View Full Version : toilet training gone wrong!!!

Chrissie Green
7th January 2013, 08:20 PM

I have an 18month old try colour can bitch who i love to pieces, however we are having a few problems with this area. she has been fully potty trained since the first night we had her and her sister using a crate...

now she pees on every bed she owns and every rug i have, i have wooden floors throughout...

we have had alot of change in the last 6 months, her sister left us due to snapping at my young children which turned out to be genetic, and we gained another puppy, yes some may not agree but it was our decision and a very hard one...

i have taken her to the vets and no problems there... i have also been using enzyme remover and when the beds can no longer be washed anymore i have brought new ones like yesterday and today... she has peed on these straight away...

it has only recently started and she still toilets outside.. so my question is what else can i do?

she is contained to my kitchen at night

thanks in advance for any help and please don't judge me

7th January 2013, 08:49 PM
You need to go back to step one of housebreaking.

She (obviously) can't be trusted in the house. Have her wear a leash indoors, and keep it attached to your belt loop. (And be sure you aren't dragging her as you walk, she should walk happily with you when you move.)

She should never be unsupervised. Make sure you take her outside frequently and PRAISE when she goes outside. You can then start to use a command (go potty, etc).

The problem may be that she "got lucky" on the toilet training thing, and disnt really ever learn the rules.

Guinness struggled tremendously with this concept. He had to learn outside= GOOD PUPPY, so smart, best dog in the whole world, I'm so proud! And "not on the living room rug" "not in the corner of the dining room, "not under mommy's desk", "not in other's people's houses"...

He loved getting the praise and then getting a treat; he just didn't understand when the praise and treat happened.

7th January 2013, 09:47 PM
Hi -- this is a frustrating issue! It's hard to accept but as already noted -- you don't have a housetrained dog and maybe, didn't have one for very long, when you thought your did -- this is a such a common issue for all of us! :) Housetraining two dogs at once is extremely difficult and might have been one source of the problem not revealing itself too clearly at first?, and if both were not under constant observation for many weeks even after you believed them to be housetrained, it is likely one or both were going indoors for some time, but as their pees would have been very small when they were young, and dried quickly, this simply went unnoticed. Housetrainng really does require constant management and observation -- and many of us assume our puppies are housetrained based on a week or two of seeming perfect results, when really they will almost always have many many weeks of training needed and often start right back in having accidents. Once they go once, they will keep returning to those places unless you clean with enzymatic cleaner (a vinegar solution works too). You need to throw out all the existing beds and perhaps -- the rugs too unless you can get them cleaned with enzymatic cleaner. You can buy a blacklight setup that lets you spot wee areas even long after they have dried out and that would be worth looking into.

Then -- as noted above! -- you need to go back to square one. NEVER any punishment, constant supervision, use a crate when she cannot be at arm's length, on a lap, or tethered to you by a lead. You did the right thing by checking for a UTI first with your vet. :thmbsup:

What to do now? I'd advise downloading the free book, After You Get Your Puppy, from www.dogstardaily.com/free-downloads, which will give great advice on housetraining systems. There are also many links at all the training sites pinned at the top of the Training section.

Also: I think you might want to think about stress as a possible cause of problems -- perhaps in both your original cavaliers.

Having a new puppy may cause stress for your problem dog, who has also been through a lot of disruption and will have lost her sibling. This alone is often expressed in accidents. Also, are the children always managed around her, and vice versa? Children under 7 or so should never have access to a dog without constant adult supervision and even older kids can be far too rough accidentally, and even quite cruel (just as kids can be to each other once an adult is watching them). Over my many years of doing cavalier rescue, to be honest, a lot of 'problem' dogs actually were stressed dogs who just were not very happy living with children, sometimes as they were quiet, shy dogs to start with, and sometimes as the kids were loud and active, and also might be hard on the dog when parents weren't watching.

If you had a snapping dog already, I'd really be considering this as a potential aspect, and want to be very careful on this issue (I am not sure how a snapping problem could be assessed as 'genetic' -- I've done training on managing difficult dogs and had the very rare snappers (only two out of hundreds of dogs over 7 years) assessed a few times by qualified trainers and as far as I understand, I do not believe it is possible to assess snapping as a genetic issue. Very rarely -- and especially rare in this breed -- there could be a temperament issue but this would seem especially unlikely in related sisters where only one was snappy -- pain or stress or poor socialising are the usual causes of fear aggression (there rarely is any other kind, especially in cavaliers)... so I'd just really encourage considering this as a possible issue for both dogs -- that they are feeling under stress from kids and your remaining girl might simply need a lot more separate time from children, and always, somewhere to go that is off-limits to kids (a puppy xpen with acrate she likes is useful), ad more careful management around children. :)

