Potty Problem - very puzzling

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by AmyLou4220, Aug 29, 2006.

  1. AmyLou4220

    AmyLou4220 Guest

    Hello all!! I have been reading this forum for a little while but this is my first post.

    We have an 8 month old Dalmation/Hound mix. We have had him for about a month and a half. We have created a potty spot in the yard for him. We dug out some grass and put a layer of sand and then a layer of stones (just like they have at his daycare).

    He was going on the stones without issues. He is housebroken very well. We had one pee-pee accident with him in the house the first week we had him (our fault), but since then he has not had an accident in the house.

    After he goes outside on the stones we give him lots of praise. We used to give him a treat every time he went potty outside along with the praise, but after 2 weeks, we started to treat a little less (Still tons of verbal praise though!!).

    About a week ago, he started to be very apprehensive about walking onto the stones. It was almost like he was afraid of something. We can get him to stand on the stones if we lure him with treats, but he will not potty. He just stands there and looks at you. As soon as you take him off the stones and onto the grass, he will potty on the lawn. He is not having this issue at daycare. He will go potty on the stones at daycare without any problems.

    After standing on the stones for a few minutes - he will try and get off the stones. He doesn't even really want to go on the stones in the first place. We have had to lure him onto the stones with treats. Once he gets on the stones - he simply will not potty.

    I have no idea why he is doing this. Any ideas?

    AmyLou :)
     
  2. Do you know of any reason he could be scared of the stones? Has he been scolded for not going on the stones?

    I personally let my dog go where she pleases. She has created her own potty spot, in the back yard, along the property line, where no one really walks or plays.

    Maybe you should do this with him? Let him create his own spot. He will go there, and not just go pee/poop everywhere he pleases. When he goes to his particular spot, praise the heck outta him!! But do not scold when he doesn't go to his spot. He is just trying to do what you want him to do, which is go potty outside.
     
  3. AmyLou4220

    AmyLou4220 Guest

    He has never been scolded for not going on the stones - he has only been praised and rewarded for going on the stones.

    Letting the dog create his own potty spot is not an option. This stone area was created specifically as a potty spot. He had no problems going on it for the first 5 weeks we had him, then out of the blue he will not go on this spot.

    I don't understand what happened and I do not know how to make him comfortable going on the stones again. It is a very frustrating issue.
     
  4. Herschel

    Herschel New Member

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    Are the stones hot from the sun?
     
  5. AmyLou4220

    AmyLou4220 Guest

    Nope - it has been pretty overcast here the past week and the temp hasn't been above 80 in a while. Our last "hot spell" was a few weeks back. It was in the upper 80's. He had no problems going on the stones when it was warm and sunny out.

    The first time this happend was when I took him potty in the morning when I woke up (6am).
     
  6. DanL

    DanL Active Member

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    Are you cleaning the spot? Rinsing it down with the hose? Maybe the smell is too strong for him and he feels like it's not clean so he doesn't want to walk on it.
     
  7. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    Lots of good ideas and thoughts here. I guess, if it were me, I wouldn't make an issue out of it. I'd find another spot (somewhere he does like) and throw a couple of stones on it....3 or 4. And gradually add more over time if you really want the stones. I think a designated area is good rather than letting him go all over the place because it can really wreck your yard. But maybe he needs a new area from time to time. But for whatever reason, (I wouldn't get bogged down trying to figure it out) he clearly does not like going there. I'd go with it. You don't want to ruin what a good start he has on potty training. A little compromize doesn't hurt a thing. Let us know how things work out.
     
  8. AmyLou4220

    AmyLou4220 Guest

    We clean the spot once every other week (fyi - the potty spot is 14 feet by 8 feet). We use a 30/70 solution of bleech and water. We let that soak for 30 minutes or so and then hose it all down real good with plain water.

    Obvioulsy we pick up the feces every day.

    Should we clean it more often? Should we use an enzyme cleaner?
     
  9. AmyLou4220

    AmyLou4220 Guest

    Finding another spot really isn't an option. We dug out the lawn and placed the sand and rocks in this part of the yard because logistically, this is the best place for him to go.

    It was a lot of work to make this potty spot, and we do not want to abandon that work. If he doesn't get comfortable using this spot again, we will have a stone patch in our yard that will be completely useless to us.

    The kids play in the rest of the yard and we don't want to have to worry about them rolling in dog poo or pee when they are out there.
     
  10. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    I think the bleach may be what's keeping him away. It's a strong chemical. I wouldn't use bleach. Water it down really well and just pick up the poops. Dogs identify where they are "suppose" to go by the previous urine smells. That's how they know that "this" is the place to go. I'd just hose it down once in a while to keep it from smelling to humans and leave it at that. Hope it all works out.
     
  11. AmyLou4220

    AmyLou4220 Guest

    We read in a positive training clicker book by Geraldine Belakawich(sp?) (The everything dog training and tricks book), that you should clean the potty area with a 30/70 bleach solution.

    You are saying water only? It has seriously downpoured here a few times in the past few weeks (at least an inch of rain in a short amount of time). Would that be enough water to clean the spot?
     
  12. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    I don't think it's necessary to clean the spot thoroughly, in fact I'd want the dog to be able to smell that there has been a history of pottying there. No, rain will not make it so he can't still smell it.

    I am not positive about the use of bleach. This is just something I'm surmizing. For myself, I would only clean it enough that it wouldn't be offensive to humans to smell. Dogs have incredible, out-of-this-world olfactory senses and he'll still be able to smell the urine, probably no matter what you use. But the bleach may be frightening to him. He may be very uncomfortable with that scent. I don't know. As far as germs...I wouldn't worry about urine so much. Just take away the poop.

