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I think it is really possible that physical issues caused a behavioral problem: dirty puppy. Meaning she couldn't help but pee and poop all the time then sit in it because of her physical problem. But she also became desensitized to sitting in her own mess and now she doesn't care.

Assuming her physical problems are legitimately resolved then you have to address the dirty problem.

Big job. I don't envy you.
A dirty dog can be turned around though. I got one of those. It took several months of being fastidious and consistent.

First, absolutely no absorbent crate pads. No pillows, no stuffies, no blankets.

Then, once her course of antibiotics is done — and her labs come back clean— we take her for regular walks/play before bed/naps etc.

Time meals, snacks, water so that you’re giving these after she wakes up, not before.

Please do not EVER punish a dog for urinating or defecating anywhere.You can interrupt the behavior with a simply “ack!”snd bringing her outside. But please, don't hit her crate or throw anything at it. We want the crate to be her safe place where she feels protected. Activities like this just make crate training much more difficult.

(FWIW, dogs who are punished for eliminating will hide it. They think “my human hates when I poop and pee.This is how people end up with dogs that go behind draperies or under the bed. That is an awful problem and much harder to resolve because they don’t let you see them go. I adopted a dog from the county shelter with this problem. It took me almost 1.5 years to fully housebreak her)

ok, back to dirty dogd. The key is, we don’t let them get their beds wet or dirty and if they do, we change it instantly. That means having extra water resistant pads waiting and an empty laundry (I used a plastic garbage can) you can toss the wet one in. The Kong/Walmart mats I suggest above go through normal cycle easily. I have a number of them from my days when I was doing this (now, they stack for comfy beds for Doggyy sunbathing)

As time goes on, the dog is being properly housebroken AND she learns what it’s like to be clean. It takes time, but dogs strongly prefer to have clean places to sleep.

It took my “dirty dog” several months, but she is the most fastidious dog now. She‘s a smaller dog, but sleeps in about 6 soft fleece blankets on a 4” thick memory foam pad in her GSD size crate.

She has also earned a water bowl that’s in her crate all night long. And if she accidentally spills her water, she barks until I come and replace the wet blankets. She learned that being clean and dry is wonderful. She won’t ever (intentionally) wet her bed again.

It was simply a matter of keeping her and her bed clean and dry until the lightbulb went on.

I don’t doubt your pup can learn this as well. GSDs are finickier than many other breeds. She just needs to be calmly shown the way
 

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Discussion Starter #23
Just thought I'd share an update...we've come down off the ledge with thoughts of returning her to the breeder. I'd say her digestive issues have pretty much cleared up, at least for now, as well as the UTI. I plan to stay with the Honest Kitchen for a while since she's doing well on it. Luckily, I was able to stock up when it was on sale. Once I realized we had to start back at square one with potty training, that's been going well too. Thanks to all who shared advice and opinions!
 

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My first gsd was from the pet store. I had all kinds of issues with this dog. I had pet insurance. Hit the 5k max payout in less than a year. I did finally managed to get things turned around. At times I was very lucky I didn't lose her. Crate mess was only the start of my problems. She wouldn't use the bathroom outside. Loved to do that in the crate. Petstore dog for you. Aggression that kept getting worse and uti, other issues. I just wouldn't give up on her. At 9 months she looked like she had lost the will to live. I would just hold her. Trying to get her to feel better while trying different options until finally I found a solution that took her from dying to thriving. My best help came from a forum who suggested alternative treatments and they helped guide me through it every step of the way.

My new dog also came with a contract. I did do my part on it. It states that if she has any genetic issues before 3 I could return her. For me, that doesn't mean much since by that point I'm certainly not taken her back. I looked for breeders who would offer to pay part of the medical expenses but I couldn't find any.

I'm so happy to read you found a solution.
 

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If you are committed to keeping her, I would start her on a commercial raw diet asap (petco has them in the freezer section) and add about a cup of RAW green tripe (uncleaned and yucky smelling from Green Tripe.com) every day. That stuff has cured many stomach issues in many of my dogs over the years. Go back to Puppy House training 101.
 

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I think she is too young for full raw after having so many problems. If she is doing well on THK, I would keep using it for now. I’m a big fan. It saved my dog’s life when nothing else worked.
 

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Discussion Starter #27
And after two weeks of no accidents, she's back to peeing in her crate. Seems not to care about going outside. We've decided to rehome her. She is taking all of our time and energy away from our other dog which just isn't fair. We've never dealt with issues like this before. It's like she really doesn't care. At 4 months she should be completely housebroken but we can't have her out of her crate for more than 30 minutes at a time or so. It's not fair to her or us. I'm so disappointed but I guess the signs were there from day one. Just not meant to be. Hopefully someone else with more time can get her on the right path.
 

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Are you returning her to the breeder? It sounds like the UTI is back. Have you taken her to the vet?

