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Stress Pottying in Class

April 4th, 2007, 07:47 PM
So Cider likes to mark.. In agility she was marking.. I kept trying to take her outside and having her go..

Then she started doing a few obstacles and pooping. Even if she goes before class, doesn't at all day, she finds some poop to let go of.. Now it's habit.. And I'm not sure how to break it..

She then either pees or poops 1-3 more times during a class if she gets stressed out.. confused, has to redo something, she just goes.. Tonight I called her super happily over and she went..

I've never reprimanded for coming. She worked better than usual tonight.. But I really don't know wtf to do about her potty issues..

Stop the marking anywhere? Change tactics in class when she goes.. I ignore it and life goes on..


April 6th, 2007, 02:17 PM
What have your trainer's suggested??? My trainer is pretty laid back about it because she doesn't compete but at seriously competitive training places, its the worst thing you can do (at 6 months old, Dodger peed in the ring - WHOA total havoc and a 10 minute lecture for me!!!!!)

Anyway, this is what I would do: start setting a new habit! It will "waste" a lot of your in-class training time - but you need to get a handle on this before you compete. So first, make sure she has at least 30-60 minutes of off-leash walking before class... She also must eliminate before she goes inside the ring which will be rewarded big-time (make sure to have your clicker ready). I would wait Cider out - if Dodger refused to go potty on command, I'd stick him back in the car for 30-60 seconds (I wouldn't do that with Cider at first because I'd be afraid it would shut her down/stress her). I would also start bringing Cider's crate to class because you'll need a place to keep her. Once you've done all that the next step is to never take your eyes off of her so you see the warning signs long before she has time to potty! Ask your instructor if you and Cider can be the first to go on all the exercises - this way you aren't waiting around and you have time to take Cider outside before your next run. Make sure you have her attention and do the exercise (providing its not long)... Right now, you want to keep every short and to the point so if necessary don't complete the whole exercise... Do a few obstacles and quite while you are ahred!!! Then its outside to potty (being very happy and upbeat) or inside her crate and then going outside for a chance to potty for her next run... If at anytime she stops paying attention to you or sniffs the ground, she goes in her crate (and then is taken out to potty). Right now you want to do everything in your power to prevent her having an accident - and if that means you miss out on some of the exercises, its worth it. Better to "lose out now" than be eliminated at a trial!

So far, your training has taken place in a barn, right?? We can hope that because it smells like a potty place that its the reason behind her pottying:o .

ETA: How/when does Cider have the opportunity to eliminate??? Does she take off during a run and ignore you? If that's the case I'd still follow the same thing as above BUT I'd keep the exercises even shorter...You will need to keep her FULL attention, if for any reason you lose it - you must immediately stop and put her on leash/in her crate/in the car... No more agility until she's eliminated outside and is focused on you.

April 6th, 2007, 03:08 PM
She potties on command before class.. At the house before the car.. In the park where she poops before.. and then pees again before she gets into class..

What she lets go of is tiny amounts.. because she's already gone. Which makes it a little like marking..

She has no signal she's going to go. She's focused.. Jump jump puts on breaks and squats at the same moment.. Or I call her back if we goof something up, and maybe she slowly sniffs the ground and squats, but I'll never get a hold of her before she lets a drop or two go.

She's in a crate between runs too..

I've never said anything about it. Do I correct it if it happens rather than ignore it?

Trainers told me it's stress and we just need to keep running agility.. but to me it seems more like she enjoys having a fully empty system, and therefore keeps letting it go whenever. I was told it happens plenty at trials, and whatever.

We've only run in two horsebarns since like octoberish, except when we went to redgate where she peed once, but she possibly had to go go...

Kodiak Bear
April 6th, 2007, 04:42 PM
I have found some dogs have to poop when they get exited or stressed. Talk to your trainer and see if you can get some ideas. Good Luck

April 6th, 2007, 05:28 PM
Helpful.. since that was already discussed....

April 6th, 2007, 08:45 PM
Mp ~ any chance this is somehow related to your new foster guy ? The "normal" stress of training combined with the stress of having a new guy to cope with at home ?

April 6th, 2007, 08:51 PM
Good call.. But it's been happening for months. And this week's class was the day before I brought him home..

I'm starting to think that the poop is stress-excitement.. But I think the endless peeing is marking or that it feels better to try to empty herself repeatedly..

I'm just not sure how to correct it.. I don't think ignoring it will cause it to ever stop.. If I take her out before every run, I can eliminate most of it. But she saves up her pee so she still has more to let go of even if it is a few drops.. Something she wouldn't have done before she started marking in the neighbourhood..

April 6th, 2007, 09:08 PM
Bridie is a "marker" too and it has nothing to do with having a full bladder in her case. It's all about dominance and territory.

I agree with you, I don't think ignoring it is the answer.

April 7th, 2007, 12:25 AM
She has no signal she's going to go. She's focused.. Jump jump puts on breaks and squats at the same moment.. Or I call her back if we goof something up, and maybe she slowly sniffs the ground and squats, but I'll never get a hold of her before she lets a drop or two go.

