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Canine Behavior/random peeing in the house


QUESTION: My dog is a 6 year old Hairless Chinese Crested. He's been potty trained since he was about 6 months old. The last month or so, he started peeing in the house on my furniture (about 3-4x the last month and a half). A few times it was the leg of the couch, now it's the legs of the kitchen table. He's never home by himself very long (avg. 8hr work day), but I caught him even doing it when I am home with him. He's been getting up in the middle of the night and peeing. I always take him out right before bed and he always pees and sometimes poops. I don't know what randomly sparked this behavior. When I find it, his ears go flat, tail between his legs, and he will hide from me. To me, it seems like he knows it's wrong. I've noticed that he won't get up out of bed in the morning either if there's pee somewhere. Nothing has really changed very much in regard to schedules. Last month I did start caring for my mom's golden retriever, who now travels with us as well. 9 yr old female, no behavior issues. My male grew up with her when he was a puppy-- from the time I got him at 8 wks til he was about 4 yrs. I don't think this has to do with another dog being in the house? They're extremely familiar with each other and they don't fight, get along great. My dog has severe separation anxiety if I crate him while I'm away -- so bad that he gets self-destructive;ie rub his face on the front gate of crate til his hair rubs off leaving scabs. I don't know what's causing this and I don't know how to address it properly.

ANSWER: It is A HUGE ADJUSTMENT for your dog to now be living IN THE SAME HOUSE with other dog(s).  He is "marking" and he is very anxious.

The Crestie can be a challenge on many levels, especially house training.  Obviously, he is not crate happy (I know I wouldn't be, would you?)  

First:  great him first, feed him first, in your interactions with the dogs in your household.
Second: buy belly bands on the internet:

Third:  if you find urine or feces anywhere in the house, be sure it's from HIM.  Use food coloring in his food (orange), it will pass out in his urine and feces.  You may see urine or feces without the "tint" (although there's an enormous difference in size between a Goldn and a Crestie, both urine puddles and size of feces).

Fourth: the reason his ears are back and he hides is because the domestic dog can read your body language faster than you can offer it.  He knows you're upset.  He doesn't know "why".  He may somehow have acquired an understanding that the presence of urine and/or feces "upsets" you, but he does NOT connect that presence with his own behavior.  DO NOT REACT.

Fifth:  Reinstate house training with this dog as if you were doing it for the first time.  Go out with him; create a cue by repeating until he does it: go pee.....go poop.  Praise AS he is doing it.  After every outing, pop a tiny treat into his mouth.  Do not offer the other dog(s) a treat: this is for him, alone.  It would be optimal for you to take him out without other dog(s) at least four times daily.

Sixth: when you are unable to be at home, restrict his movement to a place where urine/feces will not soak into the floor or rugs: the kitchen, soft bed, comforter (Cresties need warmth), water bowl.

Seventh:  If you find urine/feces anywhere (ONLY IF THERE IS A VISIBLE "TINT") feed the dog on THAT SPOT that DAY.

Report back using followup feature in two weeks.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: The First: I've been making sure I follow this closely ever since the Golden has come into our home. He's pretty much an attention-getter, so I make sure he gets my attention first every time.

Second: GREAT IDEA. Didn't even occur to me for some reason.

Fifth: I've been attempting this as well. It seemed to be working up until he found my bag of treats stashed in the house. Came home to an empty shredded bag all over my living room. Hid from me then as well.

Seventh: Making sure I understand this -- so if I find a spot where he's peed and I KNOW it's from him, I'm supposed to place his food dish over that area and feed him?

I don't have him on a feeding schedule, never have. He hasn't ever overeatten, so I never found this relevant. I check his bowl twice a day and refill it when it's getting low.

Do you think it'll make any difference that the Golden is going back to my mom next week? He'll be a single dog again. I never thought the Golden's presence would be a negative impact on him, I actually thought he'd have a problem with her leaving since he seems to have gotten attached to her. He stopped sleeping in bed with me and started sleeping with her on the floor on her dog bed. I find him there a lot in the middle of the night.

Overall, he is an extremely obedient Crested otherwise. He's a quick learner and eager to please. We use positive reinforcement with the clicker. He responded best to that method and he's such a smart cookie! He's extremely protective of me, not with other dogs, with people if he thinks they're hurting me, he'll start growling and he'll bark if they 'hit' (more like tap) me. But he's social and he goes everywhere with me, besides work. People really like him.

Thank you so much for your time and answers! I will continue to utilize the ones I've already started that you mentioned and I will definitely try some of the new ones as well. Thank you again!

LOL at your "fifth" response.  PUT THE TREATS UP HIGHER THAN THE DOG CAN GET TO THEM.  And let me share with you that one of my clients many years ago put a video camera in his kitchen because somehow food went "missing" from the kitchen counter top.  Guess what?  The dog was pushing a chair up to the counter top, climbing from it to the counter top, and eating the food! LOL.

Seventh:  Ok, you free feed.  I've done this for fifteen years.  The dog I presently have (only one right now, first time in a long time I have only one) I cannot free feed.  She will overeat.  So: buy a couple more bowls.  Leave less than normal amount in the one that is placed where there is never any urine or feces: load the others.  No dog will sh*t where it eats unless it HAS to.

Yes: the Golden returning home is a good thing.  He started sleeping with her because she became his primary attachment, not good, and that explains the marking (anxiety and a male/female thing as well).  I suggest that, in future, if you ever have to care for this Golden again short term, confine her to the kitchen.  Dogs do not necessarily "need" the company of other dogs to be happy and well adjusted!

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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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