Wednesday, May 28, 2014

No shame in my dog's game: Yelling and remorse

I haven't been writing much in the last few weeks. See, my primary purpose here is to relate my experiences as a (relatively) new pet parent in the hopes that people will learn something from me.

The only problem is I've had so much trouble with the dogs that I feel like I have nothing to give you.

Does she mean us, Lulu?
I want to yell it from the rooftop! My dogs are driving me nuts! But does my yelling really matter to them? No! I'll explain why in a moment.

What's happening? They won't stop peeing and crapping in the house! And that's just the biggest problem.

Lulu is easier to deal with -- she just needs to get used to the new grounds. It's taking her longer to find the right spot. But she finds it eventually.

You call this easier? She rolls in the grass!
 Jasmine, on the other hand, has never been properly trained. She has something of a routine: Mom would wake up at 5, feed her and Buster in their crates around 6, and let them outside. And they would stay outside until Dad was ready to let them in before going to work. When they got home, the dogs would go out, sometimes hours at a time.

That's way different from my schedule: I wake up around 8, take them out on a walk, then feed them. And Jasmine won't follow that plan.  She won't go to the bathroom until she's been fed. And if I leave her in the crate while I walk Lulu, she'll just go there. And she doesn't tell me if she has to go!

Is that a dog in your iPad?
 And every time I find her mess I want to yell and scream at her, but what's point?

See, I yell to release frustration. I yell because my dog has pissed me off.

But what do they hear?

All the dog knows is they're being yelled at. If you're yelling because they JUST pooped on the carpet, they MIGHT know they messed up. But then how do you remedy it? Putting their nose in it is useless, trainers say. Immediately take them outside, but by then they've already gone.

If your dog pooped even 10 minutes before you find it, they won't even know why they're being yelled at, likely. A dog has maybe a 10 to 20 second short term memory.

And you can forget about remorse. Numerous studies have found that sad guilty look as little to do with their actions and everything to do with the tone of your voice, the energy your throwing off.



So... there's no point in yelling.

On Saturday, Jasmine starts class. We hope to iron the issues out. But what do you do when your dog is so stubborn that the usual measures to find a routine don't seem to work?


  1. I can understand your frustration. I eat in the morning a small snack and then in the evening my regular meal. I might get a treat or two during the day. However, it is during my heaviest meals - that within 20 minutes I need to circle the wagon. So this is due to my pawrents not leaving food out all day and just giving me meal times at certain times. Same with my siblings. However.... my one pain in the hind failed foster brother (accent on the 'failed') Monkey has a problem. He will eat like everyone else and then when we are all sent outside to 'go' he spends his ENTIRE time barking at the fence sometimes at the neighbor. Other times he just sniffs around, maybe wees but no wagon circlin'... you know why? Because the little bugger saves it for when he comes inside the house. For whatever crazy reason he often waits until he is indoors to circle the wagon. At that time he goes on the pad. My pawrents have been TRYING to get rid of the pad, but funky monkey still uses it when he comes in from going out. Grrr!

    1. I've been trying to avoid breaking out the pad but I may have no choice with Jasmine. They're both so frustrating. Hope you get your situation figured out.

  2. Christie, is Jasmine doing her business in the crate or in the house? If she is properly crate trained, like Oz, she wouldn't go in the crate. If she is going in the crate, maybe something else is going on (and you should check with the vet). Is there any way you could reverse your morning routine and feed Lulu and Jasmine FIRST and then take them outside? That may work...or not. Stubborn is as stubborn does (or doesn't).

    1. Both, Oz. I don't know how that's supposed to work, but I do know she shouldn't go in her crate.

  3. We're frustrated with this right now, our housebroken dog has recently been put on steroids and now has to pee like a racehorse all the time. We're using pads temporarily and walking her outside a whole lot. As a vet these are the things I talk with my clients about most often.

