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Old December 19th, 2009, 02:09 PM
twruble twruble is offline
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Unhappy At wits end

We have a 2year old long haired chihuahua who has been problematic since bringing him home at 12 weeks. Kirby is high strung, has low self esteem and is extremely challenging. To be perfectly honest I have had many moments over the past few months where I am ready to throw in the towel. The only reason why I haven't found him a new home is because I am a suck. I fear that Kirby's problems will make him fall victim to jumping from house to house and owner to owner.

One of the biggest challenges that we continue to have is peeing in the house and on other's belongings. We just came in from a walk about 30 minutes ago where he peed a gazillion times and marked everything in sight. Not 20 minutes later I caught him peeing on the wall in the living room and scolded him horribly before pushing his face into it. This has left me feeling extremely bad and guilty. I have never done such a thing before but I am getting so angry with the peeing that I don't know what to do anymore.

I've talked to our vet numerous times about Kirby's behavior however I get very few suggestions. I believe the dog to be neurotic - there are some mornings where just by the looks of him I know it is going to be a bad day. He will sit there and shake with his ears back even before I have let him out of his crate. On these "bad" days moving to quickly towards him or being loud will result in him peeing himself or even pooping himself if he is really far gone.


Kirby has proven over the past two years that he cannot be trusted to have free range of the house. He has destroyed all of our carpets with his peeing and for the last six months has been limited to the main floor only. It feels like you cannot take your eyes off of him for five minutes because if you do, he will go and pee somewhere. I have cleaned pee off the kitchen table legs, the sofa legs, the baseboards, shoes at the front door, kid's coats that have been left at the back door, etc.

There are many times that I feel sorry for Kirby because all he really wants is to be loved and have all eyes on him. He is VERY needy and looking for constant reassurance that he is a good boy but the simply fact is that he isn't. The entire family is fed up with him yet nobody wants to truly give him away except for my husband.

What can I do to regain my sanity and turn this mess of a dog into one that is a pleasure to be around and one who no longer pees whenever he feels like it? He is not abused in our home, nor do I think he was abused as a pup because he was the most outgoing of the bunch. There are so many "bad" days though where he will just sit there and shake that I have to think that there is seriously something wrong with him.

I really need help. :sad:
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  #2  
Old December 19th, 2009, 03:45 PM
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cassiek cassiek is offline
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Hi twruble,

First of all, here's a hug I know first-hand how frustrating and upsetting your situation must be. I have dealt with several dogs that have had behavioural issues, and I understand your feelings of wanting to throw the towl in. :sad: Remember though... you commited to Kirby for life... you chose him and you need to be persistant, stay calm, and you will get through this! Ok... now let's get you some help!

I'm curious... why was Kirby not brought home until 12 weeks? I am under the impression that dogs who are eitheir taken away from the litter too young, or are left with the litter too late, frequently develop behavioural issues...?! Regardless, Kirby is your dog and you need to get to the root of this issue and get it solved before things progressively get worse!

You are right... placing him in a new home will not solve anything, the problem will continue to become worse. It doesn't address with the problem, it just passes it on to someone else, no? Dogs that tend to be shuffled between homes generally suffer from more behavioural issues from the lack of stability in their lives.

IMO, a tired dog is a good dog and my dogs continue to remind me of this fact! When I slack on their physical and/or mental stimulation (remember, a dog needs both!), they start to exhibit behavioural issues (peeing in the house, destroying things etc). Has something changed in your house? Has Kirby's routine changed? Is he getting the proper exercise and stimulation he needs? Get your family on board... have everyone become involved in taking Kirby for long walks, play sessions etc.

Another question... is he neutered? If not, I would advise getting him fixed ASAP... males that are fixed are less likely to mark their territory and generally (and I say this loosely since it is not always the case) have less behavioural issues.

