• Michael D'Abruzzo

    February 28, 2011 at 9:22 am

    Hi Talkdog!

    This one sounds tricky, so I guess we’ll start with some troubleshooting to be sure there are no loose ends.

    The first thing we have to ask ourselves is WHY is this dog doing this? If we can think of every possible reason we can chip away at each reason.

    Off the top of my head for the pee/poop could be:

    – a bad habit that has stuck since the incident at 8 months of age (a housebreaking issue)

    – anxiety related

    – marking issue (less likely this)

    – health related (at least a part of this initially)

    I would suggest immediately to start using a housebreaking chart (there is one that you can use in the down loadable forms). This will help track trends and progress.

    Going up the triangle I would troubleshoot:

    1. knowledge: How long can the dog hold it? Refer to the chart..
    2. Health: Is the dog on a good diet? I would put on a high calorie/low volume food. Less poop volume=less urge (foods like evo,lifes abundance,orijen,etc…are examples)
    also, access to water at all times and water in the dry food. When we supply water in the dry food there is less overcompensation by gulping water later, which = more pee accidents.
    3. Attitude – make sure owner and boyfriend DO NOT scold the dog for any accidents or anything else for that matter. The crate may end up being a safe haven to eliminate. Scolding will also add to the insecurity at the heart of the anxiety problem.
    4. Golden Rules – This dog is going to need MOTIVATION to go outside (what will they do to encourage her) and a schedule that will be consistent 7 days per week. Even if the client works the potty schedule should remain constant through the weekend. DO NOT CORRECT AT THIS POINT
    5. Pack structure – Following good pack structure can help rule out marking issues and set the stage for helping potential anxiety problems and housebreaking.
    6. Restless Spirit – Most jack russel’s love a good game of tug (followed by the correct rules) and will be a good way to bond with the boyfriend and reduce anxiety
    *7. HOUSEBREAKING – This will be all about the chart in the beginning to get a baseline for a few days and view trends. I would also suggest tethering the little girl to the owner when possible as a better way to break the habit of the crate and have her hold it until she is told it is time to go outside.
    8. Anxiety – If you can control the good stuff during “pack structure” you can give some good stuff that will be appreciated more when she is alone. A predictable environment (in her case a predictable schedule and predictable owner/boyfriend) will also help.

    Other things such as a simple “place” command may help to guide the dog to a comfortable place that will encourage her to stick around the boyfriend in the house without getting overwhelmed and make sure the owner isn’t giving too much lap time which can cause marking and anxiety issues when the boyfriend is in the picture.

    The boyfriend can counter-condition with some novel treats when he is near her.

    Let me know if there are any loose ends in steps 1-8 first.

    Keep in touch!