I’ve been reading your various articles and enjoying them very much. I do have some questions, more like I need your HELP! I have a 10 month old puppy, she’s half Shih Tzu/ half Maltese. Her name is Willow and she’s adorable and I love her very much. For the most part she’s done well with training, but for no reason what so ever she’ll regress and start having “accidents”.
She also tends to get up in the middle of the night! When she does this, sometimes she’ll wake me up to go outside, other times not. I should add she no long sleeps in a crate, she sleeps with me. (I’m 57, single and she’s a lot of company)
Now this past week she’s been doing her “regressing”. She’s pooped more than once in the house. The other night she actually woke me up… I got out of bed and she had me follow her, seriously follow her, into the bathroom to SHOW ME she had pooped! What’s with that?! And this morning when I got up she had pee’d on the bath rug, again in the bathroom, but she had also pooped in the living room. I don’t understand WHY she does this. She goes outside more than enough to do her business, and I take her out every night before we go to bed.
I’ve been told “small dogs” are hard to train and will pee and poop in the house, but I had a Shitzu for 14 years and she never had a problem. What’s up with Willow and her getting up nights, and her “accidents”? HELP!
Thank you, can’t wait to hear back.
Jo-Ann Overstreet (Willow’s mom)
Since I am not a trainer, I forwarded the question to one that had some time to answer the question… Thanks to Leah Roberts; DOG WILLING Positive Training Solutions
The first thing to do when a dog who has been house-trained starts having accidents is to rule out a medical cause. Once your vet clears her of a urinary tract infection or other condition that can affect her elimination habits, then we can start looking at behavioral reasons.
Has anything changed in your household recently? Dogs don’t do well with change, and it can result in potty training issues. New work schedule? People or other animals moving in or out of the family? New construction nearby? I knew one dog who regressed in house-training because her owner bought a new couch!
No matter what the cause, the best way to deal with this is to go back to square one and re-potty train as if she were a new puppy. That means crating her when she’s not being supervised, and confinement by the use of baby gates or tethering her to you to keep her in sight at other times. The important thing is to take away any chance she has of making mistakes so that she will break the habit. Also make sure that you clean up any areas where she has eliminated with an enzyme cleaner. Regular household cleaners won’t eat up all the organic material like an enzyme cleaner made specifically for it will, and if she can still smell it she will tend to go back to the same spots.
Since she has more physical control than a young puppy, the process usually goes more quickly. Only allow her access to more areas of the house as she earns them. For example, if you have her confined to the kitchen and she hasn’t pottied in there for two weeks, move the baby gate out to include the hallway. After a couple of weeks of a clean hallway, give her a little more area of “free” access. Eventually she will be able to have run of the house again, but the most common reason that a dog continues to have accidents is giving too much freedom too soon!
I hope that helped, Jo-Ann.