Henry doesn't want to pee

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SherriA
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Henry doesn't want to pee

Postby SherriA » Mon Oct 12, 2015 6:53 am

Henry recently had a urinalysis done and a 2 week course of abx to clear up a kidney infection (he was peeing in the house), and follow up urinalysis showed no more sign of infection. The initial urinalysis showed some crystals, but the vet said that was likely because of the length of time between collection and testing. I feel like this problem is behavioural, and we've dealt with the underlying UTI but feel free to call me out if you think I"m wrong.

So, Henry won't pee in the mornings lately. I don't know if it's just that he really, really wants his breakfast, or if it's something else, but I'm starting to get frustrated with the extra time it's taking in the morning. Our routine for the last year has been that I get up and make his breakfast, and while it's hydrating (THK), he goes out to pee and poop, then comes in to eat. For awhile now, if I don't go out and watch him, he will poop but not pee, then race back to the house for breakfast, resulting in a puddle when the dog walker gets there a lunch time. She also noted that he's been running out into the yard then back to the house looking for a treat without peeing for her too, and she really has to encourage him to go back and pee.

This morning I went out to supervise, he pooped, didn't pee. I corralled him into the yard (he got past me to the back door twice!) for about 15 minutes but he had absolutely no interest in peeing. I finally went in, he went bezerk asking for breakfast but I didn't want to reward not peeing, so I didn't feed him. Instead I took a shower and dried my hair, and got dressed, then took him out into the yard again. Another 10 minutes and he wouldn't even walk around the yard, just tried to get back to the house. I leashed him up and walked him around the yard, but that didn't work either. Finally I took him for a walk down the street. He finally found something worth peeing on, so got a treat then back to the house for breakfast.

It added a full half hour to my morning routine, and my morning is really scheduled tightly. I need to find a solution.

I feel like he's so fixated on getting breakfast that his little brain is just shutting off and I don't know how to get him to pee before he gets fed. Any ideas?? I know the best bet would be to out stubborn him, because eventually he's got to pee, right? But I have to go to work, so that's not really a reasonable option. The only reason I could today is that the schools have a holiday so I knew traffic would be much lighter than usual.

Also, he's been really crazy pushy about food lately. He will still sit and wait for his meals, but he launches himself at me when I'm preparing it, and when I carrying it to his feeding spot, leaping in the air and twisting around, jumping up on me, etc. It's obnoxious! He's always been crazy about food but nothing like this. It got a lot worse when Miel was visiting us for a week, but since that was a finite time I didn't worry too much about it. Problem is that it's carried on even though she's been gone for a week now.
Last edited by SherriA on Mon Oct 12, 2015 8:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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JudyL
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Re: Henry doesn't want to pee

Postby JudyL » Mon Oct 12, 2015 7:07 am

Since he's trying to outlast your efforts and can only think about the food, I'd have the food hydrated the night before, feed him before the morning outing, and no treat when he comes back in.

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Re: Henry doesn't want to pee

Postby SherriA » Mon Oct 12, 2015 10:01 am

Hmm, I hadn't thought of that. I'll give it a try!
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Re: Henry doesn't want to pee

Postby emmas_mom » Mon Oct 12, 2015 10:56 am

He sounds so much like Eddie was (Eddie was always food motivated, but over time became absolutely obnoxious about it - just how you describe with Henry!). I did end up preparing his food the night before so I could just stick it down without the dramatics, feed him and then put him outside. Occasionally, when the whole process was just too much for the other dogs or for me, I just put his food and him outside so I could prepare the other dogs' food and feed them in peace. Even when I prepared his breakfast right after his dinner the night before, I had to either do it when he was outside for a pee, or put barricades around the kitchen to keep him from driving me bonkers with his leaping and "I'm still starving" routine.
Having a food-obsessed dog is not fun. I had no luck at teaching Eddie self-control in this regard, though he was pretty good in other non-food situations and certainly knew his commands when treats were involved. Not with breakfast or dinner though. I hope you have better luck with Henry.
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Re: Henry doesn't want to pee

Postby SherriA » Mon Oct 12, 2015 12:14 pm

Jean you have no idea how validating it is to hear you say that Eddie was like this too, and you never really solved it. I can work around it, like you did, but I was feeling like I should be able to "fix it".

Just heard from the new dog walker and he only tried to trick her once, then peed right away, so at least there's that. I'm going to try feeding him first and see if I can't get his brain to stop obsessing enough to pee if he's got food in his tummy. I've never rehydrated THK in advance, but I guess it's just the same, and I'll throw it in the microwave for a few seconds to warm it up before serving it.
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Re: Henry doesn't want to pee

Postby JudyL » Mon Oct 12, 2015 2:19 pm

THK says that it's ok to mix up several days worth of food at a time, and I've always done that because mine eat so little at any one meal or in a day. It's not a problem at all, and I've never reheated THK or any canned food that might be opened and refrigerated either. I use equal parts of dry food and water, and it become firmer and less soupy overnight, more like canned food. My dogs don't mind it being served cold right out of the 'frig, and Cinnabon actually now has an easier time eating when her food is firmer. Now not only is she battling almost no teeth, she also has the lack of adequate air, so it's easier for her to grab it up as small chunks.