***I am not judging or trying to talk you into keeping her. Just in the meantime, she needs to be vet checked for a UTI.
Agree ^^^^...when a GSD does this it's not because they're hard headed--un-trainable or that the owner is doing anything wrong......it sure sounds like the UTI has returned to me also....many times they're not easy to get gone AND keep gone....
 

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Discussion Starter #30
Agree ^^^^...when a GSD does this it's not because they're hard headed--un-trainable or that the owner is doing anything wrong......it sure sounds like the UTI has returned to me also....many times they're not easy to get gone AND keep gone....
You guys really think it's STILL a UTI? None of the other signs are there though, i.e. the multiple short urinations and the licking of that area. She's only been off the meds for a week and hasn't peed in her crate at night at all. Today, it was the morning, after she'd been out several times, with my wife and daughter within 10 feet of her crate. No warning, whining, nothing. Big puddle of of pee in the crate that is just big enough for her to turn around, lie down. We're just completely spent. We've put 10 times more energy and time into this dog than we have with any other puppy we've had and to no avail.
 

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This is how my first GSD (Wolfy Dog) started his auto immune issues at 10 weeks of age. He got several more, seemingly unrelated, infections and was ultimately diagnosed with auto immune disease. In the end he developed anal fistulas and I couldn't even clean him without him being muzzled. His anus oozed puss. He screamed from pain when defecating and postponed it as long as possible to avoid pain. At 1.5 years old, and after three independent vets told me he couldn't heal, I decided to have him euthanized. My pain about this has never gone away.
Before returning her to the breeder, I hope you can get to the bottom of the issue so you know for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #32
This is how my first GSD (Wolfy Dog) started his auto immune issues at 10 weeks of age. He got several more, seemingly unrelated, infections and was ultimately diagnosed with auto immune disease. In the end he developed anal fistulas and I couldn't even clean him without him being muzzled. His anus oozed puss. He screamed from pain when defecating and postponed it as long as possible to avoid pain. At 1.5 years old, and after three independent vets told me he couldn't heal, I decided to have him euthanized. My pain about this has never gone away.
Before returning her to the breeder, I hope you can get to the bottom of the issue so you know for sure.
Wow, that's absolutely horrible. I think it's a possibility that there may be a deeper reason for her issues but at this point, we can only do so much. She got off to a bad start as soon as we brought her home (actually was most likely already sick when we got her from the breeder) and it really set the tone for the almost two months we've had her.
 

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You guys really think it's STILL a UTI? None of the other signs are there though, i.e. the multiple short urinations and the licking of that area. She's only been off the meds for a week and hasn't peed in her crate at night at all.
Yup.. Did they do a sterile sample and culture it as was suggested previously?

Jax's ONLY symptoms was excessive drinking and couldn't housebreak. So if her water is restricted at night then she wouldn't pee in her crate. But since you have made this decision, I would return her to her breeder as quickly as possible so he can get her to a vet. If it is a UTI, and it goes untreated, it could cause kidney damage.
 

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You guys really think it's STILL a UTI? None of the other signs are there though, i.e. the multiple short urinations and the licking of that area. She's only been off the meds for a week and hasn't peed in her crate at night at all. Today, it was the morning, after she'd been out several times, with my wife and daughter within 10 feet of her crate. No warning, whining, nothing. Big puddle of of pee in the crate that is just big enough for her to turn around, lie down. We're just completely spent. We've put 10 times more energy and time into this dog than we have with any other puppy we've had and to no avail.
No warning for an accident at 4 months old, right?

Puppy is 4 months old and has had major setbacks behaviorally and physically. My current lab had a random big pee accident inside at like 5 months old. I don't know what the heck happened he just got too full and cut loose. Whatever. I was able to stop him and whisk him outside. I am pretty sure that was the last accident he ever had and he is almost 2.

But my point is perspective. Puppies have accidents, even older puppies. And your puppy is SO disadvantaged from being sick and then learning to be dirty, that your puppy needs a much longer window.

Of my boarder dogs the ones under a year are way less reliable and sure they do just squat sometimes and let er rip in the wrong place. They are away from home and routine and just aren't as experiences as the older dogs so whatever. They get it eventually.

This poor pup has had a heck of a time. Just voting for compassion, understanding and, perspective. Not even voting you keep the pup. Just for compassion understanding and perspective in the mean time.

Especially because what you say about puppy might color the opinion of whoever is taking it or deciding not to take it off your hands if you know what I mean.

Who IS taking a possibly sick puppy who is behind the curve on housebreaking? Was the breeder reputable? Is that a safe place to send this pup? If not can you try to get it into breed rescue? Does puppy have an ok temperament?

@Magwart got any ideas for getting this pup into safe hands?
 

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Being off the meds a week sounds very suspicious, as in the right amount of time for it to flare right back up if it wasn't totally gone.

I just had a boarder get a uti during a stay. Typically clean dog peed her kennel which we thought was weird because even though she is young she has never peed her kennel. We actually did see some blood in the urine too and got her tested and confirmed right away and treated.

