Dog has Accidents

Jennifer Shryock's picture

QUESTION

Dear Pet Expert,
I have a 1/2;-year-old Pomeranian female. She's 5 pounds. I have had her since she was 6 weeks.

The breeder used paper training. Since the breeder trained her that way I figured the easiest thing to do was to do the same. I papered the whole floor in the kitchen and follow the instructions to the letter. Each time she strayed I papered the whole floor again until I got her down to using just the one sheet. She then was allowed to roam the house.

She never went to look for the papers. She just peed wherever she wanted. I decided to try crate training. I made sure to take her out every 4 hours and bring her outside praising her and she would go to the bathroom every time. BUT when she would come in even though she JUST went outside she would do it again. And the smallest tiniest little pee spot ever. We resorted to ever two hours when then still didn't work every 1 hour.

Now we are trying litter box training since we figured that maybe her little bladder just can't hold it. She only uses it when she is in the kitchen gated for the day while we are at work. She will not pee or poop on the floor only when she is in the kitchen.

When we let her out (making sure her litter box is visible) she will still go to the bathroom on the carpets. It is so frustrating. We are considering giving her up since our house is starting to smell despite the many carpet cleanings and solutions and vinegar that we have used to clean. We are also trying to have a baby and I don't want my child crawling around on filth. I don't think I can take both the dog and the baby if I have to clean up after her all the time. Please help.

Thanks,Lisa

ANSWER

Hello Lisa!
Thank you for e-mailing your question. I understand your frustration. It sounds like you have tried many things and are very dedicated to your companion. This is terrific! Here are some questions I have for you.

This is a tricky situation and one that often needs a bit of detective work and time to sort through as there are many possible contributing factors. It is important to be sure that there is not a medical cause for this behavior.

Once that is ruled out then we must look at why and how this is potentially working for her. Dogs do what works for them. With this in mind ask yourself the following:

  • Does her urinating get attention?
  • Does going to the bathroom lead to her being oudoors?
  • Does she see you clean it up?

Dogs will work for both positive and negative attention. I suggest that people do not allow their dogs to observe them cleaning up or tending to the accident. Clean it up and take a towel or the feces outside and put it in a spot that you WANT her to go to the bathroom in. Show her what you want instead of what you do not want. Reward her for sniffing the area with praise while saying "good potty.

"Also, think about your outside routine. Do you rush and come in right after she eliminates? Often we are in a hurry and see the goal achieved once the dog has eliminated. Reward her with some form of play once she eliminates before bringing her inside.

In the meantime managment is key. Crates, gates and even using a leash tether to you are good options. It is important to set her up for success by preventing the opportunities to urinate in inappropriate places. Go back to "house manners 101":

  • Crate or gate her in an area you are not going to be as concerned about if there is an accident.
  • Take her out frequently especially following play, eating or resting.
  • Show her what you want by taking her to the designated bathroom spot and paying her loads of attention there.
  • Avoid scolding her for accidents as this only stresses the situation and may cause more confusion.
  • Clean up accidents without her seeing you so that this is not rewarding in any way.
  • As always discuss this with your vet to be sure that there is no medical cause.

I hope that this has been helpful to you! I look forward to an update!

Good luck!

-- Jen