If you work kindly on housetraining for a while and things don't improve, I'd really consider having her assessed by a CPDT qualified trainer (their website will give trainers in regions across several states/countries). These are trainers who go through proper science-based training in canine behaviour and psychology etc, not just self-pronounced experts who typically know little and often give very poor advice (vets are also very poor on dog behaviour issues, too -- not an area they get training in). If she is really under stress and this is causing her to be expressing stress by weeing on her beds and on rugs, then you'd need to consider potentially rehoming out of kindness to her and t prevent anxiety perhaps turning into a second snapping dog -- but that's a last resort and really, retraining, and some management, shoudl resolve your problem.

There are very good links on making sure kids and cavaliers mix safely and happily, pinned to the top of the training section -- I'd really recommend checking out some of the links. :)

Chrissie Green
7th January 2013, 10:27 PM
Hi, thanks for your replies

As with regards to training my dogs and children have always been socialised under supervision and the dogs have the kitchen gated off the children know not to go in the crate and if my little cav has had enough she goes into the kitchen and her bed.

As for her sister, the snapping was seen in her father and when speaking to both behavioural experts and the vet was assessed as she was fearful of children hence our decision to rehome, i personally believe that this came from the home where we got her from as the puppies were not very well treated by the ladies children, i certainly would not let my children manhandle any dog that way. she went to family friends who are an elderly couple who have no grandchildren and take her for long walks on the beach, she is a different dog, as for her sister, rehoming is not an issue, mollie is our family pet and a very loveable doggy.

Mollie comes for cuddles with us and the children and should she have enough as I have said she returns to her bed in the kitchen where she noes thats her space. My new puppy has a crate and therefore they have time together and time separately. I do think it is behavioural but no that both mollie and her sister were housetrained completely with no accidents in beds, always by the door, and always used enzyme cleaner... on advice from a behaviouralist they seem to think it was when we got our new puppy because he was poorly and had ALOT of accidents she seemed to think it was ok to pee in the house again. We have been retraining and have let her not have access to other areas in the house such as upstairs with the rugs.

My question was why just in the new beds? as she goes outside lots is praised lots... no punishments as suggested, and has the occasional treats as she was slightly overweight which has been corrected now. I was also wondering as she was used to being crate trained and liked having her own den as many doggies do was whether to return to this? Any tips for getting her out as she does like her bed and her crate and short of showing her her lead or lifting her outside she doesn't like to leave it. she doesn't seem to like treats anymore

Thanks in advance and although some people may criticise

8th January 2013, 12:23 AM
Hmmm, very sad about the breeder and the way she treats her dogs.

It sounds like you took all the right approaches with training and management :).

If behavioural -- there has to be a reason and stress/anxiety or illness is the usual reason for inappropriate urinating. Working with a trainer may help you figure this out --it is very hard to guess without being there, seeing the situation etc. :thmbsup: If they think the issue was caused by the new puppy, then the best approach would be to start from square one with training as mentioned above. Crates are useful for this process.

On the beds though -- some dogs just pee in beds and thus really cannot be given soft beds -- we've had that come up a few times. I have a cat who marks on most soft beds and thus I've had to get rid of all of them -- she doesn't do this on furniture or anywhere else, just the dog/cat beds so they are gone. No medical issues.

Maybe I am misunderstanding the degree to which this is happening, but from your description it's a bit worrying that your young dog won't usually leave her bed unless she is lifted out or shown a lead... ? While dogs generally do sleep a lot and cavaliers are often happy to lie around as long as their owner is in sight (you will no doubt know they like you in eyesight most of the time! :) ), it would be very strange for a dog to be very reluctant to go outside especially when barely beyond puppyhood. At Mollie's age she should generally be very playful and lively and full of energy.

Usually unwillingness to get up and play and move about is again, due to some sort of medical issue. Has she been throughly checked for any signs of pain? Patellas checked for luxation? Possible hip dysplasia checked? Is her vet familiar with syringomyelia? Unfortunately as it is very widespread in the breed, any reluctance to play or move around means owners have to at least be familiar with this breed health issue and keep it in mind for certain types of symptoms such as reluctance to engage or be very active. If she were an older dog in her later years this would be more understandable (eg due to arthritis) but very odd for an 18 month old dog. I would guess from your description of the breeder that the parents were not MRId for syringomyelia before breeding?

