Go Back   Pet forum for dogs cats and humans - Pets.ca > Discussion Groups - mainly cats and dogs > General Forum for cats and dogs

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old January 2nd, 2009, 04:34 PM
Smiley14's Avatar
Smiley14 Smiley14 is offline
Senior Contributor
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: MN, USA
Posts: 2,424
Winter Potty Training Advice

I need some advice on winter potty training. I got Belle in the summer so by winter, she was already potty trained. Last winter, when it was really cold, Belle wouldn't want to go and would try to sneak and go in the house, but I had her on a schedule and knew when she had to go and would just tell her to "go outside and go potty" and she would go through the doggie door and go. And now this year, she's 18 months old and goes no problem just like Petey, regardless of how bitterly cold it is. So she was easy!

Jelly is being a big challenge though! She's only gone in a cage, so has never learned how to hold it or been taught to only go in one place, that kind of thing. Thankfully, despite her terrible start in life, she still has the instinct to keep her kennel clean and won't go in her kennel. So that's a big relief at least and a huge help in her potty training. With Belle I used the Ian Dunbar method where you kennel for a half hour, go potty, play for 20 minutes, kennel for a half hour, go potty, play, etc. You keep up the cycle for a few weeks when they're tiny babies to develop the routine. That's used for a tiny puppy, but since Jelly is way behind, I've been trying to train her like you would a 10 week old instead of a 5 month old. So I take her out every hour on the hour and if she refuses to go, I kennel her again for 15 minutes or so and then try to potty again. Once she goes, she gets her freedom for an hour until we start the process over again. She's learned the word potty and will go no problem as long as the weather is semi-decent.

Here's the issue. We are having a bitterly cold winter this year. In the few weeks I've had Jelly, it's been mostly below zero or in the low teens. I've noticed that if it's at least 20 degrees, she'll go outside and go potty no problem, but in temps below that, she panics and freezes. Literally. She goes into this weird panic mode and will paw frantically at the door for about 30 seconds and then will sit and not move and will sort of zone out and hunch over and shake. In that kind of temperature, that's dangerous since she has very little fur and a lot of bald areas so I can't just leave her out there until she goes. So I've tried waiting one minute, let her in to warm up, shove her back out again etc, but that doesn't work. And of course, I've tried kenneling her between potty attempts, but she just keeps holding it

When outside in that extreme of weather, she just seems to shut down and will not go, will not recognize the command or even her name, nothing. And when I bring her back in, she does that traumatized trembling thing they do where they're scared out of their minds. She will be subdued and shaking for a good half hour or more. So it doesn't seem to be stubbornness, but honest fear. No matter how warm I dress her with down coats and snowsuits and multiple layers and boots, hat, etc, etc, so hardly anything is exposed, she goes into this weird panicked mode and shuts down and will not respond.

What do I do? Do I keep following the routine and not give in or do I give in and let her learn to potty elsewhere on days when its this cold? If she would just go right away like P&B, she would only be out there for 30 seconds and it would be all over with. But instead, she sits there and gets herself all worked up. I'm afraid of frost bite or something too if I leave her out there too long as this weather is seriously dangerous after a few minutes, so I am just not sure what to do!

When this happens, I've been giving up after several attempts and letting her go in the garage instead. I've been trying to get her to use a potty pad, but she almost always misses it and just goes on the cement floor in the garage. The garage is unheated, but insulated, so probably 20 degrees warmer and of course, no snow or wind, so she'll go in there no problem. But I don't want her going all over my garage floor. Gross! And of course, I don't feel like I'm really reinforcing potty training then too. Like I said, on the days when the temps are better, she'll go outside no problem and will even play out there now too. She is just terrified of the bitter cold for some reason. Not that I can blame her, LOL! But she has to learn to go in this weather too as that's part of being a MN dog. Part of me wonders if I just use the garage when needed this winter to get through the next few months and then really do a strict "newborn" training as soon as the weather is consistently better if that would be okay. Assuming by next winter, going outside will have been reinforced enough like it was with Belle last winter compared to this winter. But I HATE the thought of delaying her training that much for that long since she's already so old and so behind, but I'm not sure what to do.

I'm about ready to give in and buy an indoor doggie toilet to put in the garage and focus my training for now on that instead. UGH!

Oh, forgot to add that the first 10 days or so, I went out there with her on leash every single time. That's how I taught her the potty command (she would go when slightly warmer or less windy days). One time, after doing the kennel/potty break back and forth for two hours with her still not going and KNOWING she had to go, I stayed out there for 40 minutes (thinking she was just being stubborn) in -15 degrees (-27 degree windchill) with her on leash and she would not go. She would just do her panicked mode thing and when I finally gave up and brought her inside, she trembled uncontrollably for over an hour and then made herself throw up, she was so upset. We were both frozen and upset! ARGH!

she has now completely learned the potty command. I started putting her through the doggie door and telling her to go potty about 5 days ago now instead of going out there with her. She'll go on her own without any problems at all on the "warmer" days (20+ degrees), but so far, does that panicked mode thing on the colder days whether I'm out there with her or not.

