My almost three year old Boxer mix has been housetrained for the last two and a half years with no problems; until now. Over the summer, I let her out to potty, and she happened upon a cat in the shed. Of course, she chased it all over and ran it out of her territory, like every other instance a cat was in the yard. But, this time the cat who was guarding kittens, fought back, and they ended up in quite the tangle before I got them to stop it.
Since then, every time I let her out, she goes straight to the shed instead of doing her business. (No new household members, no medical problems, no moves or anything to stress her.) When I have taken her out, I've leashed her, chained her, tried to reward her with treats, stood with her, everything, but still, she only looks for cats. It's like she has the taste of blood now and that's all she wants. She's also become quite aggressive to other animals, even more so than before. I have no way to keep cats away, but I'm running out of ideas to make her stop.
It doesn't happen during the day much, but every night she potties on the kitchen floor. She knows it's wrong and hides and ducks her head and tail when she knows I am going to see it. I take her out 5+ times a day so she has ample opportunities. I don't have enough space for her to be crated since it has to be such a huge area, and she just jumped over or knocked down the baby gates.
I've been told to push her face into her mess and tell her no, then take her outside. That seems cruel to me. I don't want to lose her. She's a member of our family and we love her dearly.
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NEVER force a dog's face into their waste! Please. Whoever gave you that advice is wrong. Perhaps well meaning, but so wrong about that! Particularly with a Boxer. Read on...
First of all, she may be ill, injured, or at a normal stage for her breed. What is she mixed with?
Is she spayed? If no, it's very likely that she should be because she is at precisely the age a female Boxer really matures (until now she's been the quintessential overgrown puppy) and housebroken unspayed female Boxers (even a mix) will start having hormone driven accidents.
Has she had a litter (or more than one)? Again, she is at the age that former good housebreaking behaviours will be hard for her to keep as the act of carrying and delivering a litter has the affect of weakening a Boxer's bladder and urethra.
She needs to be seen by a vet as soon as possible. If she's spayed and never had a litter, she probably has a urinary tract infection and cannot control her functions. If you are on a tight budget, try calling around to vets to see if you can work something out, or call around to the animal charities to see if they can point you towards a low-cost vet clinic.
But she doesn't need to be punished for her accidents. Boxers especially are sensitive in addition to highly intelligent, and if you punish her she will begin to resent you.
Now, about her heightened aggressiveness. Boxers (and Boxer mixes) are great dogs (I used to raise AKC registered Boxers when I lived in the US) but they can be territorial especially after an event like her adventure with the cat.
Perhaps the best thing for you to do is take her out on the leash and straight to the scene of the fight. Let her sniff to her heart's content-sooner rather than later she will remember why she's outside (to eliminate) and get down to business. Make it a habit to let her 'patrol' her territory on her leash/lead before she's expected to go about eliminating outside (where it belongs), it's going to make the whole 'going outside' thing more productive and pleasant for both of you.
Re her behaviour towards other animals, yes, this is going to be her norm going forward so you will have to restrain her with leads and possibly a muzzle. There are inexpensive, gentle restraints available, the Halti being one of the best.
You need to understand that she will always be a bit of a handful now. So you also need to decide if your home is the best place for her. If you decide that it is, you will need to always have her on a lead when out and about, strongly consider using a muzzle, and be willing to spend extra time training her. There are several really good books available at your local library on training a working breed dog like the Boxer, and tonnes of info on the Internet.
If you have to rehome her, please, please, please use a Boxer breed rescue group to do so. They have the resources and commitment to find her a new fur-ever home with human companions who understand her mindset.
Please update and let us all know how things roll out.
Good advice from frugalsunnie. I would just add that an overnight crate for your dog just needs to be big enough for her to stand up turn around and lay down comfortably. It shouldnt be too expensive and if it means you can keep your dog, probably worth it.
If she is not spayed, you will find it makes a difference in her aggressive drive; but the new muzzles are humane and the dog gets used to then quickly; a lot like a collar and leash. Spaying her will not make her safe to be around other animals without a muzzle. and it is very important that you do not chain the dog outside by herself. An assertive, intelligent working dog cannot handle it mentally; and may become more aggressive.
You sound like a thoughtful person who is concerned about her dogs welfare. Good luck to you both. And frugalsunnie was right about the boxer rescue; they are the way to go.
Please take your girl to your Veterinarian to be de-sexed. And with no disrespect the person who told you to "rub her face in her mess" is an idiot. Good luck.
My brother has luck with putting disposable baby diapers on his dogs, he said they do urinate in the diaper but won't do the other. Maybe your dog would take to the disposable pee pee pads.
Totally agree with other posters about NOT putting the dog's face in the poo. If anything it will just make your problem worse. Even yelling at your dog when they are in the act can be bad because they think you don't want to SEE them poo (not that it's the location you're mad about), and they end up hiding from you, pooping in corners, etc. Then you create a fearful situation for your dog on top of the one you've already got.
Just stay calm & focus on how to fix the problem. Yes it's poop but it's also just poop - let's face it, you come into contact with some everyday. It can be cleaned. (I have worked at a hospital for 6 years.) I am fostering a dog who just had puppies - she's majorly pooped on my carpet several times in the past few weeks & I am so tired of cleaning up poop. I was going through housebreaking with my puppy this time last year. I KNOW how frustrating it feels. Give her plenty of time to walk outside, extra potty breaks if needed. Get your veterinarian to do a health check. Think about hiring a dog trainer for a few sessions. The BEST way to help your pet with behavioral issues is positive reinforcement and opening (not closing) the lines of communication. Praise your dog when she does what you want. Make sure you are interacting with her. Has anything changed - like a move or new person in your life, new work hours, etc?
Positive goes so much further, it just takes time and patience. Your dog wants to please you but your job as her owner is to help her understand how to do that. People who yell at their dogs or push their faces in their own poo aren't teaching the dogs anything but fear, nothing about WHAT TO DO. Puppy classes (& the dog trainers) helped me so much with potty training my puppy. Even now, fostering this stray dog who was living outside, she immediately started pooping on my floor at night. She didn't know what a leash was and wouldn't poop unless she could hide in the woods, especially not with me watching. She would just plop down and look at me. Eventually she couldn't hold it anymore and she'd have an accident overnight while I slept. Now 2 weeks later, she's actually waiting at the door and ready for her leash, having no problem doing #1 & #2 in the grass while I stand next to her. I've never yelled at her after going inside. I praise her when she goes outside with me. She still has accidents but they are becoming less and less frequent. I think her progress is amazing - like night & day. There is hope for you & your dog! Good luck to you!
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