Why, Why Me?! help need a fix!!

The Service and Therapy Dog forum is for all service and therapy dogs regardless of whether or not their status is legally defined by federal or state law, how they are trained, or whether or not they are "certified." Posts questioning or disputing a person's need for a service or therapy dog, the validity of a person's service or therapy dog, or the dog's ability to do the work of a service or therapy dog are not permitted in this forum. Please keep discussions fun, friendly, and helpful at all times.


SD (retired)
Barked: Mon Jul 29, '13 1:18am PST 
I'm sorry I know its long but please please read it cryWhen I first got zoey she had some potty problems (but she was 6 or 7 mouths old I guessing that is normal...then) she was quickly potty trained and only had an "accident" 1-2 times when i was really sick and forgot to take her out. i know thous times it was not her felt it was mine. she is now 3 1/2 years and i have slowed her PA down so much its as if we stopped. she has never gone in a store before but i always fear it because on walks she not like a normal dog, and trys to get to a bush to go SHE JUST STOPS AND GOES, IT DRIVES ME CRAZY!! and there it NO warning that she needs to go at all. it has even happened wear i 'pull over' (on a walk, witch i do a lot) and say 'go potty' she will sniff if she pees it will be in the next 5 sec after i say, and yes some times poops but very really. and that's the problem. its happened a lot were i 'pull over' she does nothing (even if i let her sniff for a long time) then in 5-10 steps she stops and poops! so i have not wanted to take her in to store for very long in fear of this happening. about a week ago it happened not warning she just stopped and pooped, luckily it was at a pet-store so they did not care, but I DO and now i know it can happen in a store so now I'm scared to take her in places. does anyone have any ideas? I've been thinking and the only thing i came up with is teaching her to ring a bell to go outside, because even at home she will never go to the door to like 'tell' me she needs to go out (like our other pet dog) she just waits until she cant hold it anymore then just stops ware shes at and goes, so will teaching her to ring bells (hung on the door) save not only the 'tell' me she needs to go out but all so her trying to 'tell' me she needs to go when shes working? please guys i need help.

The Boy Wonder
Barked: Mon Jul 29, '13 3:35am PST 
It sounds like you need to go back to the beginning and change how you live with this dog. If she's waiting at home until she can't hold it anymore then you are simply not letting her out enough. Start putting her on a regular feeding and potty schedule. If you aren't already feeding a set amount at a set time of day start. Treat her like a young puppy for a while, crate when you can't supervise and leash when you can. Make sure you're taking her out often but don't make a big production. Take her outside, give the potty cue, wait five minutes and if she goes great, if she doesn't take her inside and put her in a crate. Wait thirty minutes and repeat. There will come a point where you'll begin to know her schedule needs. Bells are not going to change how this dog thinks about going to the bathroom, bells only work if the dog is already naturally inclined to let you know they need to go, they're just less subtle than standing at the door.

Second make walks about walking, not about potty breaks. If she stops to go correct her gently and keep walking. If you do stop for whatever reason put her in a sit or a down or some other command that is incompatible with her going on her own. Don't take long walks at first, start short and only after she's Gone when released. There's no point in trying to teach her to walk without going if she needs to go. Set each walk up for success.

This is not fool proof, she could just be one of those dogs that isn't cut out for service work. At 3 1/2 if she isn't started on PA training you may want to take a step back and rethink if she's really best suited for service work. Service work is largely about self control, if she can't control her potty schedule then she's going to have a hard time with other parts more than likely.

Start over with her potty training and give it a few months to get her on track but if you aren't seeing any improvement then you might need to stop and think about what's best for you and her.
Iris vom- Zauberberg

Service Werewolf
Barked: Mon Jul 29, '13 7:47am PST 
Just want to second Happy's excellent advice and instructions. Taking a big step back now can mean all the difference.

Best of luck to you!

Crazy Sadie- Lady

Im a SD and- proud of it so- there!!!!
Barked: Mon Jul 29, '13 9:23am PST 
I agree to with Happy cause Sadie had a lil issue since she was able to go out as she wished with her first family. Being in town of corse I can not do that with her.
She trained fast and well she goes on command also. She is the one that deviced her own alert for when she needs to go out. She jumps up on the door and presses herself to it to tell me she needs to go out. As I said Sadie taught me more then I taught her cause it seems she will do things that I need done when I need them done not cause I am trying to show her I need them done when I need them done. I am not sure if you all get that but that is just the way it is for Sadie and I. BOL....

SD (retired)
Barked: Mon Jul 29, '13 10:25am PST 
thanks happy for the help I have been really thinking about treating her like a puppy like you said, and also taking a step back in her pa work I just did not know how far back I should go. just can you explain a bit more then I'm going to start her on the training dancing

1) i do have her on a feeding scagul just not on a potty one (but I'm going to start!) i feed at 9am and 7pm and she get feed out of a treat ball, because she it so food modavied she engulfed her food and would chock so i had to slow her down and the ball works great.

2) she never leaves my side, and when i leave the house and do not take her she is locked in my room by a baby-gate. should i crate her in stead? i do have a small room(big to her maybe because she so small) whats going to work best?

3)can you please clarafa 'Make sure you're taking her out often but don't make a big production'? I'm guessing don't prize a lot when she does go outside? (i have been 'partying' when she goes potty when on walks is this wrong?

4)"Take her outside, give the potty cue, wait five minutes and if she goes great, if she doesn't take her inside and put her in a crate" does she have to go in the crate? im not agins crates at all in fact i have two crates for her (one hard, one soft) just if im say sitting on the couch watching tv and shes on my lap is that ok or does she need to be crated?

