How can I un-create the monster I created?

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connie
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How can I un-create the monster I created?

Postby connie » Wed May 30, 2018 11:53 am

Alex is driving me nuts and thank goodness for ODO, there is no way I am posting this on FB where his breeder can see it. I need help.

Today I got home from my usual Wednesday client visit and he had peed on my bed. He pees -- maybe marks -- in my bedroom and I truly hate it. And I am starting to not like him very much, either, because of this.

Backstory: when I got Alex he was 8 months old. I thought I might leave him intact, and that was fine with his breeder, but when he was 28 months old he started marking in the house, mostly in my bedroom but not always, and i couldn't tolerate it, so he got the big snip. I do know that later neutering may not put an end to marking behavior, but initially at least, it reduced it by 98% and I was happy.

It's still not a frequent thing, but IMO once is too much for this behavior. I do have a belly-band for him, and will use it, but as a regular feature of life ... I don't like it. I will accept it if it's the only option, but I am not convinced that it is -- yet.

For a while, he would mark (almost always in my bedroom) when one of the Merle Girls was in season. But come on, he hasn't had any hormones for THREE YEARS now! And sometimes he will mark when he's wresting with Rowley; in fact, one of his most frequent marking spots is Rowley's bed, which is right next to mine between my bed and the wall, in my bedroom.

Alex has a pretty damn enriched life, I must say. He gets alone time with me, he sees two very good trainers for different things, and I can't think of something I'm not doing for him that I should be doing. He appears to have some SA, but not the typical kind -- his kicks in when he's excluded from something. For a year, he threw an absolute fit when I took Rowley to agility class; then I got Dee and that helped and Alex didn't freak out anymore. With this marking thing, I really want to keep him out of my bedroom, but he will throw a fit. I feel like I'm being controlled by a toddler, FFS! :lol:

Seriously, I'm sick of this. And with Rowley on reduced activity due to heartworm treatment, I would like to do more things with Alex, but when I come home and find he's peed on my bed, I lose all my enthusiasm for him. What can I do, anyone?!

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Re: How can I un-create the monster I created?

Postby connie » Wed May 30, 2018 12:36 pm

To simplify this: I don't want Alex to get on my bed anymore. I've got a couple of collapsible agility tunnels that I will put up there, and if necessary I will get some kind of snapper thing, but I want this dog to have no more bed privileges, period. What's the best way to do that?

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Re: How can I un-create the monster I created?

Postby SherriA » Wed May 30, 2018 2:23 pm

Is he still allowed in your bedroom, just not on your bed? Just wondering because you said he pees on Rowley's bed too. If he's not allowed in the bedroom at all, I'd close the door to keep him out, at least until he's learned that he can't go in there.
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Re: How can I un-create the monster I created?

Postby connie » Wed May 30, 2018 4:05 pm

Good point. He's not allowed in the bedroom any longer; only at night, when he and Rowley and Beau and Dee sleep in there. There's a gate in the bedroom doorway -- my house is so small that I've long ago removed most of the doors, but I love those spring-mounted gates and have several in various places.

No more bedroom for Alex. Since Rowley is on restricted exercise, and Beau is keeping him company, R&B can have my bedroom when I am not home, with the gate closed. Dee doesn't care; she'd rather have the dining-room window seat where she can scream her head off at any squirrels or passing dogs being walked. Alex won't be alone because Dee will be with him.

Peeks, who is adjusting to the absence of Posey, is no longer gated into the dog room, but has freedom to come and go. So Alex can hang out with the two girls -- be he cannot hang out in my bedroom.

He'll get used to it. We're going to encourage him to show some maturity by putting a form of NILIF in place for a while, too. I know I allowed him to be a junior and irresponsible dog for too long, but we'll find a remedy for it. And it will do him good when we do. At his last NW3 trial, he blew it because he acted the fool instead of working in a couple of searches. Yes, he can stand to grow up a bit. We'll see if I can help him do that.

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Re: How can I un-create the monster I created?

Postby Jen » Wed May 30, 2018 10:14 pm

Well, that was an easy fix. :)

It must be bedpeeing season - Scout recently started this behavior. Since DH is the one who gets home first and has to do clean up duty, he fully understands the "not liking very much" feeling.

Anyway, my point was going to be this: I got a plastic tablecloth at Target and put it on the bed under a sheet. Yes, it's tacky as anything, but it protects the bed. She already tried it out - tossed it and the sheet in the washer immediately, everything else was dry. I did also wash the top comforter beneath the tablecloth for good measure, though.

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Re: How can I un-create the monster I created?

Postby Amanda » Wed May 30, 2018 11:44 pm

No more bedroom was going to be my suggestion too. I hope it helps and the stinker gets the memo!

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Re: How can I un-create the monster I created?

Postby connie » Thu May 31, 2018 4:15 am

Change in a routine is good for everyone. :smirk:

Before Alex got here, Rowley was the only dog who could jump up on the bed, and he rarely did; and his being on the bed was never a problem. (Rowley is a dog who is super-easy to live with, which is one of his many wonderful qualities.) Then Alex arrived and he could jump up on the bed, and I should have changed our routine then to 'no bed' and bedroom off-limits at certain times, but I didn't, and all the problems started.

