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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19376
Experience:  Behaviorist /Trainer and Dog breeder 18+ years
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We just emigrated and brought our two dogs out with us; both

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We just emigrated and brought our two dogs out with us; both German Spitz Mittle's.
Since arriving they have been having lots of accidents, both wee and poo.
They both have long walks every evening, and aren't especially energetic dogs any way. They also both know how to ask to go outside when they need to and will hold on whilst we are around. However, whenever we go out or to bed, they have been making a mess on the upstairs landing. This is well away from the back door, but right outside our live in helpers door.

We have bought a baby gate to keep them confined whilst we are out and this is working perfectly. However now one of them has started trying to sneak upstairs to make a mess whenever the gate is open.
Before we left England both of them where absolutely trust worthy.
We don't scold them for making a mess, just clean it up with biological washing powder and water and our helper seems to get on really well with them both.

Any ideas?
Hi JaCustomer,
My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.
In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient.
Is this cleaner an enzymatic pet odor cleanser or do you have an actual product name for this?
Is the area carpeted or a porous surface where they are going?
Do you know if dog's lived in the home before you moved in?
Has their food changed?
How long have you been in the new house?
Do you have a yard that they go in?
When is their last walk outside ?
Are they taken out to eliminate right before bed time?
Are they free fed?
If not, when are they fed?
Are they both male?
Are they neutered?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jane


The stuff we use to clean the floor is a biological washing powder, from washing clothes, just mixed with water and liberally sprayed on. As advised on the dog whisperer and similar TV shows.

The area they are going on is varnished floor boards, teak I believe and we've been living her for about 5 weeks now, they were in kennels for two weeks before they joined us and we did blame that at first. It has been going on for to long now and getting worse (in badgers case at least.)

They have a yard that they go in, when we are home it is only when we send them out. I believe our helper gives them free access to it. But they do let us know they want to go, but we'll they used to and even now they usually do.


Thier last walk is at about 10 and lasts till gone 11 and they both usually go on it. Betty, often goes immediately after she's eaten and so long as she has done in since eating that's fine.


They are not free fed, they both east at around 6. As I said badger has a tendancy for lose stools so he doesn't get treats, so neither does Betty. That means that they don't really easy anything else after their tea. They have the bowls for about 10 mins, Betty maybe a little longer as she likes to carry all her food to bed and chew it there.

  • Their food has changed since we moved and aren't very happy with the options. Currently the best we've found is called golden dragon, and we have been supplementing it with chicken leg bones as the extra fibre helps. His breeder feed her dogs exclusively on chicken carcuses and is/was a judge at crufts.

One is male, one is female, both neutered and sprayed as appropriate. They are actually half brother and sister from different litters.


We have experimentally clipped badger to see if he seemed any cooler in the heat, and but he didn't seem stressed for the heat before, not noticeably cooler now.


If you have any more questions I'm happy to answer them.





Thanks for the additional information. It is helpful. It sounds like the cleaning agent may be acceptable if you are using the cool or warm water with it. Remember that floors that are not sealed may allow the urine to soak into the pores of the floor and thus the cleaner needs to do the same in order to break down the urine and remove the odor. If there is even a trace of odor then the dog will be drawn back to that spot to eliminate. I'm not talking about odor we can smell but odor the dogs can smell. That is a big difference.


The fact that their food has changed may be a factor for bowel movements since a change in diet can make it hard for a dog to hold it until they can be let outside. So hopefully you have found a food that you can stick with that does not affect his bowels. Instead of chicken leg bones (raw of course), I would switch to chicken necks and backs. The bones are more rounded, less chance of splintering and excellent for keeping teeth clean. You can add a spoon of canned pumpkin (not pie filling) to the food for fiber. The pumpkin is an excellent way of helping firm the bowels.


Many times when you move to a new house, previous animals have left their odors in the house. This can trigger a male dog to start marking (urinating in the house) to claim the house as theirs. When you were at the old house, it was your house before they came, so you owned the house. When you move to a new place, no one owns it (in the dog's mind) so they have the opportunity to make the new place theirs and not yours. This usually happens with dominant dogs. So you would need to decide if your dog might be taking over the house. Once it is their house, they believe they can do what they want in their house including eliminating where they want, when they want.


The only thing that helps for that reason is to establish the humans as the boss. As the boss, the house becomes your territory. Obedience training can do this as well as the NILF program. If they have already been obedience trained, starting back up daily practice will work as well. .The following site is helpful for teaching you how to train your dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.


Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is

outlined below.


If the landing is the only place that accidents are occurring, you could install an inside fence system or a scat mat. An indoor fence system can be seen here and the mat below that. There are various systems, so check around for the one best suited for you.


Create a very clear signal that can not be missed. Put a bell or other noise maker on the door low enough for the dog to reach. Each time you take the dog out, ring the bell. The dog will associate ringing the bell with going out and one day ring the bell to signal to you that they needs to go out.


If they have no health issues such as kidney problems, then you can give water on a schedule as well. So feed and water your dogs on a schedule. Keep a log of when they are given water and when they are fed. Also keep a log of when they eliminate and whether it is urine or feces. As you have noticed that your female goes after eating, you will see a pattern develop. Once you know that pattern for each dog, you can use the information to ensure they are outside when they eliminate. .If this doesn't help the situation, you may need to rehouse train them all over again. If you do, then I would suggest crate training.