But she had multiple other pees before tx started with no blood, we were just lucky that the one with blood was on a color surface where we could see it so we didn't wait to get her to the vet, we knew it was prob a uti.
 

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We had the same issue with karma on the being good for awhile, and then going the bathroom in her crate for like a week straight, and then being good again. Happened off and on for AWHILE. So far she hasn't gone in a month (shes 8 months old now) so we'll continue to keep our fingers crossed. Sometimes you just have to "push through" this dirty puppy "phase". She has only gone the bathroom once in the house (other than the crate). I don't blame you for your frustrations, trust me, we were there as well. Nothing more fun than cleaning a done kennel, while watching two kids, trying to make dinner, feed 3 dogs, and keep yourself from gagging on the smells
 

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Discussion Starter #37
Even before we treated the UTI for the first time, her urine was fairly clear and had little to no foul smell. I only suggested it to the vet because we've had other dogs start a UTI with licking in that area and short multiple urinations. She hasn't been licking at all and she pees once when she goes out. I just don't know.
 

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It sounds so stressful for you, I agree with returning her to the breeder. In spite of all the advice you are getting to treat her further, you bought what you thought was a healthy puppy and you aren’t equipped to deal with more diagnosis and treatment, especially since it may not reveal anything new.

Sometimes dogs are just more difficult to housebreak. My female rescue who I got at 4 months peed in the house until over 5 months. I think it was intentional that she peed on the older dog’s bed but never on her own. My male who is now 4 years and had Giardia and pano wasn’t fully housebroken until 5 months either. But given all the other problems, it’s your choice, not ours. Good luck. I hope returning the dog gives you some peace and no regrets.
 

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Abx-resistant UTIs are definitely a thing now -- multiple rounds of treatment, with culture and sensitivity testing, seem to be more and more what's needed for many dogs. So I would rule that out before making any other decisions.

I love that you are feeding it THK! That's such a good, smart choice for a sick dog. It's safe, high quality, and digests very easily.

Once a dog is healthy, sometimes it takes a few different "resets" going back to the beginning of the house training. They all do get it eventually though.

I guess with the breeder, I'd really want to know what the breeder would do with her. Are they a big commercial operation? A respected hobby breeder? A BYB? I know some breeders in my region would just euthanize a pup with vet bills rather than dealing with treatment because you can't make a profit off a sick pup -- a few would even dump it at the city pound. OTOH, some good hobby breeders will empty their savings account to save a dog they brought into the world because they view it as a moral responsibility. Figuring out what fate awaits her upon return would be pretty important to me, if I were in your shoes.

In terms of rehoming on your own, your problem is that you've got a sick pup with ongoing vet needs, not just one not housetrained. Not many adopters looking for a puppy want to take that on (just as you don't). The cost of what you're feeding will also be unaffordable for a lot of people. Simply advertising the pup and rehoming on your own is unlikely to attract really good homes -- and this pup needs a really good home. There's a sky-high return rate on adopted GSD pups because they only get harder to raise when they hit adolescence. Your risk is that the people likely to not care about the pup's particular issues are people who will just stick her outside in the yard (and thus don't care about where she pees), and people who don't much care about vet bills because they don't take their dogs to the vet anyway. Please don't do that to her. The quality of the vet reference and home check REALLY matter on this kind of rehoming -- I'd want a stellar vet reference, showing high quality care of past serious medical conditions.

A breed rescue near you rescue MIGHT take a pup with unknown future vet bills, especially if they don't see pups come through rescue very often. There are rescues with long, long waiting lists of good homes wanting to adopt a puppy -- and there's a good chance with that kind of waiting list, one of those homes might take on a pup with "potty training issues" once the rescue unwinds the vetting situation. The key is whether you can find a good rescue that happens both to have the money to put into the pup and also an open foster home. (Foster homes for pups are actually harder to find that foster homes for adults because people who know the breed know what a pain in the tuckus puppies are. It takes a special kind of foster family to specialize in getting up in the middle of the night and working on land-sharkery.) If you go that route, BE SURE the rescue does good vetting -- some do, and others do not.

Some rescue-oriented vets also take dogs as charity cases that clients can't afford to care for. They require signing ownership of the dog over to the clinic, and then they handle whatever vetting is needed, and find it a home (or a place in rescue).

I hope your breeder is the sort of wonderful, loving person who will do right by this pup.
 

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Discussion Starter #40
We're in a holding pattern right now. Trying to figure out what's going on and if the UTI has returned. To add insult to injury, we also believe she's got demodex around her eyes. Not surprising given all she's been through. It's something we've dealt with in the past with one of our other dogs. Based on the pic, any other thoughts?
Magwart, those are all great points and things we are taking into account. Yesterday's post was probably an overreaction but this has been an incredibly frustrating journey. Every time we think we're heading in the right direction, something else pops up.
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