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Discussion Starter #1
99% of the time, my 1+ year-old mutt is quiet and calm. On Saturday, out of nowhere, she started barking up a storm, and nudging me her nose and paw. Given how out-of-character this was, I immediately knew something was wrong and, sure enough, she started to go into a squat a few seconds later.

I gave out a quick, deep shout to stop her, grabbed her leash, and took her outside as fast as I could (living in an apartment building with a slow service elevator, this made for a rather harrowing five minutes). I got her outside to the dog run, and she immediately squirts out about a half pint of liquid stink. Good girl! Disaster averted.

The problem is we repeated this routine so many times that she's now barking and nudging me whenever she wants to go outside, regardless of her "alert level". She got over her diarrhea by Sunday afternoon, but continued to bark and nudge me every 30 minutes or so just because she wanted to go outside. Each time, I dutifully grabbed her leash, threw on some shoes, and raced outside, reinforcing her behavior.

What is my best option going forward? How do I change "I want to go outside" into "I can't hold it much longer"? Do I just take a chance that she doesn't really need to go this time, and start ignoring her cues? Or do I just live with it, and be thankful for a dog that communicates so well, even if it's not quite the message I want her to communicate?
 

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How long did you stay outside when she didn't need to go?

I would think that if she doesn't go immediately then she doesn't have to go that bad and you should go right back inside.

For emergencies, to alert me, my dog will pace back and forth some put his head on me, huff and puff, and repeat until I get up to let him out. Once I open the door he's headed right to pee/poop whatever it was he needed to do, then we go right back inside.

However, he's never alerted me like he NEEDS to go to just go outside so I'm not really sure if my suggestion will help.
 

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I agree with the previous poster. False alarms need to be heeded BUT as soon as it's obvious she doesn't NEED to go, back in inside. This should be immediate..if she did have diarrhea it certainly would be obvious.
This way you don't totally extinguish her signals, but she learns that it is for emergencies only. Anytime you let her sniff around, play, walk etc she is rewarded for the false alarm, but you cannot just ignore it..because she has no other way of telling you it IS an emergency. LOL.

What a smart good girl you have lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the help!

On our first false alarm, I stayed outside with her for about ten minutes, and each successive time was shorter. Last night, we did a quick walk-out/walk-in when she didn't poop. We'll see how it goes from here; she is a clever girl, but can be stubborn. It sounds like everything else we've worked on - a lot of hard work and persistance.
 

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Our dog did the same thing so we never knew if she had to go potty or just wanted to go out and explore. So we started saying "potty only" when we were just checking whether she had to go potty. Didn't take her long to realize that when we said that it meant she wasn't getting a walk.

She was pretty funny about it. When she first learned what "potty only" meant, she would walk a few steps outside and then stop cold when we headed towards the potty area. Then she progressed to just turning and walking away when we approached with the leash and said "potty only." She still points her nose at the door asking to go out and we don't know if it's for potty or a walk until we say "potty only." If she continues to stare at the door, out she goes for potty. Works about 95% of the time. Unless she sees a bunny or some other animal out there - that's a whole other story!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Ok, quick update: I've implemented the 'potty only' rule, with mixed results.

When I take her out, we head right back inside if she doesn't squat within the first 60 seconds or so. If she does have to go, I offer the usual praise. That should be the end of it, except...

She's still signalling me every 90 minutes. Whenever I take her outside, she goes into a squat almost immediately, and holds the position for about 10 seconds. Af first, I thought that meant she was peeing every 90 minutes, and went to the vet to check for a UTI. Recently, though, I noticed her face didn't seem to be carrying the same intensity during her squats, and started checking more carefully for pee as well as poop. Sure enough, she's only peeing about 10% of the time. The other 90%, she just squats for a few seconds without actually doing anything.

I just got the results from her UTI check from the vet, and it's negative. She's not going because she doesn't actually have to go; she just figured out that I let her stay a couple extra minutes if she squats. Heck, I even praise her for her lies!

As annoying as it is at 3 AM, I have to admit I'm more than a little impressed by her skullduggery.
 

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SMAAARTTT doggy!
This is actually a good thing..really..lol.

So, the trick now is to MAKE sure she has done her business and only reward the actual real thing. Each and every time. If she "goes" let her have a reward including some playtime or sniffing time if she does not, back inside and IGNORE. It's all fine tuning from here..lol.
 

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What Cracker said... Wow - smart dog!! My dog would at least dribble a little bit each time. Maybe you have a natural actor on your hands & should put that raw talent to use! You oughtta be in pictures...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yeah - not a day goes by where I don't marvel at what an amazing and wonderful dog I have. Any schmoe can houstrain a dog; how many dogs train their handlers as well as she's trained me?
 

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Any chance she's got a UTI? Frequent urgency- 'feeling like she needs to go' without an actual need to urinate or poop can be a symptom.
 

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Any chance she's got a UTI? Frequent urgency- 'feeling like she needs to go' without an actual need to urinate or poop can be a symptom.
That was my first thought, too. I already confirmed with the vet - no UTI. I've just been outwitted by a dog. Again.
 

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I kinda wish Wally were that animated.

He'll just sit and stare at me. Or if he suddenly wakes up and sits and stares at me. Otherwise, he'll just lie back down and try to sleep again.

IF he happens to be near the front/patio door, he'll go sit by it on his own, so there's that. He'll spin around once or twice as I walk towards him and sit and look at me, sometimes panting nervously.

If he just starts shaking out of the blue like he's freaked out, I KNOW he has to go, and bad. It's like he's scared that he can't hold it much longer but knows peeing inside is just not allowed so he doesn't know what to do.
 
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