With crate training you do need to keep them crated the majority of the time initially, only rewarding sucessful elimination outside with time outside the crate. You might also try crating one for a day to see just which dog is eliminating inside which can help with correcting the situation. Be sure that you have dewormed at least twice since your move. Dogs can pick up parasites from a new environment which makes it difficult to control the bowels as well.


I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .


If you have questions in the future that you wish me to answer, you may go here and bookmark the page or make it a favorite. It is best to put my name "JANE" in the question as well. Please recommend me to your friends and family members if they have any problems with their dog as well. I would truly appreciate it.


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi again.


None of that really helps in afraid.

We know about badgers tummy, as I said we're trying to find a food that works for him and haven't got any thing that we are truly happy with yet. It isn't diarrhoea though, is just very soft poo's. Unpleasant in a long haired dog but it doesn't make him go uncontrollably.

They are both fairly obedient, Badger not so much when we have company around but that is a separate issue. (We need to get people to come round and visit more so that he gets used to it and we have opportunities to reinforce good behaviour more, but with two little girls, we tend to go out alot and he's no problem when we're out!)


He is very good at tricks, which I know isn't the same thing, but we does have to work at it. We've been spending more time on his tricks since we came here to help set the rules as well.


As I said we are closing them in the kitchen and aren't letting them upstairs unsupervised, this is working well for Betty, but since they have started being shut in Badger had started trying to sneak off upstairs to poo.


Badger will poo and wee on separate commands, so I'm not sure that your email really gave me any new ideas.

The Gate for Badger has been up for only a week, Betty got a new crate two weeks ago, if that makes any difference.

You've also seemed to assume that Badger is having accidents? I'm not convinced by that and wonder if the maids room being up there is relevant?

Otherwise is the answer that we are doing everything, but just need to give it more time to work?

Should I be thinking about taking them to obedience classes- perhaps the maid and I should take one each?

I do take good care of my dogs and I feel that your answer has pretty much just reflected the information I have you back to me, rather than giving me some innovative ideas. (I'd be really proud and very satisfied if you replied that I'm doing everything right, just give it time, so please don't feel that I'm being awkward)





Thanks for replying. I do think you are doing a lot of things right. I'm suggesting some tweaking. Canned pumpkin will help firm up the stool naturally. It helps absorb excess fluid and results in firmer stool. It is worth a try. I'm also not saying that your dog has no control over his bowels just that when they have soft bowel movements it is harder for them to control it. Firming it up in any way will help him control it easier. Frequent changing of the food without a gradual changing over (usually mix for a week) will make the stool softer and harder for a dog to control their bowels. It wouldn't affect the urine usually though.


Any sort of training is good, but obedience allows you more control since you are usually teaching sit, stay, down, stay, etc. Tricks can be effective as well and if you read the site I sent on obedience, you will see a lot of other commands related to tracking and retrieving which can also be fun for dogs as well as work.


A formal obedience training class is great because it not only allows you to "finish" a dog's obedience by working with him on obedience with a lot of distractions (dogs and other people). It also serves to help socialize dogs around a varied group of people of all ages and races as well as other dogs. If you can have a dog obeying you with those types of distractions, he should be obedient at other times.


I thought I had mentioned alternatives to the gate that would work better but I don't see in my answer. Maybe I am missing it. If it is there, I apologize for repeating the information. A better choice than a gate would be a scat mat or an indoor fence system. That would keep the dogs away from the landing entirely. Scat mats work best for doorways and stairs where indoor fence systems work well for large doorways. This will prevent him from being able to sneak away to eliminate there.

If you really feel he is purposely eliminating in the house, then the only thing you really can do is to retrain him as if he hadn't been trained before. Now dogs will eliminate inside to claim an area or territory, but it usually isn't in just one area. In that case, a male will usually eliminate all over. Now if the maid is the one that is with them the most, he may be trying to get her attention when you are out or asleep and then going outside the door. If that was a cause, a bell on her door as well might allow the dog to wake her up to be taken out. The maid might also not be as receptive to his signals as you are.


Smaller dogs often don't like to go outside by themselves especially if it is in a new place with new smells, etc. If they are used to you sending them out at regular intervals and the maid doesn't do this, then that may be a bit confusing to him even though he has access to the outside.



And often dogs will eliminate inappropriately just to gain their owners attention. We do frequently find that just starting obedience training regularly and starting to rehousetrain is enough attention that the behavior resolves..There really isn't any new ideas to stop this type of behavior unless you want to establish an inside area with sod to allow them an area safe inside yet still have it grass so they do not get confused on what type of surface they should be using. .

Jane Lefler and other Dog Training Specialists are ready to help you
Hi Matt,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Badger. How is everything going?

Jane Lefler
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yeah, it's going fine.

We already had the gate and had started doing more training with them both, generally is lots of tricks and getting them to fetch toys by name. Fetch ball, fetch rat, fetch kung etc so they have to get the right one and lots of there, here go there etc..

They are really enjoying it and Betty in particular is getting very good at it.

Up to now we haven't got to a point where we can stop using the gate, which is our aim, but but we are moving along.



Matt,.Thanks for letting me know that things are moving in the right direction. I appreciate it.

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