I have a German Shepherd Rottweiler Chow mix. I've had him since he was a year old. He's had three homes within the last five years. We've finally settled in our new home in January 2015. I had a baby in September of last year. Since we've been in our home he won't go potty outside. I've taken him to the vet and they don't believe when I say he's seven years old and they haven't given me any advice other then shoving pills down his throat which I won't do.
I'm home with him twenty four seven unless I have errands to run. I'm gone for two hours at most. I let him outside every hour. When I'm gone he will pee and poop all over the house even if it's for ten minutes. I love my pup dearly, but I'm about to make a Max soup (I'm kidding but not really haha). If I kennel him I get complaints from the neighbors because he howls and barks until I come back home, but if I don't I come home to piles of grossness. I can't leave him outside because he ruins my garden and I've worked too hard for that. I also have the garden caged in so he can't get to it, but he still destroys it. I haven't built him a cage out back because I know he'll cause a "disturbance" even though everyone that has a dog around us barks constantly. I also just realized how terrible the word cage sounds.
I'm at a loss on what to do. He's had his accidents when his dad and I were both working, but I've been a stay at home mum for a while now. I take him on walks, he's fed very good food, and we have puppy play dates, but he still acts out like a jerk. Any sort of tip will help because I've tried everything I can think of. Thank you for reading!
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Your dog has had too many homes and was never permanently housebroken. Now he is middle aged, so this probably will never happen. He has psychological damage from being moved from owner to owner.
You say you won't give up your garden, but you're going to have to make a choice: garden or dog. He'll need the entire fenced in yard to himself. Also, a large doghouse that is well insulated, and maybe heated for winter depending on where you live.
You knew the dog had problems when you got him. Your responsibility now is to make him comfortable in his remaining years.
I can understand your frustration in this situation. You love the dog and want to do right by him, and he's stressing you out to the "Max". He can feel that.
He's been moved around a lot, and it's going to take time, love, and much patience. I do suggest that you buy a Large dog crate and crate him for the brief periods you need to be gone. I would also suggest that when you put him into the crate you provide him with a blanket (that smells like you) and the following, which we use with our dog when we have to leave our house for more than a couple of hours;
Go to the grocery store and get a large "dog-bone" (the leg bone of a cow). Boil it for 20 minutes or so, and scoop out the marrow, so you have a hollow in both ends (give him the scooped-out stuff, he'll love it). Dry it out in the oven for a bit, and then pop it in the freezer in a baggie.
When you are about to leave, take a table knife get about 2 tablespoons of peanut butter out of the jar. Using the knife, stuff the peanut butter into the hollowed out sections of the bone. Stuff it down as far as you can, so he really has to work at it to get it out.
When you get home, love him up, tell him how glad you are to see him, etc... and let him out.
As far as the garden goes, I suggest you find some way to get him more exercise. He needs brisk walks daily (put baby in the stroller and go). He also needs routine desperately, so it would be good if you could set up a schedule where he gets his walks pretty much the same time every day.
Also, perhaps you could go to the nearest bulk foods store, and invest in a large quantity of cayenne pepper. Dust the dirt of your garden with it, especially the edges. Don't do this on a windy day--you don't want the yard peppered, just the garden. We use this method to keep neighboring cats from using our garden as a litter box.
I hope some of this helps - I too have taken in "problem" animals from time to time, and sometimes you have to get very creative.
One more thing - when you get the crate, cover the back and sides with a blanket or dark sheet. It feels more like a den. He'll feel "safer" when he's in it. Make sure it's a very large crate - he's a big dog.
Oh sorry! Second "one more thing"! You can re-use the same bone by retrieving it when you put Max outside to potty and stick it in the freezer in a baggie. Next time you need to go out, stuff it with peanut butter again and follow same routine.
I think the other two have kind of missed the point. I've had my dog Charles, for about 4 years and rescued him when he was 1 as well. In the last 2 years or so he has had 3 different homes and we are about to move into another house here in a couple of weeks. In all my time moving the only time he's ever acted up is when I let my friend and her boyfriend live with me and he didn't like them very much. He never has accidents unless you excite him too much, then he sprays just a little but that has worn off with age.
So them telling you he is damaged and has had some traumatic experience from being moved is ridiculous in my opinion.
But, you said you had a baby? Many dogs do get jealous when infants come into the picture or another pet comes into the picture. For instance, I rescued two kittens a couple of years ago and for the first few months, Charles would mark inside the house. I quickly put an end to it by catching him in mid pee and making a loud noise like "AH AH" and then taking him outside.
Treats are very good to help curb their behavior. Which is what it sounds like your dog is having. Some behavioral issues. He seems like he may be jealous of the infant, I would say have them in the same room and use positive reinforcement like giving him treats when he is near the baby so that he associates the baby with good things.
I did that with my dog and the kittens, where I would have him lay down and I would put the kittens down next to him and then I would give him boiled chicken, or peanut butter.
Afterwards he was excited to have the kittens near him because to him they signified treats and being petted, only good things. Always use positive reinforcement with dogs.
There are sprays you can use on patches of grasses that you'd like your dog to pee on, you can always try those and then reinforce it positively.
Don't give up hope because the more stressed out he senses you are, the more he becomes.
Also he sounds like he has bad separation anxiety from you. If that is the case, do NOT do what the other person said by signifying your leave and return, it just adds to the separation anxiety. Sometimes, along with leaving something that does smell like you in the crate, you can cover the crate with a blanket. It gives them a sense of security, I did it with my dog when I crate trained him as he used to whine and bark. I would start practicing by doing this and then walking out of the house for small intervals at a time WITHOUT making a big deal to your dog. Just walk out the door, stay there for 2 minutes or so, and then come back in. Do not acknowledge the dog for a minute or so, and then calmly let them out. Do it again and slowly expand the time that you stay outside.
It's all about consistency when training. Even if it does not prove results at first, in time it will. German Shepherds are smart and you can definitely correct older dogs' behavioral issues.
I don't criticize what others have written. I will say this - I don't believe I indicated that the dog was "damaged" by this person. I was only saying that moving is an adjustment for dogs.
I also have a German Shepherd - incredibly smart fellow. We got him when he was seven months old. It was a huge adjustment for him. When I related how we handled it with him I was trying to help by telling what worked for us.
Thanks so much for your time and Bless You.
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