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Dr. Altman
Dr. Altman, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 10899
Experience:  Practicing small animal veterinarian for 17 years
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I have a 7 year old YorkiePoo who I got from her original owners

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I have a 7 year old YorkiePoo who I got from her original owners 2 years ago because after having 2 children, they felt she wasn't getting the attention she needed and deserved. Long story short...she's a wonderful loving girl however in the last 18 months I lost my job, decluttered and prepped my house to sell and sold it in 1 day before I could find another to buy. We are currently living with relatives who have a LhasaPoo and a cat. They all basically get along except my dog doesn't seem to know how to play. She growls every time the other dog tries to engage her to chase her and play. There are also the issues of competition "marking territory" whenever they are outside, pooping in their master bedroom and my brothers office, some peeing in various places, emptying wastebaskets and shredding tissues. She tends to want to spend her time in our bedroom, often under the bed. I feel bad because I know she's been traumatized by all the people in and out of our house and all the changes in her life. We've been living here about 7 weeks and will probably be here until Spring ... A total of six months and then hopefully have found our new "forever" home. How long should these behaviors continue; how should I handle them, and what can I do to make it easier for her? Thank you for patiently reading through all of this. Luana Larson, White Bear Lake, MN

Dr. Altman :

Welcome to the chat! I am Dr. Altman and am happy to answer your questions today

Dr. Altman :

It sounds like you both have been through a lot!

Dr. Altman :

There are a few things that might help...

Dr. Altman :

1.) Putting up a gait or piece of wood that the kitty can jump to get to the litter box but your little one cannot

Dr. Altman :

2.) Exercise is key. I cannot emphasize the importance enough...a dog that is not getting regular daily walks, and it sounds like she is quite nervous/ anxious, will release that energy in an unhealthy way. Walks will be a healthy way to release that energy mentally and physically

Dr. Altman :

3.) Do not feel sorry for her (or you!). This makes you weak in her eyes and it will increase her anxiety. So no coddling. That is not to say you cannot hold her but not when she is in this very anxious/ nervous energy. Practice obedience or go on a walk, play with her until she is able to allow her mind to move forward out of this state. Believe me I have a little dog that has a lot of anxious energy and as soon as she is in that needy state or shaking she goes down because when you hold her in that state and pet her it means, in her mind you are supporting that nervous energy

Dr. Altman :

4.) When you are not with her baby gate to your room to not allow free roaming to have accidents in the house

Dr. Altman :

5.) When you leave/ return no coddling! Walk in or exit without sympathies or anxiety. No attention to her until she is calm at your feet, not scratching or barking for attention. My dogs only get attention when they are in this mental state because addressing them when they are excited or anxious feeds that energy and tells them it is ok to be in that state

Dr. Altman :

I have a feeling you are having difficulties with live chat so I am going to change formats in a moment if you have not entered the live chat

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
So, looks like I am the one with the's clear I deal with people the same way and it hasn't been healthy or productive there either.

It appears walking and exercise are the answers to just about's true she hasn't gotten much exercise in the last couple of weeks since I have been I'll and mostly sleeping and coughing 24/7.

You didn't address the issues of play and interaction with the other dog; or the digging and eating the cat feces.
Please do not think that you have a problem but just need some education on how to adjust your interaction. How you are handling things is human nature and how we handle the same situations with people. It is simply different with dogs...

I did address the eating of cat feces in discussing using a barrier that the cat can jump but your little one cannot. This is the way I have been able to stop the behavior in my home. There are also things that you can put in the kitty food that will help the feces taste worse than feces (if that is possible). One from the vet is called forbid or you can purchase over the counter product called deter. One trick that can help at home is meat tenderizer in the cat food. It works well with dogs but I worry the kitty might not eat the food with this product within it. Perhaps mixed with canned food? Doing this daily for one week then intermittently the next few weeks so if she begins to show signs she is interested again she smells the extra ingredient and walks away.

As for the learning to play with the other dog, this is difficult but it is simply something she needs to figure out on her own. She needs to build trust with this other dog and hopefully she will learn to play in a healthy way. I do know dogs that go their entire life without learning to play with other dogs well and it is simply a matter of allowing the other dog have another outlet to remove their frustration from the situation.

I do have a friend who has a dog that is not one that plays well with others. My dog has tried every avenue to play with her... toys, bouncing around her, nudging and nothing works. Eventually she really has accepted that this is not a dog to play with and they are both fine with that relationship.

l know this is likely not what you want to hear but it is similar to people and how we interact. Some people do not have those skills and learn them while others do not ever develop the skills and isolate themselves more in those situations.

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance but my primary concern is you and not blaming yourself. Hopefully with the new knowledge we can move forward to help both of you have a healthier relationship in the future.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

This is helpful. Weve tried the gate to keep her from the upstairs master bedroom area -- especially when nobody is up there. That seems an easy solution. The kitty room is a little more complex being its in the laundry room just across the hall from our bedroom. So, people are in and out of there many times a day. I'll talk with them to see if we can work out a way since I know it's probably the best option...and it might cure both dogs of going in there every time they know she's gotten fresh canned food. Food is also an issue as Zoe had gained five pounds in two years and along with her vet, we figured out that the Blue Buffalo food was excellent quality but far too caloric. She had lost 4-5 pounds now but their dog and cat food are out all day and I have little control. Guess I better focus on finding our new home quickly!

I must say, I am single, have never had, she is my precious little girl.

Thanks again.
So glad I could be of assistance. Believe me I understand as I am single and my four-legged family is all I have...

Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance!

If you have more questions or if I can help in any other way, please do not hesitate to ask! If you would like to accept my answer, please press RATE OUR CONVERSATION. Bonuses are always welcome. (I am not compensated in any other way). Thanks!
If you have additional questions after you rate the question, you are welcome to request me for additional conversations if I am on-line or by beginning your question "Dr. Altman..." or "Dogdoc4u..." and others will leave the questions for me. Good luck to you both!!!
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