argh. blech.
May 11, 2009 10:05 AM   Subscribe

I think my little over one year old French Bulldog may have forgotten his house training...

My awesome little dog, Sir Chauncey Von Woof who metafilter helped me name, had been completely housebroken for the better part of the last year. We moved from Kiev to a temporary place in Germany, and he never spilled a drop on either the plane, or the small one room flat we were in before I found my permanent home. He was fine here, too, for the first month, but suddenly, I'll find random little gifts in the upstairs living room. Always in the same corner.

I thought for a while that I wasn't getting him out enough, although I'd kept the schedule the same as in Kiev, so I took him on longer walks. Yesterday, he didn't poop on either of his afternoon walks, and then I noticed he wasn't around and I went upstairs and sure 'nuff, there it was.

About an hour ago, I took him out on his early evening walk. I'm sick, so it wasn't the longest walk in the world, but it was a good 15 minutes and he seemed like his tank was empty by the time we were coming home. I just noticed he was gone, went upstairs, and he'd peed on my end table by the sofa - the same place he seems to think is his new bathroom. WTF? I know I'm humanizing him, but this seems deliberate and jerky to me. So I'm wondering what the real deal is.

Oh, also, I blocked off access to the upstairs for a bit, and he peed twice in different places downstairs. He's just been to the vet and everything checks out. And he never was crate trained because the two times I tried he freaked out so bad that he was screaming and crapping himself the entire time. So crating is out. I really want to get my old wouldn't pee inside no matter what dog back. Any suggestions?
posted by monkey!knife!fight! to Pets & Animals (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Don't know what's available where you are, but one thing you're going to want to do is get an enzymatic odor remover like this one to completely remove the odor. Otherwise he'll have a new permanent potty.
posted by trip and a half at 10:13 AM on May 11, 2009

Until you get this under control, you may want to consider tethering him to you when you're home. That way he can't wander off and pee in the corner. Maybe give crate training another try too. Just start out by feeding him in the crate, but don't close the door and see if he will warm up to it.
posted by chiababe at 10:21 AM on May 11, 2009

It seems like he is developing a bad habit. It sounds like he is physically able to wait for his walks and it also sounds like you are taking him out enough. One possible reason is that he's trying to mark a spot for himself in your new home.

Does he have accidents while you are in the room with him? If so, I would recommend keeping a close eye on him. If you notice him starting to go, say "No," in a firm voice and then immediately take him outside (even if he has finished going).

For times when you're not around, I highly recommend using a crate. Dogs are very unlikely to do their business inside crates. He might have accidents in a crate once or twice, but he'll get used to it. I recommend using the crate for about a month so that he gets out of the habit of doing his business indoors.

Slowly wean him off the crate. With my dog, I slowly gave her more and more access to the house while I was out (using gates in doorways) and allowed her out for longer and longer periods of time (leaving her out for a few minutes while I went to the grocery store, leading up to leaving her out while I'm at work).

Your dog is already trained and probably knows what he should be doing. It sounds like he needs a little refresher. While you're at home, I recommend keeping a close eye on him.
posted by parakeetdog at 10:31 AM on May 11, 2009

It's common that dogs slip out of their training. Just start retraining him, just like you did the first time. Thankfully the training time will be much, much shorter...
posted by Vaike at 10:57 AM on May 11, 2009

To recap the great points above:

Get an enzyme cleaner (specifically for pet stains) and clean up any place he's gone to the bathroom previously really well.

Go back to basics on the house training. Don't think of him as "jerky", think of him as a young dog that needs a housetraining refresher. Keep him in sight while you are at home and take him outside quickly if you see any sort of bathroom behavior, and keep treats in your pocket and give him lots of positive praise and a treat when he goes to the bathroom outside, along with saying whatever his key word is.
posted by warble at 1:02 PM on May 11, 2009

Best answer: Yep, housetraining refresher time - treat him like a puppy (which he still is), dogs can often fool us into thinking they're "trained" before they really are, and a move can often bring the dog's actual training status to the forefront. Tether him to you or crate him when he's unsupervised, get him on a feeding schedule (two meals a day at least, at a comparable time each day, to make poops predictable), you want to prevent ANY more accidents, each one undoes your training a little big. Your dog isn't fully trained, go back and keep training him, he's not being a jerk, he's being a dog.
posted by biscotti at 3:33 PM on May 11, 2009

Problems with the crate - try feeding him in there. It will make him like it ever so much better. Be consistent that all meals are in the crate. You can even put water in there, too.
posted by Addlepated at 3:55 PM on May 11, 2009

Best answer: Well, we have three (yes, three, as in WTF was I thinking) Frenchies. And they are *notoriously* difficult to housebreak - especially the males.

I know you said that he was taken to the vet, but did they check his urine for crystals? We had some problems with that with one of our males who has a tendency to mark (it presents a little differently than a UTI). But if all else fails, unfortunately, you're going to have to potty train from square one all over again. Start out by having him on a leash attached to you all the time, so he can't get in trouble. Once he 'graduates' from that, allow him access to the room you're in. If he can demonstrate that he's trustworthy for a week or so in the room, then allow him access to a couple rooms, etc. until he has unfettered access to the whole house. If he screws up, then you have to start back again from the beginning.

How much access do you give him to his food? My guys (technically two males and a female, but you get the idea) get 20 minutes to eat, then the food is pulled up off the floor.

Chauncey is absolutely *adorable*, btw. I'm such a sucker for fat puppy bellies!!!! :)
posted by dancinglamb at 4:54 PM on May 11, 2009

Oh, and Nature's Miracle (don't know if you can get it where you are) is our saving grace. We literally buy it by the gallon.
posted by dancinglamb at 4:55 PM on May 11, 2009

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