JRT and Potty Problems

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Member Since
Barked: Thu Apr 11, '13 1:15pm PST 
Hi! We are fostering a 7 y-o Jack Russell and he is a sweetie. But we are having potty issues even after 3 weeks. There are actually TWO things going on with him. First is his complete obsession with eating poop. And I mean obsession. He spends most of his time in the yard searching for tasty treats and it doesn't matter whose they are--other dogs, rabbits, etc. I have read about putting tabasco sauce on them, using a squirt bottle as negative reinforcement, etc. That is not the main issue, but it may or may not be related.

The biggest problem is that he is not getting on a schedule with our other dogs. He hates to go outside in general, but he has improved with coaxing via a treat. Once outside, he basically wants to either hunt poop or go back inside. We will stay out with him for 20 mins. or so, using the word "potty," which he sees our other dogs react to, but I would say 75% of the time he does not go. He only pees maybe two times per day, first thing in the morning and later in the day. He randomly poops during the day, either in the yard or the house. This morning I stood out with him for 20 mins and he had no interest in going potty. So I let him in the house and turned around to lock the door and I heard my son say that the JRT was pooping in the living room. frown

We have tried treats as soon as he goes, I've kept him on a leash and stood near the bushes...we've had several fosters like the ivy...we put him on the lead so he can have a bit more freedom... He drinks plenty of water and we have him on good food. We take him out often enough and can crate him if need be. I'm not sure what else to try. It's not only frustrating, but I worry that it will interfere with someone adopting or keeping him. He sees our beagle and pit on a schedule, so he does have them to learn from.

Also, he was an owner surrender into a high kill shelter. Our rescue pulled him along with another male dog who had come from the same home. The JRT is about 50% blind and relied a lot on the other dog. The other dog has since been adopted, and our foster is a bit timid but has bonded fairly well with us. (He just not sat to start pooping in the living room. I saw it before he started and clapped my hands to disrupt him and the hubs took him right outside. To our knowledge, he has not peed at all today.) Any input will be appreciated. We usually foster pits and bigger dogs, this little guy is our first small dog.

Edited by author Tue Apr 16, '13 2:22am PST


Pits Rock
Barked: Mon Jul 15, '13 5:10pm PST 
First off, punishment will never teach a dog anything. The fact that people still use punishment to teach dogs shows that they are still stuck in the Stone Age. Take your dog on frequent walks.

Put your dog on a feeding schedule. I recommend a raw diet. Never punish your dog for eating feces. Make sure your dog has plenty of toys to keep busy. Pick up the feces as soon as your dog goes. You may want to take him in for a checkup, since eating feces can be a sign of medical problems. Don’t tie your dog up outside alone, as boredom and confinement contribute to behavior problems.

The Snuggler
Barked: Mon Jul 15, '13 6:26pm PST 
Have you tried staying out for longer? 20 minutes is barely enough time for my dog to eliminate and go potty... there are just too many interesting smells. If he doesn't like going outside, make outside a good thing, throw a party when you take him for a walk, take his favourite toy outside, etc. Don't be frustrated with him just because he doesn't go within your time limits to go to the bathroom, this is a negative thing when outside is supposed to be the best thing ever. Take the time and stay out until he does go.

I had housetraining problems with Roman at first, but with patience and a lot of celebrating outside, we finally got it. It doesn't happen over night, sometimes not even in a few weeks, sometimes it can take a month or more. Just be patient and it will come.


Serious Face
Barked: Mon Jul 15, '13 6:32pm PST 
Sounds like he's had a difficult time... all that change can definitely make a dog forget where is appropriate to go to the bathroom.

I'd recommend treating him like he's a puppy when it comes to potty training. Have him on a strict feeding schedule, take him out after eating/playing/sleeping. If he doesn't go within 20min, bring him back in and crate him for 10min, then give it another go, repeat as necessary. Don't give him freedom to roam the house until after he's gone potty outside. Continue with the treats/praise when he does go outside.

Watch him like he's a puppy if he hasn't gone in a while so you can interrupt him in the middle of going and take him out.

I'm not very familiar on what the poop eating habit means... and you may have too much in the yard to keep it 100% cleaned up (like with wildlife feces where you don't know it's there). Maybe try keeping him on-leash when he's out?? That's what I do with Arya, because she can't be trusted yet not to scavenge for cherry pits and other things she shouldn't be eating.

Have you had him to the vet?? Maybe he has parasites of some kind. Good luck!!

Barked: Tue Jul 16, '13 12:55am PST 
I agree – no punishment. Stay out with him longer. I’m sorry you’re having such a hard time.