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Help - dog won't potty in backyard

This is a discussion on Help - dog won't potty in backyard within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Originally Posted by Wdb617 Amazing how the minds of animals work. In response to your question, our old F that scratched did so most times ...

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Old 08-17-2017, 11:36 AM
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Arrow some ideas to save the lawn...

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Originally Posted by Wdb617 View Post

Amazing how the minds of animals work.
In response to your question, our old F that scratched did so most times while facing the tree line where deer roamed. She wanted to get after those deer something fierce. They would come in our yard & she'd go nuts. Perhaps her actions were in response to the deer.

Part of me regrets not letting her chase a deer just once before she passed. She wanted it so bad! We didn't want to lose her though.

Our new M isn't interested in the deer or bunnies. But, I am now being told by my wife that she has witnessed him scratching with his back legs after going potty. I have not seen it yet but she says just within the past week it has started. Go figure.
Guessing the previous dog saw the deer as invaders, & her pointed kick-scratching was a territorial display, but of course the deer - not being dogs - would not grasp the intention. Translation is such a complex process.

I'd say that his beginning to scratch indicates he's feeling more at home, & owning his space - while it might not be a welcome behavior, OTOH it's good that he's settling in.
If U don't want him to kick-scratch, have him do something else quickly, right after he stools - such as rapidly run to U for a high-protein / low or no-carb tidbit.
Establishing a new pattern for him to segue into shouldn't be hard, but the sooner U interrupt the sequence of poop / kick-scratch, the easier it will be.

If he likes to fetch, chase a thrown or kicked ball, chase a flirt pole, play tug, those are calorie-free behaviors that can also be highly rewarding to the dog, & exercise him, too.
Balls that can only be SHOVED by a dog are often a nice novelty - he can't chew them or carry them, so they don't get punctured & won't wear down his teeth [tennis-ball mouth when teeth are worn into an open circular frame results from dogs gnawing compulsively on their extremely-abrasive coating].
A large ball that's lightweight & sturdy will last almost forever - U can kick it or roll it, the dog shoulders it or shoves it with paws or hips, stands on it & squirts it forward, etc.
If U store it out of the sun when not in use, it will last a long, long time. Here in Boston, hard plastics are blessedly recyclable, when it eventually dies.

- terry

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Old 09-12-2017, 10:22 AM
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Guessing the previous dog saw the deer as invaders, & her pointed kick-scratching was a territorial display, but of course the deer - not being dogs - would not grasp the intention. Translation is such a complex process.

I'd say that his beginning to scratch indicates he's feeling more at home, & owning his space - while it might not be a welcome behavior, OTOH it's good that he's settling in.
If U don't want him to kick-scratch, have him do something else quickly, right after he stools - such as rapidly run to U for a high-protein / low or no-carb tidbit.
Establishing a new pattern for him to segue into shouldn't be hard, but the sooner U interrupt the sequence of poop / kick-scratch, the easier it will be.
Apologies if it's not appropriate to bump this thread, but a question related to the bathroom marking kick scratching behavior popped into my head last night when I noticed that Mira did more intense scratching after going to the bathroom when another dog was in sight (at a distance, but definitely visible and definitely had Mira's full attention), and again this morning when apparently she felt that a raven on the roof of a nearby house was invading her territory. (For the record, the Mr. Raven was not bothered in the least by her raised hackles, growling and barking, and I suspect the message of her scratching was equally lost on him. I told her she was being silly and we walked as close as we could to the raven without going onto anyone else's property and we had a nice calm conversation about Mr. Raven until Mira calmed down and reluctantly accepted his presence.)

Would interrupting the scratching behavior change the dog's state of mind regarding what she considers her territory, by any chance? Or is it still her territory in her little doggie brain even if she doesn't specifically leave her special mark?

I'm doing my best to interrupt the scratching behavior just because she doesn't need to be tearing up the lawn, kicking dirt on me and getting her feet all muddy, but it'd be nice if there was a behavioral benefit other than that.
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Old 09-12-2017, 11:10 AM
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Question it won't re-draw the map; but it might allow visits...

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Apologies if it's not appropriate to bump this thread, but a question related to the bathroom marking kick scratching behavior popped into my head last night when I noticed that Mira did more intense scratching after going to the bathroom when another dog was in sight (at a distance, but definitely visible and definitely had Mira's full attention), and again this morning when apparently she felt that a raven on the roof of a nearby house was invading her territory.
(For the record, the Mr. Raven was not bothered in the least by her raised hackles, growling and barking, and I suspect the message of her scratching was equally lost on him. I told her she was being silly and we walked as close as we could to the raven without going onto anyone else's property and we had a nice calm conversation about Mr. Raven until Mira calmed down and reluctantly accepted his presence.)