I am sure that she is giving off some tiny, obscure signal...its just a matter of picking up on it..It could be looking away from you before the run, breaking the start-line or slowing down etc... Might not necessarily be something right before she is about to eliminate.
In any case, my point is that you need to prevent it from happening by quitting while your ahead. If that means you can only take 2 or 3 obstacles at a time, having a big tug session and going outside or to her crate, then that's what I'd do.
You may want to build drive either through tugging or using targets (maybe the view-tainer)... So she has a CLEAR end/goal in sight and KNOWS exactly what she is working towards. You need to keep her engaged with YOU so she has no time to think about marking... She needs to learn that the ring is a fun and rewarding place to interact with you, nothing less. It is not Cider's fun time unless she is focused on you. Attention is key - if she is not committed 100% before or during an exercise, its in everyone's best interest to not run at all or stop, get her refocused, take an obstacle or two and quit. Humans tend to keep working on something, long after the dog has hit his/her peak and starts to lose interest... We want perfection and push our dogs, looking for that perfect execution and miss the best performance you are going to get in search of it. A dog will generally remember best the LAST thing it did at the end of a training session - whether or not it was the "right" thing by our standards.
Try and figure out where or why she loses attention and decides its time to mark...Is it after she takes a specific obstacle? In a certain part of the ring? After a certain number of obstacles? When you are a certain distance away?
A lot of people will reward big-time for finishing a run but nowhere near enough for each individual completions of an obstacle... Which often means our dogs lose drive at certain parts of the course or on certain obstacles. If you lose drive, you lose focus which is where the marking starts.
Right now, only do the number of obstacles you know ]Cider will complete successfully without marking... If you are unsure, work on obstacles individually until you can build up to sequencing again.

I've never said anything about it. Do I correct it if it happens rather than ignore it?

It's my personal opinion that as the handler, its our responsibility to set the dog up for success. For whatever reason Cider is doing this (stress, excitement or marking) its a natural behaviour for a dog so IMO we cannot punish or correct or reprimand anybody but ourselves. When it does happen, we should calmly collect our dog and either crate or take them outside - it should not seem like a punishment... Some dogs need to know that the fun ends but I find that most will not make the distinction. It's much easier IMO to only give them the opportunity to make the right choice than it is correct them for making the wrong one...
Dodger is a major marker, if we are walking to meet someone, I always leave WAY early because he "needs" to mark so often. Usually its not a problem but when I'm in a rush, I give Dodger 2 chances to "empty" his bladder - then we speed walk with no stopping to mark, only quick "non-pee sniffs"... If he signals to me that he's about to pee, I say "Ahh, let's go" and he stops - even if his leg is in midair. It's almost like NILIF... most of the time Dodger gets to do whatever he wants on walks - even pee 50 times LOL... But when I decide to pick up the pace, there's a no marking allowed policy. Sounds evil that I'm controlling his bladder but it is ONLY after I've given him the opportunity to completely relieve himself!:o

I was told it happens plenty at trials, and whatever.

I am sure it does happen often at trials - even to dogs that don't usually do it outside of a trial situation... So in a way, you are lucky that she's doing it in training as it gives you something to work with...
I have never seen a dog mark at the trials I have been to watch so far... I did see it happen at a fun match though... The dog marked the tunnel. It was immediately removed from the ring and crated (end of his run). It took 15 minutes of cleaning and disinfecting - even then, it was a major distraction for the dogs. Not only is it an unfair distraction for other dogs (as much as an in-heat bitch) but its also a waste of money for you because you will likely be eliminated.

I know its not a nice idea to waste your class time and only practice time... So if you decide that its not worth it, the best thing you can do is work on attention, motivation and speed. The more efficiently Cider get's through a course, the less likely she will be to mark... Remember, the best indicator for future behaviour is past behaviour - if the dog "gets good" at something, they will repeat that behaviour, usually with increasing frequency...
I truly hope that you will be able to figure out a way to set Cider up for success, without losing out on class time!:fingerscr

April 10th, 2007, 07:30 PM
Have you taken her to the vet? What if its a health issue, like the dogs who are somewhat incontinent as a result of an injury of sorts? I only suggest that because the behaviour seems to be unprovoked and occurs when she's otherwise focused and probably in full motion :shrug:

April 11th, 2007, 03:05 PM
No uti, no bladder control issue. She's healthy, and enjoys marking. When she started marking 8-9 months ago we went to the vet then too. They laughed at me actually.. I didn't realize girl's would mark..

At this point I think it's habit. Either enjoys that feeling of fully empty bladder.. or feels the need to spread her scent everywhere..

But I'm not sure exactly how to correct it..

April 11th, 2007, 06:31 PM
Oh Oh Oh *breakthrough*

She peed when she entered the ring, I told her bad potty, potty outside, took her out where she wouldn't go...

Did a quick run, only three obstacles cause they wanted fastness (plus for us) did it twice, no pee. Took her out peed a few drops.

Did it again, took her out peed a few drops. No pee no poop in class YAY!!!!

April 13th, 2007, 04:09 PM
I was actually thinking more about the poop issue than the pee one... (I had female cats that marked)