8th January 2013, 01:50 AM
My last dog, although not a cavalier, had an issue with incontinence after she was spayed. She didn't even feel that she was peeing and we noticed it first because she was wetting her bed which was not typical for her. She also was completely potty trained before that and it started happening about a year after her procedure. Medicine helped her. Here is a partial article I found which explains it a little better than I can. Not sure if your vet checked to see if this could be the issue.

Article by Mary Straus, published in the Whole Dog Journal (http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/9_9/features/Canine_Urinary_Problems_15837-1.html), September 2006

Introduction When my dog Popcorn woke up one morning many years ago in a puddle of urine, I panicked, certain that only a deadly illness could cause this perfectly housetrained dog to wet her bed. I rushed her to the vet, where he did a thorough physical exam and urinalysis. I can still remember the relief I felt when my vet told me it appeared to be a simple case of incontinence. As it turns out, incontinence, which is defined as involuntary urination, is quite common in dogs, especially spayed females, where approximately one in five dogs (20 percent) is affected.
Estrogen responsive incontinence or hormonally responsive incontinence, commonly called spay incontinence, is the most frequent cause of involuntary urination in dogs. It can occur anywhere from immediately after spaying to ten years later, with the average being around three years.
Low estrogen levels and other factors can lead to a weak bladder sphincter, resulting in anything from small urine drips to complete emptying of the bladder, usually while sleeping or resting. Leaking can happen daily or just periodically. Large breed dogs are more commonly affected than small breeds, and German Shepherds, Boxers, Spaniels and Doberman Pinschers appear to be more at risk than other breeds.
A recent study (http://www.dvmnewsmagazine.com/dvm/article/articleDetail.jsp?id=274460&pageID=1) showed that early spaying (before the first heat) reduced the chance of incontinence, from 18 percent to 9.7 percent in large breed dogs, but increased the severity when it occurred. It is possible that spaying midway between heat cycles may help prevent spay incontinence, but this is just speculation, as no studies have been done. Hormone-related incontinence can also affect neutered males, though much less commonly than females.
Incontinence can occur for many other reasons, including urinary tract infections, bladder stones, congenital structural defects (e.g., ectopic ureters), spinal cord disease, and excess water intake. Older dogs, overweight dogs, and dogs with neurological problems may develop a weak bladder sphincter. These causes of incontinence can affect dogs of both genders, whether intact or neutered.

8th January 2013, 01:54 AM
Sorry double posted:(

Chrissie Green
8th January 2013, 12:50 PM
Thanks for your reply Karlin, no mollie hasn't been screened the breeder had the litter by accident hence our reasons for thinking her sisters behaviour came from the dad who was not pedigree, while i understand cavs have issues we did not look into these beforehand and this was a boo boo on our part, we fell in love and to an extent felt we were rescuing them from the way they were being treated, as u can appreciate not everyone looks after their dogs as part of the family that we do. I have always owned dogs and this has never come up, i appreciate she may not be able to have soft beds and if this is the case then that is very sad. I am going to continue with her training alongside our puppy as they thrive from pleasing us and some of her new obedience is lovely.

Mollie hasn't been spayed and when the problems first happened and as I said we took her to the vet who said she was experiencing a false pregnancy which is very common apparently

I am not looking to get her spayed nor to breed i just personally feel the operation risks outweigh the benefits.

Thanks for all ur help


8th January 2013, 07:04 PM
I was also wondering as she was used to being crate trained and liked having her own den as many doggies do was whether to return to this? Any tips for getting her out as she does like her bed and her crate and short of showing her her lead or lifting her outside she doesn't like to leave it. she doesn't seem to like treats anymore

This bothers me. Please let me see if I'm understanding this. Mollie stays in her crate on her bed, unless you lift her out or show her the leash???? This behavior does not sound right, she's an 18 month cavalier right??? You consulted a behaviorist already and was this while she was doing this stay in the crate thing?? Or I hope you mean she comes for cuddles and play with the family then decided she had enough and goes to her crate. Sure loosing her sister and having a new puppy move into the house can and I guess is causing her stress, but.....that seems like a lot of stress.

Please understand I am in no way trying to be a critic, but I like you am concerned for the happiness of both her and your whole family. I hope you do not think I'm intruding but can I please ask you how old was she went you got her? Sounds like you have found yourself with a less than good cavalier breeder too. I hope you think so as well. Also I'm pretty sure Fletcher's parents where not pedigree cavaliers (he was a rescue pup for a shelter in a well known puppy mill/farm around) his pregnant mother was dumped in the middle of the night at a WONDERFUL no kill shelter. Yes, he "looks" like a full cavalier and we all think he is but his temperament is for sure 100% cavalier. And yes, I have a little kid in my house too so I fully understand that issue as well. Is the new puppy a cavalier too? Again, only wondering please do not feel attacked or even like you need to share that with me or anyone.