At this point, he should not be given free range of the home when no one is home. Start crate training him ASAP... there are probably a lot of good articles on this forum about crate training. A dog very rarely defecates/ urinates in their own "den" and this will help with this problem... he should be crated when no one is home and at night-time when you are sleeping if you find he gets into trouble then.

You say you feel sorry for him... DON'T! Kirby looks to you as the pack leader and will pick up on your feelings of "sorry-ness" for him. Dogs need a pack leader who is strong and is not weak. Please don't feel sorry for him as this is certainly making the problem worse.

Usually, when dogs are needy and demanding they are trying to tell you they are in fact, needing something! Look closely and figure out what he is missing in his life... is he not getting adequate exercise, attention...?

That's great if he is looking for constant reassurance... give it to him when he is good! Go back to potty training basics. Start taking him outside every hour and when he DOES go outside give him the praise he is looking for... whether that is treats, verbal praise, toys etc. And go over the top!! IMO, dogs tend to respond better to positive reinforcement rather than having their noses rubbed in their mistakes. Praise, praise, praise when he is a good boy! He will quickly learn it is much more fun for him to be good, rather then get in trouble!

You say he is high-strung, challenging and has low self-esteem. I would start looking for a qualified trainer in your area who can help you. Obedience classes can do wonders for eliminating problematic behaviours and help build a dog's self confidence, plus it re-establishes you as the "alpha" dog of the pack and will strengthen the bond between you.

IMO, you need to go back to square one and start all over again. Most importantly, be patient, remain calm (as Cesar would say: have calm-assertive energy... remember if you are stressed, frustrated etc. he will pick up on that energy!)

Good luck and keep us posted! I am by no means a dog expert, so hopefully some other people on this forum will have some advice for you!!
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  #3  
Old December 19th, 2009, 04:14 PM
the gang the gang is offline
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i have a pin that is 7 and still marks, but a belly band shure does help,, brenda and the pins.
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Old December 20th, 2009, 10:29 AM
twruble twruble is offline
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Thank you cassiek and the gang.

Kirby does sleep in a kennel along with his housemate "Boobie". She is a one year old Japanese Chin (no behavioral issues). Both of them are crated when nobody is home and at night. They both enter this "den" freely as it is in the kitchen.

Kirby will pee in the crate; we quite often awake to finding a puddle outside of it which tells me he lifts his leg and lets 'er rip. He has also pooped in there and the Boobie will let us know quite vocally when he has done so.

It strikes me as she is quite often trying to reprimand him for bad behavior. He is excitable whenever I come home and will jump/bark/yelp/etc. I walk away and ignore him until he settles down, she will bite at the back of his legs and neck in an effort to do the same.

In the hierarchy of things Kirby has always been the low dog on the totem pole no matter what dog is around as he seems to exude low self confidence.
My first post mentioned that he is looking for constant reassurance and what I meant by that is that he will not let us interact with the Boobie without his face being right in there trying to get attention. He gets attention too but unfortunately much of this is negative attention because of his behavior.

To make him feel good I most often always greet him first, give him treats first, etc.

When I mentioned that I feel sorry for him its because he is such a head case. When he is calm and in a happy mood he is quite lovable however the neurotic spells are so commonplace that we will avoid him.

Cassiek, he is neutered.... the gang... what are belly bands?

Last night I ordered a product called DAP that is supposed to calm high strung dogs by emitting phermones that a lactating mother would. Has anyone tried this product?

For me the greatest immediate need to is to combat the peeing (both marking and submissive). I think if we could get that under control the mood would lighten in the house and Kirby wouldn't consistently be drawing attention to himself in such a negative manner.

Perhaps we really need to look at play and walking schedules and make a concentrated effort to step it up a notch?
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Old December 20th, 2009, 11:58 AM
the gang the gang is offline
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google belly bands. they are like a diaper for male dogs, so when they lift there leg to pee it goes in the belly band, love them brenda and the pins
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Old December 20th, 2009, 11:59 AM
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cassiek cassiek is offline
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Hi twruble,

Gosh do I wish I had a miracle cure for Kirby :sad: to hand you! I have three dogs that have at one point or the other also had serious behavioural issues and it is just so frustrating! But you will get through it!

