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Discussion Starter #1
So I am having a huge problem.

I have a 6 month old lab/border collie mutt puppy named Atlas who is having potty training issues that I just can't fix! I got him when he was around 8 weeks old from the humane society and have been doing everything I was told to do since the day I got him!

I crate train him, feed him twice a day with the amount recommended by his vet, take him out to go potty after every nap, play session, and meal, praise him when he goes where he supposed to, never hit him when he is bad, EVERYTHING!

Yet despite all this he is not trained.

I live on the 3rd floor of an apartment and not matter what I do I can't get him to stop peeing in the building/house. Usually he is fine inside but the second he sees me put my shoes on or get the leash he pees. When we get outside my door, whether or not he just peed inside, he peels in the hallway, or in front of the elevator, or in the stairwell.

He knows where is pee spot is too. I trained him to always go in this one patch of dirt in the park outside my apartment and even if he doesn't have to pee (because he already went inside) he will still squat and TRY to go anyway, which I always praise him for.

And whenever he goes inside he gets nervous and "guilty". His tail goes in between his legs, his ears go down, and sometimes he will even PEE WHILE LAYING DOWN to try and hide it from me or even pee and then DRINK IT.

I don't understand why he would do it if it upsets him so much! Or why he even gets so upset in the first place, I don't hit or abuse him, when he is bad I just sternly say "NO" and not play with him for a while.

And it's not like he needs to go either. At one point I was taking him out ever 30 minutes to try and fix this and he still did it. And I had him checked out at the vet and they said he was perfectly healthy.

I have called a trainer/behavior specialist at the humane society too. But when I explained the situation to them they just kind of said "...um" and then said they needed to talk with the other trainers and that they would call me back and then they never did!

The situation is getting out of hand. My apartment fines $50 for each accident in the building whether or not I clean it up and I can't afford it anymore.

I love Atlas so much and I just want to fix this. I have always rescued dogs and have always been able to fix any behavior issues, so I don't know what is different this time.

I have always told myself that I would never give a dog up to a shelter, but lately the thought has been crossing my mind and it sickens me.

Please help.
 

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A couple of thoughts ...

Stop saying "NO", and instead respond by uneventfully carrying on, silently. Scolding your dog will likely only lead to further problems, so learn to 'ignore' the undesirable stuff and praise the desirable stuff.

If you have to wait for the elevator, run back and forth if neccessary, keep your dog moving fast. It's virtually impossible for him to run fast and pee at the same time, so keep his brain engaged in some 'other' thoughts. If you can't keep him occupied while stationary in the elevator, then take the stairs ... and keep'm moving.

In the meantime you could try putting a disposable diaper on your puppy (sideways) for the trip downstairs to the outside area. Put it on before you even reach for the leash or your keys. At least this way if the dog does happen to have an accident in the hallway / elevator, it won't leave any residual scent behind and it won't cost you another $50 fine. Once he's safely outside you can remove the diaper of course. And, once you get to the stage where the diaper is consistently clean when you arrive outside, then you can begin to eliminate it's use.
 

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And whenever he goes inside he gets nervous and "guilty". His tail goes in between his legs, his ears go down, and sometimes he will even PEE WHILE LAYING DOWN to try and hide it from me or even pee and then DRINK IT.

I don't understand why he would do it if it upsets him so much! Or why he even gets so upset in the first place, I don't hit or abuse him, when he is bad I just sternly say "NO" and not play with him for a while.
He's been terribly frightened by something. But what?
 

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My dog zoey was a lot like this. We got her at about 12 weeks old. When she was 5 months old, she was still not coming to get us to go potty, I could take her outside and walk around for an hour, she wouldnt go, then come inside and go right away. It was so aggravating. Then she started peeing on my couch, and then there were a few times she was actually peeing as she was walking in the house. I really thought something was wrong with her. She just didnt seem to be "getting it".
At some point, I just started setting a timer and taking her out every single hour, no exceptions. Then we moved up to every hour and a half, and she started doing really well. Now she is 14 months old, and very rarely has an accident in the house. You just have to be really patient. I think just like kids, some dogs just take longer to learn.
 

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I think part of the problem is excitement peeing or submissive urination. Most dogs will grow out of it.
Can you try leaving a harness on him, and when you get home, or need to take him out, just clip the leash on, and don't look/talk to him, and take him? Or carry him downstairs?

If he isn't peeing except when he sees you/you put shoes on/try to leash him, it is submissive urination.

