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I need help!

August 7th, 2004, 09:43 PM

Hello everyone, we just adopted a 14 month old neopolitan mastiff, and we have a problem.. she is either
1) not housetrained (although we were told otherwise)
2) has separation anxiety when we leave the house for more than a half hour and she does her business (one, the other, or both) while we are gone!

She was nice enough to "number two" on the linoleum, which is easier to clean. What a good girl!

What is the best way to housetrain a dog that age? I feel horrible because we are not home about 7 hours a day, and we were told she is fine for 8, and clearly , she is not. Granted, she seems to have had a rough life, so maybe it's just nervousness?



August 7th, 2004, 10:04 PM
Are you planning to crate train - can you crate train a dog that large??LOL!! I would try confining her to one room - the kitchen takes MUCH more time to housetrain whe you're away during the day simply because of the confusion for the dog..they are "allowed" to go during the day but not when you're home. (If I am wrong about that, someone please correct me..) :o Have you thought about a dog walker? That could break up the day and safe having a dirty house to clean when you get home....

Lucky Rescue
August 8th, 2004, 10:50 AM
Any new dog brought home should be treated like an unhousebroken puppy initially - taken out at regular intervals, praised for doing their business outside, and watched closely while in the house. It's a good idea to take some vacation time when a new dog is brought home.

Many dogs who are housetrained lose their training briefly while they adjust to a new home. It's not unusual at all. Even my perfectly trained dog had a few accidents when I first brought her home.

Sammiec is right - pretty hard to housetrain when no one is home. And having accidents in the house does not mean "separation anxiety".

I really agree a dog walker, or even someone who can just take her out in the yard during the day would be a very good idea. This way, the person could praise her for going, and that will help train her.

August 8th, 2004, 01:03 PM
thank you for your replies.

I was in no way saying that anxiety is the only answer here. I just thought it was a possibility since her accidents have only been when we leave the house for 15 minutes or more. I always take her out right before I leave, but it still happened. Although today, no accidents. Her foster mum didn't mention any problems when she first came into her care, but I think this dog was left alone a lot by her first owners, and she is so skinny that they either skimped on the food, or there's something more inherently wrong with her medically (getting a full physical tomorrow. fun fun fun!). I do have some people that can come and walk her, the only thing is, being a neo, we experienced first hand how protective she can be, since a friend came into the house without knocking first. Needless to say all hell broke loose and she made it known this was her turf. We will need to spend time introducing her walker, and they need to be strong, since she is just horrible on leash! We have our work cut out for us, but we wouldn't have it any other way. This girl needed a home, and she fits right in.
Again, thanks for your input! I guess it must be hard on them to be shuffled around, so I understand why it's happening.


August 8th, 2004, 02:23 PM
I was in no way saying that anxiety is the only answer here. I just thought it was a possibility since her accidents have only been when we leave the house for 15 minutes or more. I always take her out right before I leave, but it still happened. ...RuffNTumble

Hey, I think it could be just nerves. She might be scared being alone if she was always alone at her other house. She might just associate you leaving with the bad memories that she has from before. I'm sure you guys will work out just fine!! I know you'll take good care of her!! :D Just keep with it and like Lucky said, treat her as a new puppy! Housetraining skills might have temporarly disappeared because she is adjusting to her new surroundings!

Lucky Rescue
August 8th, 2004, 02:23 PM
I guess it must be hard on them to be shuffled around,

Yes, and this is what can cause anxiety, since they don't know they are "home" and are nervous about what is going to happen next.

The most important thing for a new dog is consistancy. Everything at the same time every day until the dog becomes confident that it knows what will happen.

It sounds like this poor girl has had a rough time of it, and is in need of a lot of TLC and patience.

Thanks for giving her a loving and understanding home!!:)

August 8th, 2004, 03:17 PM
You know what, I think she will get so MUCH love, she will try to out run it! My fiance is SO in love with her, it eats him ALIVE to be at work right now. He calls every two hours, on the hour. I'm sure they're making fun of him at work. He calls and asks "how's my girl?" and I reply "I'm fine, thank you" but he doesn't mean me, he means HER!
She is so full of love, it breaks my heart to imagine what she' been through, but I wouldn't have her if it didn't happen, so I am really torn! She is getting better and better, and all her little weird habits are growing on me. We feed her at the same times every day, and my goodness, she is by her dish a few minutes before feeding time!
I hate the fact that we need animal rescues, but at the same time, the animals in those shelters are so full of love to give their companion it's the best way to find a best friend! I just need to stop looking, otherwise I'll end up with a zoo!!


August 8th, 2004, 09:49 PM
You got some great advise, I have nothing more to add about that except THANK U for rescuing :D

August 9th, 2004, 01:56 PM
I was speaking to a friend of mine who worked in a vet clinic for four years, and she suggested crating the dog. I'm unfamiliar with crating, since she is only my second dog, and my first one didn't need crating. I used to associate crating with bad behaviour (because all the people I knew used crates used it as a punishment) but I know it's not meant to be. How should I go about it? Should I crate her when we leave for short periods of time? I don't want to crate her all day, and her foster mum did say that she cries when she is crated, so I don't want to put her through that.
I know that if I crate her sometimes, but not other times, that will just confuse her, so I don't really know what to do! She's had no accidents today, but again, it's not solved yet!

August 9th, 2004, 01:59 PM
I think you're getting a lot of information and it's confusing you!

Just do your very best to get the dog outside as much as you can. When the dog goes to the w/r outside PRAISE with treats and pats and happy talk!!

