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Quick surface aversion re-training needed (long).

dogmelissa
July 13th, 2006, 09:49 PM
I'm at my wit's end. And I shouldn't be, but I don't know what to do, because I can't figure out how to make my dog pee where I want him to.

Story:
I've had my dog for about 1.5 yrs now and up until about 5 months ago, he wasn't fully housetrained. He was abused (kicked in the head) as a young dog, and as a result has brain damage. He is a slow-learner on some things, and some things he gets quickly. My vet has confirmed that he has brain damage--because of the extent of his injuries (please don't tell me that my training methods are to blame and that's why my dog doesn't get this). Moved into my current house Dec 2, 2005. I had been training him to ring a jingle-bell on a string beside the door when he needed to go out and up until we moved he was about 70% on that (ie he would often ring the bell, but sometimes he just went to the door and peed on the floor before I could cue him). When we moved here, my bf rigged up the jingle bell to a doorbell so that when he rings the bell, the doorbell also rings (so we can hear it anywhere in the house). Within a few weeks he was much better on that, and we haven't had any accidents in the house in about 3 months now.

Apologies for the lack of pictures, I took them, but I don't know how to get them off my bf's camera, so it will have to wait until he gets home.

Up until a week ago, the area that the dog was allowed out in to go potty was covered with 2-3" of the large red shale landscaping rocks (similar but bigger to the stuff in baseball diamonds) and there were also 3 concrete stepping stones (big & round) imbedded in the area. It's a fairly small area, but he is a small dog (Maltese X) so it was never an issue. He was almost always good about going down the steps (from the deck) onto this area, promptly doing what he needed to do and then coming back up. Most of the time he would pee on the shale and about 50% of the time he'd poo on the shale, the rest of the time (especially when it was wet or snowy) he'd poo on the stepping stones.
A week ago, we had paving stones installed in this area. They are 8"x8" stones, concrete paving stones. Now, he refuses to use this area as a potty! I've tried putting down puppy pads (I use them in the house when he's left alone during the day--he can't wait all day to pee--and he *always* pees on them if he has to), I've tried spraying the area with the "pee-place marker" spray that I have. I've tried sitting outside with him telling him "go pee" for a long time (20 minutes at 4am when normally I don't even go past the door). I've tried forcing him to be confined to the area indefinetly, knowing he has to go. Nothing. It's only been a week, yes, but he's already destroying my lawn. He poos on the grass and pees on my rose bush (which is struggling to survive without his "help"). He knows the commands "go pee" and "go poo" because I've used these everyday and once he figured out what I was saying, he always did *something* on those commands (he was combination treat & clicker trained with this). Now he sits when I tell him either of those commands. I'm frustrated and feeling guilty. He's been confined to the paving-stone area for 2 full hours now (since I got home) and I know he has to pee. Not sure about poo, but I know he has to pee cause he *always* goes pee when I come home, and cause I felt his bladder and it's very large. He's not the kind of dog to think that he needs to keep this area clean--he messes in his kennel if I don't wake up when he whines at night, and then lays in it (a symptom of his first year of life + abuse). If he poos during the day when he's home alone, he doesn't seem to notice or care if he walks through it, lays in it or even flings it into his food!

He is walked every morning for half an hour, and he does not have any medical conditions that would have caused this. The only thing I can come up with is surface aversion, but that doesn't make any sense, as he always hated walking/peeing/pooing on the shale and would always step on the stones unless he had no choice. This dog prefers to walk on the path/sidewalk next to me rather than on the grass beside the path, even if I'm walking on the grass! So why won't he potty on the stones?!?!?! And what can I do to "fix" this problem in a big huge hurry? I'm going mental right now, I'm frustrated, I'm angry (at him for having this sudden change of mental state and me for not being able to help him), feeling guilty cause he's so attached to me and I've left him in that area for over 2 hours, and I can't afford for him to wreck my lawn, rose bush, or anything else. So what do I do?

Please help. In a hurry.

Melissa

kaytris
July 13th, 2006, 10:27 PM
I'd try a couple things:

- if you still have the original gravel, put a small patch of it on the rocks. You can decrease the size of the patch once he gets the idea again.