5) i do make walks about walking, i walk 45mins in the morning and only stop 3 times to let her go and i always say 'potty' to let her know to go. if this is not walking to walk what is? 98% of the time when she stops she poops (not pee) so do i when i "go correct her gently and keep walking" just pick of the poop leader? that way i don't stop?

6) as far as "Set each walk up for success." and doing shorter walks should i make sure she goes potty in the back yard before I start my walk? and should i start at 5 min or 10 min walk first? since she normally gets 45 min walks and will only get 5-10 min walks for the next couple weeks or months should i be doing other things to get her more of the exercise she is use to? like fetch?

sorry for my bad spelling and my long questions, but i really think she can do this i just need to do my part. i have been thinking about her service work a lot and the only other thing she has problems with is fear of people stepping on her (she has this fear because she was stepped on) i have been picking her up when we are in very crowed places (this is when people don't see her and then step on her) and she seems to be calming down a lot about it. i have also been training her to go in between my feet in very crowed places so she is not in the way of others, and does not be stepped on. i know sd can not have potty problems so if we cant get over this shes done cry
thank you so much for all the help hail happy dance

Barked: Mon Jul 29, '13 5:26pm PST 
Agreed with everything above. Treat her like an 8 week old puppy!

In addition, check with a vet. You say you "only" stop three times on a 45-minute walk. That is a LOT! I would give the command and have her go before you start your walk, and then again after. If she cannot hold it for 45 minutes, you either have a serious medical issue, a serious training issue, or a dog unsuitable to be a SD (maybe just a really tiny bladder?) because a SD needs to be able to hold it for hours!

Or, your dog could be playing you. I've had dogs act like they have to go when really they just want a chance to pull over and sniff! Maybe this is what is happening for you because I cannot imagine why else a dog would indicate she needs to relieve herself 3 times in 45 minutes...

I never let my dogs relieve themselves on a walk, ever. I give them the command before we start the walk, and then they don't go again until we're finished. Walking is working, and it is inappropriate to relieve while working. If they are playing around in the back yard, they can go whenever they want. If they are on leash and I command them to go, then they can go. Otherwise they aren't allowed.

Of course, this does mean that you have to ensure that you're giving ample opportunities to go (i.e. not leaving the dog by herself for 10 hours). However, in your case, it seems as though you may be giving too many opportunities if you think that 3 times in 45 mins is normal.

Another thing is that having accidents at 6-7 months old also isn't normal at all for a dog raised the way a SD should have been raised. Maybe she was a rescue, which is fine, but that's definitely not normal. Just wanted to let you know so you know for the future.

Good luck!

The Boy Wonder
Barked: Mon Jul 29, '13 9:21pm PST 
1) In some way this is great, in others it is troubling. As Nova mentioned I'd have her into the vet before I started this whole program. You need to make sure there isn't something medically wrong that is causing her potty issues because as often as she is going is not normal.

2) For this crates are ideal. Most dogs (baring any other situation) do not want to eliminate where they rest, a crate should be no bigger than a dog needs to stand up and turn around comfortably. Any more space than that gives her space to eliminate in one spot and lay in another. You want to give her no other choice than to hold it. This is also why you make another trip outside within short order. This is all part of setting a dog up for success, you want to make the game easy for them to win. Too much space at this point only makes it easy for her to chose to use the house.

3)You can reward for potty outside if you want but it's not a requirement. I basically wouldn't work her up before going outside. Just clip the leash on, step outside and cue the potty and wait. Don't move around a lot and let her turn it into a sniff and a walk. Make it clear that you're outside for one thing and one thing only.

4)I Personally would put her in a crate, if you know she needs to go (post meals ect) then you don't want to reward her for not going by a cuddle on the couch. Being isolated in the crate serves two purposes. One she can't step away to go to the bathroom somewhere in the house, and two it makes it clear that until she goes she doesn't have free run to enjoy the house.

5) She shouldn't have to go that many times in a 45 minute walk. My SD can hold it easily for several hours, and it's really a requirement for a service dog to hold it longer than 45 minutes. I wouldn't start out with a Time, I'd start out with a short distance. As for trying to go on walks I would simply watch for signs that she needs to go, things such as sniffing more, slowing down, hunching on the back. Deal with these by walking faster, give a slight correction to redirect her attention and keep moving. The point of this is to Keep her from going, not to waiting until she does to correct it.

6) If possible do More walks at the shorter distance. This gives more chances for her to win at this. If she needs more exercise make it something completely incompatible with going while you're working with her. Play training games, work on yard type agility. Mental stimulation will do as much if not more for her energy needs than long walks.

SD (retired)
Barked: Tue Jul 30, '13 10:08am PST 
Thank you guys for all the great help! I dont think i made it clear but the only time she has gone in the house was a year or two ago when i was really sick and did not let her out for 7+ hours, and i resued her at around 6-7 months so thats why she was not potty trained at that time. I like the idea of alots of short walks i will do that alot. And i had know idea that 3-4times a walk was way to much maybe thts how i made this problm. 95% of the times i let her go she pees not poops witch pooping is the problem. Now that i know i will no longer let her go on walks smile thanks again for ll your help, i will keep you guys up dated on how it goes and weather or not she will make it as a sd smile

SD (retired)
Barked: Tue Aug 20, '13 11:10am PST 
is been like 2-3 weeks now of restarting Zoey on potty training, I now do my 45 mins walk with out stopping for a potty brake! i have also started some short PA trips, and she doing great. I'm so prod of her could not have done it with out you guy's help cheer