So my dog is a year old and she nearly always has an accident (or two) while I am gone during the day. This is usually urine, but sometimes she poops too.
Obviously I want this to stop, but a few things complicate the situation...
First, she has separation issues that she is currently being treated for with drug and behavioral therapy. She started on Fluoxetine about a week ago and since then her destructive behavior when I am away has all but ceased. The peeing, however, continues. If anyone has experience with a dog that urinates from anxiety, did drugs solve the problem?
I know that several of you are likely to suggest crate training; however, that is not an option in her case. I got her at 5 months from a shelter and attempted to crate train her, only to discover that she severely panics when crated - barks incessantly, eats her way out of the crate, tears up her face and gums, etc. When left out of the crate she is quiet and (as of a week ago) non-destructive. Furthermore, when I was crating her she would pee all over the crate, so it really doesn't help in getting her to "hold it."
She has no problem going eight hours or even more when I am home. Therefore, I don't think this is a bladder infection. In fact, as part of her treatment for SA she now sleeps in the living room alone and has never had an accident while I am somewhere in the apartment. We only have this problem when I leave the house.
Can anyone suggest a solution to this problem? I really hate coming home to dog waste in my apartment every day! Will this go away as her SA treatment progresses? I worry that she's learning that housebreaking does not apply when mommy is not home.
It's actually quite common for SA. It's safe for dogs and apparently side-effects are rare. Does not seem to be affecting her personality so far. There's actually a doggie version of it now called Reconcile - basically Prozac in a chewable meaty-flavored form. It's more expensive though.
Normally urinating when your not around is one of the signs of SA. It should go away as you progress on SA training. Remember to work on desensitizing your pup otherwise you'll get no where. The drugs are just to help your pup focus on your training.
When I first brought home Nubs, he could go all day without going potty in the house, but 8 hours alone he would always end up going if he had free run of the house. It would still be warm when I got home. It was like he held it as long as he could but didn't know when mom would be home so he went. Crating him did fix that problem.
I feel like it's not a matter of being able to hold it because I'm a student and am never gone for more than 4 hours at a time, yet she often goes several times while I'm out.
Hopefully this will magically disappear when (and if) her SA improves further, but I'm wondering if there is any way to discourage this to ensure that it does not become a habit. In other words, how can I be sure that she knows she is supposed to hold it whether or not I'm in the house?
Aw, poor baby... this is the psychology major in me coming out, but I would personally focus on desensitization to crate training. Obviously with such panicked behavior you wouldn't start her out by locking her in the crate or anything... but by rewarding her as she adapts to being able to be around the crate calmly... then by approaching it... then by entering it briefly to get treats (with the door wide open) etc. until gradually, she learns to be comfortable when crated. When she is comfortable rather than panicked, she won't pee up her crate like she would right now before desensitization.
What behavioral therapy are you doing to work with her on the SA?
Two weeks ago she was put in the crate *and sedated.* She ate her way out of the crate, ate a piece of furniture that was in her way, and pooped and peed all over the inside of the crate. We came home to find her loose with a big gash on her leg, but she was STILL sedated. We had only been gone 2-3 hours. She also barks hysterically in the crate and I don't need to be evicted.
I tried gently introducing her to the crate when I got her about eight months ago, but after that last episode I give up. Putting her in a crate is potentially dangerous to her, and it's devastating to my furniture. When I confine her to the living room during the day she at least does not destroy my stuff or hurt herself. NO CRATES.
Surely people must have been able to housebreak dogs before crates were popularized. How?
It's possible housebreak a dog without a crate, but that is when you are home. This doesn't seem to be a housebreaking issue, but more of an anxiety issue steaming from her SA.
Until she is able to calm down when you are not at home, there isn't too much you can do except take her out before you leave and leave her in a room like your bathroom where her messes can be cleaned up.