Would interrupting the scratching behavior change the dog's state of mind regarding what she considers her territory, by any chance?
Or is it still her territory in her little doggie brain, even if she doesn't specifically leave her special mark?

I'm doing my best to interrupt the scratching behavior just because she doesn't need to tear up the lawn, kick dirt on me, & get her feet all muddy, but it'd be nice if there was a behavioral benefit other than that.
LOL - I'm sure Mr Raven just saw some dumb dog doing something strange while staring at him, & was completely unimpressed.

Just interrupting kick-scratching won't change the dog's perception of "my turf" or their concept of boundaries - lots of dogs have very accurate perceptions of bounds, as my buddy Dan discovered when the city of Erie, PA, tried to census dog-numbers within city limits - he was being paid to go door to door, & ask if they had a dog /s.
Some residents would angrily deny having a dog when one [or more] could be heard loudly barking - others were so outraged at the nerve of him, coming onto THEIR property to ask questions that were none of his dam*ed business, that they'd set the nonexistent dog on him... & he'd run from the porch for the sidewalk.
He quickly learned that if he made it to the city sidewalk, he was generally safe - the dogs would stop with their claws on the sidewalk edge & paws on the lawn, as if they'd hit an invisible wall; they'd snarl like rabid wolves, but they wouldn't usually BITE him if he was on public-access.

LGDs are especially bad about drawing accurate bounds -
they tend to consider anything they can SEE as 'my turf', which often leads to squabbles as they overlook the city-sidewalk from the living-room window, or see the neighbor's yard from the kitchen, & give everyone a loud & angry earful for "trespassing".
This can cause a lot of bad feeling - neighbors who can't even take out the trash, let alone enjoy a summer BBQ in their own yard, b/c of the obnoxious barking from an overzealous turfy dog, are not happy.

re kick-scratching,
while simply re-directing her to another activity will forestall the scratching & save the turf, it won't redraw her boundaries.
However - pairing "large bird" with fun activities / treats / toys / an unplanned spontaneous extra walk / ________ , can make her boundaries more porous.

IOW - if Good Things happen when so-&-so shows up, she won't mind them invading so much; in fact, if the appearance of so-&-so consistently predicts Good Things, so-&-so can become a Good Thing, too.

- terry

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Old 09-12-2017, 01:17 PM
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Drat! I kinda figured it wasn't that simple but wanted to learn more about how doggie brains work anyway.

Unfortunately for Mira, she seems to be one of those dogs who thinks everything she sees is hers when, in fact, none of it is. I live in a townhouse condo; houses are close together and all of the surrounding property is common area. I'm counter conditioning to get her used to the neighbors and their dogs one by one, but everytime someone new shows up, we have to start from scratch. The people in the house behind mine just got a new pit bull and Mira finds that utterly unacceptable. She's only just started to tolerate that people live there. There's also a new cocker spaniel a few doors down from new pit bull. Oh, the horror! We've been spending a lot of time in the evening sitting in front of the back patio door (inside the house because any closer pushes her over threshold) so we can see people coming home from work and taking their dogs out, and we practice not barking at things (counter conditioning).

Most of my neighbors are very understanding and tolerant, and I've explained to them that I'm working on teaching my dog not to bark at, well, everything, and they can see that I am. Fortunately, Mira's loved the older woman who lives directly next to me from day 1, which I can't explain, but is awesome because that would be awkward otherwise.

LOL at the *cough* nonexistent dogs chasing the census taker off of their property.

Quick anecdote: I had a cat when I was a kid that thought her property extended half of a city block. She'd chase cats (and dogs, lol) out of her yard but wouldn't stop until they were halfway down the street. She was a sick, scrawny, tough old street cat that I convinced my mom to let me bring home. We called her Jo since that seemed to suit her tough tomboy personality and she quickly decided she liked living with us but was never totally comfy as a 100% indoor cat so we'd let her out when she got antsy. Our next door neighbor was known to not like cats. He wasn't mean to them or anything, just uncomfortable and preferred not to be around them. Well, one day I saw Jo sitting on his porch and next thing I knew, he opened the door and let her in and then a few minutes later, he let her back out again.

"Mr. Harry," I said, "What's going on? Why was Jo in your house?"
"Oh, she does that all the time," he said with a shrug.

Apparently, she considered his yard part of her territory and figured it was her job to go over and survey the property and house now and then. She'd sit on his porch and meow until he'd open the door and then she'd walk in, circle the kitchen once or twice and ask to be let back out again. Cats. Go figure.
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