- if you know he'll go in the grass, encourage him to go in the grass as close to the stone as possible. Then try moving him gradually onto the stone

- make sure he has a 'potty' word that he responds consistently to.

-and most importantly, try to calm down. Any stress or frustration that you project is just going to make him less likely to cooperate at all. The grass is replaceable, and you can fence off your rosebushes (or go out with him on leash so that he doesn't go near them)

dogmelissa
July 13th, 2006, 11:11 PM
Thank you for your response.

I don't have the original rocks, but I have some others. I will try putting some there tomorrow. Tonight I've given up and am going to bed.

He goes on the grass when we walk and when he's in the yard. Problem is that he wakes me up at 4am to go for a pee, and I sleep naked. Normally I can just open the door, and he goes out into his area (it's right off the door) and I don't have to go outside at all. I don't want him peeing on the grass. I don't want him to learn that it's ok to go on the grass, and I want him to go to his potty place even if he's loose in the yard. So far this plan has not been working. The only grass that is close is in the front yard, and he's *never* peed there (because he's never out there unless he's on his way to the sidewalk for our walk or on the way to the car) and I don't want him to learn that he should go out there to pee.

He has a potty word, and used to respond to it (both of them). Now he just looks at me like I've just uttered a word or sound that he's never heard before. He sits and looks at me like "what the hell are you saying?" and just flat out refuses to do anything.

I am calm. I gave up. Let him in the house, got my dinner--at 9pm--and watched TV for an hour. Now I'm going to bed. He still hasn't peed. And when he wakes me up at 4am (though it'll likely be 2 or earlier), I'll put him outside in his "area" and wait for him to pee. When he doesn't, I'll go back upstairs and put him back in his kennel. When he has to pee bad enough, he'll go where he's told.

And on that note, I'm going to bed. Will check in tomorrow to see if anyone else has any other ideas.
Good night,
Melissa

Lissa
July 14th, 2006, 08:34 AM
Why can't he be walked?

I like the idea of putting down some similar rocks, maybe wood chips? Perhaps if another dog came over and marked in the right spot he'd get the idea?

My friend's poodle has a small area roped off where he eliminates so perhaps you should rope off or fence the grass and plants so his only option is where you want him to pee/poop.

dogmelissa
July 14th, 2006, 10:21 AM
He can be walked, but I'm certainly not going to take him for a walk at 4am in the middle of the winter when it's -30 outside, just because he needs to pee.
He goes for a walk everyday, in the morning. When it's +30 and all I want to do is sit in the basement with a glass of ice water (and he likes to join me!) the last thing either of us wants to do is go out in the hot sun for a walk. Or if I'm out working in the yard (or even just sitting out there, or BBQing or whatever), I'm not always willing or able to drop what I'm doing because he needs to go for a walk/pee. That's why I have a dog-run. So that for the quick pees & poos when it's not practical to take him for a walk, can be done there.

The good news is that just before I crawled into bed last night, I thought I'd try one more time to get him to pee outside. Put him out and told him to go pee, and he went down to the used puppy pad (which he'd peed on during the day and I'd moved to the paving stones hoping he'd get the idea), sniffed a few times, turned a few times, squatted & peed!!! *HUGE* praise while he was peeing, while he walked back up, and when he came in! I even gave him a jerky treat, which I rarely do. He let me sleep all night which is a nice change, and walked nicely this morning (he's always a good walker). I left before my bf did, so he won't be alone as long today. Maybe he'll have a total turn-around tonight and not be phased by the paving stones at all. If he is still bothered by them, I'll put in some of the stones from before. My only concern with that is that the landscaper is supposed to come back to fix a drainage problem with the stones (ie they don't drain when it rains due to bad sloping), and if I put the rocks on top of the paving stones, I'm worried that it'll make the landscapers job miserable or he'll even refuse to do it. I will talk to him first.

