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House breaking issues - frequent accidents


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Hello - first time posting here!

The issue: Our 3 year old greyhound has been having frequent accidents. We have had him for almost a year and did not have many accidents for the first 6 months. He has gradually been having more and more accidents while we are at work. Unfortunately he is home alone for 8 hours a day while we're at work. With the success we had at the beginning, we thought he was getting the hang of it.

Our attempt: We will typically come home to an accident, 3-4 days a week. He is usually okay on the weekends when we're home, and we keep him on a similar schedule to be consistent. We are also continuing to treat and praise him when he goes outside. We've even purchased a new washable rug to make sure we can remove the odor, and always use Nature's Miracle to clean up. We are definitely planning to take him to the vet to have him checked out.

Question: Does anyone have experience with this? We were putting off the vet because we thought it was that he was smelling the odor. Is there better training we can do? I am starting to feel horrible for leaving him home, but I know a lot of people do it successfully. Any advice is appreciated.

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Definitely time for a check up - don't let anyone tell you boy dogs don't get UTIs - they do.

Can you set up some kind of camera to watch him during the day? We use the free app Manything and an old smart phone.

It might be good to see what he does before the accidents happen - is it clearly marking a previously peed upon spot? Is he doing his "tell" that you'd see and react to if you were there? Does he not realize it is happening?

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Vet check, and perhaps a mid-day dog walker temporarily.  Most pups can wait 8-9 hours when nothing is going on, but sometimes they have to work up to that.  The camera is also a good idea.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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I second the vet visit to check for a UTI.  

Does he always pee on a rug? Dogs will usually urinate on a soft surface which will absorb the urine.  Eliminate, as much as possible, any rugs and block entrance to bedrooms so he won't be tempted to pee on the bed. 

Go back to potty training 101 as if he was a new puppy.

My Lola took quite a while to 'get it'. She'd be fine for weeks on end and then pee on an area rug. She also pee'd on each of our two beds!  :yikes

Edited by LaFlaca

Irene ~ Owned and Operated by Jenny (Jenny Rocks ~ 11/24/17) ~ JRo, Jenny from the Track

Lola (AMF Won't Forget ~ 04/29/15 -07/22/19) - My girl. I'll always love you.

Wendy (Lost Footing ~ 12/11/05 - 08/18/17) ~ Forever in our hearts. "I am yours, you are mine".

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi all -

Just wanted to thank you all for your feedback. We finally were able to get an appointment and did a urine test. Urine test came back with no bacteria, but a small amount of struvite crystals. Did an x-ray of bladder to make sure there were no stones, and x-ray was good, no stones. We have him on a diet to slowly dissolve the crystals, then will get tested again in about a month to see if there is any improvement. Hoping it will help him get back to normal and feel better!

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I'm glad it's nothing serious. Poor guy's pee-shooter is probably irritated causing him to urinate inappropriately. 

Irene ~ Owned and Operated by Jenny (Jenny Rocks ~ 11/24/17) ~ JRo, Jenny from the Track

Lola (AMF Won't Forget ~ 04/29/15 -07/22/19) - My girl. I'll always love you.

Wendy (Lost Footing ~ 12/11/05 - 08/18/17) ~ Forever in our hearts. "I am yours, you are mine".

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  • 4 months later...

Hi all - We cleared up the struvite crystals but our boy is still having accidents. I'm starting to think it is separation anxiety related or just become a bad habit. I've replaced all of the rugs he soiled in the past and he is still finding everywhere and anywhere to pee when we aren't at home.

We need some major advice on potty training/crate training. We tried to ease into crate training, but the second we leave he becomes totally irritated and barks, howls, tries to escape the crate. We even tried adding dog gates around his crate to allow more room for him, and he still has an accident or escapes. 

We continue to treat him when he goes outside. I'm at a loss at this point because we can never catch him in the act. Any advice is appreciated.

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1 hour ago, Emily said:

Hi all - We cleared up the struvite crystals but our boy is still having accidents. I'm starting to think it is separation anxiety related or just become a bad habit. I've replaced all of the rugs he soiled in the past and he is still finding everywhere and anywhere to pee when we aren't at home.

We need some major advice on potty training/crate training. We tried to ease into crate training, but the second we leave he becomes totally irritated and barks, howls, tries to escape the crate. We even tried adding dog gates around his crate to allow more room for him, and he still has an accident or escapes. 

We continue to treat him when he goes outside. I'm at a loss at this point because we can never catch him in the act. Any advice is appreciated.

It's been a while, are you sure the crystals and their root cause are totally cleared? I can't remember what causes struvite crystals, but sometimes a supplement is needed to put their urine pH in the right place, or antibiotics need to be repeated. Also, you might consider getting a refractometer (like $25 on amazon) and testing his urine concentration periodically. If he's not able to concentrate his urine he's basically peeing out all the water he takes in, which could be a sign of a different health issues. Does he drink an inordinate amount of water?

