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I know, I do, that you are all tired of housebreaking threads, I read all the stickies... so I'm hoping this post won't get ignored and/or flamed, but I'll understand if it does :sorry: I am a first time dog owner and I'm having such huuuge problems with our new Pomeranian, Penny. I hope you all will be able to help me.

Sorry in advance for the length of this post, I just want to get all the details down right. Fist of all, I am mostly apartment bound because I suffer from chronic health issues, although it does wax and wane and I can usually make it outside if I absolutely have to, or if feeling well I can even go to the park etc.

So I never even dreamed of owning a dog in my current state but one day a friend of ours asked us to babysit for her Pomeranian male, Prince. I told her there was no way I could do that, because I couldn't reliably go for walks with him. She told that was no problem at all because Prince was perfectly trained to use wee wee pads, and was small enough to get exercise if we just threw a ball for him to chase around our apartment. I reluctantly agreed. Well Prince turned out to be the most amazing dog ever. What an awesome guy. He used wee wee pad in the bathroom with no issues, he also happily peed and pooed outside when I did feel well enough to walk him, and he was content inside the apartment when I couldn't go out and curled up and watched tv with me.

Of course, I fell in love. He was such a comfort to me so that I wasn't alone all day when my husband was working. This disease (chronic Lyme), can get very, very isolating - but enough about Lyme, this isn't a feel sorry for me thread.

So I read in these forums that everyone deplores wee wee pads because it's teaching your dog it's ok to 'go' in the house, or because once they get used to the pads they won't go outside, or it seems just because it isn't what purists feel is the right thing for a dog.

But Prince seems to contradict all that, in the 2 weeks we had him he never had an accident and was a perfect gentleman. So I discussed getting a Pomeranian with my husband and he enthusiastically agreed because he wanted me to have company during the day too (sorry, terribly allergic to cats, plus just not a cat person).

So we got Penny the Pom, who is now 13 weeks old, and I am sooo in love with her, she is just the cutest puppy I've ever seen, and she seems soo smart. We both adore her.... except for one thing... we (or I probably since husband isn't home enough), have really screwed up her potty training.

You see, Penny came to us with a few common puppy health issues, giardia and kennel cough, (which the vet told us is rampant this year for some reason). So when we first got her she was real finicky and wouldn't eat (she only weighs 2 lbs), and she had to be put on antibiotics. Her poops were pretty soft and runny then - nevertheless we commenced wee wee pad training right away, and she picked it up almost immediately, we were stunned! Day 1 I'd say she was only batting around 500, but by day 2 and 3 I'd have said she was 95% perfect with both poops and pees, with the occasional whoops for an over-excited puppy pee when we were playing. I thought we'd got a genius dog.

But then... disaster. A few more days went by and she went from having diarrhea to being quite constipated, poor thing. I mean she strained a lot to push out a little bit of poop even though her belly was bulging with food, and she whined a little while straining, and her bum got red and sore looking. We did speak to the vet about this but all they said was "dogs never really get constipated, it's very rare, usually only cats get this problem" and that was it. We will show them Penny's sore bottom at our next appointment and see if we can't get more out of them. It could have been from the change in food (though I changed her very gradually), or from the antibiotics, or from me overfeeding her because I was anxious she gain weight, I dunno.

Anyway, the constipation, plus me picking her up to wipe her bottom from some very sticky poos, hurt her so badly that now she associates the wee wee pads with pain in pooping I guess, so she is INCREDIBLY resistant to pooping there. She's still is 95% perfect on the peeing part, and still gets treats, but she's totally 100% resistant to pooing on the pads.

When she does have to go she starts to get incredibly anxious and agitated, (even though now we've added olive oil and pumpkin to her food so her stools are formed but quite soft, it must just be memory of pain.) She starts looking for anywhere she can escape from our eyes to poo, and even though I crate at night, and I keep her restricted with playpens and babygates - if she's out, and she has to go, she tries to get away from us and she has succeeded a few times - she'll even eat her poo as though trying to hide the evidence :redface: And yes, I've wanted to hit myself with rolled up newspaper for allowing her the chance to get away... but she's soo fast.

We've never yelled at her for mistakes. When we see her squat to poo we come at her to pick her up and put her on her pads, but we have to move at her quickly, and this causes more anxiety. So we'll put her in the bathroom on her pads... and she'll just outright refuse to go! We keep in there, sometimes for hours and hours, but she just curls up behind the toilet and naps. Sometimes we keep her moving until she poos and sometimes that works but mostly she knows she can out-wait us. Even if we baby-gate her in the bathroom she'll just sleep, even for most of the day! But the minute you let her out she plays for a bit then starts looking to "get away" from us to go poop.

