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Canine Behavior/Pug Holding Urine


Sorry for the lengthy details.....
I have a 4 year old pug (5 in May) who had a bladder stone removed last February. Currently she is being very stubborn with urinating. We go through this every few months. I am pregnant and it is freezing outside so I try training her to go on our deck (put a potty patch out there) but she will only go on the deck if it snows. She gets treats for "going" out there, but once the snow is melted or iced, she refuses to go, and never goes on the potty patch! (even though I tried putting some of the urinated snow on it to melt into the pad). Some days/nights I give up because she NEEDS to urinate so I take her outside to her old usual spot in the neighborhood but sometimes she is too stubborn to even urinate out there...possibly expecting/in hopes of a long walk ...? Is it bad if I bring her back in to teach her she needs to go when given the chance? We go months of "quick going" and then other months of "stubbornness" ...I am afraid of causing her to accumulate crystals and develop another stone...but I am trying to teach her that she doesn't run the show...Unfortunately there have been many days in this "retraining" when she goes 12 - 24 hours without urinating!

Whenever any dog exhibits a behavior that is not usual, first stop: veterinarian.

Having already had a bladder stone removed, she may be suffering another (it has been a year, after all).  Urination might be painful.  12-24 hours without urinating is extremely unhealthy for her.  She should have an ultrasound of her bladder along with cytology of urine that has been extracted.  "Potty patch" won't work for a house trained dog (unless it has confused her at this point).  Have your Pug examined by your veterinarian (or whomever first found the bladder stone).  Once test results come back (btw, I just had this done for my Toy Poodle bitch who urinated four times (indoors) in two weeks and she has a UTI, being treated now by antibiotics), and urinalysis test should come back within 48 hours (ultrasound immediately, vet should give you a printout), if everything is FINE, use followup feature and we will go from there.

Meanwhile: your impatience may be causing her anxiety about urinating.  I know it's cold; I understand you're pregnant; but the dog's behavior, if not caused by biologic reasons, suggests she is anxious.  Between now and test result returns, TAKE HER to the place she usually urinates (her "old usual spot), no long walks in the bitter cold (won't help anyway, can make it worse).  Be sure to carry very high value, low sodium treats (string cheese is good).  The MOMENT she completes urination, pop the treat into her mouth and return home.  Please advise when test results come back and further advise if the above suggestion helped.

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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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