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11/05/2009 10:05:40 AM by Dr.Greg   Send Message to Dr.Greg  1096  views, category: Pet care, safety and insurance view all blogs


My little terrier cross, Maisy  has gotten in a real bad habit of pooping in our upstairs hall. Our big, need to please lab, Tucker, would never do this. He knows the proper poop place outside near the garden. Dogs will usually never poop in the nest or bed area. Sleeping with your poop spreads disease and most species do this away from their living area. However when nature calls, some dogs can't hold it, or aren't afraid of a nighttime deposit in our house.

I know to stop this behavior, I should crate Maisy to reduce her nest area, and make her wait. But she is 8 years old, and loves to snuggle in the bed. We could not torture her in that way. So now I am feeding less in the pm feeding and closing our bedroom door to close off the previous poop area. When she really has to go, she jumps down and rubs her body on the rug, pushing with her rear legs and growly-groans, to let me know it is time. I dutifully get up at 2-230am to take all three to potty, and reward her for waking me up and ruining my sleep.

Clients always ask me the easiest way of training puppies to potty outdoors. The best coach is another dog who can show them "the ropes". Where to sleep, eat, drink, pee, and poop...all the essentials. If a canine coach is not available, maybe one can be borrowed to "mark the spot". In extreme cases an "alpha male" human type can do the same thing. In the "field" of dog psychology, you have to think like a dog. All the talking and waiting in the world isn't as fast as going "live" with the sounds and smells that dogs live by. It sounds gross, but it is a fact. Crating puppies when they are not being watched is a great idea. They are pooping and peeing machines that will break you. Some trainers have them on a leash when out of the crate to learn discipline and patience. This is also a great way to keep an eye on them.

Kind of off the subject, but puppies need to learn the etiquette of being with other dogs. Some vets and breeders advise to keep them away from all other dogs and public places till they are 12-16 weeks old and have had 2-3 parvo shots. If friends or family have older dogs that they are certain have not been exposed to sick puppies, it is fine to put your pup in with them. Adult dogs rarely carry parvo, it is a disease of young puppies, and spread in public places like parks and schools where an unvaccinated pup may poop parvo virus on the grass. Being with an older "uncle" or "aunt" will show them behavior that is acceptable or not. Jumping on a sleeping dogs head and being a general nuisance is frowned upon by older dogs. They will often let the youngster know it by a growl or snap. Dogs have boundaries too, and puppies need to learn this. Fights at dog parks occur when dogs do not respect these.

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About the author: I love animals and their bond with us. My new book Dog Dish Diet: Sensible Nutrition for Your Dog's Health is out and available on my website ( ). I have been an animal lover my whole life. As a teenager, I worked at a pet sh... more >>

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