also bought dog pillows from walmart and the dogs always end up peeing and/or pooping on them.

BLUE NEMO, You need to look at the way you have things structured WHY they keep pooping or peeing on things. Really there should be NO REASON why under NORMAL circumstances that your dogs would do this! Something in your schedule or your training must be contributing to this. Normally dogs do not want to sleep and eat in dirty quarters. Or pee or poop on soft things just because they are soft.

I think probably with your work schedule or something must have contributed to your dogs behaving like this, not intentionally but still something out of the ordinary has happened that they do this. You are new to the Doberman breed. Pit bulls bred outdoors and chained to things are different then Dobermans.

Your pit bulls have obviously been cared for and housed in outdoor situations so maybe this is new to you. Dobermans are extremely smart and given that their daily mental and physical needs are met there is NO excuse for this. I think what you are experiencing is out of the ordinary. I'm not trying to be rude in any matter but I think if you would post this exact question on Doberman talk forum would find similar view from EXPERIENCED Doberman people.

rgreen4's picture
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While I have had a Doberman pee or poop in a crate if they could not hold it and I did not get home in time, I have never had one voluntarily do it. Princess woke me up the other morning about 4AM when she needed out. I failed to put her and Red out right before bedtime. While she is fairly good, if I don't put her out on something like a regular basis or confine her, she will pee, but never on her bed on in her crate. (She did pee on Red's pad once several months back and Red would not lay on it for some time even though I washed both the pad and the cover.

That is the exact key sentence rgreen, "if they could not hold it or if you did not get home in time" We have all had dogs that have done this for these reasons, but not just to pee or poop on a soft surface. There is more going on that would cause these dogs to do this.

My old girl Elly who was recently diagnosed with Cancer, peed accidentally on one of the costco beds. None of the other dogs would go near it, nobody wanted to sleep or go near it. Even after putting it through the wash it still had a smell that was offensive to them. Accidents do happen for one reason or another but not normally on a continual basis just for the sake of something soft vs hard.

BlueNemo's picture
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The mattress a couple years ago was my pits, and they would do it with the back door wide open, food and water was outside, the whole house open and I wasn't working at the time, I was home 24/7 with them. That's why it was so confusing to me, WHY they would pee, never poo, on their bed and still sleep on it, when they had every opportunity to go outside, the back door was like 3 feet from their bed!

As far as the dog pillows recently, it was the Dobes, always at night or while I was home for some reason.  Also I am a dog wardena dn I dont put dog pillows in the kennels anymore because the dogs will purposely pee in them,. I think its because they are so absorbant and the pillow hides the pee and also keeps it in one place, since it soaks into the pillow. Just a guess, but its always seemed to me that when they were peeing in their beds it was to hide it...

Oh and I should point out. My entire life I was brought up that dogs were family and until I got into the pits, all my dogs were always house pets, walked regularly, I never even used a crate until I got my first pit, and I never had an issue housebreaking. I only started keeping my dogs outside when I got so many pits that they had to be kept confined, or they'd kill each other. And even then I would always rotate a couple dogs inside at a time, so everyone got a chance to be indoors, and everyone was obediance trained and had plenty of excersize. I wanted to keep them all in but it was unsafe to do so. It was an easy switch for me to bring my Dobes inside and keep them in as housepets because thats what I have done my whole life, except with the pitbulls. I may be new to Dobes, but I am NO rookie dog owner/breeder/trainer. I have been working with and training dogs since I was 8 yrs old. I understand that the Dobe is a breed apart but the same basic principles apply: Love, attention, training, consistancy, excersize, etc. So, please keep that in mind when talking to me, I am not a kid or a newbie. I do know what I am doing. Thanks.
Savannah

rgreen4's picture
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We fully understand that, just that what we are saying is that this is not a normal behavior. Unfortunately, the pattern may have been set by the Pits and the scent is there. Dogs learn a behavior from one another. This is one reason when I thought Red was on a short life expectancy, I wanted to go ahead and get the new puppy so she could learn behavior from him. It just makes it easier on me. Unfortunately, if there is bad behavior, then they learn that also.

I am trying to remember the mix of your Dobes, if I recall, it's two males and a female. I would find it highly unusual for a male to pee on a soft pillow or dog bed as they usually want a vertical surface to pee on. You may want to see if you can limit yourself to only one loose at a time and see if you can identify the culprit. My late sister and I joking referred to a dog that had bad behavior as working on their outside dog degree. If you have the outside kennels still, and you identify one dog that is misbehaving, then you may want to keep them outside for longer (not 24 hours but during the day) periods.

