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Canine Behavior/Dog problems after baby


We have a 8 year old terrier mix and recently has been peeing and pooping in the house. We adopted him as a puppy and was housebroken quickly with few accidents. We have had a lot of changes in our home recently which I imagine is why he has started doing this.  I imagine our story with the dogs is fairly common. They were our babies, until we had babies, and unfortunately they take a back seat. We have had 2 new babies in the past 2 years. Our newest baby was showing signs of being allergic to the dogs so the dogs are not allowed in the bedrooms anymore. They still have reign of a very large portion of the house. When we are gone we put them in a small room, however, we realized he was peeing all over that room and completely ruined a rug, so we now put him in a crate when we are gone and at night. He was crate trained before when we had a small apartment, but it has been several years since we have used it. They used to get several walks a day, but since the new baby, they get maybe one a day if the weather is nice enough. They have a very large fenced in yard, and they are let out all the time. I guess that is enough background. My question is what steps can we take to fix this?!

Hi, Sarah. I hate to tell you this, but this is why I hate the phrase, "they are my babies." Unfortunately, having them basically be on top of the world with you and suddenly now taking the back burner is making them feel abandoned and hence causing this situation. So, you are exactly right about what's going on. The hard part is unless you can make casual either play time or pet time, this isn't going to change. I'm not sure the kind of energy you place when time is finally able to be spent, but I do not recommend acting like you haven't seen them in years. Meaning with excitement. Keep it casual. They feed off of your emotions and if you show excitement, they are going to feel like things are back to the way they used to be. And I know the older one, the male, is the issue, but the same goes.

That's disappointing to hear that the newest is possibly allergic. Since time is hard to come by, I have to ask exactly how much attention they actually are able to get? It does not have to the way it was before, however to get them to realize they are still part of the family, there has to be at least a little connection. For instance, when the chance calls for it, give them a casual pet or a treat and a little "good boy." There is also the option of a dog walker that can help get there minds off what's going on in the house and also get them some more attention. It would be best to be able to do family things together, but that's almost impossible when one of the babies might be allergic.

Let me know how things go.  

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Melissa Burg, RVT/Behavior Consultant


I have experience with multiple obedience issues, including anxiety, different types of aggression, introductions to a new pet and basic obedience situations, such as housebreaking, excessive leash pulling and excessive barking. There are several approaches to each behavior issue, depending on the animal's environment, as well as the breed, sex and age. I can also help you decide whether the problem sounds medical or behavioral.


I recently graduated with a Veterinary Technician degree with an emphasis in behavior and obedience training. I spent 5 years working in animal shelters where I trained shelter dogs in basic obedience and corrected behavior issues and educated adopting owners how to continue the training at home.

"Pawfect Pets;" a weekly column on canine and feline health and behavior tips.

Associate's Degree in Veterinary Technology from Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny, Iowa.

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