FAQs

Question:

We adopted a 6 year old red heeler a few months ago and she is still peeing in the house. We are mostly home, have her out often and walk her every evening. When we leave we close off all bedrooms and bathrooms and have NO accidents when we return, even after 8 hours. She uses the back bedroom as her safe place and to sleep for part of the night, so when we’re home we leave it open for her. At some point, though, she is peeing in there. I have only found it after it has dried, so I don’t even know when it happens. I do not want to have to keep all doors closed nor do I feel a create in her best interest. Any ideas?

Answer:

First, let me say- God bless you for adopting an older dog.

Your issue is a common one with your Heeler, (I’ll call her “Red”). Red is selectively urinating in her special place just as we want her to do. Unfortunately, her spot is inside your home. Remember that a dog’s sense of smell is 40 times greater than humans, which means, she can smell that room from the kitchen. Unless you eliminate that smell, she can’t help herself from going there again.

First solution is a mixture of 50% white vinegar + 50% water. Always test a hidden area before treating. Saturate the spots where she urinated and do not blot up the mixture. The solution must be allowed to seep into the cracks and fibers just like the urine did and it will dry on its own. You may place a fan across the area to speed up the process. Make sure you get every spot.

Close off that bedroom with no access allowed by Red.  You mention a safe place. A back bedroom is not a safe place for a dog. It may be a less scary place, but not safe. The problem is the size of the room. Red, like all nervous dogs, need a safe place that is small enough to protect them like a den. (meaning an animal den).  So you will need a plastic crate (not wire) that is the right size for Red and cover all 4 sides with a dark blanket. This shall be her safe place, if you allow her to discover how great it is. If you need help crate training, Google search will teach you.

Your opinion that a crate is NOT in her best interest is flawed. In fact, Red was made to live in a Den. It’s in her DNA. Wild dogs are born in a den and domestics are not, so it may take some training to get the primal instinct to emerge. But I assure you that a proper crate (like a den) will be the best thing for Red.

My dogs always have access to crates in the house which are covered except the front opening. I remove the doors after the dog has become happy in the crate. At night and when I go out, every crate will be occupied. Good news, they never pee in a crate.

Your goal is to allow Red free roaming the home while providing that safe place somewhere away from the chaos of your home. Please don’t neglect a good study of how to crate train your dog and understand why they love it so much when we humans feel as if we’re locking them up like prisoners. Note that I specifically reject cages for dogs. A cage is good for house training puppies only.

Best to you, Red is in my prayers.

K9-Jack

Longshot Farms

Question:

We have had our dogs as a pair for three years. They are both female. One is six years old (Lab-pit mix; 85lb) and the other 3 (Carolina-Collie mix 40lb). They have lived harmoniously together for two years. In March they began to show aggression to one another. We experimented with feeding, keeping them off the areas they seemed possessive about but the situation has not been overall resolved. They will have two to three good weeks and another incident will happen. W e are feeling at a loss and do not want to re-home one of them unless we have to. Any advice would be welcomed.

Answer:

Dear Lindsey,

When such behaviors arise for seemingly no reason, I must put on a detective hat and investigate.

So, I have some questions and possible answers-

1-      Are your dogs crated at any time where they can see each other while in crates?

  1. If you answer YES, this is a problem of vulnerability for one of the two.
  2. This begins with one dog being injured or sick (remember that you may not know your dog isinjured)
  3. An injured dog in a cage feels trapped and vulnerable, while the other dog senses her weakness.
  4. The weak dog will revert to “kill or be killed” mentality and fight the other dog when conditions warrant.
  5. I prevent this possibility by ALWAYS covering crates from any other dog’s view.
  6. Once this happens, a long period of desensitizing is needed, but certainly possible.

2-      Was one of the girls sick or injured since March? Without a crate situation? The first fight may have been from that.

3-      Advice without details is an overall recommendation for the next 6 months.

  1. Rid the house and yard of ALL toys and bones.
  2. Clean under all furniture, somewhere there is a toy or treat hiding. find it.
  3. Feed your dogs in a supervised room. 8 feet apart- Neither dog is permitted to check out the other food bowl, even when empty.
  4. IF either dog tends to move toward the other dogs food, that dog must be on a leash until finished feeding.
  5. NEVER leave an food bowls down after 10 minutes of supervised feeding. Pick them up and wash them after each meal (even if they have not finished or even started eating.)

4-      There are valid reasons for all this, but my time is limited to explain.