I can't keep this up. It's exhausting, we keep reinforcing and reinforcing pooping on the pads by picking her up when she squats and putting her in the bathroom on the pads, and on the rare occasions she actually goes we reinforce like mad with her favorite treat and lots of praise. It isn't working.

Yes, I use Miracle strain remover on all accidents so there's no scent, yes, I keep laser eyes on her and restrict her freedom but make sure she gets breaks for playing, eating, socializing etc. It's not working... she's so associated pooing in the bathroom with pain I can't seem to "undo" that memory. I should never have wiped her bum in the bathroom cuz she really yelped once when I did that. And I'm getting exhausted.

I just don't know what else to do. I couldn't even commence outdoor training her if I wanted to, because the vet said she is absolutely NOT to be allowed on New York City streets until her last vaccinations (one and a half more months).

Am I expecting too much too soon? Do I have to accept that I'll have a dog who poos at any given chance to be alone and leave her gated in the bathroom most of the day? I'm at a total loss.

I will say that during the night when she's crated, she whines to let us know she has to go around 3am or so, and when my husband takes her in at night, she usually will poo then, but not always, and even then it's a tussle and she gets very anxious and tries to "hide" behind the toilet or curl up there, so my husband has to keep getting her up until she eventually poos then she can go back in her crate. At 3am this is wearing his patience down too, the poor guy works all day. Again, peeing on the pads is no problem at all.

I apologize once more for the length of this first post of mine. If you're gonna tell me that wee wee pads are horrible or unusable or that I should never have gotten a dog, well ok, you are entitled to your opinion, but I am hoping for some helpful tips. I know this can be done, because I've seen at least one example (Prince). If dogs can be taught the incredibly intricate tricks that they do, then surely they can be trained to use wee wee pads...

So I guess... HELP! any help greatly appreciated. Ok, I'm done. If you've read through all this then thanks so much for reading all the way through, and I hope you know of some techniques that can help us...
 

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Hmm..Why don't you temporarily move the pee pads out of the bathroom, and then as she dissassociates the pain with the pee pad, slowly move the pee pad back towards the washroom until she's ok with it. Is there anywhere else in the condo you'd be okay with her going in for now? To keep your floors dry and clean, put the pee pad in a pee pad holder so you don't need to wipe the floors all the time. Maybe you can put it right outside the bathroom?

The other option is to crate train your dog, so when she comes out of the crate she will likely need to pee or poo and she won't poo when she's in the crate. It basically teaches her to hold it in, and then when she really has to go, you can put her on the pee pad and she'll just eliminate. Then, of course, treat very handsomly followed by play. Crate training is also useful for when you have to travel, leave her alone, etc, so it'd be good to start with that! Also, keep a diary of when she poos (are her meals and walks the same time everyday?), and you'll know when she approximately might need to go. 30 minutes before she needs to go, put her in the crate, so she's holding it in, and when she gets let out, she'll have to go, if you know what I mean

Hope this helps!
 

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I agree--move the pad. Take it outside with you so she can poo on it outside, and put it inside not near the bathroom. Put one closer to her favoirte places (not too close like next to her bed or anything). Once she's using it again, start slowly moving it closer and closer to the bathroom until you can move it into the bathroom again. Don't make a big deal out of pooing before hand. If she has to go yu just place her on it no where near the bathroom, preferably outside, then treat/reward everytime she poos on it. You can fix this. Keep a pad at hand all the time, so you can slip one under her if she starts to go. Then reward.
 

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I agree with moving the pad, at least temporarily. You could also try to litter box train her. There is "doggy litter" available. :)
Either of these might help with breaking that association she is making.

Also, I wouldn't leave her in the bathroom for hours on those occasions when she won't potty. That is only going to make her worse. Take her to the pad when you think she should have to go, or if you interrupt her from pottying elsewhere, but only stay in the bathroom with her for 5 minutes or so. If she doesn't go, bring her back out, but only for 5 minutes, and keep your eyes on her. After waiting 5 minutes, try again in the bathroom.

I don't know if I explained it well, but, it's basically alternating, 5 minutes in the bathroom to try, then 5 minutes in the rest of the condo to wait, then back for another 5 minutes in the bathroom, if nothing, back to waiting another 5 minutes.
Young puppies get distracted, plus, if she is trying not to go because of a negative association, all you are doing is leaving her in the bathroom for hours when you're pretty sure nothing is going to happen. Doing the 5 minutes in/5 minutes out is just waiting her out.