Any advice or suggestions?
__________________
No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as the dog does. --Christopher Morley
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old January 2nd, 2009, 05:23 PM
hazelrunpack's Avatar
hazelrunpack hazelrunpack is offline
The Pack's Head Servant
Chopper Challenge Champion, Mini KickUps Champion, Bugz Champion, Snakeman Steve Champion, Shape Game Champion, Mumu Champion, Mouse Race Champion
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Just east of the Hazelnut Patch, Wisconsin
Posts: 49,955
Don't give in. Grace was like that, too. She was 2 years old when she came, and had been kept in the garage. I think she used to pee and poop in there, too. So we had to convince her that outside was the place to be. She came in late summer and her first winter was a struggle. She, too, would run back up to the door if it were raining or too cold and beg to be let in.

How did we fix it? First, we dressed warm. As long as you and she are both dressed warmly, try to convince her to come out into the yard and wait her out. If you have a spot shoveled for the dogs to go in, it'll make it easier. Try to get her to chase you, to get into a zoomie mood, to get silly with you. Once you get her away from the house, keep giving her the command to do her business until she goes. Using a leash will help, too, since you can guide her to "the spot". Once she goes, follow up with praises...and run like crazy for the house. She'll finally associate "going in" with "going potty"!

We started from scratch with Grace, too. It was easier for us than it probably will be for you, because Grace at least a few months' experience before the bad weather set in. But treating Jelly like a wee little pup and going from there is the way to go.

Grace finally got the message, and she's just abut 100% now.

Good luck, and we're praying for warmer weather for you and Jelly!
__________________
"We are--each of us--dying; it's how we live in the meantime that makes the difference."

"It's not what you gather, but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you have lived!"

"Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old January 2nd, 2009, 07:50 PM
Smiley14's Avatar
Smiley14 Smiley14 is offline
Senior Contributor
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: MN, USA
Posts: 2,424
Quote:
Originally Posted by hazelrunpack View Post
Don't give in. Grace was like that, too. She was 2 years old when she came, and had been kept in the garage. I think she used to pee and poop in there, too. So we had to convince her that outside was the place to be. She came in late summer and her first winter was a struggle. She, too, would run back up to the door if it were raining or too cold and beg to be let in.

How did we fix it? First, we dressed warm. As long as you and she are both dressed warmly, try to convince her to come out into the yard and wait her out. If you have a spot shoveled for the dogs to go in, it'll make it easier. Try to get her to chase you, to get into a zoomie mood, to get silly with you. Once you get her away from the house, keep giving her the command to do her business until she goes. Using a leash will help, too, since you can guide her to "the spot". Once she goes, follow up with praises...and run like crazy for the house. She'll finally associate "going in" with "going potty"!

We started from scratch with Grace, too. It was easier for us than it probably will be for you, because Grace at least a few months' experience before the bad weather set in. But treating Jelly like a wee little pup and going from there is the way to go.

Grace finally got the message, and she's just abut 100% now.

Good luck, and we're praying for warmer weather for you and Jelly!

Thanks Hazel! I guess my main question is how much do I push to keep her out there vs when does it get too dangerous for a Boston? They have only a single coat and it's very thin. They cannot handle extreme temps. Jelly's belly is completely bare. Belle LOVES the snow and cold, but on some days, even she can only handle a few minutes of it. Many times, she comes in holding up a back leg with a paw so cold she can't even set it down. I worry about frost bite and nerve damage in this temperature while I'm doing the battle of the wills/overcoming fear. It does sound like they get over the fear thing eventually, so I'll have to keep on fighting the fight I guess and just keep out stints outside short because of the extreme cold. Ugh, I HATE potty training!!!! LOL! Belle ALWAYS goes out with her and she sees P&B both going to the bathroom out there. But so far, she is not following their lead in this area like she has with everything else. I do bundle her up, but there is still some parts exposed to the elements and it doesn't seem to make a difference to her.
__________________
No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as the dog does. --Christopher Morley
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old January 2nd, 2009, 08:02 PM
hazelrunpack's Avatar
hazelrunpack hazelrunpack is offline
The Pack's Head Servant
Chopper Challenge Champion, Mini KickUps Champion, Bugz Champion, Snakeman Steve Champion, Shape Game Champion, Mumu Champion, Mouse Race Champion
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Just east of the Hazelnut Patch, Wisconsin
Posts: 49,955
Hmmm...not sure how long before frostbite would set in. Bundling her up will certainly help--but maybe your vet would have a good idea of how much time that buys her At least it looks like our temps might be moderating for at least partial days for the next week or so.

Incidentally, Grace's hind feet still insist that they must be held up out of the cold and wet whenever possible. If that girl could do a handstand, she'd walk outside on her front paws only!

Good luck, Smiley!
__________________
"We are--each of us--dying; it's how we live in the meantime that makes the difference."

