So many issues!

Posted by Chopper
Apr 5, 2008
Chopper, our beautiful tri-colored Springer Spaniel was born with several problems, most obvious a significant underbite (which makes him exceptionally cute!), not so obvious his bladder being 5-6 inches out of place (discovered at 6 months after excessive leakage and seemingly being unsuccessful at potty training), and fairly poor eye site. He is on medication for his bladder currently and is now 4 years old. I am very guilty of babying him...why wouldn't you with all the problems...but as a result I am sure I am responsible for the latest "issues."

We just completed the two day ignoring as recommended in SitStayFetch and we are fairly confident that we can work through the early stages of aggression and dominance. He is on furniture all the time, rubs for attention, steals food from the table and from the kids hands, etc. He also will randomly bark, loudly with the spit flying at one of us, if we are wearing a baseball hat, or walk into the room in an odd way (4 active, creative kids!), he hasn't bitten anyone, but the fear is there. He really loves kids for the most part. He will get a little protective with our youngest.

A big issue that we don't know how to handle is the purposful peeing and pooping in the house. It has gone in waves over the last four years and we are going through it again right now. He gets to a point and refuses to go out. He will sneak to another room and let it fly when we aren't looking. We NEVER catch him in the act. We recently got new furniture and a new rug in our living room. This has now been the target location. Obviously a new scent, probably marking his territory...he is fixed and he has destroyed the new rug. Suggestions would be great!

We chose to do SitStayFetch as a last effort to hopefully save our beautiful dog. With all his health issues we worry that some of his defiance and irritability could be pain. Our vet didn't comment on this concern and was really more focused on the aggression. His recommendation was to put him down as "he is a ticking time bomb and most dogs that show signs like this will bite a family member." We hope it is behavioral and all of this can be fixed before a bite is delivered.
Posted by Todd
Apr 10, 2008
Hi there and thanks for the post

I will start with the last point your vet made first. Yes dogs that start to show aggression signs can progress to the point of biting someone, but with training and intervention a lot of these problems can be stopped.
I am not saying he won't but we will try to stop him.

I am glad you have been doing some alpha training so i won't bore you with going over all of this

But i think that obedience is a big point. The more obedient he is the easier he will be to control and prevent problems from happening. work on the basic commands of sit, stay and come as outlined in SitStayFetch. Choose a quiet secluded area and try 15 minute sessions twice a day.

So you listed some things he does. Firstly he should not be allowed on beds and couches as these will become symbols and he may become very aggressive over them. Banning him now will prevent this from happening.

When he wants attention from you ignore him to start with. Make him sit and only give him attention only if he is sitting and calm.

PLease don't give him treats from the table as this will only serve to make him think he is higher up in the order.

Being scared of a person wearing a baseball cap can be and easy problem to solve. We have to make him separate the idea of the baseball cap from any fear. Leave the cap lying around the house so that he can get used to it and not think it is a bad thing. Leave it near his food and try and play some games with the cap and him to help him.
The more good experiences he has around the cap the more likely he is to not be scared of it.

Remember you need to tell him off for any aggression he is showing whether this be barking, growling, nipping or lunging. Use a loud GRRRRR or AHHHHH and combine them with a squirt with the water pistol
Be quick and then take him out of the room for 15 minutes for some time out.

Now to the toileting issues -
Firstly if the toileting problems are happening in a certain room try and close the door and keep him out of it.
If he does make a mess make sure you clean it up and put the mess in his normal toilet spot. Then use a good deodouriser like SOX to mask the smell so he doesn't make it a habit. Try and close all the rooms you don't need so if he is going to mess then there is more of a chance he will do it in front of you so you can tell him off!

If you do catch him tell him off and take him to his toilet spot.

If you have some spare time in the weekend keep him on a leash near you. That way if he is going to have a mess you can catch him and tell him off straight away.

Without catching him it is very hard to stop the behaviour so try and limit where he can be at one time.

Two other points - If you think he may bite at any stage a muzzle is a great and cheap idea. Secondly if you are worried about the toileting take him to see the vet to make sure there isn't anything else going on

Good luck and be patient. I am here to help so let me know how things are going