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Help With Nicky..again

April 14th, 2006, 07:26 AM
Hello friends,
Well, here I am again asking for help with Nicky. I can't wait until I know exactly what to do and then I won't have to ask for help anymore, but please be patient with me as I'm trying my best with Nicky.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Nicky he is a 4-5 y/o Pom who was abandoned on the highway, rescued by my partner and I. Nicky is crated while we are at work and sleeps in our room at night. He is old enough to know better but continues to mess in his crate for some reason or another and I'm getting ready to create an area in the kitchen so he no longer has to be crated while we're gone because personally, we can't stand putting him in it, however he happily goes in. I use positive reinforcement and once in a while treats to celebrate everytime he goes potty outside. He is messing in his crate less and less but we still come home to messes.

Here is the issue. We had a very rough morning today. For the past 2 mornings we have been awakened at 4:30am by Nicky hacking and coughing. He has very long hair and I think has hair ball problems because he hacks a lot. The first morning I got up, gave him some water and we went back to bed. This morning I was awakened by my partner yelling at Nicky to cut it out, over and over again. She finally got frustrated and put Nicky in his crate since we only had 2 hours left to get some sleep. This was unacceptable to me because Nicky already has to be crated while we're at work and I did not want him to be in it any longer than absolutely necessary. Not only are we wide awake but my partner and I are now in a yelling match at 4:30am over her putting Nicky in his crate just because he was hacking up a hair ball. It was no longer than 5 mins, that I got up to go get Nicky out of his crate to bring him back in our room. I walked into a mess. Nicky INSTANTLY peed a puddle in front of his crate door and pooped everywhere inside. It was horrible. I pointed at his mess, said "No, bad boy" and got him immediately out of there.
Well, my partner seems to think that Nicky did that completely out of spite or anger at being put in his crate because he obviously did it as soon as she walked away. So now we were really arguing because she wanted me to leave him in there to punish him. I told her that you don't ever use a crate to punish and besides that Nicky doesn't mind laying in his own mess because he does it all the time! But more obvious than that, I would never leave him in his own mess. She was upset that I let him come back in the room with us after he had done this and she saw it as me rewarding him for his "rebellious" misbehavior. I am clearly the one who cares more about him being strictly trained and trained a certain way because she is more relaxed and sometimes doesn't do what I ask her to for the benefit of my training Nicky. So needless to say, we have issues.
Here are my questions. What should I have done to correct what Nicky's behavior? How do I make him realize that what he has done is bad?
If he is still messing in his crate how am I ever going to be able to give him more room in the kitchen?

April 14th, 2006, 08:36 AM
A coughing Nicky, as well as a mess that you clearly weren't expecting, I think I would be heading to the vet to make sure he doesn't have kennel cough or something other. As for what you did, absolutely a crate should never be used as punishment and I sincerely doubt Nicky messed in it out of spite. Now, were his stress levels WAY elevated from being yelled at for hacking, probably, which may not have helped the latter situation. But first and foremost (and I know it's never pleasant to have to do) I'd have him looked over to make sure he's not suffering from a physical ailment causing him to hack like that.

Oh and if we all knew everything there was to know about raising the perfect dog, none of us would be here :) Stick around, I promise things will get better for all of you :grouphug:

April 14th, 2006, 08:59 AM
Thanks Jawert, I appreciate the support and advice!

April 14th, 2006, 09:10 AM
Dogs don't think like people do. While sometimes it may seem like something was done out of spite, they just don't think like that.

Dogs don't get hairballs either. A quick run to the vet to find out what is up with the cough is probably in order.

Rusty is crated any time I am not home AND at night. This prevents night time accidents as more often then not, he has gotten so that he lets me know if he needs to go out in the middle of the night. He has a crate in the living room for daytime use and a carrier in my bedroom for nighttime.

Rudty used his crate liberally when i got him and it took months to get him to NOT go potty in it. One of the tricks is to make sure that he goes out RIGHT before going in his bed.

April 14th, 2006, 09:28 AM
I wonder if the poor little Pom was caged all the time in his 'life before you'. Since you've rescued him, you don't know that he wasn't kept in a cage all day, so maybe he is just used to living in his own dirt. (Sadly).
I think you did the right things, and the advice above is good (vet for coughing... )
Good luck, sorry about the bad start to the day.

April 14th, 2006, 10:38 AM
My Eskimo will soil his crate. He was confined to a crate until the time we adopted him after which time he had no intention of ever being locked in one again. Eskies and Poms have many similar characteristics - including lots of fur. My Eskie does not suffer from hair balls - just reverse sneezing. I would definitely head to the vet's as it could well be kennel cough or an unrelated health problem. I know it is hard when one person is more committed and tolerant of the puppy's problems. I, too, have that problem.

April 14th, 2006, 12:15 PM
Aww...thanks for your sympathy and advice. It is extremely difficult to get a training program together and be consistent with it when one party doesn't understand. What makes it even harder is that Nicky is attached to my partner's hip. He shadows her everywhere (which I'm trying to break) so if anything she needs to REALLY be strict with the training.

I guess the reason it seems as if he has a hair ball is because he hacks and hacks like something is in his throat that he tries to gag up..and sometimes he does gag but it's just liquid. What does kennel cough sound like? Do they act as if they have something stuck in their throat because that's the way it looks with Nicky? I will take him to the vet right away.

Any advice on how to treat or repremand Nicky when he goes potty in his crate? I will soon be taking him to obedience classes but not sure how that ties into helping me train him to not go in his crate or even when he gets more room in the kitchen, if we can ever graduate to that level!