I don't know what a belly band is eitheir...? Never heard of it...

That's strange that he has peed/pooped in his crate... you said he shares a kennel with Boobie. Sometimes when a dog is in a crate that allows them too much space, they will eliminate in it. I would try getting him his own kennel that only gives him room to turn around and that's it... it might help!

I also have not heard of DAP but anything at this point might help!

I can't remember if you stated it in your original post, but have you had him to the vet to rule out any health issues? Might be a good idea.

I think the best solution IMO is to def step things up a notch! I know with my dogs that whenever they start acting up (eliminating in the house, fighting etc.) it is because I have somehow missed some of their needs (it may not be that obvious to you). I have found tired dog = good dog. Really get the family on board and step things up... everyone takes him for a walk once a day, step up play time etc.

You could also look into doggie daycare... not sure what type of facilities are where you live, but they are great for giving a dog plenty of exercise, socializing etc. You can drop your dog off in the morning and pick him up after work, and he will likely be too exhausated to even find the energy to lift his leg on something! (Always tour any facility before leaving your dog there and in Kirby's case you want to make sure that the # of dogs is controlled, since he is so insecure he will find a place with fifty dogs running at him very overwhelming! But if you can find a smaller daycare that is well supervised, might be worth it!)

Also, look into contacting a professional trainer. They see these type of behaviours all the time and usually have good input/advice. I know a trainer in my area will meet with a family for $25 for an hour and will provide you with a ton of help!

Best of luck and keep us posted! Give Kirby a hug and go take him for a long run!
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"Many of the Earth's habitats, animals, plants, insects, and even micro-organisms that we know as rare may not be known at all by future generations. We have the capability, and the responsibility. We must act before it is too late." - Dalai Lama
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Old December 20th, 2009, 05:56 PM
t.pettet t.pettet is offline
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At wits end

Ignore all unwanted behaviour and reward wanted. Sounds difficult I know but he's obviously getting the attention he craves (even though its negative) by acting out. More one on one walkies, exercise, playtime and make him work for whatever pets/treats he receives by using NLIF. Before greeting him make him sit, before treats likewise.
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Old December 20th, 2009, 07:17 PM
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luckypenny luckypenny is offline
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Have you done any formal training with Kirby at all? Does he sit/down/stay etc? How much exercise is he getting daily? Is it regular? How much time does he have spent with him individually, without your other dog? When did he have his last vet exam? Blood test? Urinalysis?
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Old December 22nd, 2009, 11:34 PM
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cassiek cassiek is offline
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Twruble,
How are things going with Kirby? Any signs of improvement or is he still peeing everywhere? Have you had a chance to take him to the vet to rule out any medical issues...?
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"Many of the Earth's habitats, animals, plants, insects, and even micro-organisms that we know as rare may not be known at all by future generations. We have the capability, and the responsibility. We must act before it is too late." - Dalai Lama
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 09:30 AM
twruble twruble is offline
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Hello! Sorry for the late reply however I was down and out with the flu the last couple of days.

We have made a concentrated effort to have more walks and play time with everyone in the family pitching in. It will take some time to settle in to a newer routine and its also been freeeeezing cold out and so the walks are quick.

I am quite excited about these belly bands and am going to purchase one. Wont I just kick myself if these work?

I understand that we are to blame just as much as Kirby for the negative behavior. It makes sense to me that we reinforce everytime we react.

Kirby has had no formal obedience training however can sit/speak/come/stay etc. He is somewhat of a beast when it comes to other dogs - very aggressive at first and this in turn is embarrassing so we try to steer clear of others. He is also quite vocal and aggressive with people for the first minute or two - he will then come over, ears back, tail between his legs and beg to be pet. He is truly a jekly and hyde.