I know what I did, which is why I say I created a monster: I gave Alex too much freedom too soon, he couldn't handle it, and the outcome was not pleasant for me. In my defense, I will say that I now understand the breed a little better, and I think I understand my own mental laziness a little better too.

Sorry that Scout got the memo, Jen, I hope that isn't a permanent behavior quirk for her. :fie: The tablecloth is a good idea, I bet an old shower curtain liner would work too -- just in case you need to have one or two in reserve. I know how that goes!

Alex lies by the bedroom door looking mournfully through the gate into his old peeing grounds. Poor baby! :takethat:

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Re: How can I un-create the monster I created?

Postby SherriA » Thu May 31, 2018 4:58 am

Oh Alex, it's such a rough life! LOL
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Re: How can I un-create the monster I created?

Postby connie » Thu May 31, 2018 5:58 am

Oh Alex, it's such a rough life! LOL
Right?! Five rescue dogs in this house and he's got more emotional trauma than any of them, according to him.

I think I have created an Entitled Dog. Boy, it's a good thing I'm not a parent (of human kids)!

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Re: How can I un-create the monster I created?

Postby emmas_mom » Thu May 31, 2018 8:29 pm

The only solution I've ever used for the occasional peeing or marking dog I've looked after has been crating them when I'm not there, or using an x-pen to confine them to a washable floor area. It will be interesting to see if Entitled Sir Alex chooses a different spot to mark now that he can't get to the bed.
Oh, Jen, I think our twin torties have like minds and so do their owners - Allie was peeing outside the box (on carpets etc) and I was concerned she would pee on the new spareroom bed so I put an old shower curtain liner, covered with a sheet, on the bed. She can't get into my bedroom as Maggie will go after her so that wasn't an issue. However....as an aside.... I can't remember if you had Scout's kidney function checked? That was Allie's problem and now that she is on three meds for that, and has a new uncovered litter box and Dr Elsey's "Cat Attract" litter (for problem pissers), I've not had any more problems with wet carpets and furniture. (Sorry for the hijack, Connie).
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Re: How can I un-create the monster I created?

Postby connie » Sat Jun 02, 2018 4:57 am

This has turned into an interesting topic, IMO, and I might do a blog post on it even if Alex's breeder would see it -- you know what dogs mark a lot? INSECURE dogs mark a lot. Not dogs that are quivering wrecks but dogs who just don't have the emotional maturity or assurance to feel comfortable in some situations. Insecure dogs are markers; and for those dogs, burying their own scent in the scent of their owner is one way they mark, and the place that is most owner-scented is, of course, the owner's bed.

Alex is a momma's boy, many male Lapphunds are. One Lappy breeder made a laughing remark one time that in breeding, the Lapphund girls pretty much have to do all the work and explain things to the boys. Lapphund boys are soft dogs. This is not bad! I like a soft dog, in general! And as I said, it doesn't mean they are timid or spooky, it just means they need increased confidence -- and that's something I can work on!

So the first thing to do, duh, in all the stuff I read, was: keep the marking dog out of the bedroom. Period. And that's in effect here, and I must say it's really nice for me. I don't think the dogs are more than inconvenienced by it, and now Alex can't lie on my bed all day, barking out the bedroom window at my neighbors' grandkids. (INSECURE DOG!)

Another part of this campaign is to just not allow marking in general whenever it presents on walks, and I have done that, too. Alex is a big marker on walks; he marks ten times more than Rowley or Beau. (Beau doesn't mark at all, he is the best leash walking dog, he only stops if he has to potty.) I do not like being stopped by a marking dog on a walk; the leash jerks in my hand, and feels unpleasant on my arthritis. So I don't allow stopping for marking on walks. I will make sure to be 100% about that for Alex from now on. It's a walk, move your legs. :smirk: Also, I am now walking Dee and Alex on their own and taking Beau and Rowley on a separate walk, which was started bc of Rowley's heartworm treatment; but I think that may be a good thing to continue for other reasons!

I am also not giving Alex attention every time he asks for it; he is going to be his own dog when we get this worked out, not a momma's boy. I am not using negative reactions at all, just disengaging myself from him and going on about what I'm doing, so he turns his attention elsewhere. He has to develop his own resources, I am not that resource for him for every little thing. (This is one reason I love Dee, she is SO self-sufficient and keeps herself entertained with no problem!) I will not build confidence by simply giving him attention, he needs to be given approval for doing things and doing them well, and not just for being cute. So a sort of NILIF program is in effect for this.

When I said that he blew his last NW3 trial, I meant it: he acted goofy and silly and flung himself on the ground and rolled around, instead of focusing on work, because people laugh at that and say how cute he is and want to pet him. I should not have allowed that, and I will no longer allow it. At the time, I thought 'oh well, this means he's relaxed and not stressed' but it didn't -- and I should have popped him back on his feet with his leash and given him a brisk 'get to work' command with some exercises to make his BRAIN work, not his emotions.

