Friday, June 21, 2013

1468. House-breaking a 9-month-old male neutered dog


On Thu, Jun 20, 2013 at 7:22 PM, Emily wrote:
> Hi Judy,
> I hope this email finds you well.
> I'm a first time puppy owner and I've bought my very first male silky terrier when he was 3 months old from a pet farm.
> Since day one, we have been researching and trying to get him house broken. However, he's still eliminating around the whole house for the past 6 months. We've been advised by the pet farm owner to get him a small play pen and pee tray when we bought him.
> We've tried dabbing his pee onto his pee tray,let him sniff his urine,bring him to the correct spot (his pee tray inside his play pen) and told him to "pee pee" there instead. Things finally made a turn after 2 months. He recognize the pee tray as his toilet area when he's confined. However if he's roaming around in the house, he still choose to eliminate elsewhere except his pee tray. I must say he's a very smart dog. If any of us is near his pee tray, he will eliminate at the right place as he knows we will treat him for sure.
> This issue is very frustrating for all of us as it seems nothing will work. We signed him up for obedience class, neutered him lately and we even upsized his playpen by buying extendable fencing to increase the space of his playpen. Yet things did not even improve.
> Can you please kindly advise what should I do next? I'm at my wits end.
> Please help me.
> Regards
> Emily A
> 9664-XXX
> Sent from my iPad

Thank you for your email. I am Dr Sing Kong Yuen from Toa Payoh Vets.

I assume your dog is now 9 months old and he was neutered around 9 months of age. Your complaint is that he pees anywhere when not supervised. Elimination refers to peeing and pooping. I presume you have no complaint about pooping.  

There is no easy solution to your problem as each dog and his environment is different. However I will attempt to give you some advices which may or may not be useful.

1. Your dog is likely to be an alpha male dog in personality. He needs to mark his territory inside the house and so will do it at every opportunity. If he was neutered at a younger age e.g. at 6 months, he would have less urge to do urine marking.

2. He is a smart dog in that he will eliminate in the pee tray for rewards and praises.

3. What some Singapore owners do to resolve this problem in my survery are:
3.1  Make the male dog wear diapers for 24 hours/day so that he will not soil the house when he is roaming around.
3.2  Crate the dog when the owners are not at home esp. overnight.        

4. What I have proposed to some owners are:
4.1  OUTDOOR ELIMINATION. Give the dog a routine. Take the dog out for exercise in the morning and evening daily without fail as a routine. At the beginning, bring his urine-soiled newspapers so that he will pee outdoors. Use your positive reinforcement training i.e. treats and praises when he has succeeded. Treats can be given when he goes home after successful housebreaking. 
4.2 Crate the dog when nobody is at home or he cannot be supervised for the next 1-3 months.   

4.3. TIME OUT METHOD. If he misbehaves, put him inside the crate on seeing his anti-social behaviour for around 30 minutes. You need to do this consistently and repeat this punishment within a few seconds of his misbehaviour, not long after that. .
4.4  Family members must adhere to your training commands.
4.5 Some family members such as parents, sabotage by giving other commands or giving treats even if the dog misbehaves. You need to educate them.
4.6  You need to spend time to re-train the dog again.
4.7  Neutralise all the urine-stained areas inside the house using white vinegar + water at 1 parts to 3 parts after you have started either of my two proposed solutions which may or may not work in your case. Usually it is the owner who has no time to re-train the dog and I presume you are one who works long hours and have little time to spend with him every morning or evening. Get somebody to do it consistently.
4.8 VETERINARY EXAMINATION of the urinary system. Get a urine analysis to check if he has infections or urinary stones.

As each management of the dog differs, please let me know if you succeed after 3 months. Best wishes.


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