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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20222
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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My dog (staffy/mastiff cross) is nearly 8 years old. Her behavior

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My dog (staffy/mastiff cross) is nearly 8 years old. Her behavior has changed in recent weeks. She now doesn't want to go in the garden to do her toilet. I also go to a carpeted communal room where other dogs go, and she has started to soil the carpet, whichshe has never done since she was a pup. Whats up? What can I do
Hi JaCustomer,
My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.
In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient.
Is she defecating or urinating or both?
Is she squatting or assuming the normal position for defecation when this occurs?
Is she leashed during these episodes or off lead?
Have you noticed her getting stuck in unusual places like behind furniture or doors or not recognizing people she should know?
Does she have any health issues like arthritis?
What are you cleaning the area with and how are you doing it?
Is she fed and watered at specific times?
Does she have a signal to let you know she has to go out to eliminate or access all the time?
Has anything changed in your household or in the garden?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

1) Both in the communal room, but only wee'd the once.

2) Usual position for squating

3) No not leashed

4) No not got stuck anywhere.

5) She has allergies to a few things and has jabs every three weeks.

6) She is fed and watered same roughly the same time every day.

7) She usually comes to me or goes to the door.

8) No changes at home

Thanks for the additional information. It is helpful. The first thing to do is get a urine and fecal sample into your vet for testing. Some medical conditions can cause a dog to break house training. A urinary tract infection is one of them. Common symptoms of a urinary tract infection are frequent urination, dribbling urine, blood in the urine, squatting frequently to urinate, strong odor to the urine, inappropriate urination and straining to urinate as well as an increase in fluid intake. A dog with a UTI does not always show all the symptoms and typically displays 2 or 3. I believe you need to have your Vet check your dog out so it can get medication for the problem if your dog is displaying 2 or more of the above symptoms..
Parasites or protozoan infections can make it difficult for a dog to control their bowels, so a fecal exam will help rule that out. If medical causes are ruled out then it is strictly behavioral.
For behavioral issues there are some things that will help. First keep a log of when she is fed and when she eliminates. After a few days, you should notice a pattern and can ensure she is outside during those times she is likely to need to eliminate. Instead of just relying on her coming to you or the door, try installing a bell or other noise maker on the door low enough for the dog to reach. Each time you take the dog out, ring the bell. The dog will associate ringing the bell with going out and one day ring the bell to signal to you that she needs to go out. You might miss her going to the door or may inadvertently ignore her coming to you, but the bell will be a clear signal that you should never ignore.
Instead of just letting her into the garden, plan walks for those times she is likely to need to eliminate. This will help combine exercise with her need to eliminate and make it a positive experience for her.
You also need to clean any areas where she has eliminated with a good high quality enzymatic cleaner. It also need to soak down into any carpeting or porous flooring to reach the odor causing proteins and break it down to eliminate it. Regular cleaners fool our noses but leave an odor that the dog can pick up on and it actually draws them back to the place to eliminate again. They do make some special lights that can identify these areas as well, so a good clean up is needed.
Keep her leashed and close to you, so you can tell if she starts to assume the position and stop her. If you notice, give a short tug and firm NO and take her outside. When she eliminates outside, give her a hot dog sliver as soon as she starts to eliminate. This will help her remember and want to eliminate outside with you.
You might want to look at treats and foods you are feeding since you state she has allergies. Allergies can also make it difficult for a dog to control their bowels.
Some large breeds also have problems with the spine. An intervertebral disc that has slipped or ruptured up into the spinal canal causes inflammation of the spinal cord, which can lead to some loss of sensation and control. In some cases a dog may not realize until it is starting to exit that they need to defecate.. You can read about this here:
Large dog breeds sometimes suffer from a condition called degenerative myelopathy which can also cause problems with the rear legs and paralyses and again cause a loss of sensation. You can read about this here:
I would start with at least a fecal test and the behavioral suggestions I made and if you don't see improvement or suspect a possible spinal issues have her see by your vet.
I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .
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