Thanks for the help so far.
Melissa

happycats
July 14th, 2006, 10:39 AM
Maybe transplant/remove the rosebush and put one of those cute little fire hydrants in it's place, and let the dog keep going there.

dogmelissa
July 14th, 2006, 12:30 PM
As "cute" as that sounds, I bought and planted the rose bush for a specific reason; it's a climbing rose and I have an iron-trellis gate in that location. There is also grass in the area, and the urine isn't exclusively hitting the rose. It also poisons the grass. Having the dog use the rose bush, or anywhere else in my yard, as his potty is as unacceptable to me as someone using the middle of my living room floor as their toilet.

The rose is having issues growing without the dog bothering it at all. I'm not going to transplant it; it wouldn't survive. I don't want the dog to be going to the backyard to pee, especially in the winter, as there won't be a shovelled path all the way to the back, and I don't want to have to blow-dry the dog in the middle of the night when he simply went out to pee. Plus it's pretty gross when I'm out in the yard gardening and step in or kneel on dog crap. I've never stepped on dog poo barefoot, and I'm out in that part of the yard barefoot quite often. I'd like to keep the poo off my feet.

Why am I getting more "change the potty place" responses than "re-train the dog" ones? *sigh* I'm sorry... I'm just really frustrated with the whole dog/garden situation right now.

Melissa

dogmelissa
July 16th, 2006, 11:08 AM
Update:
I taped down a used puppy pad on the paving stones. While Cube still doesn't want to do anything on the stones, he is using the puppy pad, and has pooed and peed on it. Now I have the gross job of starting to reduce the size of it (aka, cutting chunks off a used "diaper").

Ugh... hope this works.

Melissa

phoenix
July 16th, 2006, 11:44 AM
My dog who is a bit of a princess doesn't like peeing on anything that causes it to splash up. She's always looking for something soft. Maybe that's your dog's problem, too. Maybe the pavers were just not a good idea ;)

Puppyluv
July 16th, 2006, 12:42 PM
I agree with phoenix on the splash issue. A lot of dogs don't want the pee back on them. But since it's a little too late for that to be changed, I'd say... stick with it? Sorry, I don't have any advice that hasn't already been said, but it sounds like it's working.

I often find myself walking layla in the middle of the night, not because of lack of bladder control, but because my schedule changes daily. Even though you don't want to crawl out of bed for a walk, it is often the best choice (not to mention the temps are wonderful right now).

Just a tip for now on your grass and bushes: water them immediately after he pees. It will dilute the urine so that it doesn't cause any harm (just until he figures things out).

dogmelissa
July 16th, 2006, 05:23 PM
Not sure about the splash issue, as he doesn't seem to mind if he's squatting to pee and it runs onto his feet, but it's a definite thought.
I will continue with the puppy pad; if it gets too small and he again refuses to go pee out there, I will consider installing one of those fire hydrants on the paving stones so he can lift his leg on something rather than squat. Maybe that'll help.

The paving stones weren't put down exclusively for the dog's benefit. I *hate* the shale, and picking up dog poo which is a similar size to the shale means that I often scoop more shale than poo, which was leaving shale-less patches in there. It's ugly, dirty (we're always tracking red debris around), and I just wanted to get rid of it. I didn't expect problems with the dog + paving stones, but since I've got it I have to deal with it.

I do enjoy walking my dog in the morning; there's fewer people out and about and it's time that I can actually enjoy with him. However, as soon as the sun comes up here, so do the mosquitos, and they don't seem to disappear after it gets dark, either. As for walking him in the middle of the night... nope, I have pretty bad sleep inertia (this is a real thing!) and don't function in the middle of the night. Often I don't even remember letting him out at night when I find him asleep in our bed in the morning. Walking him at night would be bad for both of us. He has adapted pretty well to our mornning-walk schedule and is doing well with everything else, except the not wanting to potty on the paving stones thing.

Oh well... Rome wasn't built in a day. I will keep at it. Thanks.
Melissa

dogmelissa
July 16th, 2006, 05:51 PM
Pictures now!

http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/dogmelissa/detail?.dir=1cb3scd&.dnm=d220scd.jpg
A different area, but sorta how the dog run was; stones here are double-decker because they're the ones from the dog run on top the original ones. Dog run only had single-stacked stones.

http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/dogmelissa/detail?.dir=1cb3scd&.dnm=3036scd.jpg
Cube in his new dog run, with paving stones. Normally the metal gate is at top of stairs, another 3' or so behind where I was standing to take this pic. The green bucket was just to keep the gate up. See the exasperating expression on his face?