It's not been automatic that Alex matures emotionally, because he lives with other males who ARE mature -- Rowley and Beau; also, I have mistaken intelligence, of which he has plenty, for maturity. I think I'm finally on the right track with him. We'll see. But I have achieved this much: my bedroom is MY BEDROOM! I'm so happy! :lol: :lol:

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Re: How can I un-create the monster I created?

Postby connie » Sat Jun 02, 2018 5:13 am

I am also happy that my other Lapphund, who is coming to me this winter, is a girl. :thumbup:

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Re: How can I un-create the monster I created?

Postby Amanda » Sat Jun 02, 2018 9:30 pm

This is interesting. My friends are on the cusp of giving up their ridgeback pup... 10 months old. Partially for marking in the house. He is definitely an insecure dog. Mama’s boy for sure. I have been helping them with training a bit, and suffice to say there is a lot of back story about their situation, but I am fascinated by the insecurity root of marking for some dogs. He marks their couch. And has already been removed from all bedrooms. And the kitchen. He basically has the living room and a hallway left accessible to him. I will ask them about marking on walks. We have tried to build his confidence but they are not trainers, nor consistent, so he’s floundering a bit.

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Re: How can I un-create the monster I created?

Postby connie » Sun Jun 03, 2018 4:46 am

At 10 months, he may be the worst now that he will ever be, that's such a fraught age developmentally -- like being a teenager for a kid!

You know how you hang around dog venues and you get told stuff by the 'older and wiser' dog people? I was told a year or more ago that Alex was marking because he had been the only intact dog in my group and he was signaling his 'protection' of my entire group by marking on Rowley's bed, etc. It didn't make a lot of sense to me but you just don't contradict the older and wiser dog people, esp when one of them is your nosework instructor. :lol: But the flaws in that theory were many: why did Alex mark only ROWLEY'S bed, and not Beau's or Dee's -- they weren't part of his group? Sure they are! And for a dog who was signaling his 'protection' of my other dogs, he sure is a candy-ass!

It makes way more sense that Alex is sometimes insecure and this is his way of trying to allay that insecurity to himself.

I hope they think about this, the RB owners; you can give them the link to my blog post, too, if you want, Amanda.
https://cinnamondogcom.wordpress.com/20 ... mark-mark/

Some things I did that didn't help, and that they may be doing: I gave Alex a lot of attention for just being cute, basically. I provided attention on demand, and outside of his working time (nosework), I didn't require much of him in exchange. I think that wasn't helpful; he would run to me whenever, and it got him out of temporary discomfort of any situation. In changing that, he now is encouraged (REQUIRED) to face whatever is going on, and I probably ask him to do some obedience routines or something to engage his brain, too. Then I praise him, but very calmly, like 'yeah, of course you did that, nice!' And I ignore him more, not in a mean way, but to let him make his own sense out of things without being able to re-direct everything to his owner for a hug.

If the RB puppy has already lost access to many spaces, I'd probably go with a belly-band instead and let him have back some of the house, while they work on this, assuming they do.

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Re: How can I un-create the monster I created?

Postby connie » Sun Jun 03, 2018 5:00 am

Also, here's the article I found that made the lightbulb go on over my head:
http://www.oakwood-canine-services.co.u ... y-bed.html

And thought WDJ and some other sources say 'oh, let him mark on walks, that will get it out of his system' -- I think that's nonsense, and I now have a NO MARKING program for Alex. He can mark all he wants in the yard, I don't care, but I do not allow him to lift his leg when on a leash or in the house. I don't want this Nosework dog to make marking a go-to expression of stress, TYVM. The day he lifted his leg on a search course would be the day I would have to slink away in shame from all the NACSW people, so NO.
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Re: How can I un-create the monster I created?

Postby connie » Fri Jul 27, 2018 5:38 am

Just want to update this:

My life and my home are SO pleasant now that dogs are not allowed in my bedroom AT ALL except at night when they sleep in there. I should have put this rule in place years ago. They get up in the morning, I move their dog beds out into the living and dining rooms and close the gate to the bedroom and that's it. When I go to bed at night, my bed and everything else in my bedroom is clean and undisturbed.

At first there was a good deal of trying to get in there, but it subsided. In June, a friend brought up the custom XL dog crate he'd made for me (hideously expensive but I love it and will have it forever) and I put that in the dog room, which is the tiny bedroom right off the living room: now the dogs use that crate for napping and hanging out. They've adjusted!

Alex hasn't marked in the house since the No Bedroom rule went into effect. As for the reasons he marks, I think it's just who he is. Confident, unconfident, whatever -- sometimes I try to parse things too much when I should just be figuring out how to work around them or live with them.

New dog crate, which you've seen on FB but I have to post again, I love it so much!!
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Re: How can I un-create the monster I created?

Postby SherriA » Fri Jul 27, 2018 8:39 am

I'm so glad this worked out for you! That crate is gorgeous.
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