Poor thing. Meds can affect their pooping habits, as can illnesses and not feeling well, as can new foods. She's dealt with a lot.
 

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If the indoor potty is going to be a long term thing, I would suggest a 'pet loo' or other fake grass/indoor potty system for her. Just as an overall suggestion since they're not disposable and would be a bit more cleaner for indoor use. And if you are feeding her on a schedule, you should know when to expect her to have to poop, and work around that with the crate training to make sure she's done well. An xpen with her crate and the potty and not much else for example, so when you can't watch her or you know she's going to have to poop would be good - if you know she's going to poop around 4 pm, then at 3:30 put her in the xpen and just wait and see, you won't have to go rushing at her even if she makes a mistake, and as soon as she's pooped, let her back out. It also gives her a safe place to be if you can't watch her.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Wow thanks everyone.

Well, today I learned that she is actually still quite constipated. That must be why we've been having so much trouble. The constipation is not in the past it's ongoing. She crabbed around after dinner tonight straining and not producing anything but tiny tiny lumps for hours after dinner tonight. Her bum became very red and sore looking again.

On the advice of an online vet we gave her a tiny little warm water enema with a syringe and boy, did that release the flood gates. I had already taken all your advice and put the wee wee pads somewhere else - in her xpen (I hadn't done that before because I didn't want to confuse her about where she was supposed to go, plus we just got the xpen last night anyway). I'm sorry to report that the xpen has a rubber-ish bottom and she takes no notice of whether she's on her wee wee pads or on the rubber, but that could be because now she has to poo urgently with all that backed up stuff, so she's just too upset to worry where she's going. But I do feel like we are back to square one or even square -1 now.

Just to respond a bit to everyone's answers (thank you all again)... yes, she gets fed at the same times everyday, but there's been no reliable schedule of elimination after feeding... and that's because she's all stopped up. Believe me I tried crating her after meals and naps so I was sure she really really had to go... and then letting her out and leading her to the wee wee pads in the bathroom... she'd pee alright (she does that a bunch of times a day so it's not really scheduled either), but no poop. I once saw her go way over 10 hours with no poop. She was either too backed up or too anxious. So crating then releasing her won't work to poop train her cuz she doesn't poop much, poor thing. She must have been very uncomfortable.

But I am encouraged that she did pee on the wee wee pads in the xpen, so I think moving the pads will work. She had much less anxiety going poo in her xpen than the bathroom, so I'm hopeful we can move the pads location and start over. But, we will have to figure out what's causing the constipation, so yes, she will be getting a trip to the vet soon.

So ok, I won't keep gating her in the bathroom or (anywhere else we are trying to get her to go). I'll do the 5 minutes wait, then let her out to 5 minutes etc., and hope that helps her anxiety. I was a bit afraid that my penning her in the bathroom was just creating more negative associations with a place, looks like it did.

I read about one pet loo with fake grass on it at petco, will look into that and also into a litter box if wee wee pad training fails.

As for the constipation, if I had to guess, I would pick diet, but who knows? the Clavamox could have done it, though you'd think the vet would have told us if that is a common side effect... but whatever we will work on it. Thank you all so much and I hope you won't mind a few follow up questions as we try to "retrain" poor Penny. I'll try to train myself in how to upload a pic of her as well, as she really is unbelievably cute.
 

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Try a teaspoon of canned pumpkin added to some f her kibble. Its amazing stuff for constipation & diarrhea, healthy too. If she is picky (like ours) you can try fresh baked & smashed butternut squash.

There are trays you can get for wee pads, protects the floor I gives a more study potty place than a loose floppy pad on the floor.

Don't give up. Might also research litter box training, many owners of small dogs use them.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hi, thanks for the reply. Yeah I did add a teaspoon of plain canned pumpkin to her kibble for her last 4 meals, it didn't help. We also tried a lot of olive oil, peanut butter (very fatty so vet said causes loose stools... dunno about that). Whatever is going on has been going on for well over a week now and is quite resistant to gentler methods like adding fiber or pumpkin or oils... something's wrong.

The only thing that worked was the enema we gave her last night, or giving her plain milk, which I know you are not supposed to do because dogs can't digest it and it causes diarrhea, but in Penny's case is just loosened her bowels up enough so everything could come out easily. She had several bowel movements this morning - my husband did her breakfast and morning routine and he reported she would go poop in the bathroom on her pads if he led her there and blocked her escape, but that after he blocked her escape she went quickly without a lot of anxiety and no straining this time. Then he left her in her xpen while he got ready for work and sorry to say she made 3 poops and pees off the wee wee pads on the rubber floor of the xpen, with only 1 on the pads, so I don't think she quite gets the idea yet, and maybe her xpen is too big?