With the New Year approaching we will try to stay positive and work towards a "new" Kirby. I think more hard work is needed as opposed to the frustration and giving up attidues that have been plaguing us the last few months.

Keep your fingers crossed for me.
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Old December 23rd, 2009, 10:10 AM
BenMax BenMax is offline
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Is your dog neutered? How old is he?

LuckyPenny is right - if you want to keep your dog I would strongly suggest in getting enrolled in a dog training school. This will help you and your dog.

Getting angry at him when he does his business and rubbing his face in it does nothing but humiliate him which results in other problems coming your way.

Get some help for you and your dog. Good luck.
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Old December 24th, 2009, 01:06 AM
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cassiek cassiek is offline
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Hi Twruble,

I can certainly sympathize with you on it being so cold out... even my dogs are not interested in going for walks, its just too dang cold! It's something I struggle with is providing my dogs with the proper physical stimulation during the winter. It's difficult, but not impossible. I try to take advantage of the odd warmer day out, and also encourage my friends with dogs to come over so the dogs can play!

This also may help with Kirby's attitude towards other dogs... I know your 1st reaction is to simply avoid other dogs, but in fact it likely only heightens his anxiety towards other dogs. Start slow... introduce him gradually to other dogs (hopefully you have friends with dogs!) that are calm and not overly dominant themselves. Give lots of praise when he reacts favorably towards them. Gradually work up to bigger groups.

My little guy can also have an attitude with other dogs. Oddly enough though the more dogs he is around, the less attitude he has. I have taken him to doggie daycare and off-leash parks and he is much better then when faced one on one with other dogs.

I think it is wonderful in the New Year you are your family are going to get on board and adopt a new attitude with Kirby! Dogs really do pick up on your own feelings and emotions, and if you have been feeling frustrated, upset, angered etc. (which I totally understand) he will pick up on that and it will be reflected in his own behaviours.

Even though he knows basic commands, I would still take up obedience training if you can afford it. Not only will it help establish a stronger bond between you and Kirby, the trainer will be a wonderful resource and can offer expertise that could be of a great help to you! After all, they deal with dogs all the time and have met/dealt with all types and personalities!

Best of luck and keep us posted!
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"Many of the Earth's habitats, animals, plants, insects, and even micro-organisms that we know as rare may not be known at all by future generations. We have the capability, and the responsibility. We must act before it is too late." - Dalai Lama
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Old January 1st, 2010, 08:05 PM
erin3170 erin3170 is offline
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Over the Top Positive Reinforcement

It sounds like you are really trying hard to keep Kirby and get him out of this bad habit! Way to go, and a thumbs up for your spirit

Back to the point, though. IMO - Positive reinforcement is the key. Sure, tell him NO when he is peeing on the carpet. That's good, he needs to learn to respect you and what you think about his peeing inside.

However, you should go OVER THE TOP with praise when he does something right. Tell him, "Good boy, well done, good pee," - whatever you like. Give him treats, kiss him on the head, anything to signal to him that his peeing outside is GOOD.

He will begin to understand that peeing outside will get him rewards and kisses, and peeing inside will get him a stern, "NO."

Also, with my Australian Shepherd, we did this - When she peed inside, we said NO and mopped it up with a paper towel (using the cleaning brand Nature's Miracle takes away the smell) and took the paper towel outside.

Later, we took her outside on the leash and let her sniff the paper towel, prompting her to pee in that spot. If you have a backyard where you go normally, it's helpful to have a "pee spot" for your dog. He will pee/poop only in that area, which means you are MUCH less likely to step in anything and cleaning it up will be easy.

Good luck with Kirby, I hope you are both doing great!
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Old January 1st, 2010, 08:56 PM
the gang the gang is offline
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if you need belly bands, email me i have a friend of mine that makes them very cheap, but i also a few that are smaller, and do not fit my little brat , i would only be to happy to pass on!!! to see if this helps brenda
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