When you go out, try going out for 10 mins at a time just around the corner and back again. Return and reward, take her outside to go to the w/r

Build the time up gradually and ALWAYS take her OUT before you leave the house an leave her alone.

You can initially gate off the kitchen area for instance with baby gates, a water dish, some toys and ofcourse a floor area easier to clean up and a blanket.

Don't worry it will all work out, just give her time and I want to see pictures :D

August 9th, 2004, 07:06 PM
It's a small world afterall. I think I may have a reason for Chewy's (my neo) behaviour. Turns out she's from my hometown (Whitby) although we did pick her up in Marmora (1.5 hours from Whitby, past Peterborough). She was spayed at our vet clinic! When they saw the name on the information sheet, they couldn't believe it! Neither could we when we took her in for a check up tonight! The vet told us she was left alone often for more than 18 hours a day, and not fed for three or four days at a time. She was taken out of his care, and placed in a foster home. She only weighs 80 pounds now, at 14 months. She has a long way to go, but at least getting this info from the vet has really shed light on the situation. No kidding she follows us around all the time and panicks when we leave. On a positive note, they did say they saw a dramatic change in her behaviour since last time they saw her. She was really aggressive, but in a scared, defensive way.
Poor puppy. They were really glad to see her in good hands, and we are more glad than ever to have taken her. Who pays 3 grand for a dog and treats her like this?? WHY?? If I got a dog for FREE I wouldn't do it. SOME PEOPLE ARE STUPID. <sigh> I need more room for more dogs.. better yet, I should become my own foster home!!!


Lucky Rescue
August 9th, 2004, 07:41 PM
Yes, people are stupid and EVIL!!

This poor girl has never known that life can be good or that people can be kind.:(

With consistancy, patience, love and training, I'm sure she'll end up being wonderful. So glad she found a good home with you!

August 9th, 2004, 08:47 PM
I find housebreaking is much easier with puppies, since their bladders are small and they need to "pee" more frequently. But we're helping my parents with their 4 year old, who seemed hopelessly "paper trained".

Here's what we did with Loki, and it worked wonders! My parents have started this regimin with their dog, and it is showing progress.

First of all, you need some time... a good month where there is someone home if possible, all the time. Take shifts with your kids, husband, or anyone else that can help out.

Now that you've found people who can be with the dog at all times, you have solved 2 problems:

1) Helping to make the new home adjustment period a lot less nerve-wracking on your new pet. Being pack animals, dogs need to have their pack with them especially during stressful times.

2) You have someone available to do the actual housebreaking. This can't be done if nobody is home.

Now to the housebreaking part, and how we did it:

a) Take the dog out every 15 minutes, with treats in your pocket. You do not have to take it out for long periods, 5 minutes maximum. Take them out until they do "their business". As soon as they do anything, heavily praise "Good Dog!", and reward them with a treat. Take them inside immediately after. After time they will associate going outside to do business with a good thing, and instinctively know to go there.

b) At night time, have them sleep in a crate, preferably in the same room where you sleep. A dog will rarely, if ever mess where they sleep. Again, pack mentality... they want and need to be with you to feel secure. When they "graduate" from the crate (learned to "go" outside), you can replace the crate with a dog bed. The crate should not be associated with anything negative. Some dogs will actually develop a love for their crate... it is their "safe" place. Negative association with crates include punishment but most importantly... being alone in it! Being alone to a dog is always a scary thing. We've always had a cat as well as a dog... I like to believe that having another living thing helps the dog feel the pack is always there in a small way (no pun intended).

c) Avoid "Paper Training" unless you are working with a VERY young puppy. Paper Training seems to make a dog feel that it is OK to do their business inside on a condition. The problem is, even if the paper isn't there, the dog might associate the "spot" or even traces of it's scent with the place it should do it's business. Training a dog "off" of the paper can be very difficult.

d) If an accident occurs, resist that temptation to discipline the dog. If you catch the dog, WONDERFUL!. Immediately take the dog outside and have the animal stay outside with you until it finishes its' business (if you caught it early enough), or until 5 minutes has passed. Only reward if the dog does something outside. Do NOT let the dog see you clean its' mess up... this will be associated as attention, and is not a good thing.

e) The dog will show progress, but don't expect overnight success. Not every dog will "ask" to go outside. In fact Loki didn't start asking until 4 years later. Once you have the dog "going" outside, start reducing the intervals of taking the dog outside to every half hour, then every hour... then every 2 hours, etc. You will get to know your dog's "schedule", so to speak. Eventually, the dog will be able to work with your schedule, and may start to "ask" to go outside. Asking could be as simple as going to the door, or going to the door and barking.

f) Associate going outside with a word. Loki knows what "Outside" and "Pee Pee" means, for example. "Do you need to go outside?", or "Do you need to go Pee Pee?"... will generate a response from her if she needs to "Go".

Have some patience, but the rewards pay off. Remember, dogs mostly learn by positive or negative association. If you want them to do something, make it an enjoyable experience for them. Enjoyable things for a dog are pretty simple:

1) Being with you
2) Treats

If you can train using a combination of those things... you're going to have your dog trained in no time.

August 9th, 2004, 10:56 PM
The vet told us she was left alone often for more than 18 hours a day, and not fed for three or four days at a time.

It was fate that lead you to this dog, or this dog called on you to be it's family.

There are many things we'll never understand about a'hole people BUT a LOT we can understand about the non a'holes :D such as yourself!!

August 9th, 2004, 11:11 PM
This is heart warming! :o Any photos of Chewy?