We take Nicky out constantly. We're like robots when it comes to that. He picks at his food, we take him out 3 hours later, he picks at his food one last time, we take him out before bed time. He holds it at night and does not go in our bedroom. But as soon as she put him in the crate this morning, he went everywhere. Any suggestions as to why? My take on it is that if she was going to remove him from our bedroom and walk him to his crate, she shoud've taken him out to potty in case he thought it was that time (?)


April 14th, 2006, 12:25 PM
You said it took months to train your dog to not go potty in his cage. What were your methods?

April 14th, 2006, 01:52 PM
You said it took months to train your dog to not go potty in his cage. What were your methods?

To be honest, there really wasn't a "method". Rusty eats twice a day. Between 8 and 9 in the morning and again between 4 and 5 in the evening. I refuse to do it at exactly the same time every day because sometimes life happens and breakfast may be delay until 10 or dinner might not get put down until 8. (My brother had a cat that HAD to eat at 5 pm. If he wasn't fed on time he would pee in the laundry and puke in someone's shoes! This meant that family functions and things were cut short.)

Anyway - shortly after meals and right before going in his crate he gets put outside. Messing in his crate meant that his nice blankie had to go in the wash and he had to sleep on something a bit less soft. Since I live in an apartment and have to pay to do my laundry, there was no guarentee that his blankie would be clean in time for bed.

I never got after him for messing in his bed. It is counterproductive. You just change the bedding - no muss, no fuss. Hopefully, sooner or later, he will realize that clean is better then dirty. Besides, a messy bed means a bath! No self respecting dog wants a bath!

April 14th, 2006, 03:09 PM
HAHAHA! Oh my...I don't know what I'd do with a cat like that! Ok, so no punishment or repremand for messing in the, my partner is going to have a fit! lol But that's ok, Mommy knows best! lol
Thanks for your advice,

April 14th, 2006, 04:04 PM
you cannot correct a dog after the fact, they simply cannot connect that the punishment is for something they may have done minutes or hours earlier. the only time correction is understood is when corrected in the actual act.

Does your dog potty in the house when he has free access to you???

What makes it even harder is that Nicky is attached to my partner's hip. He shadows her everywhere

This statement here says a lot .....

If he is not soiling when he is able to be around you or your partner, then likely he suffer's from seperation anxiety, which means he gets anxious and worried when he is isolated and away from his owners. which in turn the anxiety is causing him to physically be unable to control his bowels and bladder, we as humans experience a similiar tightening of muscles when scared example your heart feel like it dropped into your belly, chest will feel tight and may be hard to breath, we may feel frozen in spot, with dogs the effect is loss of bladder and bowel control . Info to explain what is happening how to work thru

April 17th, 2006, 06:43 AM
Thank you so much Ontario! I appreciate your advice and the links.
Have a good day!

April 17th, 2006, 07:36 AM
a very large "sigh"!

April 17th, 2006, 11:51 AM
Wow, thank you so much for the helpful comment T. Pettet, I really appreciate that.

April 17th, 2006, 08:24 PM
Without meaning to sound disrespectful I have noticed that you keep asking the same questions and have been getting excellent advice from different people with their own opinions on his personality type, hence you, your partner and the dog himself are at this point very confused since remedies you apply don't seem to rectify his problem behaviour. It is very difficult to analyze why a dog behaves the way he does if you are not witnessing first- hand said behaviour, is Nicky dominant-aggressive, fearful, stubborn and willful, submissive and shy? Do you know? Every poster has suggested ways to deal with each of these traits and you have attempted some of them but to no avail. He has bonded with your partner, growls/snaps when you approach or try to repremand him, hides, is creating friction between you and your partner, you are fearful of him, he still marks territory, still can't be left in one room when alone, messes in his crate etc. etc. and is basically the same dog that you initially took in. Its just very frustrating that nothing has helped. I compare this to treating a child with what the parents think is ADD when inactuality its hyper-activity compounded with high sugar, poor diet because child has not been seen by a pediatric specialist. The more you try to modify his behaviour with all these varied training methods the more confused and untrusting he's going to become. I have a dog who is dominant/aggressive who was also a rescue (chi-pom), he's been with me for years now and I can't treat him in the same way I can my others because of an entirely different temprement. Modification methods and in-depth behavioural analysis have done wonders for him and he's now a great dog that I can safely and effectively deal with, enjoy and love.

April 17th, 2006, 08:52 PM
Perhaps Nicki is thinking of his crate the way a cat thinks of a litterbox. It is poss. that he was litter trained in his previous life and is looking for the litterbox. some small dogs have been litter trained.
I think you could have some success by making that larger space in the kitchen for Nicki. Use puppy pee pads or newspaper in one corner of this area.
I have had isues with pooping in the house and the best thing to do is nothing. Calmly clean it up and try again. Praise the outside dodos as though your dog is the smartest animal in the world.

Good luck

April 18th, 2006, 06:51 AM
Thank you Bushfire, I appreciate your helpful comment. My partner and I practiced walking in and out this weekend, for a few minutes at a time. As soon as we walked out, Nicky started whining and scratching at the door. So we'll continue that until he feels confident that we're returning. We also praise and praise for every little thing he does outside we we will definitely keep working on that.
We also make sure to ignore him for the first 20 mins we come home and for the last 20 mins that we're with him.
Nicky did not go poop yesterday morning, like he usually does, so when I got home for lunch he had done it in the crate. He did not go this morning either so I'm predicting that he'll have something for me when I get home today as
I just wish I knew what he wanted. I'll just keep trying until I think I've made him happy.
Thanks again,