An All Time Low

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

Shiver Me- Timbers- "Charlie"

My Little Dog, a- heartbeat at my- feet.<3
Barked: Sat Jan 19, '13 1:51pm PST 
As some of you know, I am now pregnant, just going onto my second trimester this week. However... I've been having issues, namely in the form of Charlie.

Two things have changed in his routine(and only these two things) - I'm pregnant and hormonal, and I'm working part time again(this time at a pet store if that makes any difference). The thing is, other than my six month medical leave, I'm NORMALLY working full time, eight hours a day, and he's never had issues prior to this, so I'm not sure if it's because I'm now in a pet store, or if it's the pregnancy hormones, or a combination of the two.

His behavior has hit an all time low. In fact, I haven't seen him behaving so badly since I first got him at eight months old! At eight months old, he was a holy terror and what helped him out of that behavior? Doggy daycare 7:30-6:30 every single day five days a week, three short walks a day with a fourth dog park walk(which was the longest walk), consistency in training(continuously too), NILIF, and a variety of other things too like tethering him to me, kenneling when I couldn't supervise, etc. He got really good, reallllyyy fast.

And I am thinking about incorporating some of those BACK into his routine and doing some re-training with him, essentially, but ultimately, would like some advice.

It started off with small things - peeing ONCE in a while in the house on furniture when he normally wouldn't(he does on the RARE occasion if he has a seizure, his seizures happen about once every three months - but this has me thinking 'marking'), even when my brother was home to let him out. Then it escalated to him stealing food which he hasn't done since he was eight months old either - he stole a whole cupcake off my kitchen table while the guys were out having a cigarette, and ate the entire cupcake, wrapper and all! I caught him cleaning the crumbs. But now, he's repeatedly peed on my couch on the spot I specifically sit in, and he even snuck into my bedroom the other day when I went upstairs to the bathroom. I heard him enter my bedroom, then a moment later, take off down the stairs like his tail was on fire! I checked and... yep... a nice MASSIVE pee spot. He completely emptied his bladder on my side of the bed. Yay...

His walking routine hasn't changed, his training routines haven't changed(other than that they're brush ups on old training, really), he's NEVER home alone for more than four hours at a time, so the only things that have changed are that I am working in a pet store(probably smell like all kinds of things when I get home - we don't sell animals AT ALL, but we DO have dogs come in with their owners regularly), and I'm pregnant.

I will note that he's unaltered, as I'm not comfortable putting an epileptic dog under anesthesia, and he will remain unaltered - I just take the necessary precautions not to allow him to procreate. He's five years old. He's generally content to sleep all day, but can be up and GO GO GO if you want/need him to. He acts twice his age in terms of his personality - definitely NOT your typical Beagle.

So far, what I've been doing - crating when he can't be supervised. Always. I've got him on something similar to Rescue Remedy(I can only get Rescue Remedy from ONE pet store in all of Calgary and their hours of operation make it increasingly difficult to buy from them), which has similar components and works in exactly the same way for stress and anxiety and to help with seizure activity. Giving him things to chew that keep him busy and occupied for hours at a time(RMB's, frozen stuffed Kong's, etc).

But I'm trying to figure out what could possibly be causing the behavior, and what else I can do to try to curb it. I DO NOT want it turning into a bad habit and I'd like to nip it in the bud before this baby comes. Hopefully I'll have a new couch and bed by then too..

Cave canis- vigilo omnis
Barked: Sat Jan 19, '13 3:22pm PST 
Has he had a vet check to be sure there's no medical issues? If he's healthy, I would then go right back to basics. Is he crate trained? Can you tether him to you? I would limit his unsupervised time and go back to NILIF.

Sorry you're having this trouble - being pregnant is exhausting enough! meditate wishes

It ain't over- till the fat- kitty sings
Barked: Sat Jan 19, '13 8:17pm PST 
Check with the vet about any medical issues, retry training methods that have worked for you before and do be patient with him and yourself. Don't know if it's your first pregnancy but being preggers has you awash in emotions, everything seems amplified...try to applaud him when he does good and try to chill about some of the rest. After the baby is born your hormones level off a bit and it will be better...purrs and hugsmeditate

Sanka- I'll Miss- You

The ground is my- newspaper.
Barked: Sat Jan 19, '13 8:51pm PST 
I don't know if there is always an explanation for things like this. Sometimes, Sanka will just turn into a pain in the butt. He's normally content to just lay where ever you put him and not get into anything.

