Thursday, August 23, 2012

1057. Toilet training an adult male dog - urine & poop marking?

Need Advise on Toilet training

Hi Dr Sing,
I have recently purchased a Pomeranian (9 months). I was hesitant at first as it was a male and was worried about it marking... 2 months have passed and I can only say that it hasn’t progressed much…I am writing to you as i know you have recommended to many in your blogs etc. and also that my Mom's Scnhauzer is actually seeing you for its skin problem.
Noting that this puppy would have spent 9 months in a cage and all things done inside it (Pee, Poo, Play, Eat, Sleep) I went on a reading spree and tried to gather as much information I could to rectify its toilet training. I have bought a pee pan… those elevated meaning it would not soil its own paws with urine.
The setup at my place is as such. The dog is confined to my bathroom in the shower area. Let’s just visualize. Drawing a square. Divide the square into 9 smaller sections equally and in running order.. Top left being quadrant 1, middle is quadrant 2 and top right is quadrant 3.. So the dog is kept in the shower area… quadrant 2,3,5,6… quadrant 1 is the toilet bowl… quadrant 9 is the sink.. The rest is open area.

For about a month, its in the shower area with 80% covered by pee pan.. it poos and pees on it.. but it steps all over it and dirties itself.. 1 full month of  cleaning up everyday after a long day at work. (I was telling myself I needed to be patient)2nd month still no progress.

So a little background to my daily schedule… 7pm – 8pm dinner and at around 9.45pm – 10pm it goes down for its walk… (dog only urinates but doesn’t poo) Then water bottle is removed before I sleep. IT defecates twice.. and pees a number of times… from 8am – 7pm all of us are working and it is confined to that area. Feeding takes place in that area and also the sleeping.
So till now, it still pees and poos outside of the shower area and on the floor.. and it steps and sometimes even lie on its own poo… considering 9 months of ingrained behavior.. it is going to be a daunting task for me.

I am considering, feeding it outside of its confined area to disassociate feeding and playing is going to be same as peeing and pooing. Also I may have to factor in a morning walk.. (problem is it doesn’t do its business outside – so far only twice and its in the afternoon)

Is there any advise you can give? Also is my area to big? I seriously think that I might have to re-train and I am prepared to do so.. I am a little lost and have spent a fair bit getting those trainers to come access my place. And I am sad to say it isn’t working.. My dog is not neutered. It’s about 10.5 months old now. I have also tried laying newspaper all over and it just ends up shredding and making a mess. I am committed to training my puppy and I wish that I could be a good owner and master.

Aug 24, 2012 HK Hotel Panorama lobby lst floor. 7.16am

Thank you for your email. I am still in Hong Kong today and will be back this evening.

My comments are as follows:

1. Age of dog. Your dog is no longer a puppy. His male hormones have made him a "rebellious" adolescent equivalent. Therefore, it will difficult to train unlike a 3-month old puppy with an impressionable mind, generally. You may need to neuter him.

2.  He has been lying in soiled areas inside a confined cage (in a pet shop?) before you purchased him and so his "cleanliness" instinct had disappeared.

3. A different method of toilet-training may be needed. The following is just my suggestion as each dog is unique and there is no fixed guideline in toilet-training an adult dog.

Assuming the use of a formula of "N-1" where N=number of years, your 9-month-old dog should be taken out of a confined crate with pee pan, to pee and poo every 8 hourly. In your case, I would advise close monitoring as to his elimination habits and time. Take him out to eliminate every 6-hourly. This is not practical if you are working and nobody is at home. That means asking a friend to do it during lunch-time, for example. 

In this method, the dog is fed and then taken outdoors to a place where he can smell his urine/poop daily. Usually this is done after eating or after waking up. This depends on your observation and time. A regular fixed time and routine. Lots of peserverance. Reward with food treat or praises every time on success. If your dog loves food treats, it will be much easier.

4. Urine marking or poop marking. It is most likely that your male dog is urine-marking or poop-marking as well. To you, he is not toilet-trained. Therefore, you have not succeeded despite hard work. Neuter him as soon as possible. Neutralise urine smell of flooring and confine to a crate as a start. There needs to be a fixed routine of eating, drinking and elimination every day till you succeed. But if you have no time, you need help to do the lunch-time training.

5. Alternatively, send him to a professional dog trainer who knows about toilet training. A boarding kennel  operator (dog must have proper vaccinations) or  trainer's home. You may get good results but you need to continue the routine at home for many weeks after successful training by outsiders.

I hope my advice is practical and useful.    

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