Where did we go wrong? 14 month old still having potty issues - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-21-2016, 03:16 PM Thread Starter
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Where did we go wrong? 14 month old still having potty issues

I've been a silent reader of this forum. We've had our baby girl since 7 weeks, been through obedience classes, canine good citizen..the one thing we are still struggling with is potty training. She won't go in her crate, which is good, but out if the crate..

We don't give food or water past 9pm.

She is 14 months old, we started letting her have the privilege of sleeping outside her crate. If she sleeps the night, she won't have an accident. If our mischievous cats wake her during late night play, we will find poop and pee in the front room. Also, she will still have an occasional accident in the house. If I scold her in the act, then she will run to the door. We work 8 hours a day, but we have pet sitters come to walk and play with her. I used to leash her in the house, she did well with that so I thought it wasn't needed anymore. The accidents aren't everyday, when that happened a few months ago she did have a uti, so I know it's not the issue this time.

Some recent things that have happened- it has rained here 17 of the last 21 days this month, including today, she hates going in the rain, thus weather is making us all miserable.

I can't take her on long walks because of her hip dysplasia she will walk 30 minutes usually, then wants to go home. she is awaiting a tpo from a board certified veterinary orthopedic surgeon, but can't have the surgery until she is full grown, so we are managing her on glucosamine supplements and Rimadel from her regular vet until the surgeon says her growth plates have closed.

I would eventually like her to have full range in the house, she does well out of the crate at night, but I can't tell the cats not to her wake her up. And if she wakes up, she'll pee. I also can't keep her in our room, because the cats will scratch at the door and still wake her up.


Where did we go wrong potty training? I've read in here about puppies being fully trained by 4 months, why is our girl still not trained after everything we've done? I know some people are going to suggest square 1 again, but unlike the little puppies, she doesn't need to go right after meals or drinking water, and leashing a 65 lb dog constantly in the house now is not going to be easy.

Please tell me what I'm missing. I realize the weather and hip dysplasia may not be helping, but at her age, I feel she shouldn't be having accidents, and worry it's too late. Thank you
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-21-2016, 03:35 PM
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well no, it's not too late - afterall, adult rescues can become housebroken. that said... going in the house is and has been an option for her for a very long time and it's going to take awhile to undo and will likely inconvenience you in the process. starting from square 1 is your best bet - you may not need to relieve her after every meal or water but you will need to do it when she comes out of the crate or when she awakes. personally I'd crate her overnight if you can't keep the cat away... i'd also crate her during the morning and perhaps progress to allowing her out after the dog walker has come and verified that she's empty. the key is keeping her empty / prevention, in order to break the cycle. if she won't go because it's raining, then she hangs out in the crate some more. gradually award her freedom.... crate to laundry room to laundry+hall or kitchen or however it's possible within the layout of your house.

my boys are completely house trained but I still use a baby gate to restrict them to a particular half of the house.

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Last edited by Fodder; 05-21-2016 at 03:38 PM.
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-21-2016, 03:51 PM
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I think Fodder covered all the bases very well. And I totally agree with crating her overnight to avoid having the cats pester her. My dogs are adults - Keefer will be 11 in August, and Halo is 7-1/2, and they still sleep in crates in our bedroom at night. They're used to it and go in on their own every night. Never had a housebreaking issue since they were each puppies, but it's nice to be able to sleep in on the weekend and not have a doggy nose in my eyeball at 5:45 AM, which is when the alarm goes off on work days!

Both of my kitties are now gone, but they were confined to the spare bedroom at night, which was set up as the cat room, with their food and water dishes, the litter box, and a cat tree. Everyone slept better without the pets roaming around the house.

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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-21-2016, 04:02 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you. It's hard because she also refuses to walk in the rain, I can get a quick potty out of her sometimes. Not an issue on one rainy day or two, but with record breaking 17 of the last 21 days of constant rain, that's where I've noticed the regression pattern.

We will try square one again. I do have gates as well, but she will pee in the night if woken up (not in crate though) mainly by the cats, also one time she was play fighting with one then squatted and peed! My goal would be for her to have free range of the house, she was doing well enough to be let out at night. Last night, when the cats woke her, I jumped out of bed to let her out, but I couldn't get to her before she peed, she didnt even give me a warning, just peed.