If your vet (and you) feel this is not medical, then I think the first thing to try to definitively figure out is if this is the development of SA. Did anything change at that six month mark when the issues began? Are you able to watch him with a camera during the day? What can you observe? Have you done hard core alone training? If this is SA that's probably what you need to search and work on.

Have you considered fostering another dog, or even just babysitting one, to see if having a buddy solves the issue?

Maybe grab some belly bands, for your own sanity and the sake of your floors.

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4 hours ago, Bizeebee said:

It's been a while, are you sure the crystals and their root cause are totally cleared? I can't remember what causes struvite crystals, but sometimes a supplement is needed to put their urine pH in the right place, or antibiotics need to be repeated. Also, you might consider getting a refractometer (like $25 on amazon) and testing his urine concentration periodically. If he's not able to concentrate his urine he's basically peeing out all the water he takes in, which could be a sign of a different health issues. Does he drink an inordinate amount of water?

If your vet (and you) feel this is not medical, then I think the first thing to try to definitively figure out is if this is the development of SA. Did anything change at that six month mark when the issues began? Are you able to watch him with a camera during the day? What can you observe? Have you done hard core alone training? If this is SA that's probably what you need to search and work on.

Have you considered fostering another dog, or even just babysitting one, to see if having a buddy solves the issue?

Maybe grab some belly bands, for your own sanity and the sake of your floors.

Thanks for your response! Yes, the vet said he is clear of crystals. We had him on a ph balancing food and he is now fully back on his original food. They didn't mention anything else maintenance wise, but we're thinking of getting a second opinion. I'll look into the refractometer I haven't heard of it!

We used to have a camera and he is pretty chill and just finds different places to sleep while we're away. He has never destroyed anything, seems more like a lonely SA, if anything. I like to say he just loves us too much... :) He only seems clearly agitated if he's in a confined space (crate or pen) when we're gone. We also considered having a dog walker while we're away at work but he was still having accidents for a couple hours alone, which is making us believe it's SA.

Good suggestion about the belly bands as well. Unsure if a dog friend would help at this time because he is still getting comfortable around other dogs in close quarters, but I appreciate the suggestion.

The only thing we can pinpoint that changed at 6 months was he went to the kennel for boarding around that period of time. We thought maybe he got off his potty schedule, but we're not so sure that caused an issue for him or if the struvite began this bad habit? Or if the kennel upset him?

We're really struggling with this and are not sure what approach to take. I think we will plan to see another vet and look into trainers as well. We of course still love our boy and won't give up!

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The thing I worry about when a vet prescribes a special food to "fix" the crystals, is if food caused the problem to begin with (with some crystals this is the case, but not all) then that original food should probably be avoided. And, maybe special or different food will be required forever. You can buy pH test strips to test his urine pH periodically as well - test more than one pee per day because their pH and concentration will change as the day goes on. Does the peeing only occur when you are gone? Or do you also notice more frequent need to go out on say a weekend day when everyone is home? 

There's a good book on Alone Training, by Patricia McConnell, I think the title is "I'll Be Home Soon." That is definitely a great place to start with alone training/SA stuff. 

I'm not sure what camera you're using, but some will let you talk to the dog from wherever you are, which might be nice for catching him in the act. Obviously all you can do is say "no, bad dog" but at least there would be some level of correction happening. 

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It was probably the boarding at the kennel if this started at about the same time. While greyhounds are used to crates, it is different than the "kennel experience".  Dogs can come out being very anxious because they may have incidents that are never reported back to you and then it leaves you scratching your head as to where this behavior came from. For example, he might have had an altercation with another dog that has upped his anxiety level.  Another probability is that they either may not have let him out of the kennel and he was finally forced to use the kennel as a bathroom or, he was put into an indoor play area which also happened to be used by all the dogs for their "toilet". This can be very confusing to the dog and can result in them no longer equating outside in the yard with toilet.

if you have a camera, check to see when he is urinating - is it many times or just once or twice. As someone already suggested, you can use belly bands. Maybe a better suggestion is to have a dog walker come by twice a day -- about 10:30am and 3pm -- for about a week and see if it makes a difference. It could be that you just need to go back to Step 1 with house-training and doing frequent potty-breaks with high-vale treats to get him back to where he was before.

 

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I have two cats who have FLUTD--they are on a special diet for that. My vet has kept them on the diet and it has kept them both relatively free of problems. My tortie had a slight setback during a time of high stress, so definitely that can be trigger. I know its pricey to have prescription diets (and mine refuse to eat anything other than Purina ST/OX!), but in the long run, he'll be happier and crystal free!

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Hello all! Thanks so much for all of your advice it's been a big help! We're trying out the belly bands and also just putting more effort in all around. Spending more time outside, working on training, and we have a good set up now with a pen that attaches to his crate that he seems more comfortable in while we're away. It is still early with the belly bands and we plan to use them until we get figure out which vet we’d like to try next for a second opinion. I’ll report back if we come to a behavioral or medical solution!

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