    Anyhow....like I said, I'm not any expert on this sort of thing. But that is my guess as to why he may be repelled by using this spot. You could try for a while, as an experiment and see. Then if he goes back to being OK with this spot, you could try sprinkling a little baking soda and hosing it down. (?) That's not such a freaky smell like bleach.
     
  13. AmyLou4220

    AmyLou4220 Guest

    We have cleaned it a few times in the first few weeks we had him and he continued to happily potty on his spot. It is a rather dilluted bleach/water solution that is sprayed on and we let it stand for 30 minutes. Then we hose it down very heavily with plain water.

    Any bleach smell that may remain has had no affect on him at all in the past. Also - our doggie daycare cleans their stone potty area the same way. A bleach/water mixture followed by a drenching hose-down with plain water. If the bleach smell was the cause, I would assume he would be having the same issues at daycare as well.

    Thank you so much for your interest in this thead! I really do appreciate it and I hope you don't think that I am unappreciative of your help!

    I received a private mail that said he could have been scared by a wasp or a bee while peeing on the stones. That may be it. I would love to get through this hurdle with our little guy!
     
  14. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    Yes, maybe that was it...a bee. It's really hard to say. Yes, I forgot about the daycare. Well...it is perplexing. I hope you can get him OK with it again.
     
  15. DanL

    DanL Active Member

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    We had a problem w/ Gunnar always going in one spot in the yard last summer- it stunk to high heaven. We had to put lime on it to get rid of the smell. Once he started lifting his leg and found the joy of peeing on the trees, the problem resolved itself. :)
     
  16. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    :D

    Well, I must admit, I'm not too familiar with the potential of stench from dog pee outside. I have some acreage and all around are thousands of acres of wilderness, so it does seem to get fairly well distributed.
     
  17. Roxy's CD

    Roxy's CD New Member

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    The first thing that came to my mind after reading only your post, was maybe he slipped on the stones and twisted something and hurt himself.

    Perhaps the stones are not steady and stable enough now that he's getting bigger. Especially, I've noticed when dogs bet bigger, pooping is a harder task. Roxy stopped pooping on paper once she hit around 6-7 months old, but would poop inches next to it. I've since deduced it's because when she moved her back legs to "get into position" the paper was slipping because she was so much bigger.

    My guys have a designated area for pooping, and they choose to pee away from the pooping side.

    Maybe get rid of the stones?

    And just used the sand? If he is still uncomfortable you can rule out that he hurt himself, or is just not comfortable on the stones.

    What other options are there for elimintating for your poochie?
     
  18. whatszmatter

    whatszmatter Guest

    The first thing I thought of was a bee sting or something sharp in the stones that got him one time. Dogs remember where something bad happened to them. I worked with some people that had the great idea of using an electric fence shared with the neighbor to keep their dogs in. Well they had the fence wired incorrectly so the line was going thru part of their house. The dog was zapped and suddenly would not cross that line in the house anymore. There for it couldn't get to the door to go out. When they got it wired "correctly" the dog got zapped just as walked out the side door of the garage (property line). The dog would quiver by the door no longer wanting to go outside. Very bad situation, not too bright of owners, but I'm just using it to illustrate how something could make a spot very bad to the dog.

    My best suggestion would be to maybe make a smaller area as well if you can. Keep using treats or playing with around that area, eventually it will become a not so bad place if there are enough positive experiences.

    I would can the bleach as well. A good hosing with plain old water will be more than sufficient. There's a reason Bleach can kill any living thing it comes in contact with if in high enough concentration, I don't like exposing myself or my pets to it any more than I have to. I don't really see any benefit from using it so why??

    Other than those things I can't really think of anything else. I wouldn't get discouraged or angry because he won't use the stones, most people would be happy with a dog that goes outside reliably so you don't want to screw that part up. Not too sure what else to suggest that hasn't already been suggested, sorry.
     
  19. silverpawz

    silverpawz No Sugar Added

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    A couple suggestions.

    Try smaller stones. If the ones you have are too big they may be uncomfortable for him now that he's getting bigger. You may also want to try Pea Gravel which is somthing a lot of dog daycares use for their potty areas. If you do decide to try and switch I'd do it slowly, maybe just a put a layer of the new stuff over the old stones and see how he reacts to it.

    If he's truly appearing to be afriad of the stones then I'd put in some time getting him comfortable on them when it's not potty time. Grab his favorite ball, some yummy treats, whatever floats his boat, and go have some fun on the stones. No expectation for him to eliminate there, just have a good time and get him relaxed and comfortable. Once that happens he may start to use it as it potty area again automatically.

    Dogs won't eliminate where they're uncomfortable, unsure or frightened. So you gotta work on those issues seperatly.

    If all else fails. Is he crate trained? If so I'd start to treat him like a puppy again. Take him out for a potty break, wait five minutes, if he doesn't eliminate then it's back inside and in the crate for another fifteen minutes. Repeat untill he goes on the stones. If you don't give him any other option to relieve himself he'll eventually have to use the stones. But that means NO freedom in the house untill he relieves himself on the stones. If you have to take him back inside and crate him twenty times, then you have to do it twenty times.

    Another option. Pick a time when you're sure he has to 'go'. Grab a folding chair, put the dog on a leash and go plant yourself on the stones and wait for him to relieve himself. You may want to take a book with you since you might be there a while. Just ignore the dog and and keep reading. When he goes praise him, have a mini-party, and go back in. The next time should be much easier.

    Hope this helps and good luck!
     
  20. AmyLou4220

    AmyLou4220 Guest

    Major breakthrough!!!!

    Last night and this morning our dog went potty on his spot!!!! We praised the heck out of him and gave him the most delicous treats as he was finishing! He wagged his tail and was loving every minute of soaking up all the loving and the treats!!!!

    This is clearly a step in the right direction!

    Thanks everyone for your help and concern!

    Amy
     

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