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Rescue adoptee marking in house

1985 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  sit,stay
I'll try to make this short...

3 months ago, we adopted an 18-mo-old female GSD from a local Rescue. They said she was good on a leash=NO. They said she was good with cats=NO. We have 4 housecats, so this was a big issue, & they weren't honest about it. Too late-by the time the cats finally came out of hiding, she'd bark loud enough to blow the fur back on their faces. But we'd already fallen in love with her - her personality is great, save for a few issues...

OK - so we have to keep her in a crate at night, for the cats' sake. She's a wild child. Before work, she gets about 1 1/2-2 hours rousing play time. We take her to work with us, where she has to be crated because she can't sit still & won't mind. She gets out 3-4 times during the day. After work, she gets at least an hour in the warehouse (all doors are closed, as her recall isn't good yet) where she runs, charges up & down the stairs, fetches her favorite ball. She gets another 2 hours of hard play (& training) at night, which includes a walk.

We'd had her about 3 weeks when we decided upon a Board & Train to help give us a "jump-start" to training. Before anyone yells at me, we honestly thought this could give us a start - they were going to work her in Basic Obedience & with cats. She was there 3 weeks (with allowed visits from us). She came back with her old habits plus 2 new ones: peeing in the house & doing drive-by's on her turds...gross. A second trainer's time was ended abruptly after we realized she was way too rough with this young dog, but now she mouths my calfs & knees. She's gained 10 lbs with us - way too skinny at first. But, at 81 lbs, those "mouthings" hurt. But, that's another question...

Yesterday, she was out all day: back door wide open so she could go out when she had to pee/poop. She did GREAT. Until I took her to meet our oldest cat, Oliver. I've been doing this gradually in an attempt to get her used to the cats. The others take off, but Oliver is 14 & a love. He's also crippled (too big for mama's womb, he was born with bilateral hip dysplasia & cauda equina. 3 surgeries fixed the problems as best as possible, but he can't jump-we have stools all over the house for him. And he can't run-he hops.)

Anyway, she was, as usual, very excited to see him. She's learning the "leave it" command & it went OK. Until 2 minutes later...

We took her back to the family room, where she promptly started making circles. Oh, oh, I knew she was gonna pee. I was too late - she did exactly that on the carpet. The door was still wide open & she'd been going in & out all day when she had to potty. To us, this was an obvious move to mark her territory after seeing the cat. As I reached for her collar, she nipped. (Thank you, Trainer #2).

I know how to potty-train a puppy. I have no idea how to stop the marking being done by a 22-month-old dog. The other behaviors notwithstanding, how do we stop the marking? This is now the 5th time she's done it & it is maddening.


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I have a 6 year old mini doxie that marks the house. She'll come in from outside and mark. It is very fustrating, but this is what I've learned.

She only does it as a reaction to something that has upset or excited her. For example; if my sister or neice brings in one of their dogs - she'll potty. If I'm gone away from her over night and she hangs with hubby, she'll potty. If the stereo is too loud, she'll potty. If the horses get excited and run around the pasture making all the dogs bark and get crazy - she'll come in and potty. The list goes on and on.

It is almost like she feels the need to punish herself for getting excited. In my head I can see her past owners potty training her and when she went on the floor they caused such a scene when they punished her that she associates this feeling with marking on the floor. I know this sounds insane, but I think that is what triggers her to mark. And I truly call her my potty machine. When she does, she comes to me and tells on herself. Slinks up to me like she knows the punishment is coming. I just pick her up and take her outside. Not a word.

So, what I've been doing is after she gets excited or has a major reaction to something in the house - I'll take her out on the leash to potty in the front yard. This way I know that she has emptied her bladder and attempting to teach her that she still has to potty in the grass. I don't know if I'm right or wrong, but I've had her for a few months now, and her 'accidents' are getting fewer and fewer. Although her last owners claimed she was potty trained, I learned afterwards that she never was.
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I would treat her just like an 8 week old puppy. Use the crate when you can't supervise her, and leave a leash attached and dragging for when she is loose in the house or yard. Go out with her, just like you would if she were a young puppy, and verify that is doing her business while she is out. Just like an 8 week old puppy, your girl shouldn't have a whole lot of freedom at this point.

I have an almost 4 year old male GSD that has been horrible with cats from day he arrived here as an 11 week old puppy. Even now, all these years later, he needs supervision around our cats. I know his particular signals that he is losing his focus and I step in and refocus him before he reaches the point of losing his mind. He loves a Kong toy stuffed with peanut butter, which he only gets when he is lying quietly and minding his own business. Obedience training was a huge key to gaining and maintaining control of Tanner. A rock solid recall and a "watch me" were the two most helpful commands (although everything has come in handy over time).

Find a good obedience class and start working with her on her basic skills. I prefer group classes simply because it teaches me and my dog to work with distractions. You're fairly close to Sacramento, right? You should have a ton of training options to choose from. Look for a trainer that is knowledgeable about the breed and has experience working with reactive, adolescent dogs. Contact your local kennel club and see if they can recommend someone.

Good luck!
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