But last month, he just decided to go through the garbage at work, pull the papers out and shred them to bits. He even went out in the warehouse and started chewing and tearing at the boxes of inventory! He's never done that. Why now?

The past week, he decided he didn't like where he was and proceeded to bash his way through our barricades, which were there to keep him from wandering. Again, perfectly content for the longest time until he just had this sudden urge to just be a pain in the butt.


As for what to do, I'll agree with others. If there's no major medical issue (peeing always makes you question medical) then I'd just go back to what had worked in the past.
Jackson Tan

Lad about town
Barked: Sat Jan 19, '13 10:15pm PST 
I remember my mum telling me when my gran was pregnant with her she had a cocker spaniel whose behaviour went out the window during that time. It got so bad my grandfather wanted to shoot it, and she gave it away. It had apparently tried to trip her down the stairs or something like that and 'kill the baby' (sigh, dramatic much?)

Anyway, I always thought that maybe that dog was picking up on the hormones. They claimed it was jealous, but I reckon that's a long shot, and it was something biological, something the dog could sense was off. I would definitely get him a vet check, but it might be possible something about your pregnancy is disturbing him. I've had friends who have told me their dogs got ratty during pregnancies as well, but once the baby was born and the dogs got into the swing of the new routine, things simmered down.
Tiaki CGC- SD

I am a Pringles- pilfering pup!!
Barked: Sun Jan 20, '13 9:00pm PST 
Definitely a trip to the vet. But...sometimes if there is a change in routine (even a tiny one), usually the first thing to go out the window is potty training. So your idea of going back and retraining is pretty spot on. Between your new job, your new hormones & all the other doggy smells you are coming home with, I'm sure it threw his perfect world for a loop. But still have a vet check done & make sure it isn't something physical. Good luck

Let's play tug!!
Barked: Mon Jan 21, '13 12:21am PST 
I wouldn't be surprised if you smell different, and I'd bet his being intact is playing a role. But since you can't do anything about that, and it may not be the whole story anyway, I like the theory that it's the change in routine. Is it possible to establish a very consistent one, with your new schedule? If your hours are irregular, it might help just to give him a stuffed Kong when you leave, and say a calm, non-emotional hello when you get back, so leaving is more exciting and coming home is less so, and save the high-energy playing and lots of petting for a little while after you get in. The food stealing sounds like it might be attention seeking behavior. If so, I think it might actually be healthy to smother him a little. Don't reward him with attention when he's behaving badly, of course, but when he's doing something non-objectionable, stroke him, baby talk him. At least once a day, try to get him to the point where he's sort of subtly turning his head away to catch a break from all the lovin'. That way, instead of being jealous of the baby, he'll think, "oh thank god, something to distract mom" laugh out loud
Shiver Me- Timbers- "Charlie"

My Little Dog, a- heartbeat at my- feet.<3
Barked: Mon Jan 21, '13 7:41am PST 
Thanks everyone.

He had a check up and there's nothing wrong physically. He HAS had a history of the furniture-wetting before, but that was back when he was a puppy and still getting accustomed to house training and not being locked up so that he had no choice. When I got him, he'd been so neglected and kenneled so much, he would just pee wherever he was and lay in it because he wasn't really given any other choice and it turned into a realllyyyy bad habit that it took YEARS to curb even a little. It literally took me until he was four years old before I could give him free roam out of his kennel and trust him - with of course, only the rare accident if a seizure came up or something similar. Now, however, it's almost like he's reverted back into his bad habits, if you know what I mean.