If Henry prefers his food warm, you could zap it in the microwave, or initially mix it slightly firm and add some warm water to it before serving.
I'm confident some tweaking your routine will help a lot, especially since you said he wasn't nearly this bad in the past and because he figured out that he couldn't trick his new walker.

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Re: Henry doesn't want to pee

Postby Sabine » Mon Oct 12, 2015 3:31 pm

THK says that it's ok to mix up several days worth of food at a time
Definitely. And you can also freeze re-hydrated portions if you like. Drop baggie/container into a hot water bath before going for a walk, and it'll be perfect for feeding by the time you get back.
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Re: Henry doesn't want to pee

Postby Calypso » Mon Oct 12, 2015 6:33 pm

Can you go back to house training 101 and reward him for peeing in the yard? You can use a really high value treat, although to a food-obsessed beagle that could be pocket lint.

But if feeding him first works, go for it. Do what works!

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Re: Henry doesn't want to pee

Postby connie » Mon Oct 12, 2015 7:21 pm

I'm going with the "it's biologic, not behavioral" view. We were discussing a very similar situation in one of my agility classes last week, about a dog who is ravenous all the time. The conclusion was that the dog needs to eat 4 or more times a day, not full meals, but protein at each feeding time. The owner reported that she had made some protein bars and the dog gets those twice between its regular meals, and seems to be feeling and acting better.

When you think about it, feeding a dog once, or twice, in a 24 hour period is a pretty arbitrary human construct. Some dogs need to eat less often, some more often. Some dogs choose to feed themselves at what seems like irregular intervals, while others puke bile if they don't eat at certain times. One schedule doesn't fit all. And dogs have very few ways of conveying this information to us, but perhaps as Henry gets older, his body's need for food is changing. He might need to keep food on his stomach.

I also think dogs pee when their bladders tell them to, unless they are ill.

I would give Henry a cookie when he gets up, and then give him his breakfast after he's had his walk. The cookie should have a good protein content, like the protein bars the owner in my agility class made. Once he gets that on his stomach, I would expect him to be ready to potty.

If that doesn't produce a change in a week or two, then I would consider the behavioral explanation, but about 90% of what we think is behavioral in dogs is actually physical, in my experience. And if he is fixated on his morning meal for some non-physical reason, then changing the feeding schedule and giving him breakfast later, after the walk, will short-circuit the OCD behavior.
Last edited by connie on Mon Oct 12, 2015 7:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Henry doesn't want to pee

Postby UpwardDog » Mon Oct 12, 2015 7:28 pm

I would do what Judy suggested. Hydrate his food the night before, wake up feed him then out for a walk. Hopefully you'll both enjoy the walk more. I would probably also do a bed time snack and see if that helps.

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Re: Henry doesn't want to pee

Postby EllaBella » Tue Oct 13, 2015 6:07 am

Kirby only pees and poops if he's eaten breakfast, so he is 100% with Henry on this one. I don't know why, he just came to me that way. He will also hold it all forever if he has to, eat his breakfast, and then ask to go out again. I decided it made sense for me to just feed him before we go out. He was fully potty-trained when I got him, but I found out that only applied to 'if he's had breakfast.' On days we do our long walks in the morning, he will bypass peeing on fire hydrants if I have skipped feeding breakfast (he usually gives in and pees by about hydrant number 4 but that is a long walk). He absolutely will *not* poop without breakfast unless we see a big dog and he bark-screams at the other dog and that gets things moving (we have some work to do, Kirby and I). When we were just in a yard I didn't get a single pee or poop before breakfast for the 3 weeks I tried to change his ideas.

I usually hydrate our THK while I make my coffee and pack lunches, feed, then walk. Poor Fraggle had to adjust to this schedule but she is really flexible and Kirby just wasn't...

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Re: Henry doesn't want to pee

Postby SherriA » Tue Oct 13, 2015 6:24 am

This is clearly going to take some work. Someone teach me patience....

I rehydrated the THK last night, fed it to him when he got up this morning, and he still had no interest in going out into the yard. Rather than getting into another power struggle like yesterday I just leashed him up and out we went to walk. It was about 10 minutes from the house before he finally did more than just lift his leg and pretend. That's 10 minutes out and another 10 minutes back. I don't usually walk Henry in the morning - just let him out in the back yard to run around and do his business - so this is going to mean a serious shift in my morning schedule, and I already get up earlier than I'd like.