Maybe put a bellyband on him for while he is inside, and remove it once he is outside.
 

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I think part of the problem is excitement peeing or submissive urination. Most dogs will grow out of it.
Can you try leaving a harness on him, and when you get home, or need to take him out, just clip the leash on, and don't look/talk to him, and take him? Or carry him downstairs?

If he isn't peeing except when he sees you/you put shoes on/try to leash him, it is submissive urination.

Maybe put a bellyband on him for while he is inside, and remove it once he is outside.
^^^This. The more of a big deal you make of it (and I'm sure he can feel your frustration) the more of this behavior you will get. And he can't help it. If you manage in a way where you don't have to make an issue out of it, he'll probably outgrow it. I'd also get a vet check up (make sure his ureters are normal, make sure he doesn't have a urinary tract infection which would effect his ability to "hold it"
 

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Discussion Starter #7
A couple of thoughts ...

Stop saying "NO", and instead respond by uneventfully carrying on, silently. Scolding your dog will likely only lead to further problems, so learn to 'ignore' the undesirable stuff and praise the desirable stuff.

If you have to wait for the elevator, run back and forth if neccessary, keep your dog moving fast. It's virtually impossible for him to run fast and pee at the same time, so keep his brain engaged in some 'other' thoughts. If you can't keep him occupied while stationary in the elevator, then take the stairs ... and keep'm moving.

In the meantime you could try putting a disposable diaper on your puppy (sideways) for the trip downstairs to the outside area. Put it on before you even reach for the leash or your keys. At least this way if the dog does happen to have an accident in the hallway / elevator, it won't leave any residual scent behind and it won't cost you another $50 fine. Once he's safely outside you can remove the diaper of course. And, once you get to the stage where the diaper is consistently clean when you arrive outside, then you can begin to eliminate it's use.
I have tried not scolding him before and it didn't work, but I would be willing to give it a try again I think!

And unfortunately I have tried the running thing, he will just either tinkle as he is running or dig his paws into the ground and continue to pee.

That diaper idea is GREAT though, I never thought of it! It might be a little bit embarrassing at first, but I am beyond caring right now. Seriously, I WILL be doing this. That way I can stress less about being fined and focus more on training.

Thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
My dog zoey was a lot like this. We got her at about 12 weeks old. When she was 5 months old, she was still not coming to get us to go potty, I could take her outside and walk around for an hour, she wouldnt go, then come inside and go right away. It was so aggravating. Then she started peeing on my couch, and then there were a few times she was actually peeing as she was walking in the house. I really thought something was wrong with her. She just didnt seem to be "getting it".
At some point, I just started setting a timer and taking her out every single hour, no exceptions. Then we moved up to every hour and a half, and she started doing really well. Now she is 14 months old, and very rarely has an accident in the house. You just have to be really patient. I think just like kids, some dogs just take longer to learn.
I have tried doing the every hour thing but it just kind of wore me out because I would have to go up and down 4 flights of stairs, but I may try it again and then gradually increase the time.

The only thing is that he only really pees inside when I am about to take him out, and then sometimes when he is in his crate and I go to open it.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I think part of the problem is excitement peeing or submissive urination. Most dogs will grow out of it.
Can you try leaving a harness on him, and when you get home, or need to take him out, just clip the leash on, and don't look/talk to him, and take him? Or carry him downstairs?

If he isn't peeing except when he sees you/you put shoes on/try to leash him, it is submissive urination.

Maybe put a bellyband on him for while he is inside, and remove it once he is outside.
I have carried him a lot to avoid him peeing but unfortunately he is too heavy for me now. I am only 110lbs and he is almost 50 lbs already so whenever I try I usually just hurt my back.

I am open to trying the harness though, and if the diaper suggestion made my petpeeve doesn't work I will try a bellyband.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
^^^This. The more of a big deal you make of it (and I'm sure he can feel your frustration) the more of this behavior you will get. And he can't help it. If you manage in a way where you don't have to make an issue out of it, he'll probably outgrow it. I'd also get a vet check up (make sure his ureters are normal, make sure he doesn't have a urinary tract infection which would effect his ability to "hold it"
I will definitely give the whole ignoring his bad behavior thing a try.

I have already had him checked out at the vet though and they said he was fine.
 