Not sure if that helps anyone... but at least it gives you an idea what I'm talking about. (Please let me know if the links don't work)

Melissa

dtbmnec
July 16th, 2006, 08:48 PM
OMG I was expecting a huge dog not the little guy! He's cute!

Otherwise I have nothing to add....

Megan

dogmelissa
July 17th, 2006, 01:39 PM
LOL.... ummm... why did you think he was a big dog? He's only big in personality, the typical "small-dog" mentality of "I Rule The World Even If You Could Squish Me With Your Big Toe".

On a related note, I saw a teacup chihuahua on Saturday... and you thought *my* dog was small?? She could have probably walked clear under Cube's belly!

Cube is actually about 9 lbs, so not that small, but certainly not a large dog.

Melissa

happycats
July 17th, 2006, 01:49 PM
I don't know,If it means my pet would be happier, and I less stressed, I would get rid of the rose, I guess I just try and make things easier on my pets. causes less stress for all involved;)
I can't tell you how many things I have "moved" replaced, fixed, to accommodate my cats, I guess that's just life when you own a pet, especially considering yours has brain damage. (Cube is absolutely adorable by the way)



If life gives you lemons, make lemonade :)

dtbmnec
July 17th, 2006, 02:53 PM
LOL.... ummm... why did you think he was a big dog? He's only big in personality, the typical "small-dog" mentality of "I Rule The World Even If You Could Squish Me With Your Big Toe".

On a related note, I saw a teacup chihuahua on Saturday... and you thought *my* dog was small?? She could have probably walked clear under Cube's belly!

Cube is actually about 9 lbs, so not that small, but certainly not a large dog.

Melissa

I guess its just whenever I think "dog" I think much larger than that (probably about the size of a lab or golden retriever). It probably has to do with the fact that I've been around bigger dogs all my life: one friend had a boxer, another a golden lab, another a black lab, people across the street had an awesome mix dog (not sure of what but damn was he strong! He actually pulled a 200lb guy on rollerblades as his "walk"), beautiful husky/wolf who was the biggest suck up, etc. The only small dog I can really remember (first) was the one that the idiot lady owned (she yelled at my brother and I for going inside the house to find a bathroom). Oh and Patches the little terrier (I think) that would run after the school bus (that was a funny sight though! And it was a teeny town so traffic was null...the school bus practically was the only traffic on our street!).

Either that or I'm just wierd! lol

Megan

Lissa
July 17th, 2006, 03:20 PM
I don't know,If it means my pet would be happier, and I less stressed, I would get rid of the rose, I guess I just try and make things easier on my pets. causes less stress for all involved;)

My thoughts exactly.

He's been confined to the paving-stone area for 2 full hours now (since I got home) and I know he has to pee...I'm going mental right now, I'm frustrated, I'm angry (at him for having this sudden change of mental state and me for not being able to help him), feeling guilty cause he's so attached to me and I've left him in that area for over 2 hours, and I can't afford for him to wreck my lawn, rose bush, or anything else.
Let him in the house, got my dinner--at 9pm--and watched TV for an hour. Now I'm going to bed. He still hasn't peed. And when he wakes me up at 4am (though it'll likely be 2 or earlier), I'll put him outside in his "area" and wait for him to pee. When he doesn't, I'll go back upstairs and put him back in his kennel. When he has to pee bad enough, he'll go where he's told.

:eek: That is completely unfair!:sad:

He can be walked, but I'm certainly not going to take him for a walk at 4am in the middle of the winter when it's -30 outside, just because he needs to pee.
That is part of being responsible for a pet!

My dog is not allowed to eliminate on our property either (the rest of my family loves their grass and garden too much:o ) so even if its just a pee break, we have to go for a walk around the neighbourhood. It is so much better this way because I never have to worry about him burning or killing the grass, cedar or flowers, I don't have to water and disinfect where he's eliminated and by walking him everytime he needs to pee/poop we spend more time together!

happycats
July 17th, 2006, 08:35 PM
I agree Lissa, many here live in apartments, going for a 4am pee break, outside at 30 below is a way of life.

