Hi all, I'm new here but found you while searching exhaustively for answers about my specific situation... to no avail =) I'm really hoping you can help! I apologize for the wall-of-text, I want you to have as much info as possible though.
My BF and I adopted a 5 month old female lab/pit mix from the shelter. We knew we'd have to teach her manners and un-learn a bunch of bad habits, but I'm seriously at my wits end here. There are other issues I'd love to ask about, but our #1 concern is potty training. We've had dogs before so I realize it will be some work, but we have no clue what to do about her specific behaviors. I never ever
thought I'd say "I want to give our dog back" and I said it last night. It just shows me that I'm losing both my mind and my ability to be a strong leader with this, and I really need help.
To begin, here's what our typical schedule looks like:
6am - I wake up, get dressed, and take her out of her crate and immediately outdoors. She pees within the first 10 minutes, and rarely poops.
6:15am - We begin the walk. If she didn't poop first thing when I took her out, she will now poop within 15-30 minutes of being out and about.
7am - We're home and I let her circle the yard in case she'll pee again. She rarely does. Inside, she goes back in the crate. She's given her morning meal, and she stays in there so I can get ready for work.
8am - We go outside again. She pees now, and it's 50/50 whether or not she poops. Afterward, she goes back inside the crate and I leave for work (PS, she has toys in her crate and a water bottle)
11am-noon - My neighbor comes over to let her out and give her a short walk and playtime. It's 50/50 if she pees, and she never poops. Afterward, she goes back in the crate. (I'm beginning to think this may be an unnecessary outing)
3pm-3:30 - My BF gets home. He takes her out of her crate and immediately outside. She pees, and if she didn't poop a 2nd time in the morning, she does now. She goes back in the crate for another 15 mins-1/2 hour so he can unwind from work, and be attentive to her without any negative energy hanging over him. She then comes out of the crate, and my BF plays with her.
4:30pm - My BF takes her outside. It's 50/50 if she pees.
5pm-5:30 - I get home. I take her outside again, and it's 50/50 if she pees (depending on her 4:30 action).
5:30-7:30 - My BF and I both keep an eye on her while I prepare dinner. If she wants to play, she does so on her own. She's taken outside again, and it's 50/50 if she pees. She then goes back in her crate for her evening meal, and so my BF and I can eat without distraction.
7:30pm-7:45pm - We take her out of the crate, go outside, and she almost always pees. She never poops.
7:45-8pm - I play with her.
8pm - We begin the walk. Just like in the morning, she poops within 15-30 minutes.
9pm - We're back home, and I now read my school books, answer emails (etc) and my BF and I both keep an eye on her. Time permitting, I'll play with her again.
10pm - We go outside. She pees, and never poops. When we're inside again, we get ready for bed and she goes in her crate for the evening.
The problem is that despite our schedule here, she still pees ALL THE TIME anywhere she pleases. When we're home and she's out of her crate, we are quite literally ALWAYS watching her, and despite our eagle eyes, we rarely catch her doing it. When outside, she's a squatter, but when inside, she's a sitter. She's already learning basic commands (like sit/stay/etc), so it's very hard to notice when/if she's doing it and there's no warning to it at all.
I'll have her sit in the kitchen before I walk to her crate to give her dinner, and when she gets up, it's almost a guarantee that the floor is flooded (remember, she JUST went outside before dinner). My BF will toss her ball down the hallway, and mid-run she'll just stop and sit/pee. Rarely will we see her sniffing the ground. If she's sniffing AT ALL, I stop what I'm doing and go on red alert - if the sniffing continues for more than 5 seconds and/or she circles and/or her head does not lift up, I grab her leash and take her outside where it's 50/50 if she'll pee. She'll lay down with us watching a TV show and be just fine... when I get up and grab her leash to take her out, she'll sit and wait for me to come back, and when we walk towards the door, I'll see a pee spot where she was sitting. Sometimes, such as this morning, we'll take her out and she'll pee, and then she'll come back inside and pee again on the rug 10 minutes later.
Correction worked the first time we caught her peeing inside, and that time was a squat. I yelled out "No! No!" and clapped my hands firmly to interrupt her, then grabbed her leash and took her outside to finish. Since then, she sits, and nothing makes her stop except a tactic I feel terrible about. I continue the clap/no while running right at her. That's the only thing that makes her stop what she's doing, as she has no other choice but to stop what she's doing and move or I'll bowl right over her. Otherwise, she'll just sit there calmly watching me while she finishes up. She never exhibits any of that "doggy shame" look that's so common when dogs are peeing or pooping (inside or outside).
When I'm taking her out, I use the phrase "potty outside" so she has the association with what we're about to do. I always make sure, 100% of the time, to praise her when she pees/poops outside so she's knows I'm happy with her. When she goes inside, we clean up the mess immediately so there's no time for a pee stain to set in - we blot until there's zero liquid left coming up on the towels, then use a carpet cleaner on the area to get rid of the smell. She'll pee anywhere and everywhere - there isn't a consistent place, so it doesn't seem like marking or "familiar pee smell".
She is absolutely, without a doubt, able to hold her bladder and bowels. She doesn't whine to be let out of her crate in the middle of the night, and never has an accident in it. She doesn't appear to have a UTI (I know it takes a urine sample to confirm), as she exhibits no signs of it (dehydration, straining, stinky pee, blood, pain, etc) other than frequent peeing. She almost never unleashes the dam and pees full-force, whether inside or outside - it's always these little puddles.
I've read that there may be incontinence issues as a result of spaying - the shelter spayed her young, at only a few months old, so maybe that's part of it? Perhaps she's getting excited (such as playtime) or showing submission (such as sitting at dinner)? Is this a simple issue of "she's a shelter dog and never learned the right way"? Maybe "she's still exhibiting puppy behavior" or "she just needs more training, she'll grow out of it"?
I love our little furbaby and I certainly don't
want to give her up. I'll do whatever it takes to make sure we get this right, and I'm looking for specific trainers in my area to help with training us
on how to train our dog =) But I feel like I'm losing my sanity with watching her like a hawk, taking her out every hour, and STILL having to clean up pee 5 times a day. The only thing I can think to do is continue what we're doing (which obviously isn't working) or leave her in her crate all the time (which isn't healthy for her). She does want to please, I can clearly see that, but it doesn't seem like she comprehends that when surrounded by walls/ceiling, you DON'T go - especially since, in a shelter, that's where you DO go and that was her first few months of life experience. Also, it seems like she's associating being excited and/or receiving praise and affection with peeing. I don't know how to address all of these issues all at the same time! I just don't get it, what are we doing wrong and what do we start doing to make it right?