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Thread: New apartment, new "roommates," back to the beginning!

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  1. #1

    Default New apartment, new "roommates," back to the beginning!

    **posted this in General HB talk but would love the trainers' advice, so posting here as well**

    Hi all, Lucy's mom here -- it's been about 6 years since I've posted, I remember getting started on this site when I first brought Lucy home as an 8 week old Westie! You taught me so many amazing things, and now I'm back for more advice.

    I've moved in with my boyfriend and Lucy is having accidents everywhere. Here's the lay of the land: we're in a new apartment, with two cats, my boyfriend and myself, and LOTS of carpeting. Lucy is the type of girl who potties outside when she's on a walk, but also uses potty pads indoors in between walks when needed. She goes on hours-long romps with her dog walker on weekdays while I'm at work, so she's definitely not lacking exercise, fresh air, or opportunities to potty. She just is used to having the option to go potty on her pads at home, too -- she's never learned to hold it in, which I'm ok with.

    What I'm NOT OK with is that she's totally ignoring her potty pads and pottying elsewhere in the house. I think a few things are contributing to this...
    1) the cats love to lay on her potty pads, so I'm guessing either their presence on them, or their scent when they're not on them, is deterring her.
    2) it's a new apartment so she's trying to get the lay of the land. We moved in about a month ago, so it's taking her a while to understand what's where.
    3) she was peeing on the pads in the new place for a while until we decided to use a potty pad TRAY to help prevent overflow... with the introduction of the tray, it's like Lucy's brain short circuited and she stopped going there altogether.

    SO! I need help! Do I move the potty pads elsewhere now that the location is forever linked to that scary tray in her mind? Do I put anti-cat spray on the pads (does that even exist??) How do I re-train my little (otherwise angelic) dog before I lose my mind??! Thank you in advance for your advice

    PS -- Lucy is not a crate girl. I tried, oh believe me, I tried.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Sunny California
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    Oh, boy! My first response to your post was... uh-oh, I have no idea how to fix this! Never ran across the cats-on-the-potty-pads problem before!! I always love a housebreaking challenge, though, so LET'S DO THIS THING!!!!

    Let me ask a couple of questions while I mull over what we can do about this:

    Is Lucy having accidents in any particular area in the house or all over the place?
    Will she have accidents if she's had a recent potty trip or just if it's been a while since she's had the chance to go potty outside?
    Is she using her pads at ALL?
    What's the current location of her pads and where are you considering moving them?
    Where were her pads located at your old place?
    Do you ever confine Lucy to a pen or small room since she can't be crated?
    How long ago did the accidents start?
    What's Lucy's relationship with the cats?

    Let me know and I'll come up with some stuff for you to try!
    Rebecca
    Please help us to continue to provide this free source of housebreaking information by bookmarking our products page
    and buying your pet supplies through our product partners!

  3. #3

    Default

    Thanks so much for your response! Answers to your questions are below.

    Is Lucy having accidents in any particular area in the house or all over the place?
    She's mainly having accidents near the potty pads... and maybe I'm giving her too much credit, but it seems like she's trying

    Will she have accidents if she's had a recent potty trip or just if it's been a while since she's had the chance to go potty outside?
    Only having accidents when it's been a while. The last time she did this, for example, we had just gotten home from grocery shopping. I always let her out, first thing, but before I even had a chance to, she had an accident on the carpet near the pads right in front of me.

    Is she using her pads at ALL?
    Right now, not at ALL. They've been sitting there, unused, for about two weeks. Before we attempted having her use the tray under the pads, she was using the pads, but the tray seemed to have short-circuited her brain!

    What's the current location of her pads and where are you considering moving them?
    They're in the "dining room" (though we don't have a table in there, it's just an empty room). I could move them a number of places... the kitchen, the living room... the bathroom is too small, I'm afraid.

    Where were her pads located at your old place?
    They were in between the kitchen and the living room, also on a carpet.

    Do you ever confine Lucy to a pen or small room since she can't be crated?
    Only when she was a very tiny puppy, for a few weeks... since then she's been a free-reign kind of lady.

    How long ago did the accidents start?
    Well, they started right when my boyfriend moved to this new place... she was getting the lay of the land and didn't know what to do. I was expecting that. But when I started showing her the pads, she got it for a little while. Then the tray, then the rest is history

    What's Lucy's relationship with the cats?
    She loves them! She plays with them a lot. Their version of playing, of course, is a little smacking and a little nibbling, but she always has her tail wagging and her play bow stance. In general it seems to be a really amicable relationship.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Okay... so, I think we're gonna just get on this problem without a solution to the cats-on-the-pads issue! Hoping since she's not scared of the kitties that maybe they're not the problem!

    So, I think we're going to start out with the pads in the same spot for now. Debated moving them, but I'm thinking we can always make that our Plan B, so let's start with something fairly simple. Be sure all the areas she's had accidents in (especially near the pads) have been thoroughly cleaned with odor neutralizer before you start. I'd suggest starting this training on a weekend or some other time when you don't need to leave Lucy alone. Instead of walking her in the morning when she wakes up, take her to her pads (you can have her on her leash if she won't stay on them and tries to go potty off the pad). Hang out for a couple of minutes to give her a chance to go. If she does, praise her like crazy! If she doesn't, supervise her VERY carefully to prevent her from having accidents and try again in 20 or 30 minutes. Keep doing this throughout the day until she goes on her pads.

    Once she successfully uses the pads, you can take her out for a walk, but try to avoid walking her until she's emptied out on the pads. If she uses the pads on the first day of training, you can go to just using the pads for her first morning potty trip (when she should have some urgency to go) for the next week or so. I'm hoping if we can get her to go on the pads several times that she'll click back into remembering what they're for!

    If this doesn't work, we'll try Plan B! Keep me updated!!
    Rebecca
    Please help us to continue to provide this free source of housebreaking information by bookmarking our products page
    and buying your pet supplies through our product partners!

  5. #5

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    Hi Rebecca, thanks so much for your response and your creative solution! I worked with Lucy pretty hard on this potential solution and she just kept sitting on the pads. It wasn't working.

    BUT, the good news is I tried another tactic, and IT'S BEEN WORKING!!! I basically covered the whole dining room -- the room in which she had all her accidents -- in wee-wee-pads! The entire room. It looked ridiculous, I know, but the awesome news is that she's peed on the pads in there 4x in the last two days! Success! I think the hard part was getting her to go on the pads, and (I hope) the easier part will be reducing the pads down to a more normal size.

    Any thoughts/advice on what kind of timeframe I should be aiming for to reduce the area of needed pads in that room?

    Thanks again!
    Mariel

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Great! Glad you found something that's getting her back on the right track!!

    Papering the whole room then gradually reducing the size of the papered area is an old-school papertraining method that can definitely work. The reason I rarely recommend it is that you can end up with a surprise at the end if your dog is learning a potty location more than a potty surface... they sometimes have a hard time understanding that it was good to go in the whole room at first, but now they shouldn't do that. That can lead to some tough times trying to convince the dog not to go potty all over that room anymore! For that reason, this method is in the "last resort" category for me!

    In your case, however, I think things will likely go well with this, since Lucy was already trained to understand that the pads were the place to go. I'd probably proceed with minimizing the pad area slowly... give her a few weeks with the whole area covered, then slowly start shrinking the pad area down by removing a small section each week. If she starts going on the areas where you removed the pads, either replace them and proceed more slowly or check back in with me so we can figure out what to do next!

    Good luck... I'm sending good vibes!!!
    Rebecca
    Please help us to continue to provide this free source of housebreaking information by bookmarking our products page
    and buying your pet supplies through our product partners!

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