PRAY, always PRAY for your dogs.

With GOD, all things are possible, I have seen many such cases be completely remedied.

K9-Jack

Longshot Farms

Question:

My rat terrier has been with me for nearly 14 years. Recently her moods have become unpredictable. Today she ate a piece of paper that came from between cheese slices.  When I tried to Pick it up off the floor she bit me. She didn’t break the skin but definitely hurt my thumb. Last week she snapped at one of my grandchildren. Is this likely due to her age? I have my grandchildren a great deal during the summer and I am concerned for their safety. Is this a legitimate concern?

Answer:
There could be a number of things going on now with your rat terrier, and therefore the situation warrants consulting with your regular veterinarian, especially since you said this behavior is unusual.  Some part of her body could be uncomfortable or painful, i.e. arthritis or joint issues, which might cause her to be grumpy.  Her age and cognitive function could be contributing factors. Also,  sometimes if an animal doesn’t feel well, they become intolerable of any sort of interaction.  
It’s also possible that her eyesight has become hazy or otherwise diminished due to her age.  This could cause her to be unaware of her surroundings, and because of that, she may be more easily startled now.  After an exam, your veterinarian should be able to determine which, if any,  tests or x-rays may be needed to determine what is going on with her — and how you can best deal with this behavior. 
 
Dr. Chip Cooney
Animal Hospital of Statesville

Question:

Hello, I have a female Persian kitty. She is 6 years old and as sweet as can be. The only problem is she poops and pees everywhere. I thought maybe the peeing was due to too many animals in one house and I recently moved into maybe own place and the peeing has stopped but she is now pooping outside of the litter box at the same times 2 times a day. It’s almost as if she holds it and then when she finally does go it’s outside the litter box. I scoop the litter boxes every single day and change them once a week just for her. I thought maybe she didn’t like andorty kitter box but that’s not it at all. I have 2 other cats and they get along with her fine even though she doesn’t necessarily care for them. Im just at loss because I don’t know why she is doing it and I don’t want to give her away. I just don’t know how much longer I can put up with it before I have to find her a new home.

Answer:

There are multiple reasons why cats will eliminate outside of the litter box.  One of them is a biggie – too many pets in one household.  It is possible that this is a learned behavior over several years and it may take a while to correct.  It is also possible that some “problems” are still occurring that are contributing to her inappropriate behavior.  We first recommend a thorough physical exam to ensure there is not a medical reason for the concerns. Then, we would discuss things including: do you have the recommended “1 litter box per cat, plus 1” in your household; are you cleaning daily or even multiple times a day (you mentioned daily cleaning), are there any subtle “inter-pet problems” that may be adding stress or anxiety and how to help with those (you mentioned they get along but she does not necessarily care for them).  There are aids that can be used for stress including a product called Feliway.  Ask your veterinarian if that product may be an option. Also, a good website to consult with is www.veterinarypartner.com.   You may find some helpful information there.

Dr. Nicola Gaither

Animal Hospital of Statesville

Question:

I have a 10 year old male cat that urinates and poops outside the litter box.  I have two other cats.  I have three litter boxes out.  The one that doesn’t use the box goes on the carpet within a few feet of the litter boxes.  I had the urinating issue several years ago in a bedroom that had a window seat.  This cat would urinate under the window – I believe to mark this as his territory from the other cats.  I closed this room off to the cats and replaced the carpet and pad.  Now three years later he has started urinating several feet from one of the litter boxes.  I can’t close off this room as it is an open family room.  If I can’t figure out how to resolve this issue I will need to rehome this cat or take him to the animal shelter.  Any help would be appreciated.

Answer:

There are multiple reasons why cats will eliminate outside of the litter box. It is possible that this is a learned behavior over several years and it may take a while to correct.

To rule out in health issues, we first recommend a thorough physical exam to ensure there are no medical reasons to cause concern. Then, we would discuss things including: do you have the recommended “1 litter box per cat, plus 1” in your household.  Also, are you cleaning daily or even multiple times a day? Are there any subtle “inter-pet problems” that may be adding stress or anxiety? There are aids that can be used for stress, including a product called Feliway.  Ask your veterinarian if that product may be an option.

Also, a good website to consult with is www.veterinarypartner.com.  You may find some helpful information there.