"It's not what you gather, but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you have lived!"

"Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old January 3rd, 2009, 08:19 PM
Smiley14's Avatar
Smiley14 Smiley14 is offline
Senior Contributor
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: MN, USA
Posts: 2,424
Thanks again SO much, Hazel!!! I talked to my vet and trainer today and got some good advice. They want me to start building up her tolerance to cold and to her fear of the outdoors and more specifically, wind. So they're having me leash her up and go on short little walks around the yard, feeding her treats the entire time. So just a few minutes each time, but enough to get her to realize that being outside is a good thing, not a scary thing. And that will hopefully build up her tolerance to the temps as well. They both also agreed that I should use potty pads in the garage in really severe weather days, at least until she learns to go right away, since it's not good for her to be panicking out there and just sitting there in dangerous temps. But that should be few and far between and should go away entirely as she gets to like being outside and understanding about going right away.
My trainer said a lot of BT owners actually keep potty pads in the house or garage for life since they are so sensitive to extreme temps. I don't want to do that though and if Belle can do it, so can Jelly.

My vet also said we can try giving Jelly Melatonin to get her fur grow better/thicker as she has very thin hair, even for a BT. We keep doing skin scrapings, but they all come back negative. But her belly is entirely bare and her back legs are almost bare in places and the top of her head is almost bare as well. Very thin with skin showing clearly through. Belle has pretty thick fur, but my vet said some BT's do have thin fur and bald spots like this naturally. Apparently using Melatonin causes to to grow thicker and doesn't seem to have side effects. Anyone have any experience using this on a dog? She said you use it for like 6 months and then just as needed if it starts to thin out again, but usually once it grows in after 6 months or so, it's good. Interesting!
__________________
No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as the dog does. --Christopher Morley
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old January 3rd, 2009, 08:44 PM
hazelrunpack's Avatar
hazelrunpack hazelrunpack is offline
The Pack's Head Servant
Chopper Challenge Champion, Mini KickUps Champion, Bugz Champion, Snakeman Steve Champion, Shape Game Champion, Mumu Champion, Mouse Race Champion
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Just east of the Hazelnut Patch, Wisconsin
Posts: 49,955
I've never heard that about Melatonin. Very interesting. You've got to keep us updated on how it works!

Oh, man, if she's afraid of the wind, she's gonna be using the pads tonight! Is it as cold and windy there as it is here?
__________________
"We are--each of us--dying; it's how we live in the meantime that makes the difference."

"It's not what you gather, but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you have lived!"

"Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old January 3rd, 2009, 08:54 PM
TeriM's Avatar
TeriM TeriM is offline
Live well, laugh often
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: North Vancouver, BC
Posts: 9,757
Hmmm, isn't melatonin what people use as a "natural" sleep aid?

I actually think the garage is not a bad compromise as long as she could be trained to go on pee pads and especially if you have a door from the garage to the back yard which you could use.
__________________
"Never doubt that a small, group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old January 3rd, 2009, 08:59 PM
Smiley14's Avatar
Smiley14 Smiley14 is offline
Senior Contributor
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: MN, USA
Posts: 2,424
Yep, it's normally a sleep aid for humans! My vet said dog's systems tolerate it differently than humans so while in the beginning they might seem a bit sleepier, it doesn't do the same thing to dogs as humans. Melatonin is a hormone and is thought to stimulate hair growth in canines. Weird, huh?! She also said not to use a time released formula. I don't remember why though. And she said to be sure to use a brand that is tested for purity or get it at a reliable place.
__________________
No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as the dog does. --Christopher Morley
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old January 3rd, 2009, 09:03 PM
Smiley14's Avatar
Smiley14 Smiley14 is offline
Senior Contributor
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: MN, USA
Posts: 2,424
Quote:
Originally Posted by hazelrunpack View Post
I've never heard that about Melatonin. Very interesting. You've got to keep us updated on how it works!

Oh, man, if she's afraid of the wind, she's gonna be using the pads tonight! Is it as cold and windy there as it is here?
Yeah, another really bad day for potty training! Ugh! I wish we could get a break with this weather! It's finally warmer today, but now we've been getting freezing rain and wind since about 3pm this afternoon. Nasty out there! I tried to take her out, but it was so miserable for me too, LOL, so I gave up and let her use the potty pad in the garage. The rain is freezing as it falls and actually kind of hurts when it hits you. Maybe tomorrow will be better!
__________________
No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as the dog does. --Christopher Morley
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Forum Terms of Use

  • All Bulletin Board Posts are for personal/non-commercial use only.
  • Self-promotion and/or promotion in general is prohibited.
  • Debate is healthy but profane and deliberately rude posts will be deleted.
  • Posters not following the rules will be banned at the Admins' discretion.
  • Read the Full Forum Rules

Forum Details

  • Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
    Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
    vBulletin Optimisation by vB Optimise (Reduced on this page: MySQL 0%).
  • All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:06 AM.