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DoubleTrouble

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DoubleTrouble

Hello again! I'm sorry I haven't posted more updates about our new babies over the months, but they have been crazy times (in no small part due to our new additions!).  Our two sister cairns are now about 7.5 months old. They are hilarious and adorable.  They are also wild and crazy! They are chewing up everything from shoes to furniture, and they are like the Tasmanian devil whirling around the house together wrestling. For the most part we are getting into a routine and they are doing well, but one major issue is housebreaking. We don't seem to be making any progress and I can't figure out why!!! I think we are doing what we are supposed to - they spend a ton of time in our fenced in backyard, they get treats when they go outside (and they seem to make the connection - they run to pee and watch me when they do it and run for their reward).  YET, sometimes the minute they walk back into the house they pee inside as well. It doesn't seem to be related to not being able to hold it - it's almost like they just think this is what they should be doing inside.  UGH! We definitely don't scold or punish, and we've been told to think of it as a "missed opportunity" if they go inside and we just try to reward the next time, but it's becoming harder to ignore the big puddles that have been continuing to appear for almost 6 months now - we must be doing something wrong?? We don't crate them when we are out of the house, but they do get locked in our sunroom which is a pretty small space and they seem to consider their "larger crate".. they don't have accidents in their often, so I think it's a similar idea.  We try to spray spots with the enzyme cleaner to take away the scent... but I just don't know what else to do. I am afraid if we don't get this figure out to soon we'll miss the magic window.. "old dogs don't learn new tricks?".  And until they figure this out, they can't have access to the rest of the house, so right now we are all living within gates and boundaries. HELP!!! Any ideas would be appreciated!! Thank you!! Picture included of Mabel and Brownie (how can you be mad at these cute faces!?!)

dogs.jpg

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Idaho Cairns

" We definitely don't scold or punish, and we've been told to think of it as a "missed opportunity" if they go inside "

You've been told wrong!  Of course you have to "scold" a pup that goes to the bathroom in an area that you do not wish them to go.  You can't expect a puppy to intuit what is the correct behavior in the home, you have to teach it the rules and teach them quickly and completely.  The more they go in the house the more the scent of that activity increases and the more they become comfortable with their choice of where to urinate--no cleaning solution is going to totally remove those spots.
You have to be actively involved in this matter--a firm "NO!" followed by picking the pup up and taking it outside is the only way they can make the connection between what is permitted and what is not and until you flick that mental switch in their minds, they will not change the behavior.  When it comes to potty behavior in the house, "Everyone gets a trophy!" does not work anymore for dogs than for kids.  You have to make them respect your choices and your commands or you are going to  have a miserable experience with a breed of dogs that absolutely have the intelligence to understand "right from wrong". 

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dog person

If you think what you describe could be considered frequent urination.      Urinating more often than normal.   Urinating in strange places (like on the bed).

I would ask your vet if you should bring in urine samples to rule out urinary tract infections before assuming this is behavioral.   Just in case.....

Are they drinking a lot of water?   Too little?    Things to mention to the vet.

Edited by dog person

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bradl

To Idaho's point the thing that is important about scolding is the timing. Dogs aren't going to (reliably) connect something they did a few minutes ago to something that's happening right now. So catching them in the act of having a thought about peeing inside is the time to interrupt dramatically and get them outside.

As Idaho also points out, there should be no such thing a pup going to the bathroom without you seeing the thought form and the accompanying signals given. If a pup "goes" immediately after coming into the house, you needed to be watching them 100% and hustle them right back out the process completes. If you are not literally dizzy you are not literally watching an active pup 100%. :P 

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Terrier lover

Totally agree with Idaho and Brad. We have never had an issue with house training our pups because they get taken out very very regularly ...immediately after eating , early days literally every hour during the day, lots and lots of praise when the  business is done outside and as Idaho points out a firm no when potty occurs in the house. That doesn't   mean shouting hitting etc, just a firm no and a quick trip outside with lots and lots of praise.  Also until they are reliably potty trained to go outside they never have the run of the house...we always put them in the kitchen with gates up when we are home. When you aren’t around to monitor their behaviour ie, whining and sniffing the ground, we put them back into their enclosed area (in our house that’s a small gated laundry area. Within weeks they get the message..especially if there is a treat and lots of praise for good behaviour. 

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sanford

I agree with all of the above. Also, to state the obvious, house training 2 pups is much more difficult than training one. To catch them in the act, some folks have even resorted to keeping them on a long leash, with one end tied to their waist, which of course would be out of the question with 2 pups!

P.S. Pups learn pretty quickly what a stern " No!" means, when it is used immediately to keep them from danger, eating or doing something they shouldn't, etc. 

