While the two most important concepts: schedule, schedule, schedule, and, management, management, management, apply to all dogs, it does not apply equally because, well let's face it, people are people and all our lives have idiosyncrasies.
I consider myself a potty expert and when I was privy to information about Lucy, our foster dog who was ADOPTED this past weekend, I was mentally prepared to schedule schedule, scedule, and manage, manage, manage. By the way, manage means supervise or confine. Lucy's family work schedule had changed and the dog had found herself alone a large portion of every day. This was an important puzzle piece in figuring out was what going on with her.
Here is the thing. When you have an adult dog who is having accidents in the house, you need play potty detective. It's Dog Trainer 101 to learn to ask questions and look at things from the dog's point of view.
Whether it is aggression, barking, jumping, or whatever, finding the dog's motivation is the first step in solving any problem. It is a dog trainer's job to figure out what is going on. First we rule out physical. Dogs may have a urinary tract infection, or possibly something more serious.
Even with schedule, schedule, schedule, and management , management, management, Lucy peed in my house in the first week. Just as the family had shared, Lucy found a pile of dirty laundry and eliminated there.. Ok, in the big scene of things, not so bad. I made a mental note of all the circumstances of that day. What she ate and drank and when, how much exercise she had, who was home etc. It is a great idea if your dog is having potty issues to keep a potty journal with as many factors written down as you can. Sometimes patterns are not clear without one. Right away the fact that I came home after being out for 2 hours, combined with the fact that I saw the dog eliminate outside and then she came in and peed again inside was a red flag. These are the times that owners often think their dogs pottied "out of spite".
There is no such thing as a dog who goes to the bathroom out of spite.
I was quite sure the dog was anxious that I left, and had not totally eliminated outside becasue she wanted to be back in with me. Plus, it was one of the coldest days of the year.
The following week, we had a poop accident in my laundry room. This time, I had been out teaching at night for the first time since Lucy had been in my house. Same thing, I came home, the dog was excited to see me, she went outside , eliminated and came back and did it again right in front of me.
I knew my first inclination was right, and that Lucy was stressed and anxious that I had left her. The next day when I called Victoria from the rescue to pass on how wonderful Lucy was and how well the dog was doing, she listened to my potty hypothesis, agreed with me and exclaimed;
"Of course, she gave you an I love you shit. It was an I love you shit!"
Yes, I do believe it was! An I love you shit. Why had I never thought of that?
Lucy problem was based in insecurity, and she did not have any more accidents in my care. I just slightly changed my routine. The next times I came home, we just stayed out longer.
Case closed. Dog adopted! Can't wait to share that diagnosis with a future client.
|Lucy is doing great in her new home.|
She has her very own boy.