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I really think this is a submissive thing. My dog used to do it every time we let her out of her kennel or a new person came over and they reached over to pet her because she got so excited. I started leaving her in her kennel until she was calm and sitting which stopped that peeing right away and told everyone to ignore her for a few min and this mostly cut out the greet and pee. Submissive doesn’t always mean the dog is scared, sometimes it’s just extreme happiness and they can’t control it. It sounds like Atlas has a few triggers. First just put your shoes on at random times so he stops associating it with peeing. Once he stops when you do that, just randomly attach a leash to him. Maybe walk him around the building but not take him outside to pee, just wander. I think he gets so excited about going out to pee that he can’t hold it till he gets there. Making it as boring as possible may be the way to go. In the meantime, I love the dipper idea!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I really think this is a submissive thing. My dog used to do it every time we let her out of her kennel or a new person came over and they reached over to pet her because she got so excited. I started leaving her in her kennel until she was calm and sitting which stopped that peeing right away and told everyone to ignore her for a few min and this mostly cut out the greet and pee. Submissive doesn’t always mean the dog is scared, sometimes it’s just extreme happiness and they can’t control it. It sounds like Atlas has a few triggers. First just put your shoes on at random times so he stops associating it with peeing. Once he stops when you do that, just randomly attach a leash to him. Maybe walk him around the building but not take him outside to pee, just wander. I think he gets so excited about going out to pee that he can’t hold it till he gets there. Making it as boring as possible may be the way to go. In the meantime, I love the dipper idea!
Thanks for the input. I think walking around with my shoes on and such is a good idea. I'll definitely test it out.
 

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He's REALLY cute! I'm going to put in another vote for submissive/excited urination -- it sounds like he only pees in response to when you do something! Does he pee when you're not around or when you're not paying attention to him -- like, does he go off to pee in another room only to have you find it later, or is he almost always peeing when you're looking at him or interacting with him?

I think the first thing to do is to get your stress level down, because he can't learn if you're frustrated with him -- he WILL pick up on that, and if he's peeing out of submission/excitement, your frustration will only make it worse. For that, I think a belly band/diaper will definitely help, because you won't have to keep treating his accidents as another 50$ loss (which, understandably, is frustrating).

In my experience, dogs have a much more difficult time being potty trained in a multistory apartment with elevators. Think about it: in a single story home, the difference between okay to potty and not okay to potty is one door: one they go out that door, pottying is fine, when they're behind that door, pottying is unacceptable. In multistory apartments, however, it's different: there's an elevator, sometimes stairs, a lobby, often new or familiar people on the way, etc.

Here's how I would deal with the problem, and unfortunately it might take a lot of work for you: I would get treats that you know your dog loves, and take him out every HALF hour. You're trying to teach him that the process of going outside is boring -- it's not exciting or scary enough to pee about because it happens so often. This doesn't need to last you forever, a week at the most is likely enough to teach the concept. If that's unacceptable for you, every hour would be the minimum. Teach your dog that he gets treats when he goes to the bathroom when outside the complex. Make the process of leaving for the bathroom EXTREMELY boring -- don't touch him more than necessary, don't talk to him, don't pet him, don't engage him, avoid eye contact with him -- basically, teach him that the trip to outside is SO boring, and nothing fun starts happening until you get outside, and even then fun things don't happen until he's gone to the bathroom. Teach him that pottying = fun times with you. I would even try ignoring him when you're home in between potty breaks, just for a few days while you're doing the every half hour/hour thing to help him understand the concept that Pottying outside = FUN, everything else = boring. It may speed up the process.

Also, remember that he IS still a puppy... so it will likely take him a little bit longer to understand concepts and to control his bladder when he gets excited or scared.
 

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If they charge you $50 for every hallway accident, I would DEFINITELY try the bellyband/diaper idea! No reason to go broke before you get this straightened out! Maybe feeling the wetness will help him learn to hold it, too.

. . .and all the other suggestions also sound good. I think trying to housetrain a dog in a highrise would be incredibly difficult and frustrating.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
So, I have been doing what petpeeve suggested and stopped saying NO to him when he pees inside.

It seems to have helped a little bit! He hasn't been going in the house so much (like when we get the leash and such he is okay) but once he gets out of the apartment he either pees in the hall or the stairwell.

beverley suggested that I only give him treats when he goes outside. Should I still do that if he peed on the way down?
 

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If he pees outside, too, yes, defnitely give him a treat and tell him how wonderful he is! It doesn't matter what he did before, you want him to know that pottying outside is GREAT!
 
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