Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I'm Baffled

I need help. I was hoping it was just a temporary thing last week, but this morning it was back again. Theo has taken to peeing in his crate. That's right. The whole point of crate training is to teach your dog to hold it because dogs instinctively tend to not want to curl up in their own filth...except my dog that is. Is it just a bladder control issue? Well the first two weeks we had Theo he didn't "wet his bed" once, so I know he at least at one point had the ability to hold it all night. Also, I don't think he had any accidents this past weekend. He doesn't whine or cry that he needs to be let out to go potty. As far as I can tell, he just goes.

In the morning, on a good day, my alarm wakes both Theo and I up and he cries to be let out. I quickly throw on some clothes and take him outside to pee. One the not as good days, Theo wakes up before my alarm (*sigh*), cries to be let out, and I jump out of bed to let him out. Maybe he cries to be let out because he's peed? I don't know, but he's definitely doing it at some point.

My question to you all is...WHAT DO I DO!?? I don't want my dog sleeping in his own pee, I don't want to wash his bedding every morning, and I don't want to hinder his house training! I want to nip this habit in the bud right now, but I have no idea how. It's always after the fact since he does it while I'm sleeping. Any ideas would be appreciated.

Update: You know, I've been trying to crate train (and house train) him by keeping him in his crate outside our bedroom door during the night. I wonder if it would be better to just leave him in his pen with his crate and a puppy pad. I didn't really want to do this because it's not teaching him to hold it through the night, and it's not really crate training him at all. But I don't think he would wet his bed if he could get out to his puppy pad. I thought it'd be better to keep him by us during the night, since he doesn't cry when he can see us. But I wonder if it would be better to keep him in the kitchen with the same setup we use when we're gone at work for the day. Any thoughts?


Manda Girl said...

I honestly don't know what to tell you. We didn't/couldn't crate train our girls because they would pee in the crate (same sort of story) and so we ended up just penning them off and putting pee pads down. I also can't say that it was the best thing, because Miko still pees in the middle of the night, and sometimes on the floor.

Have you tried restricting water after a certain time at night? What about moving his crate to a closer area to you so that can let him out faster?

He's still little and his bladder is still small... I don't know if this is something that you can work on or have to wait out. Like I said, I can't offer any advice! Sorry!

JuLo said...

Well Theo kind of restricts himself. He doesn't ever seem to drink water, yet seems to pee out several gallons of liquid throughout the day. Like I said, I'm baffled. ;) Also, normally he'll fall asleep around 9pm. I'll wake him up around 10-10:30 and take him outside for one last pee before putting him to bed. So from my perspective, his bladder should be empty!

His crate is right outside our bedroom door. I don't think he's peeing while he cries because I can see him, and he's never in the "I'm peeing" pose. I think maybe he's crying because he's already peed. That's the theory anyway.

I think you're right. I'll just have to wait it out. :(

Lynn said...

Oh no, I'm sorry it's so frustrating. All I can think of is if his crate is small enough or not. He really just needs just enough room to turn around and lie down.

It does get better with time, and he is still very very young. When I first got Lucy (~10 weeks) she would wake up at 4 am needing to pee. After that, for a few weeks she was out in the laundry room, but since ~15 weeks, she sleeps in my bed with me (how did that happen!) and she sleeps through the night.

JuLo said...

Lynn, that's an excellent question, but I think the crate is definitely small enough. In fact, I was thinking it was going to be too small in a few more weeks! He's not peeing in the corner and then sitting at the other end. He's peeing right smack in the middle of it and then lying on top of it. Ick!

Anonymous said...

Maybe the whole night is really too long for him at this point? I know it's not going to sound like an exciting plan, but maybe try and set an alarm for yourself smack in the middle of the night, 3-4am, wake him up and take him out? See if that helps in case he really just can't hold it long enough.
Does he have water access at night in his crate? A puppy doesn't need all that much water in order to have a full bladder, to be sure I'd recommend taking the water away from him completely at night for now.
Lastly, though I really hope not, but there is also a possibility of an URI if he is peeing too much, so a vet visit might be good.

Anonymous said...

Sorry I meant to say UTI, not URI, very different things :)

JuLo said...

Hehe. I figured you meant UTI, since I don't even know what a URI is. ;)

We don't give him water in his crate. He doesn't usually drink anything an hour or so before he goes to bed since he's usually on the couch hanging with us. But that's a good point. I should just take his water away to make sure.

He didn't pee in his crate last night by the way. I think he was so pooped he slept the whole night. I ended up waking him up! Hehe.

I don't think he has a UTI. He's been peeing a lot, but I blame my husband for that. He gives him a treat everytime he pees, so I think Theo tries to pee so much now because he's trying to get a treat. Heh. I've got a vet appointment next week. I can ask about it then, but he doesn't seem to be in pain when he pees, so I think I'll just wait.

He pees probably a total of 7-10 times a day (and it's less when I'm home all day with him). Is that normal or is that way too much?

Jesica said...

Have you tried belly bands? It's a strip of fabric that covers his "anatomy" that you put a maxi pad in. He will pee, but will feel the wetness and it will (most likely) make him uncomfortable. The you just have to change out the pad or possibly wash his belly band instead of the dog and the crate. They sell them at a lot of online retailers if you just do a search for it. Hope that helps!!

Anonymous said...

a) No water in the crate

b) Positive reinforcement for when he pees outside. Treat on pee completion, "GOOD DOG!", cheers, party hats, the whole 9 yards. Make that his job, and make the treat the pay he gets for peeing out of doors. It will work. I swear it. Also using clicker training will help you reinforce the exact good moment of pee/poo completion.

JuLo said...

Never put water in the crate, never will.