She has so much energy, but with her hip dysplasia it is a challenge burning it off (I can't wait for the day when after her surgery, she will be able to enjoy a full walk with me pain free, and for a nice 1-2 miles)

We've been through poop eating, giardia, land sharks..the hip dysplasia will also be fixed, just wish the potty one will resolve, that's the one issue at 14 months we're still dealing with.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-21-2016, 04:07 PM
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I really think the key will be minimizing her opportunity for accidents in the house by restricting her freedom, and reinforcing her for going outside. And a lot of time and patience! As Fodder mentioned, this has been going on for a long time, and a pattern that's been developed is going to take longer to undo than an issue that's recently started.

-Debbie-
Cava 1/6/18
Keefer 8/25/05-4/24/19 ~ The sweetest boy
Halo 11/9/08-6/17/18 ~ You left pawprints on our hearts
Dena 9/12/04-10/4/08 ~ Forever would have been too short
Cassidy 6/8/00-10/4/04
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-21-2016, 04:30 PM Thread Starter
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She's going to hate the restriction, but I don't know what else to do. I cleaned the spots with Woolite pet cleaner from day 1. She already was upset when I crated her to do chores today after I posted this. We restricted before, and she was making progress.

How would I know when she's ready to get privilege back? It is hard not to feel like we failed when we accomplished so much..she's crate trained, but we want her to be free range eventually.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-21-2016, 04:48 PM
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I think for right now you need to let go of the hope/goal/dream/desire to allow her full house privileges and pay attention to what she's telling you she is or isn't ready for currently. what you're asking for an answer that is impossible to determine at this point....

successful potty training is done by good timing, prevention, learning your dogs schedule and eliminating the option of going indoors. the more they go outside, and the more they're rewarded for going outside, the more they'll want to and a new pattern is established.

other things that come to mind...
- a water schedule
- using a verbal command for relieving
- covering a portion of the yard where she can go without getting wet

TILDEN: Male: Blk/Red LHGSD: DOB: 12/24/06 60lbs of Love
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-21-2016, 05:01 PM Thread Starter
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Those are good suggestions. She is in her crate during the work day until the pet sitter comes. The weekdays my husband is home, she is out with him, no problems.

The issue seems to be weekends with me (doing chores, watching a six year old) and at night with playful cats. (We can't confine the cats to a room at night like you did, they would wake up the entire house with protests, so looks like our girl will be crated first) I'm going to crate her when I do chores, and at night.

I really appreciate this. This girl is still facing an uphill battle with her hips, we want to get this right for her.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-21-2016, 05:21 PM
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I think everyone covered the potty issues. I'm going to ask why you are going with surgery your going with over an FHO? The FHO can most likely be done now and you won't ever have to worry about arthritis down the road with that surgery versus other options.

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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-21-2016, 05:49 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, the potty issue is covered.

As for the hd, great question. Believe me, I've done the research, and discussed at length with both our regular vet, and the Orthopedic surgeon. I've even researched the surgeon we are seeing, and feel as her mom as difficult as this is, we've looked at all the options for her. The Fho is a salvage procedure, he does not recommend for my dog, and feels with her young her age the total hip replacement is the best option (her hd is too severe, unfortunately for her to be a tpo candidate). I have her full report and radiographs. She will go in for a follow up exam and more radiographs/X-rays sedated next month, they do not want to do the surgery until her growth plates have fully closed. What the surgeon is suggesting, is doing the replacement on the right side (most severe) first, then doing the left side (less severe, but also dysplastic) at a later date.

I really wanted the tpo, but agree with the surgeon's assessment. You know as a parent to trust your gut, I feel this will give her the best chance at a normal life, which she deserves. I can see she wants to play ball more so badly, and the sad look she gives me when she's ready to turn and go home on our short walks..I'm ready to support her, she has a long life left to live.

She's also our first shepherd..my god, we love this girl so much.

Since you asked about her surgery options, I'm curious if you also have been faced with your dog having hd? You feel so bad for them
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