Savannah,

You may know what you are doing but it isn't working with these dogs. If you take a poll here or Doberman talk forum your not going to find that the dogs pee and poop on the soft items just for the sake of doing so. It is no wonder that the dobes used the old mattress as a pee spot if it was used that way before. I would get rid of the mattress in question the scent is obviously deep within and it will probably keep being marked.

You mentioned that you would rotate the pitts inside, that would make sense to me why a dog would use it as a pee spot. When dogs are not properly house trained to begin with they will do this sort of thing. That could possibly be why as a dog warden you find a lot of this. Most of the dogs you deal with I would suspect are not good family trained pets. They are outside,neglected, untrained dogs. A properly house trained dog will not do this. With so many pitt bulls you didn't have the correct time to individually train them to the house. I don't know how recently you got rid of all your dogs your last litter was due in Jan according to your website. It is possible if you were still to busy with all the pit bulls that you didn't properly train the Dobermans correct house manners. Maybe you need to get back to the basics now that you have more time and go back and train them the way you used to train.

BlueNemo's picture
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I'm sorry I didn't specify: the mattress was thrown away immediately once I discovered the pits were peeing in it, my Dobes never even saw it. And Nemo and Dori have both peed on brand new dog pillows. I will NOT kennel my dogs when I am at work, they are not allowed near the kennels and I am getting rid of them. My pits were sold right after that litter in Jan. For the most part my dogs do very well in the house. They are still young and if left alone they will get into things, the garbage usually, their favorite is to open a loaf of bread and share it :) So when I am at work (my hubby is at home all day) they are either outside in the yard (nice weather) or in their crates (bad weather). If you were to meet me and my dogs, you would find VERY well trained and well behaved dogs, all of them. They all, even my 6 month old, have a 99% reliable recall, even in the most distracting situation (always working on that, as I belive the recall is the #1 MOST important command, #2 is an immediate DROP and stay until called). They have wonderful manners, are well socialized, and fully obediance trained. The ONLY issues I have had with them is messing in their crates, which they have since stopped doing, and Nemo and Dori peed on their pillows when they were younger. They dont do it anymore, but they used to.

And rgreen, I have 1 male and 3 female Dobes, a male neutered GSD-Chow mix, and as of Thursday, a 5 1/2 month old female Toy Australian Shepherd (rolling eyes), long story there but NOT a dog I went looking for or would have brought home by choice, it was kind of an emergency. Yeesh so NOW up to 6, which is my absolute limit.  Anyway thanks for the replies, have a nice night I am BEAT, spent all day at the Zoo for my son's 4th birthday, might post pics later.

rgreen4's picture
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I apologize as I thought they were doing it as adults. If they were in their crates all day while you were at work, I can understand that in a puppy. When I first brought Princess home her bedding in the crate was two folded towels as I expected to have to do laundry every day with dog towels. It was usually overnight when she had to go, because I am a very very sound sleeper. Now she goes all night without problems and has a nice cushy pad. (She had two but decided one looked edible and decided to prover her theory.

So to make sure we understand, since the puppies have matured a bit, the issue is behind them.

Happy mothers day Savannah!

BlueNemo's picture
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AWWW thank you RND! Thats sweet. And rgreen, yes the issue is behind them.

OmegaWolf's picture
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Happy mothers day both of you! :-D

Zelda_dobe's picture
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Wow, this thread has grown.  I haven't checked in for some time since I've been so busy but I thought I'd update you all.  Shortly after my original post, Zelda was diagnosed with a UTI.  Once that cleared up, it was as though she was house broken overnight.  She is now 4.5 months old and just last week she took a toy into her crate.  It was a fabric covered tennis ball--slightly plush.  While I was upstairs putting my kids down for their naps, the dog peed on her toy.  She hadn't had an accident in her crate for some time, but again, it was as though she was targeting something soft.  She is very good about signaling when she needs to go out, and I couldn't even tell you the last time she had an accident on the floor, but I still don't trust her in the crate with something soft.  Hopefully she will grow out of it.  I have no idea why she would do this to begin with.  It's very puzzling but easily solved by not putting soft things in the crate with her. 

I'm glad to hear that it was a medical issue. This is something for everyone to keep in mind as they may read these posts. I do have to say from your post it would be really hard for me to believe that any dog especially a female would target a small tennis ball item to hit with pee. Girls are not that accurate when going. It stands to reason that she did pee in her crate and the ball got in it. Probably more by pure accident she had to go bad and went. Girl puppies do seem to get more UTI infections so you may want to keep an eye on that.

At 4.5 mo I bet she is really cute! Not to much longer all this will be behind and providing you have given her proper training and socialization you will have the best dog in the world! One of the most loyal family dogs you could own.