I've been following part B since we got him. Here's the problem. We've trained him that he gets a treat when he goes out to pee. So now he wants to go out and pee every 5 minutes. Now he strains to pee when he doesn't really have to go. To me this means we've trained him to the point of understanding, and now we are pulling back on the treats. Sometimes he gets them, sometimes not. Sometimes I'll have him do some other training (sit, down, stand, etc.) before he'll get the treat.

Anonymous said...

URI is upper respiratory infection just in case you are wondering :) And no, 6-7 times isn't too much, it just sounded to me like he was peeing a lot more than that :)

Question - why are you holding back on the treats now for peeing outside? That might be the problem. Are you worried he'll get fat? In that case just give him smaller pieces, and cut down the regular feeding portions a little bit. Don't cut back on treats yet, you will only confuse him. And don't ask him to do something else, you should keep reinforcing that peeing outside equals treat, not peeing and then sitting down on command, just peeing. You should only start cutting back on treats once he is at least 80-90% reliable.

Other than that, I still think you should try to take him out in the middle of the night and/or tiring him out every evening since you say he sleeps better that way. Just try it a few nights, see if it makes a difference :)

JuLo said...

I stopped giving him treats because he was begging to go out every 5-10 minutes the entire day. Most of the time he would try to pee so he could get a treat out of it, even when he obviously didn't have to pee. Isn't it bad to strain to pee when you don't have to go?

I don't know what counts as 80-90% reliable, but he hasn't had an accident in the house while I've been home for the last 4 days. He's had "accidents" (and by accident, I mean not peeing on his puppy pad) while in his pen, but that's mostly I think because I'm not home to take him outside.

You think I should still be giving treats everytime he goes? It just felt like we were training him in the wrong way.

mary said...

Well, you should be reasonable about how often you let him out, if he literally comes in and goes back at the door, don't take him out, he surely can wait at least half an hour if he actually went already. Your main concern right now is to make sure he goes outside, not that he asks to go there. If you are sure he doesn't need to go (i.e. he went just 10 minutes ago), don't take him out.

80-90% reliable, the way I meant it, is that he mostly only has accidents on the pad, and consistently both when you are there and when you are not. If you are making posts about how baffled you are at his peeing inside, I wouldn't call that reliable ;)

As far as is being bad for him to strain, I don't know, but I would guess not. Dogs, especially males (and even more so not neutered males, and Theo probably isn't yet, right?), mark all the time, they don't necessary need to pee when they do, so they naturally strain and it doesn't seem to harm them. Based on that, I would say it's not bad for him.

Treats - definitely always treat when he actually pees. For when he just strains and dribbles a drop or two, either also always treat, or never treat. Be consistent, always treat when peeing, never/always (up to you) treat when dribbling. Consistency is the absolute most important thing in training a puppy. Really, I hate to sound repetitive, but it's all about consistency, set a routine and stick to it, no exceptions or deviations at all. Of course you need some patience too, but that's just for you, not for him :)

P.S.: The other anon comments except for the "a) ... b) ..." one were mine too, I just thought I should start signing them so you don't get confused between the anons :)

JuLo said...

Hehe. Hi Mary! Yes, I assumed all of you anons were the same. :)

Well technically what happens is he pees on the puppy pad and once he's peed on it once or twice he's done with it, so when he pees another time or two, he'll actually move the pad out of the way and pee on the spot where the pad was. So he's kinda got the idea... :p

Well I hear you on the always treating thing, but what I've read says that once he gets the idea you should hold off on treating all the time and do it inconsistently so he learns that he should do the action with or without the treat because sometimes he'll still get the treat.

You know, the problem with the constantly going out thing is that it's impossible to tell when he really does need to go or not. Last Sunday Theo peed outside, then 15 minutes later he was begging to go out again. I was tempted to say "you don't need to go, I'm not letting you out", but I didn't. I let him out, and he peed! It's just hard to judge when he really needs to go out or not. When I think he doesn't need to go, that's when he has the accident in the house. Maybe this weekend I'll practice making him hold it in until I take him out. :p

Thanks for all your comments Mary. They've been very helpful. :)

mary said...

You are welcome :) It's so hard to express all the ideas over a comment, but I do hope some of this helps in the long run :)

Oh I know what you mean that sometimes he can go and go again 15 minutes later, but just because he can go again, doesn't mean he needs to go, so I think at this point you can start controlling it a little and set a minimum time between outings. Start small, maybe half an hour or so, but at this age he should very easily be able to hold it for 30 minutes even if he has enough to go again, you know what I mean?

And for stopping the treats, I think you are getting a little ahead of yourself. Yes, it's true you should eventually stop the consistent treating, but I think he is still much too young and too early into the training, give it a little more time so he really grasps the idea, and only then, when you are happy with how his house training is progressing, you can slowly start taking the treats out of the equation. And make sure to do it slowly and unnoticeable, start with just a couple of times a day without treat, as if you forgot to bring some with you, but also still praise him a lot verbally. I know we all want for it to go real quick, but don't push him to learn everything too fast, he can get confused :)

JuLo said...

You make a good point, Mary. I've been so concerned about getting him to pee outside (and learn that outside is his pee place), that I've just been taking him out whenever he sits by the door and looks outside. I'll try holding back some more. Yesterday he was pretty good about only asking to go out a few times in the evening. I guess if he's not peeing every 5 minutes I wouldn't mind still treating him. :) He's really not big on the verbal praise. As soon as he knows he's not getting a treat, he walks away. LOL!

By the way, I forgot to comment on the belly band thing. I've heard of them, but I didn't know how they worked. Interesting! I don't think I need to resort to something like that at this point. He seems to be doing a lot better. But it's definitely a good thing to know about! :)