    1) Reward the behavior you want (extra special treats immediately after they finish squatting outside, don't wait until they come into the house)

    2) Prevent as much as possible behavior you don't want (consider a dog walker as a temporary measure until they get on a more regular schedule, walk more frequently, use enzyme based cleaners properly)

    3) Get professional help (look for a veterinary behaviorist or completely positively based trainer - Dr. Sophia Yin has some great reading material on housebreaking in her book "Perfect Puppy in 7 days")

    4) Have patience, both of my older rescues required a couple months to get into our new routine. It can be frustrating, but worth it.

    1. Thanks. I'm gonna have to start carrying treats around.

  4. I'm sorry for your struggles. We were very blessed that both our dogs came from rescue, one even as a puppy, house broken. It made life much easier.

    I agree with the suggestions here, start with the Vet and then look for more specialized help. It is frustrating, but there is help.

  5. We currently have a mystery pooper and sometimes pee. We have narrowed it down to two of the dogs because they are the only ones with access to the room. If you can't catch them the only thing to do is clean up and look for solutions. We block off the upstairs during the day but at night we can't close the doors because of the cats. We live in a zoo =) J/K

    With Dexter, 9 month old beagle, we don't let him run around unattended. Just this weekend, I was thinking boy, it has been a long time since he peed in the house. Guess what? We had the worst Monday ever. He peed right in front of us. Now once, is on us because he asked but we thought he just wanted to go out to play. It was wet and muddy all weekend, so he would rather go out and play, than go out and do his business. It was so frustrating. Since Monday, no problems.
    One thing we did with Dexter, was wait for him to pee or poop outside, when he did we made a big deal about it and gave him a treat. It was hard to do this constantly though, if you are in a hurry to leave, you can't rush them. I wish I would have taught him a potty command. I seriously think, he has too much fun outside and forgets he is supposed to be taking care of business. There are just too many things to chase and sniff!
    Jasmine is new, right? She is probably still trying to acclimate to the new environment, people, pets, etc. You might have to take her out and wait her out until she goes. It is a pain but she will get it. In my opinion, beagles are hard to potty train. The easiest dog I ever potty trained was a lab. Hardest, beagle by far!

  6. Trust me, more people understand your pain. It takes time to find the right rhythm in the beginning but don't give up. Eventually you'll all be dancing to the same music "together"

  7. i have trained many dogs, my beagle was by far the hardest to potty train or ANYTHING train! i finally got 3 different books on training your beagle, and once i understood how they thought, everything fell into place! if your training class is not tailored to beagles, it won't work. labs, retrievers, other types of dogs are bred to follow the leader...beagles and working dogs are bred to think on their own so thats what they do! get beagles for dummies, read it and do what it says! food motivation and soft talk are what these guys need!

    1. But Lulu's not a beagle. :) She might be part hound. But she's not a beagle.

  8. Hi everyone!

    With my beagle, it was really difficult also at first. I bought training pad and everytime she did it somewhere else, directly i brought her on the pad saying at the same time ''au toilette'' which is ''bathroom'' in french. In the beginning, the pad was really close to her, and then a little bit further, further and further until i put it in front of the door. It worked perfectly well but it took a lot of patience.

    Now Sushi is great but she has a lot of energy (dah its a beagle) annnd because she is so cute and has so many crazy and funny adventures, I created a blog on her!

    You can take a look here:

    I love your blog and I wish you guys enjoy mine too :).

  9. My beagle knows that she goes outside, if I am home or she is in her cage, she can go 12- 14 hours and even ask to go out to go potty, but if I leave her out of the cage while I go to work or out .... she piddles.... I don't want to keep her in a cage all day but .... UGH... any suggestions?

    1. Hmmm... with the caveat that I'm not a trainer, I wonder if the answer is separation anxiety. How long are you away in these incidents? Is there any way to test that theory? Maybe, if you get a day off, leave her out for an hour and go away? Come back and see if she's piddled. Then try two hours, then three.

      How long would you leave her in the crate?

  10. I am a beagle and I am innocent...innocent I say...give me your cookies!


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