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Discussion Starter #1
Hello - I am a newbie here and looking for possible causes of a reoccurring behaviours.

My 5 year old collie is trained to use his run in the yard. It has small round pea gravel and is kept clean. He understands the command to 'go back' as well as 'hurry pee'.

Now two issues.

First, he used to use the whole 12'x6' space to pee, but now he will only pee just inside the gate. Sometimes he will just will stand half in and half out to pee as close to the edge as he can. (He is a boy who squats).

Secondly, about once or twice a year he refuses to use this area at all and relieves himself on the grass. I have to retrain him to use the set area by coaxing him to go in the area, rewarding him, and then eventually when he is inside the fenced area and does his business I can reward and praise him for that. It takes about a week to retrain him each time.

What's up with this? I first thought something spooked him while he was back there, but that doesn't appear to be the case as it keeps reoccurring. I do keep the area clean going so far as to bleach it and rinse with water occasionally.

HELP! Possible causes and remedies would be appreciated.

:confused:
 

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There is probably something he does not like about the run. Maybe it is the smell of bleach. That would be overpowering for a sensitive dog nose.
 

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I agree on the bleach smell, but one simple approach to try would be to add more interest. By the gate is common as it has a post. Add some posts (just thick sticks) & other vertical objects in the dog run in one area. I've even seen plastic plants used. I have a small dog igloo & nobody goes inside it, but most of the dogs pee on it instead. You can mildly add some interesting (non-food) smells to some objects. Over time you may see him change his preferences.
 

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Welcome to the forum.

Have you checked his pads and between his pads when he goes in the yard instead of his pen? He could be getting gravel bruises or gravel stuck. Has he always squatted or did it start when going on the gravel?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The bleach is only used occasionally and that does not coincide with his nonuse of the area. He has always been a squatter and only occasionally lifts his leg. As well, until this year he has never peed outside his yard (and to this day, never pooped outside it either).

The post idea might work, but I am still curious as to why this is happening in the first place.
 

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Over time, some preferences may simply change. While humans don't care where we eliminate (no favorite toilets, that is), dogs are a bit pickier. If you experiment you may find some surprising objects or scents that he prefers.
 

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Maybe he views the run as his space and doesn't want to go in it, sort of like how dogs don't like to relieve themselves in their kennel or play pen. He may have been happy to go in it before, but maybe now he's starting to view it as his own little place and doesn't want to go to the bathroom in it. Like gerry said, maybe he just doesn't like the pea gravel anymore. Are you using a different type of cleaner that he might be avoiding?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I put a post in the run to give him a target to scent. Thanks for that!

What else would be good (scent/interest)to add that entices him to use this area?
 

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Maybe he views the run as his space and doesn't want to go in it, sort of like how dogs don't like to relieve themselves in their kennel or play pen. He may have been happy to go in it before, but maybe now he's starting to view it as his own little place and doesn't want to go to the bathroom in it. Like gerry said, maybe he just doesn't like the pea gravel anymore. Are you using a different type of cleaner that he might be avoiding?
With the 12x6 size, that could be possible. Not stopping him but making it a little less desirable over time.

Look at what attracts him during a walk. You can bury a small low box with some dirt, leaves or such to add both smells and a different texture.
 

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Maybe he just doesn't like the texture? Koda likes peeing on grass but prefers pooing on gravel (I find it weird but hey, her call as to what she prefers). Maybe toss a patch of grass in the run? You can just grab a piece from elsewhere to create a garden even :)

Also I have no idea how big your run is, you need to specify units...
 
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