How to Stop Your Dog from Going to the Bathroom When Visiting Another House
“The full scale of horror” is the memorable phrase used by this week’s beleaguered correspondent, who desperately awaits a response from Ben. But maybe not as desperate as her long-suffering mother…
Most of the questions I’ve been asked in this advice column have been about training your furry friend better: heel-walking a dog, for example, or training your dog to sit on command. There were also specific problems to solve: persuading a reluctant dog to play catch, for example, and helping a dog who was feeling anxious into the car.
Today’s problem is a little different – and one of the few encountered in my decades of experience perfecting my Beggar (BG) methods.
“I have a one year old Cocker Spaniel, and although he’s been good as gold pretty much from the start, a recent job change has left me relying on my mum as my dog sitter. at the weekends,’ writes AF from Hampshire. ‘My mum loves him and he gets on well with his own dog – a year and a half female Ginger Labrador – but the problem is that our dog has started going to the bathroom all around his house. I won’t go into too much detail… but I will say that’s the whole horror. He never does it at home. He doesn’t do it when we’re there Is this a protest? Is this marking territory in a female dog house? Help!’
It’s the one you wouldn’t wish on anyone. Cocking the leg is not uncommon and understandable, but the – ahem – “number two” is another matter. This is an extreme case, and something we simply cannot accept. But that’s why I’m here: please contact us via pattes-pour-pensé[email protected] with all your problems.
We are dealing in this scenario with a dog accustomed to being dominant who has entered an environment with new smells, with another dog in the house in charge, and this is seen as a challenge. Some dogs would come in and be submissive and happy, and quickly relax in their new surroundings. Others, like your cocker spaniel, will come in and see it all as a challenge. It is as if two children were starting a new school: one could enter the class and adapt quickly, integrate into the structure and the class; the other might not want to conform or fit in, and will respond by being loud and controlling.
AF says elsewhere in his letter that the Cocker Spaniel has not yet been spayed, making it more likely that a dog will engage in this kind of dominance display, sniffing around the house. The dog finds it important to leave his mark both ways – he must leave his presence in this environment.
It’s not a pleasant scenario, nor an easy fix – but here’s how to deal with the problem.
1. Go back to basics, like potty training from scratch
When you arrive at your mother’s house, take your cocker spaniel to a specific place in the garden and give him the order to go to the toilet. When the dog is done, reward him with praise or kibble; then give it to your mother. She should take him home and put him in a crate somewhere calm and quiet in the house and – crucially – away from the other dog. You can bring bedding or a blanket from home to bring in familiar scents from the dog’s home environment, just as you would if you were laying him in a kennel.
Keep the Cocker Spaniel in the crate for now and take him out regularly to go to the toilet, just like you would a potty trained puppy. Every hour or so is fine.
2. When you go to the next step, separate the two dogs for now
After a few days of doing this – and assuming there are no accidents in the crate – you can start leaving the crate door open, but continue to watch the dog closely. At no time should the two dogs be together in the same part of the house, but they can start interacting with each other again when they are in the garden.
The idea is that you give each dog a period of time with both dogs having their own areas in the house, but interacting together outside. They should start to see the house as a space to relax, sleep, and relax, while the outdoors is the space where they can play together, sniff, and scent to their heart’s content.
3. Take your time and be prepared to take a step back
You need to give stage two a decent working period – ideally at least a week, which may mean leaving the dog with your mother longer than expected. But stick with it, because you’re actually doing some pretty basic training to reset the cocker spaniel system here. Once the dogs are used to the new rhythm, you can let them meet again in the house, but supervise them very closely. Any sign – in In any event – the cocker spaniel deciding to sniff should be given a firm exit order, then the dog should be taken directly outside to the toilet area.
4. Once back home, make sure he doesn’t become dominant
You mentioned the dog is fine at home, but make sure you stay on top. Does the dog jump on people? Does he bark excessively at the door, or overreact to visitors or delivery people? Otherwise, great. If so, while you may not have worried about such things when he was still a puppy, it may be a sign that the dog is a dominant type who seeks to assert himself, rather than to be your loving friend and partner. Raise the bar at home in terms of stronger training foundations, improved commands, and improved trust and respect between you; the stronger this relationship, the more you and your dog will love, understand and have fun with each other.
For more detailed advice on by Ben Randall positive, rewards-based and proven BG training methods, individual training sessions, residential training or five-star canine boarding at his BGHQ in Herefordshire, phone 01531 670960 or visit www.ledburylodgekennels.co.uk
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