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Thread: 4 month old rescue, serious housetraining issues.. please help!

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    Unhappy 4 month old rescue, serious housetraining issues.. please help!

    Hi everyone!
    I'm new to CT, I have a 1.5 year old ruby boy and just adopted a 4 month old blen girl. We adopted the girl from a rescue, we think she may be a mix because she's a little outside of the breed standard.. but she's mostly a cav. Anyway, she is a NIGHTMARE to housetrain. She drinks bowls and bowls of water and eats like she has never seen food before. Our issue is that during the day she can't hold it in her crate for more than 1-2 hours and will pee in her crate. I was wondering if this is a behavioral thing(maybe she was always kept in a crate her first 4 months of life) or a symptom of a health issue. The fact that she has unquenchable thirst and hunger leads me to think she may have Cushing's disease. On the phone our vet mentioned that she may have a UTI though she never seems to be in pain while peeing. I'm not really sure what to do with her, it's frustrating to take a pup outside for potty runs every hour 24 hours a day when she is four months old.
    Does anyone have any suggestions?

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    Hello and welcome! And thank you for taking in a rescue dog.

    There are a couple of issues here, I think . First off, you need to get this girl into the vet right away. Heavy drinking of water is a common symptom for any range of health issues and it must be checked thoroughly. This must be done before trying to deal with this as a housetraining --eg 'training' issue -- as it sounds more likely to be a health issue. Drinking bowls a day for a puppy is *extremely* abnormal. So this would be for me a major alarm bell and I would be urgently getting her to a vet. Drinking that much, there is just no way she could hold herself for more than an hour or two, regardless of any other issues. It would be like you drinking several softdrinks and holding yourself for longer than 2 hours -- pretty painful!

    The second point is the context for being crated for longish periods? Is this at night? (which is OK, if you have her crate trained...). For rescues (and a puppy or dog that isn't actually crate trained), being crated at night or especially in daytime can be very alarming -- not least because many come from long periods of being caged if they were from commercial breeders or people who crate their dogs all day -- and crate training generally takes several weeks of very gradual work to make the whole thing very positive for the dog. But crating is always a short term or housetraining management technique; no dog should be spending hours alone in a crate. Anxiety and panic alone could cause a dog to pee in a crate.

    The third issue is that you shouldn't feel this is unusual or that there's a serious behaviour problem -- rescue dogs generally do not come in as easy to manage, well adjusted dogs (and she is just a little puppy yet -- housetraining takes many weeks/months, generally)-- rescues often have behaviour and often health issues, are in rescue because they have been taken from poor situations, out of pounds, or abandoned, and need a lot of time and understanding (they have never had the constant care from a good breeder nor will they have come from a health testing breeder so are more likely to have health problems -- there are a lot of potential things to seriously health test for in this breed, unfortunately). They are not the right type of dog for many households who really want a more settled, biddable dog. There are some great online resources on rescue dogs (I have links to some in the rescue section) which can help you through this adjustment phase. Housetraining is the most common challenge with rescues -- and at only 4 months -- she will not be housetrained (and actually would barely be able to hold herself anyway for any more than 2-3 hours even IF housetrained and then, that would still be considered a major achievement for a little pup! She is just the equivalent of a toddler at this stage with little or no potty training - and potty training kids who actually can understand you takes ages so you need to give time for a little puppy .

    Some rescue puppies have been brought in from commercial situations (probably, most) and because they likely were left in their excrement in a small cage, have no idea at all of keeping a den space clean. They can be a lifelong challenge for housetraining -- I have an ex puppy farm adult who is about 85% reliable but will never ever be totally housetrained and I simply work around that, gating her in the kitchen with a puppy pad if I am going out with a cavalier friend for companionship.

    Kindness, consistency, and being there to take your dog in and out thorughout the day are what bring positive results with housetraining, whether for puppies or adults. We have lots and lots of good links to training advice pinned in this forum and all give advice on housetraining -- maybe have a read of some of those.

    And do first get over to the vet and give your new puppy a thorough health check on the drinking issue and check for a UTI (a simple test). If she has a UTI there's no way she can hold herself and it can progress quickly to a more serious kidney infection so be sure to have this looked into and any other possibilities if she is desperately drinking water all day. Best of luck and please let us know how the vet visit goes.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy Libby (foster) Mindy (foster)
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

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