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Canine Behavior/soiling issues / previously no issue


Thank you for taking my question.  We have a 5 yr. old Peekapo.  Although it took a good while my wife and I did succeed at getting our 'Curly' trained.  We had been noticing Curly getting rather lethargic quite recently and decided it might be good to have a companion for her.  We wound up rescuing 2 Shitzu/Chihuahua puppies to add zest to Curly's life.  It's been a slow transition and Curly has accepted the pups into the fold but still is having to drill them on rank & file issue.    One big change though is that Curly now is going to the bathroom all over the house.  I bet it's related to the new pups.   We do our best to show Curly that she is still 'top dog' but these soiling issues are still occurring.  Your thoughts and suggestions are most welcome.


Ok let's see now: suppose you think your wife might be lonely when you're at work and you figure the solution is to bring another woman whose company she might enjoy into the home:  does that "dog" hunt?  Hmmmm.

Curly already had a house training issue because of bad breeder handling (Peekapoo is a "designer" breed produced deliberately for money by largely idiotic and careless people) which you were able to overcome by patience and persistence.  Now, Curly finds herself in a confusing situation:  two puppies (from the same litter I'd guess) who are bonded to one another (and not her, and possibly not even you) in her territory.  My guess these two puppies aren't being easily house trained either.  Curly may be making a social statement to the two puppies or she may simply be sliding backward in her housetraining because the puppies are urinating and/or defecating in the house (I tend to lean toward this explanation but I can't see anything from here).

First: those puppies require socialization, one at a time, outside your home and should be separated from each other for regular intervals so they bond TO YOU, not to one another.  Continue to greet Curly first, feed her first, allow her privileges the puppies do not have (full run of the house, etc.) and then go back to square one with Curly's house training (as you are doing with the puppies).  Reward/praise every appropriate elimination outdoors; ignore "accidents" (do not clean them up in full view of any of the dogs).  Confine the puppies to an area easily cleaned (do not use clorox) until they are clearly understanding that elimination must be done outdoors.  If Curly is eliminating in spots that appear to be related to social hierarchy (top of stairs, bottom of stairs, in front of places you sit, in front of doorways, etc.), feed her there (twice daily), changing where the food is placed (randomly).  Curly's "lethargy" may be depression (and there's an actual term for it) or it may be what YOU perceive but what SHE intends (in the dog culture) as "unavailability" and a statement of social hierarchy to the young ones.  Allow her to continue to "drill them" on "rank and file issues" so long as no actual blood is shed.  She is also allowed to withdraw and refuse to interact, this is a strong social statement and not an indication of depression.

Let's give this a week of work on your part and close observation (take notes).  Report back using followup feature.


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Jill Connor, Ph.D.


I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.


30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

Member, APDT (UK); Psychologists in Ethical Treatment with Animals

Harcourt Brace Learning Direct: "The Business of Dog Training" "The Fail Safe Dog: Brain Training, not Pain Training"

Ph.D., UC Berkeley

Past/Present Clients
Board of Directors: Northeast Dog Rescue Connection; The Dog Project; Sav-A-Dog Foundation; etc. Pro Bono counselor: Little Shelter Humane Society My practice is presently limited to forensics. I diagnose cause of dog bite, based upon testimony before the Court, for attorneys and insurance companies litigating dog bites, including fatal injuries. I also do pro bono work for bona fide rescue organizations, humane societies, et al, regarding such analysis in an effort to obtain release for dogs being held for death in municipal shelters in the US.

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