When I came out later after he'd gone to work there was one more good sized poo right on her pad and she was sleeping in her crate. All poos were well formed and not loose. And that was (I think), because we'd given her cow's milk last night along with the enema so everything came out.

I sure know she was feeling much better today, much more energy, more tearing around the apartment (I think I read on here that you all call that frapping? lol, well she was doing that a lot today, so she must feel good). So on I go to figure out why she's so stopped up. My bet it's the kibble, but will discuss it all with her vet.

Thanks everyone for your replies and ideas, we will commence "retraining" Penny on her pads in a different location, or with a litter box or doggy loo, have to research which option we like most.

Now I have to figure out why she's so stopped up. Will ask the vet... but for some reason I'm suspicious of her kibble. Thanks again!
 

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I would put the pad outside bathroom but not in the xpen since that doesn't seem to be working. If she goes right away in the bathroom like your husband had her go then fine but I agree not to leave her in the bathroom more than a few minutes. You could also have her in the bathroom for other things like when you are showering or toss a ball in there so she has to go get it. you don't want her to confuse what the bathroom is for but you don't want her to associate it with being punished either. Try the pad outside the bathroom door and just start the training over from square one with putting her on it and lots of praise and treats when she uses it, then slowly move it in. I hope your husband gave her a nice treat after she went in the bathroom. It sounds like once the constipation is not an issue, she will get the hang of the training again.

BTW, this happens with little kids too. They get constipated and it hurts to go so they hold it and the constipation gets worse so they hold it more, etc. and potty training becomes a mess. Just start over with pads outside the bathroom. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Yup Denise, thanks, it's hard to take it all in and formulate a plan but we are trying. Problem is the constipation is still ongoing. She's backed up again today. She was looking a bit anxious today while she was out and playing and she actually went over to her xpen and pawed at it like she wanted to go into it! I was very surprised because she does whimper a little when she's put in her xpen after having her glorious freedom with everyone playing with her, but then she settles down and usually just sleeps in her xpen (she's still so young, sleeps a lot).

So I put her in her xpen and it turns out she had to poo, she immediately crouched (sadly not on the pads, but when she crouches and strains she actually sort of moves, kinda like a crab, sideways, so she moves around a lot). Again, after straining and crabbing around nothing came out but a tiny little sticky piece (yuck, sorry to be so graphic). I guess the good part of this is that she is learning she isn't supposed to squat just anywhere in the apartment, though now she thinks anywhere in the xpen outside of her doggy bed or crate is ok... Sigh, we'll work on that. I did try to take her into the bathroom after the squatting and straining incident but not luck. Would not go there.

So I gotta solve the constipation issue. really wondering what it could be, but she'll get more milk tonight if she doesn't go - had a big lunch but hasn't pooed again yet except for that little episode with the tiny piece. Poor thing.

I guess my question is, if I don't use wee wee pads in the xpen, how can I leave her in there if I have to go out or need a nap or to take a break myself without her having a place to go? Should I leave her crated during those times instead? Seems like too much crating to me, since she's crated all night, but I may be too much of a softy... what do you think?
 

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I'd put her on canned food only right away. Then if you want to you can add kibble back gradually. . .but not for a while. What brand of kibble is she on?
 

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Ok, so I hope I can impose upon your collective kindness again. I'm trying to manage my expectations.... were all your puppies house trained within a week? If we restart the process all over again, how long, roughly, does it usually take for a puppy to really be house trained? Does it really vary wildly? Or will I know something is majorly wrong if she doesn't get the retraining process (after we solve the constipation), in like, a week or two? Just wondering what to expect. Thanks for any tips.
 

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Oh, ok, thanks Willowy thanks so much, that's exactly what I wanted to do... I really wanted her just to be on canned, because I thought the kibble had to be sooo tough for such a little digestive tract... but I had read all the dire warnings that my dog will die of gum disease and her jaws won't develop and her teeth will all fall out if I don't feed her kibble that I got freaked out and kept.... giving her kibble.