Dr. Nicola Gaither

Animal Hospital of Statesville

Question:

Hi ,

My roommate has two large unneutered male dogs, they fight if together as of now . I’m trying to find him a home b/c of the fighting .I am taking him to get neutered and am wondering if the two dogs will still fight most likely or will the neuter fix the issue?? They are both fine with neutered males ,just not each other.

Answer:

There are two problems with this situation. First, two intact males should not be placed together. As long as there is air to carry a scent, then the two will compete for the estrogen in the air.

Second problem is that since the two are fighting, you’ll have to keep them separated for a month or more after neuter.

Then you can walk them together but not freely playing together.  Hopefully, you’ll see after a couple of months (of no fighting) they will be comfortable with each other – just as they are with other neutered males.

Just to be clear… both males should be neutered. One won’t cut it.

By the way, if possible, you should not re-home these dogs for a month either, UNLESS to a one dog home.  Too much testosterone will upset even neutered males.

God bless

K9-Jack

Longshot Farms

Question:

Hi, we have adopted Tucker about 10 months ago when he was 10 months old. We have tried crate training with him and it works well for a bit and then Tucker will urinate or defecate in the house (has been on the bed, couch, us and of course the floor)  he never has given us a tell. He never hides either but displays behavior were we know he knows he did wrong (drooped head). We have tried a bell with no luck. We have been consistent with setting an alarm to bring him out and slowing lengthening it. Still no luck. We have tried to tie him to us when not in the crate and he just pees on our feet.  We feel at our wits end. We live in a town home and feel that he may do much better in a fenced yard were he can run.

This is also about aggression. We have been fearful of bringing him to the dog park because he lunges at other dogs and acts aggressive when first meeting a dog. We have two small and one is a dominate female chihuahua whom Tucker is submissive to unless he has a bone. He has bitten her twice and hurt her to needing stitches

Thank you for your time.

Answer:

Your descriptions of behaviors indicate a complexity to this situation which begs many questions.

Allow me to bring you to my way of thinking about such problems;

Your dog (Tucker) at nearly 2 yrs old has been with you almost a year.  This is enough time to know your dog very well.

My first indicator when a dog holds his head low is that he/she may have been scolded.  We humans teach that response by yelling when they poop on the rug… There is no sensible reason for yelling at your dog after the offense has been committed. This is a huge area where kids are different from dogs. You can scold your kids and teach something, but a dog has no reasoning skills to understand why you’re upset.

Tucker has not been house trained. You stopped too early. Start over as if he’s a puppy.

1-      Crate all night.

2-      Out for potty break first thing in AM- pick a spot that is the same everyday.

3-      TIP: leave some poo in the spot for the next visit. “X “ marks the spot, J

4-      If he does not go potty in 10 minutes, return to crate for 20 minutes

5-      Out again for 10 minutes- repeat until he goes successfully.  When he does go, PRAISE.

6-      Then allow free time in the house for 2 hours.

7-      If he fails then, follow 1-4 again but only allow partial house freedom (like the kitchen only)

8-      Eventually, Tucker will get the idea that outside is the ONLY place to go.

9-      You should slowly increase his alone time in some small room without a crate, while increasing the size as he graduates by successful nights without mishaps. Eventually he will have the run  of the house.

Let’s discuss aggression toward dogs:

The attack on your little Chi, was probably resource guarding and must be corrected by a careful process for another teaching lesson.

First, do not allow bones and toys to be available around the home until you get this fixed.  Don’t worry, your dogs won’t know why they don’t have toys. They will still be happy pups.

K9-Jack

Longshot Farms

Question:

My dog currently sleeps with me in my bed and has so for the past 3 years (he’s 4 years old). My girlfriend does not want him to sleep in the bedroom at all when we get married and move into a new place. The question is – would it be better to transition the dog when we move into the new place, since we would be starting fresh with a new bed/bedroom/apartment, etc and the dog isn’t being kicked out of the bed he’s slept in for 3 years OR is it better to start training him now in my current apartment so he will be already adjusted for the new place?

Thanks!

Answer:
When you’re lover of a dog and a woman, you have a dilemma when your acceptance of a dog in the bed is not agreeable to your mate.
I want to give you a bit of wisdom about human love and love of animals.  You must not confuse the two.  God gave us both:  a dog, man’s best friend, and woman to be our help-mate.  The Bible clearly places the woman as a priority to be respected as an equal partner. There are also references to us caring for His animals, too.  
 
