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Ask Jane Lefler Your Own Question
Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19829
Experience:  Behaviorist /Trainer and Dog breeder 18+ years
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Our new puppy was taught to go to the bathroom where she eats

Customer Question

Our new puppy was taught to go to the bathroom where she eats and sleeps. It's making house training extremely difficult as she just goes where she's standing. She also has anxiety which makes it even worse. Last night she picked up one of her poos and took it under the coffee table to eat it during the night. If we don't let her in from outside she goes right next to the door. Crating was a nightmare because she just went under herself. She gets plenty of attention and has 2 other dogs to play with plus heaps of toys but we aren't making any progress.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
Hi JaCustomer,
My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.
In order to supply you with an informed answer, it is necessary for me to collect some additional information from you. When I receive your response or reply, it will likely take me between 30-45 minutes to type up my reply if I am still online when I receive notice that you replied. I hope you can be patient.
What breed is your puppy?
How old is she?
How long have you had her?
Does she squat or hunch over when eliminating?
Is she fed and watered on a schedule?
What are you cleaning with?
What have you tried so far?
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
I was hoping to get a response back from you. The questions I asked can have a bearing on the answer.
Some breeds like chihuahua, shih Tzu's, pekingese, beagles and dachshunds to name some of the more common breeds can have issues with the discs in their backs. This will sometimes lead to a loss of feeling or even muscle tone in the rectal sphincter and bladder sphincter. This allows fecal matter to just come out without the dog being aware that it is happening. When a dog has this issue, they often eliminate when sleeping or when relaxed and even as they are walking. You can read about disc problems here:
If this is the case, your vet will need to be consulted and treatment for the disc issue started to even have a chance at house training properly.
If there is no physical issue, then there are some things you can do. You can purchase a crate with a wire floor where the dog won't have to lay in the fecal matter for those times when you can not have her roaming loose. If she cries, you have to let her. If you pay attention when they cry, it encourages the behavior. Here is one crate which is also escape proof and much harder for a dog to hurt themselves on.
The other thing that can help is to feed and water your pup on a strict schedule. Keep a log of when you feed and when you give water. Take it up after 15 minutes. Then keep track of when she defecates and urinates. You will see a pattern develop. You can then use that pattern to ensure she is outside when she eliminates even if you need to move the feeding time to ensure you are home then. This methods works very well.
You have to clean any place she has eliminated with an enzymatic pet odor remover and be sure it soaks in as long as the original urine did. That is the only way to stop the smell from drawing the pup back to that spot to eliminate again.
When you take her out and she eliminates outside, as soon as she starts to go, give a tasty treat like a hot dog sliver. This will encourage her to want to eliminate outside. Put a bell 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 she needs to go out.
You can also bring a little outside in for her to use if it is an issue of her not being able to make it outside. You take a large pan like a kitty litter pan or even a baby swimming pool. You create a platform frame with wire on top. Place newspaper or other absorbent material such as wood shavings under the platform and place sod on top of the wire frame. Since it is grass, your dog will go on it. You can remove solids and can spray the urine so it moves through and down into the absorbent material underneath. This lets you use the same piece of sod for a while before needing to replace it. You do need to replace the material under the platform.
Hopefully these suggestions will help the situation. If you have questions or need clarification, please reply so I can address them. If you are satisfied, please take the opportunity to rate my response.