I tried going back to early house training awhile ago when he started to seem like he thought the treat was for going outside and coming back in, nor for peeing in the yard. The treat in my pocket distracted him so much that he couldn't/wouldn't leave my side to go pee ! I would shoo him away, and he would just come back and paw at me, or sit and look pointedly waiting for that treat. His brain just short circuits when there's food around.

Connie, Henry gets two "meals" per day but his walker leaves him with a treat ball of Zukes to entertain him in the afternoon, and he also gets a small bedtime snack, so he's not really going 12 hours between eating. I could try something higher protein, though. Any chance you can get a recipe for those protein bars?? After he had his normal breakfast, he was jumping at me every time I walked into the kitchen, so I'm not as inclined to think that he's just hungry and more apt to attribute it to damned beagles being so food obsessed. Henry would eat until he puked, then eat the puke, if he had his way.
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Re: Henry doesn't want to pee

Postby Sabine » Tue Oct 13, 2015 2:40 pm

The treat in my pocket distracted him so much that he couldn't/wouldn't leave my side to go pee ! I would shoo him away, and he would just come back and paw at me, or sit and look pointedly waiting for that treat. His brain just short circuits when there's food around.
If you want to do some training on that, google "Zen Bowl". IMO it's a great exercise and helpful for a lot of different behaviors. I incorporate it into competition training and Dax thinks it's one of the best games ever. I used it to train a "drop on recall" in very little time and it's now his most solid exercise in the Open class. Everything else may still fall apart when the environment is too distracting, but not this!
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Re: Henry doesn't want to pee

Postby connie » Tue Oct 13, 2015 5:03 pm

Henry would eat until he puked, then eat the puke, if he had his way.
Oh Henry, Henry ... Here I am trying to make some sense of your behavior, buddy, and you're as whacko as a Border Collie! :crazy:

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Re: Henry doesn't want to pee

Postby Moemer » Wed Oct 14, 2015 1:42 pm

it's a bit of a balance for dogs who lose their shit around food... I'd add in a walk in the am (which sucks for you, but better than unhousetraining!), and find out what is reinforcing without being waaaay over stimulating. so a lower value treat, being sure not to show it to him anytime before he pees (including putting it in your pocket), use a marker/cue which means you're turning back to the house where his food is, etc. Get a cue on that baby, as well! Theoretically, if you can balance the arousal and reinforcement, he should start to pee pretty damn quick when you go out in the AM and/or use your cue.
When he 'fake pees' is he just marking a tiny bit, or is he lifting his leg because he thinks he should get cookies for it?
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Re: Henry doesn't want to pee

Postby Jen » Wed Oct 14, 2015 3:02 pm

Never mind - I went back and actually read through all the comments and my post isn't helpful. :blah:

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Re: Henry doesn't want to pee

Postby SherriA » Thu Oct 15, 2015 6:55 am

I'm almost afraid to say anything for fear of jinxing it....but the past two mornings Henry has gotten up, gone right to the door, and peed when he was out in the yard. This morning he was poop walking right back to the sidewalk to the house, but I easily turned him back into the yard and he peed right away.

I've been mixing up the THK the night before. I guess not having the kitchen full of that aroma of warm meat and veg makes a lot bigger difference than I would have thought!
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Re: Henry doesn't want to pee

Postby JudyL » Thu Oct 15, 2015 8:05 pm

:thumbup: Sounds great and hope it continues to go well! Sometimes small tweaks to the routine can make enough of a difference.

I don't think you said at what point you take the food from the refrigerator in the morning, but if I were you, I'd leave it in the refrigerator until Henry has done his business and is back inside so that there is no chance for him to smell it beforehand.

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Re: Henry doesn't want to pee

Postby UpwardDog » Thu Oct 15, 2015 8:18 pm

yay for success!

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Re: Henry doesn't want to pee

Postby maxs_mommy » Thu Oct 15, 2015 10:19 pm

Yay for peeing! If the weather holds can you feed him immediately after peeing? Like outside immediately? Reinforce the potty behavior in a huge way until he gets the gist then move the meal back inside slowly, like just inside the door, halfway to his normal spot then his normal feeding station or whatever works? Max is seriously food pushy and is over threshold in all but the most routine circumstances so I don't take treats on many occasions, it just adds to the arousal. The other thing we've done is a"no feeding the dog in the kitchen" rule. I'm sure you've seen the fb pics of Max lying over the doorway threshold. That's where he stays when we are in the kitchen, even if we're just emptying the dishwasher or something. Staying there for the duration (which he says is very hard work) gets a treat, even if it's a low value banana chip or something. Can Henry have a place to be, out of the way, and get rewarded for staying while you cook or mess around in the kitchen? Max equates kitchen with food (or me dropping food mostly), regardless of what we're actually doing but an "out please" with a big point for a hand sign sends him scrambling to get behind the doorway.
It sounds like Henry is on the right track with potty time again and I hope it continues! Good luck with food pushy, I feel your pain.
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