Also I think since you worked with a behaviorist before it might be a good idea to get him/her involved as well. I think the peeing may only be a symptom of a bigger problem, also maybe you might what to consider getting a second opinion from a vet as to is this a medical issue.

In the mean time, here's a tip to "save" the dog beds for now. You could go out a buy those water proof mattress pads and cut it in half and wrap the bed (that way you would have 2 one on the bed and one to wash) If she is not a chewer you could even use duct tape on the bottom of it but Velcro strips would work too. They come with sitcky backs here (in the US) not sure elsewhere. I'd be afraid to use safety pins tho.... The other idea is no more filled dog beds, use a layer of old towels, blankets whatever if everything is washable...at least your not replacing dog beds during this time. Personally I think the store bought beds are costly, but I sew and making a dog bed is pretty easy and cost less than 1/3 of store bought beds.

8th January 2013, 07:46 PM
From what you are saying, I think you may have a more serious behavioural issue...But I will share that with Lady, if I do not let her out as soon as she scratches at the door, she will immediately go to her bed or a rug and pee there. So I know that if she is at the door I had better let her out because she wont hold it for long. That being said, I do leave her in the kitchen by herself during my work day and she has never had an accident in there.

Also, if she is not spayed it could be a more "hormonal" behavioural problem. I dont know about females, but I know prior to having my parents' male cairn terrier neutered, he would mark in the house and hump everything, and was quite moody/aggressive. He was not neutered until nearly 2 years old, and the behaviour change was DRASTIC. He no longer exhibited any of those negative behaviours almost immediately. The newer puppy in your home may be making Mollie territorial and without those sexual reproductive hormones, some issues may go away. And not to criticize but merely to get you thinking, especially for a female dog, there could be many more negative side affects to not spaying versus spaying. I would suggest reading through some of the discussions we have on here regarding that topic. It is indeed controversial with many opinions, but it may be something to reconsider due to these issues. I am by no means an expert - just something for you to consider and perhaps chat with your vet about.

8th January 2013, 08:26 PM
On spaying: cavaliers have one of the highest breed rates of pyometra, an extremely serious womb infection which often is fatal and at best, requires emergency spay under very risky (and costly!) circumstances. According to an insurance study cavaliers were one of the highest risk breeds with females running close to a 40% lifetime chance of pyometra. Unspayed, they also have a 25% lifetime risk of mammary tumours -- an aggressive cancer with a high rate of malignancy in the uomours.

Pyometra is horrific and extremely painful for the dog and typically an owner will not notice anything is wrong until it is a serious emergency. We have had several people here lose cavaliers over the years to pyometra. Rescues regularly see older dogs come in with mammary tumours.

Once a dog has had a false pregnancy they often continue to have them and they too can be a cause for an emergency spay -- I have had to do this with two rescues stuck in a cycle of false pregnancies.

There is simply no way that a spay is riskier than NOT spaying a female cavalier -- that's setting aside any other concerns. I've spayed hundreds of dogs in rescue, and have never had an issue. If you have a male puppy, you will have to neuter one or the other or both or you will have a lot of separate management on your hands for about 12 weeks out of every year when they can have no contact and may well shred whatever space they are kept apart in trying to reach each other. Nature is pretty powerful in driving intact dogs to want to be together and a male can scent a female in heat from over a mile away.

And yes --this could be a cause of your indoor accidents. I have had marking females (still have one, spayed, and housetrained so she doesn't do it indoors).

9th January 2013, 03:45 AM
I admit to just scanning both pages, but if the vet hasn't checked for this already, first thing I would check for is a BLADDER INFECTION. If she has one, it can cause her to go potty on soft things/have accidents/pee more often (you said she was still going when she went outside) and can make it reclusive if she is not feeling well. It also seems likely since it's a new issue. A good friend's Cavalier has had this issue lately, and the first sign is peeing in the house. When she does that, she goes straight to the vet for a bladder infection check. We also had an elderly dog who had incontinence/bladder infections, and when he would get an infection, the accidents in the house increased. Vet check time! Let us know how she's doing.

Chrissie Green
11th January 2013, 11:06 AM
Hi, thanks for your replies... karlin spaying is something my hubby and i will look into further with the points that you have mentioned... furrfoot, yup she has been vet checked... she is currently running round playing with the puppy so am not worried about the other issues

Thanks for all ur advice and comments we have taken them on board.

We love both our doggies dearly :D