Her brand (the one she had been eating when we got her) was Fromm's puppy kibble, I'd never heard of it and thought it must be a cheapo bad brand, but when I looked it up on dogfoodadvisor they gave it 5 stars and raved about it. I read the ingredients they actually look pretty awesome. Though it is not formulated especially for small and toy dogs, and it's so big she's gotta chew each piece carefully (though sometimes she wolfs them down when she's really hungry). So I kept giving it to her but I really think it's too difficult for her to digest right now.

That belief was a bit reinforced today because she threw up a little bit, and what she threw up was some gunk with two intact pieces of kibble... so yeah, I'm going to go to canned right away.

I know you're not supposed to make sudden changes in a puppy's diet but I don't think she or I can take much more constipation, it makes her so uncomfortable, anxious and freaked out, and it doesn't do me much good either :( so I'm gonna just give her the canned Weruva we've been giving her on top of her kibble as her main meal.

Now I've heard if you give them canned you can never go back to kibble, I hope that's an exaggeration, because I don't want to rule kibble out for the rest of her life, just until she's older, potty trained, and on a reliable diet that doesn't stop her up. Is that ok???

I can't believe how much anxiety this two pound fluff ball can cause. I never usually blab on and on like this. I've never raised a kid but I feel like the most anxious new mom ever. Sorry people. Thanks for listening. :redface:
 

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LOL--you sound like a new mom.
Start potty training all over. Yes switch foods right away. Put the pad in her pen and put her on it to go. Praise like crazy when she goes and ignore it when she doesn't--just clean it up. Once she's going reliably on it start moving it toward the bathroom. You'll be fine.
 

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Have you tried giving her a probiotic? Instead of milk, consider giving her a spoonful of yogurt every day. Just like in humans, antibiotics can kill the beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract and cause digestive issues. Yogurt can help a lot with that. You could try a doggy probiotic, but yogurt works just fine. Plain, nonfat or lowfat, make sure there are no weird additives or fake sugars.
 

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First of all, don't forget to take time to enjoy her puppyhood, it passes so fast! I agree with the canned food, I think that is a great idea for the little dudette, help get more fluid in her with the wet food. I would put on your "ask the vet list" to see what their thought is on probiotics, they worked wonders for our dogs. We give them each morning, some you give with each meal so need to read the label.

As for potty training, a week? Oh no, uh huh. It takes up to 5-6mo to have a very reliable pup. I don't have dogs that small but if I remember correctly it takes longer to train some of the tiny breeds, I could be wrong.

And after all these questions & posts you haven't shared a photo? For shame. ;)
 

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Have you tried giving her a probiotic? Instead of milk, consider giving her a spoonful of yogurt every day. Just like in humans, antibiotics can kill the beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract and cause digestive issues. Yogurt can help a lot with that. You could try a doggy probiotic, but yogurt works just fine. Plain, nonfat or lowfat, make sure there are no weird additives or fake sugars.
Ya know, I need to learn to read all posts in a thread before posting.... ;). I just made a similar suggestion.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Ha - my bad, luvs2byte. Pictures coming up immediately - at the end of this post (if bb code works that is). Ok, I feel better now. I was feeling like every accident she had was a miserable failure on my part (uh, Type A anyone?), and that any change I made had to be done super slow or the puppy would explode or something.

Will put her on only canned starting tomorrow and hope that clears up the problem. I'll give her plenty of pads in her xpen so she can hit the mark easily, also keep a pad outside the bathroom for when she's not in her xpen, praise like crazy when she hits the pad, and invest in the Miracle Enzyme cleanser company since I'll be using their product A LOT for the next few months.

Oh, and yes, I should have mentioned that I did put her on some brand of probiotics, I think it's called Miracle Probiotics for cats and dogs (lots of miracles in the pet world I guess), but they don't seem to do much. We gave her that with every meal after the constipation started. Nuthin. I've heard good things about FortiFlora tho so I will buy that.

Whew, feeling much better, like this problem is soluble and that I was putting too much time pressure on it and being too rigid about changing her food. Thanks denise, byte, ham and everyone else who responded. Very much appreciated.

Here are the pics (I hope):















 

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So cute! Looks like a feisty fox.

Keep up with probiotics, they will help her overall, have faith.

Suggestion on pads, what about giving her quite a few, 4-5 overlapping creating a big surface. Once consistent then remove one. Once consistent, remove one more... Baby steps.
 

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OMG, that pup is adorable! You get a pass on being an obsessive new puppy mom--I'd be jumping through hoops for that little puppy too! My pup is 9 months old and she can still have her way with me--she's more spoiled than my kids. You sound like you have a good plan and a good sense of humor--you need both to raise a puppy. :) That pup is a heart breaker.
 
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