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Hi there, we have a German Shepard female who has just turned 6 months old, not yet slayed. We got her from a breeder and had her from 9 weeks old. She would initially sleep Inside and pretty much from day one potty trained herself to go outside. A few months ago she decided she wanted to sleep outside, and wouldn’t come back inside, so she now had a kennel outside. When we got her, we were in COVID lockdown so she had lots of attention from us, including two kids 7 and 9. A few months ago we all returned back to full time work and school and she will be outside during that time. I drop by at lunch time to fill up her king toys and we try and walk her every morning. The problem we are facing is that she has recently started urinating when she is doing something “naughty” and is told to get off or to sit. She urinates when either hubby or I go outside to say hello, even if we ignore her for a few minutes and she has calmed down. and example is today, I let her in the house, she walked around said hello to everyone she was relatively calm, I sat on the floor and opened my arms for hugs, she came to me and then urinated. So I immediately sent her outside. This evening hubby was Making lunches and she was right by the counter sniffing around so he told her to sit a few times and then she urinated. Last week she snuck into my sons room, jumped onto the bed and would not get down...when we tried to get her to come down...not yelling at her but nice and calm and with treats....Guess what.....she peed. We are spending some time training her, basic sit, wait, stay, mat, etc but I do know she is quite lonely when we are all away and I suspect this behaviour is correlated. Kids come home and run around with her every day, and she is inside the minute we are home.....until she pees somewhere. Please help, we really need help on how to handle this and train her out of this.
 

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First step is always a vet check, to make sure it is a behavioural issue and not a medical one.

Then, back to basics with toilet training. I wonder if part of the issue was that she ”pretty much trained herself”. There are a couple of things in that - first, dogs with open door access to outside sometimes struggle with the distinction between where indoors/outdoors actually starts - the absence of a barrier, ie a door, means they don't see the difference. In addition, she may not have developed the muscle control of being able to hold her toilet if she has never had to do it.

She won't be peeing to be naughty - she may be a bit excited or nervous but I promise she isn't doing it to make you cross with her, that would be counterproductive for a dog - there is no benefit to her.

So, I'd go back to basics with toilet training. Whenever you can, have her indoors so she starts learning to hold. And hourly, take her out on leash and wait for her to toilet.

Toilet training happens when two things come together - the ABILITY to hold the toilet, along with the DESIRE to hold it in order to earn the reward for doing so.

When she toilets outdoors make a huge fuss (never mind the neighbours, act like outdoor toileting is the best thing you have ever seen) and reward her with a high value treat. Do that immediately, don't make her come to you for the treat so she is clear that it's for toileting and not for coming to you. The idea is that she wants to earn the treat enough to hold the toilet until she is outside - once she is physically able to control her toileting obviously. As she is actually performing the toilet you can introduce words she can associate with it (like 'do weewee' and 'busy busy') that later when she is reliably trained you can use these to tell her when you want her to toilet.

If you take her out and she doesn't toilet after five minutes, bring her in but don't take your eyes off her. Any hint of a toilet inside, scoop her up and get her out fast. If she doesn't try to toilet indoors (great!) take her out a second time and repeat until you do get outside toilets. You need the outside toilet to happen SO that you can reward SO that she learns.


If she has an accident inside don't react at all. If you get annoyed she may learn to fear your reaction and avoid you if she needs to toilet (by going off and toileting out of sight) - the opposite of what you want. Dogs cant make the distinction between you being annoyed at them TOILETING, as opposed to toileting INDOORS. Just clean the area with an enzymatic cleaner to remove any trace of smell that might attract her back to the spot.
 

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Thanks for responding. The issue is not that she can’t hold....we don’t have a doggy door, so she has always whined or jumped up at our bed during the night when she needed to go potty. And she would go straight Out, do her business and come back inside.
i have just now let her in....she ran straight to my sons room, so I said no Mika, come out of there...she ran across the hall, dribbled some pee and hid under my bed. I walked away to go get a bucket and mop, she came behind me, sniffed me and then peed. All while I was not even interacting with her. It’s not a big gush of pee, but it’s a definite squat and let some out. Sometimes it’s a few drops, sometimes a small puddle. Always in front of us, there are never any “accidents” that we find anywhere. So based on this...how do we retrain her? I’m so mad right now!
 

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Please don't be mad, she will pick up on your body language and as I said above, she may sneak off.

She is 6 months old, she doesn't have the control you expect. Be proactive - you said you have just 'let her in' which looks like she was out by herself. So go out with her, make sure she empties (possibly several times) outside and reward like I said.

This is a tried and trusted approach, give it a shot for a month - if it sounds like too much investment of your time, balance that with the time of cleaning up over the years.
 
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