Here is what you should contemplate:  will your more free-style manner of housing your pets interfere with or cause strife between you and your partner?  I have seen many cases of stress and tension in relationships from this conflict.  (I have seen a few marriages end from this conflict as well.)  Often when the dog enters my facility, it is acting out in aggressive ways, all due to the tension in the household over the dog.
 
My message is this…make sure you and she discuss this and can come to an agreement/compromise about how your dog will be treated.  You wouldn’t want your dog to end up being pushed slowly out of the house altogether and into a backyard kennel.  
 
If a change in the dog’s sleeping arrangements upsets you, then your dog will notice and react to your anxiety.  However, if you two can come to a mutually agreeable decision and you can accept the change, then your dog will handle it just fine.  Start now.  Make the change pleasant.  No yelling can be in the training. 
 
First, select a place for Fido to sleep in another room with his own comfy bed.  Put a 6’ leash on him every evening before bed.  Have your good treats ready!  When he gets on the bed, lightly grab the leash and say “OFF” and lightly lead him with the leash to the new spot.  Then give him the treat and praise him. Plan to continue this over and over all night.  Treat every time.  As soon as he gets off the bed and you lead him to the other place — treat there as well.
 
Don’t give up.  You’re patience is required to make this work.  Your dog will NOT be jealous or vindictive when you do this right.  
 
By the way, DO NOT close your bedroom door!  Locking him out will not change the behavior and may well keep you awake from the scratching and whining.
 
You MUST help your dog accept his new place because it’s a better place than before.  (Treats make this connection in their brains.)
 
Next, have your girlfriend visit with treats in hand every time. When she is going to visit, don’t feed your dog until she walks into the room.  Even better, have her walk in and go right to the kitchen, get the bowl, and hand-feed your boy.  She may not like that one — but if you want a happy life with a wife and a dog, I recommend these things.
 
Best to you all.  My prayers are with you.
 
K9-Jack
Longshot Farms

Question:

Hi, I have a weird predicament. I have 3 medium-large dogs. A male lab mix (unsure of age [2-3 possibly, he was found on the street]. Not fixed), a 6 yr old female chocolate lab (fixed), and a black 4 yr old male Shepherd  mix (fixed). All have lived together for at least 2 years. We have 2 boys (4 and 1). The dogs have always stayed inside during the day when we’re away. I work nights 5a-5p and my wife works days 8-5. The issue I’m having is the female lab urinates and deficates in the house almost daily no matter if she is locked in a room by herself, with the Shepherd, with the other lab, or with both. The male lab has recently started deficating in the house but does not urinate and does not mark. The Shepherd marks constantly in the house, on tables, chairs, my guitars, on the kids toys, on his dog food bowl. They are taken outside once I get home at 5, when my wife leaves at 7 again before I leave for work and again before my wife goes to sleep. Is there anything we can do to fix any of these problems? If these cannot be fixed we have no choice but to find them other homes as we cannot have them doing this in the house with small children.

Thank you!

Answer:

You have a confusing dilemma.  We must evaluate each dog as a separate issue in order to discover the meat of the problem.  Each dog can be playing off the other.  It’s always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian for their read on the situation.   Medications like flea and tick and heartworm prevention can affect dogs in terrible ways.  Have you changed suppliers or name brands?  What is common to each dog?
First, I highly recommend neutering the male.  Testosterone levels in an intact male are intimidating and sometimes threatening to other dogs.  You can speak with your veterinarian about the benefits of neutering.
Second tact is to limit the available access to the home by all dogs.  Certainly away from the frequent mess places.  Those spots must be odor eradicated. I recommend 50% white vinegar + 50% water.  Saturate the spots and allow the air to dry and evaporate the moisture.  Always test a hidden area before treating.  Most dogs do not appreciate the smell of vinegar and the chemical properties promote odor absorption into the air.  
Third, do not feed your dogs in the morning at all.  Only water.  Make sure they all eliminate their bowels and bladder before you leave for the day.  Feed them at night when you’re home.
Fourth, ask yourselves if any environmental changes have occurred when this began… Chemicals on the grass? even your neighbors lawn.  New dogs in the neighborhood?  New sounds, air-conditioner compressor, distant factory newly activated?  All of these have been known to upset dogs to the level of the behaviors you are experiencing.
 
You need to become a detective.  Like on TV, there is always a reason for such behaviors.  You know your dogs better than anyone.  Open your minds as if you are being paid to discover the answer.  Take nothing for granted, study your animals as if you don’t know them at all for a new perspective.
 
Praying for your discovery.
K9-Jack
Longshot Farms

 

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