Prin
July 17th, 2006, 10:09 PM
Yep, I agree too. Damaging his kidneys to save a rose bush seems like wasted energy, IMO. Move the bush.

we3beagles
July 18th, 2006, 12:05 AM
I agree with finding another dog to pee in the place where you want him to go. I have been trying to get my dogs to go to the back of the yard to pee so they don't destroy the entire yard and they are really getting the hang of it. One (usually Bugsey) goes and the girls are sure to follow. If you want I could come over with my crew.:D They'll pee anywhere. It also helps they have been peeing on a leash for the past year while we get the yard together. Even Foster dog TED got it in the first day.

On a side note: thank you for giving a poor abused puppy such a great home. People like that make me sick and are slowly eroding my faith in the human animal. How could you kick a little puppy. That is disgusting.

dogmelissa
July 18th, 2006, 01:28 PM
Beagles: If you're in the SE, give me a PM... I'm sure your dogs could teach mine a few things, other than just "where to pee"! Like maybe how to play with other dogs, too!

He's getting better.... he doesn't hesitate about peeing/pooing on the paving stones now, but the puppy pad is out there and it's on the verge of being horribly gross. I've been waiting to start cutting it down until he doesn't appear to be stressed about going out there, and I think by the end of the week it should be smelly enough in the rest of the area that I can start shrinking the puppy pad. Of course, if he still refuses, it's not the end of the world to keep the puppy pad (or another one) there for longer.

As for rearranging my life to ease the stress of my animals; I've already done this. I have 3 cats as well as the dog, and I can't even begin to list the things that I've changed to accomodate all of them, or the money I've spent to build/modify things to keep them happy. All I'm asking is for one little rose bush and my little patch of grass to not be considered potty-area. I want to be able to sit or lay on the grass and not worry about whether Cube peed or pooed there earlier. I'd like to be able to mow my lawn without having to worry about whether or not I've picked up all the poo. I want my cats to be able to lay in the grass and chase bugs, and not worry about them landing in a stinky pee-covered patch. I want my bf's niece & nephew, and my friends' kids who come over to have a place to play. The only thing that's getting hurt in this situation is the few ants that Cube pees on, instead of so many other things that could be ruined by his choosing his own bathroom.


On a side note: thank you for giving a poor abused puppy such a great home. People like that make me sick and are slowly eroding my faith in the human animal. How could you kick a little puppy. That is disgusting.

I agree.... I've always been a proponent that if you do something to an animal, then your punishment should be to have that done to you. I can understand anger and frustration, but I'd *never* vent by hurting an animal. Maybe put my fist through the wall, or scream and shout and scare the crap out of everyone around me, but I'd never *ever* hurt an animal intentionally. To make that situation worse (and was part of the reason I spent hours with the internet after I got him home from the vets), the couple in question had a 2 yr old (at the time) daughter. I found at least 5 studies that showed a link between animal abuse + child abuse. But nothing I could do to get the rest of his family away from him. I know that if I was with someone who hurt an animal--any animal--intentionally, I'd be out the door. But I couldn't change her mind, so I just protected what I could; the dog. *sigh* And I pretty much haven't had faith in people since I worked at the Humane Society and saw first hand what people are capable of doing.

Anyhow...
Melissa

dogmelissa
July 25th, 2006, 07:38 PM
Update: due to the large number of flies congregating around the puppy pad (and subsequently making their way into my house), I removed the puppy pad this morning. Completely gone. It had been peed on so many times that some of the pee had leaked over the edge, so the scent of his potty is still there, and I wasn't overly concerned, but hoping I didn't have to put a new pad down.

Get home from work, let Cube out... and he gives me that "what am I supposed to do?" face. I told him about 10 times, "go pee" and finally he goes into one of his "gonna go to the bathroom" spins (yes, he's weird) and then he pees!! Not in the spot the puppy pad was, either!

I'm so happy happy happy!! I've made some big steps in his socialization this week, and he's not needing a puppy pad outside now, and I'm happy happy happy!!

Thanks all!!
Melissa