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New dog owner needs advice

December 6th, 2004, 02:59 PM
We have a 9 month old Nova Scotia Ducktoller that we got from a rescue 1 month ago. Initially we didn't have a crate but gave her run of the rec. room and kitchen area of our basement when we were out. This is where my family spends much of our time. (She initially appeared fairly well housebroken with only a few accidents) The problem was she started chewing the baseboard and door frame of the door leading to the rest of the house when we weren't home. The bitter spray recommended for chewing was much to her liking and the chewing continued. We purchased a crate for her and now things are even worse. She is deficating and urinating several times in her crate and shreds everything we give her - blanket, ball, chew toys. I placed a training pad in the crate for her to go on and she only shredded that. We now come home to a soggy, poo-covered dog and a HUGE mess to clean up. We are at a loss as to what to do. In the last week she is beginning to urinate and deficate in the house when we are home as well. She is left alone any where from 2-6 hours/day on weekdays and we walk her 3x/day for exercise. We don't know what to do about this problem. Any advice??

heeler's rock!
December 6th, 2004, 03:16 PM
Hi Sues and welcome to the forum! :)

Ahhhh...the joys of puppies! It sounds to me like the crate you have for your pup is too big. There should only be enough room for her to stand up, turn around, and lay down. If it's too big, she'll use one side of it to poop and pee in. If it is too big, you can put up a barrier to limit her room, like a cardboard box or something. If that's not the problem, I would suggest starting from the beginning of obedience training. When your pup goes out to do her business, go out with her. Don't engage in any form of play at all and let her know that you're not there to play. When she does her business, praise her like crazy! Make it like a big party and make a big deal out of it. When she goes in the house, even in her crate, discipline her by saying in a firm voice, "NO! You don't pee or poop in your crate/house!!" Clean up the mess and ignore her for a good 1/2 hour or so. To stop her from going while you're home, keep her on a leash with you. What I do is put the leash around my waist so I have full use of my hands. Make her go wherever you go and that way if she has to do her business, you can catch her early and take her out, then praise when she goes outside. Do that for at least an hour, preferably 2 hours every night until she's starting to follow you when not on leash and letting you know when she needs to go. You can still watch TV or be on the net, but at least she's with you. It took my border collie a while to become fully house broken, so don't give up! Remember that she's going through a big change and she needs to set up her routine. These tips should help out a lot. Good luck!! :D

December 6th, 2004, 03:17 PM
Have you spoken with the rescue that you adopted her from? There are many on this board that can give you advice. I'm just curious if the rescue you adopted from has offered help and some training advice as well?

Lucky Rescue
December 6th, 2004, 06:16 PM
If she is soiling in the house and didn't before, the first place to start is at the vet for a checkup.

Did you gradually introduce her to the crate, or just put her in and walk out for hours? Dogs need to be gradually and positively conditioned to being crated.

This is a VERY high energy working breed puppy. What kind of exercise is she getting? Did you find out all about this breed before adopting this dog, to make sure it would suit your lifestyle?

It sounds like she is bored and frustrated and not exercised enough. Working dogs with no job to do can get very destructive.

She needs to be exercised until her tongue is hanging out. Leash walking will not be anywhere near enough exercise.

I suggest you get her into obedience - play frisbee or ball with her or try agility. Working breeds need workouts for mind as well as body.

Here is what the Toller Club of Canada has to say about this very intelligent breed:

Tollers are a hunting breed, and are bred to be working dogs. They have a frantic drive to work, and will retrieve until your arm is ready to fall off.

It cannot be stressed enough that this is a dog with brains to spare. Keeping all that intelligence focused and busy is a big challenge.

These dogs MUST be given at least basic obedience training, and many toller owners are active in several dog activities (hunting, agility, flyball, tracking, competitive obedience) just to keep their Tollers occupied. Even a Toller who is "just a pet" MUST have basic obedience training and the chance to use their brains (teach them to bring the paper, have them carry the mail in, teach them tricks) or they become downright obnoxious around the house

The toller is an energetic dog, and needs plenty of exercise. While they aren't quite as hyperactive as some breeds, they do need lots of exercise, physical and mental. If you are looking for a dog who is content with nothing more than a pleasant walk in the evening, go elsewhere. Better behavior through exhaustion is the rule for living with a Toller. If you don't have time to give this breed at least an hour of exercise a day, every day, with plenty of swimming and fetching, look elsewhere. A Toller with excess energy will find another outlet for his drive, and the results are seldom pleasant.

If you can't keep this dog busy, don't get this dog. More than many breeds, a Toller is a mental and physical commitment. They are not the dog for everyone, and while we love them dearly, we don't want to see them in pounds and shelters. Keep this in mind as you consider choosing a "Little Red Retrieving Machine".

December 7th, 2004, 08:46 AM
Thanks for the advice. I consulted with an Obedience Trainer last night and she said the exact same thing as yourself. The crate is the length of her body, but we were putting in food and water. We are putting into action her suggestions today and hopefully we will have a pleasant surprise when we get home.

December 7th, 2004, 09:14 AM
We haven't spoken with the rescue. We have been combing through library books and the web. We are seeing daily improvement in her behaviour and have been teaching her simple and complicated tricks which she quickly picks up. Obedience training starts in mid-Jan. Looking very forward to that. We are sorely aware that the problem is with our ignorance and not our pooch, so the whole family is on a steep learning curve. I consulted our future obedience trainer last night and she gave me the same advice as heeler's rock. She was very kind and eager to help. It's good to know we are not alone!! Thanks for the reply.

heeler's rock!
December 7th, 2004, 09:42 AM
Sues, that's great news! I'm glad that you and the family are making the transition along with your pooch! Where are you located? I took a dog training course a year ago and I'm just wondering if the trainer you're going through took the same course. I'm very happy for you guys and puppies can be very exciting! Good luck!! :D

December 7th, 2004, 10:44 AM
She was just at the vet and came out with a clean bill of health - stool samples taken etc... However, she does have some dry patches of skin and was scratching A LOT when we brought her home. The vet couldn't find an explanation for this. But, with the chewing and dry skin and scratching I began to add some canned dog food with her dry at night. She is not very fond of the dry, but LOVES the wet. However, I'm 99% sure this is the complicating factor in her increased amount of soiling the house so last night we decided dry is the way to go.
We did not slowly introduce her to the crate. We thought since she was in a crate at the rescue that wasn't a necessary thing to do. However, as I said to BMDLuver, we are actively seeking to educate ourselves as we are first-time dog owners.

December 7th, 2004, 10:54 AM
Her skin problems may mean she is allergic to something in her food. Many people on these boards have noticed an improvement when they switch to a different food. But I'll let the experts advise you. Good luck!

December 8th, 2004, 09:15 AM
What are you feeding her?

The first 5 ingredients in dog food should NOT contain corn.This is a main allergy ingredient for dogs.

The best premium foods to feed are:

Chicken Soup for the Pet lovers Soul

These are just a few off the top of my head.

December 8th, 2004, 09:31 AM
Thanks. I will check the ingredients tonight.
Last night we had no messes!!!

heeler's rock!
December 8th, 2004, 10:28 AM
Hi Sues! That's great news about no accidents! :)

I feed my red heeler and my blue heeler cross Innova Evo and it is THE BEST dry dog food I've ever come accross! My Border Collie eats a raw diet and the results have been phenominal. If you want more info. on these, please feel free to PM me and I'll tell you what's been working for us. :)