Titus - He is crate trained. In fact, I've been working diligently to get him liking his crate again, because after he began having a seizure in his crate one night, he got scared of it and I had to do some crate games and teach him it was okay again. Every time he goes in there, he gets a reward of some kind - if I'm leaving, it'll be an RMB, or a stuffed frozen Kong. If I'm staying home, I vary it as much as possible to try to keep it interesting. The stuffing in the Kong is ALWAYS changed up too - one day it could be the leftovers from last nights dinner(dependent on canine safety of course), peanut butter, soft canned food, or anything else, really. If anyone has any other suggestions for getting him liking his crate more too, that would be great.

Opheila - It IS in fact my first pregnancy and man can it get stressful! All the doctor appointments, and the nausea(although that's finally subsiding), and various other symptoms that just plain suck, lol. But I'm super excited. I actually plan to start setting up baby furniture around my house soon to get the dogs used to it NOW before the baby even comes. I have things like baby wipes and baby powder(don't intend to use it on baby) that smell baby-ish that I can start getting the dogs used to too, and Trigger suggested a little bit ago to start a game with the dogs having to avoid touching baby blankets that are on the floor. I'm going to have fun with that stuff, haha.

I will admit that it's hard not to get frustrated with him, but I try to walk away, calm myself down away from him before I go back to the same room again. I've ended up in tears before, from sheer frustration over this.

Sanka - Charlie's had those off days too and I usually have a ton of patience when it comes to that because it's USUALLY caused by him picking things up from me. But this is more like an off two months, lol.

JT - Omd, I couldn't imagine that kind of drama! They're not out to get us! laugh out loud I definitely wouldn't rehome my dog over something like this. I'm of the mind-set that pets are for life and I've already had him for just under five years, so I'm not giving up now - he's had worse moments. I'm not sure I'd rehome my dog over anything, really.. I'm more inclined to work through the issues myself to the best of my ability, seek help where I need it and if worse came to worse, see my dog out to the very end. I CAN see Charlie getting jealous when the baby is actually HERE but that's because he has that tendency to try to place himself in my lap or between me and any babies I babysit. Any child under two and he can get jealous pretty quickly. But I make a huge effort to show him there's no reason to be.

Tiaki - Thank you for the input!

Smokey - I can probably establish a new schedule for him, yes. My schedule TENDS to be more towards me working the 9-3 shift on Mondays and Tuesdays, sometimes with a Wednesday off, and working Thursday 4-9, so it's pretty consistent overall. My fiance is always home for lunch to let the dogs out between 2 and 3 in the afternoon too. I think my walking him in the morning before I even start getting ready for the day, and then walking him when I get home may help too, as well as doing training sessions on my days off. I only work about three-four days a week maximum, so it's not like I'm gone a lot. It'd be hard to smother this guy, bol! He's the dog that will snuggle in and NOT leave if he has that option. If I was sick in bed all day, he'd be right there with me, cuddled up against me under the covers the entire time and wouldn't move unless I forced him to go away, haha. It's happened before, where my fiance has called him to go outside for a potty break and he's refused to budge til I kicked him out of bed to go. He's a very very clingy, velcro hound dog.

I do think the key is starting over, and getting a more consistent schedule - particularly with walking him.

OH.. Forgot to add. My fiance and I had to go out for about an hour and a half the other day, so we decided to give it a go with him loose after the past two weeks of kenneling him. We shut the bedroom doors, made sure no blankets or anything was on the couch(makes him ten times more likely to pee on it), left the dogs with food and RMB's, and left. We got home and NADDA! No pee. I'm not getting my hopes up yet, but I'm hopeful that I can build up to him being loose again eventually.

I may also take him into work on my days off to try and get him more used to the smells that come home on me. I do know he'd love it and my co-workers have been begging me to bring the pooches in to meet them, so I'm hopeful that maybe that might help a little bit. I do realize however, that it COULD make his behavior regress. Just won't know til I try it.

I am the Keeper
Barked: Mon Jan 21, '13 7:57am PST 
he is pee-ing where you sit... right? ummm you are leaving diffrent scents. he is trying to cover your scent, it is confusing him. its not right

I was an earth pup 30 years ago, long before home testing, and it took about 2 weeks at a dr office. and you had to be 6-8 weeks along. the only crotch I sniffed was of a PG woman. I knew even before the dr could test for it.

Edited by author Mon Jan 21, '13 7:59am PST