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dog person

Bacterial urinary tract infection in dogs is often asymptomatic and is likely to be noticed by pet owners only when the animal asks to go outside more often than usual, and eventually ignoring all housebreaking training. It's a fairly common condition in all canines and generally can be treated without any issues. Here's everything you should know about it.

above is an excerpt from   https://topdogtips.com/urinary-tract-infection-in-dogs/

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Idaho Cairns
55 minutes ago, dog person said:

Bacterial urinary tract infection in dogs is often asymptomatic and is likely to be noticed by pet owners only when the animal asks to go outside more often than usual, and eventually ignoring all housebreaking training. It's a fairly common condition in all canines and generally can be treated without any issues. Here's everything you should know about it.

above is an excerpt from   https://topdogtips.com/urinary-tract-infection-in-dogs/

Why would you assume from the above description of the puppies actions that this was a urinary infection instead of a very common behavioral problem associated with house training puppies? 
I'm not inclined to believe that some medical reason is the causal factor here since the behavior is so prevalent in pups of all breeds--the pups aren't "confused" they are simply untrained about what is expected of them. 
I've gone thru this many times and solving the problem requires close monitoring of the dog(s) when inside, immediate reaction (verbal commands, rubbing noses in the mess, and taking the dog outside) corrects the unwanted behavior rather quickly.
I do agree that this training is probably much more difficult when there are two young dogs to be trained--double the work involved.

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dog person

Because I have been through it.    Assumed my dogs were marking, being behavioral, etc.

Only to find out they were in discomfort, struvite crystals, bladder stones, urinary tract infections.

I am merely suggesting that the original poster "RULE OUT" medical before assuming these issues are behavioral.

They wouldn't need a full exam just U/As  

She can ignore my advice, that's fine.    

PS: At 7.5 months they are practically adults, not puppies.   Interesting, they are not doing BMs in the house are they?  Hmm, important to tell the vet.   

Edited by dog person

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dog person
38 minutes ago, Idaho Cairns said:

Why would you assume from the above description of the puppies actions that this was a urinary infection instead of a very common behavioral problem associated with house training puppies? 
I'm not inclined to believe that some medical reason is the causal factor here since the behavior is so prevalent in pups of all breeds--the pups aren't "confused" they are simply untrained about what is expected of them. 
 

But, you are not a veterinarian and neither am I.    I believe in ruling out medical reasons for changes in behavior, appetite and  bathroom habits first before assuming behavioral.

Edited by dog person

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Idaho Cairns

I didn't see by the original post that there were any "changes in behavior".

 

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dog person

Exactly.   Do we know how long the dogs have been peeing in the house?   Do we know if the dogs had a period of time when they did not pee in the house and were considered housebroken?    And now they are not?    This would be considered a change in behavior.

Do we know when they last saw the vet?

NO.

Therefore I think it would be best for the original poster to consult with the veterinary healthcare professionals that she trusts regarding what needs to be ruled out or not.

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Terrier lover

I have also had two dogs that had uti infections. There are definitely signs especially as these two pups have obviously been peeing in the house since young pups and would have demonstrated the obvious lethargy, or inappetance or straining even blood in the urine months down the road. Meaning a uti that was weeks or months in the process would certainly show itself up as a very sick animal. If The pups both started urinating suddenly then I might wonder and have a vet check them out, and for both of them to get the same infection at the same time would be unusual. It is way more difficult to train two pups at the same time because they would rather pay attention to each other than the uprights. 

Plus I don’t consider a Cairn terrier that is 7.5 months old almost an adult. 

Edited by Terrier lover

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bradl

Me either. Others will have their own levels of tolerance, but I don't really worry about house training having "failed to take" unless we're still having frequent issues at two years (maybe four :w00t: ).

I also, personally, consider it more of a habit, like eating smartly or exercising, than I consider it a fixed learning event like learning to tie ones shoes.  Some dogs never seem to backslide (so far at almost 9 Dundee has been amazingly solid ... no doubt I will regret jinxing this :P) while others are more, uh, variable in their dedication to bathroom routines. 

As always, your mileage may vary.

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pkcrossley

Agree with all the posts. There are long, long threads on the site on this problem --cairns have a bit of a reputation in the house-breaking line. I think we have tended to say of a poorly house-trained dog: start from step 1. rule out medical issues. then pretend the dog has never been trained, and start over. a lot of people like crate training, sounds like these two characters might be good candidates. some dogs (any breed, but this has been commented on in cairns) never get to 100%. there are pretty pants, and you can make a safe room for them (laundry rooms usually work) for when you are out. 

dogs learn fast that going outside is permitted. it takes a bit longer to figure out that going inside is not permitted. 

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dog person

Well, if they are old enough to reproduce I consider them to be adults.

"The age at which dogs reach sexual maturity depends to a large extent on their breed. Small breeds tend to mature faster than large breeds. On average, however, males become fertile after six months of age and reach full sexual maturity by 12 to 15 months. Healthy stud dogs may remain sexually active and fertile to old age. Adult males are able to mate at any time."

"Bitches have their first estrus (also know as season or heat) after six months of age, although it can occur as late as 18 months to two years of age. Estrus recurs at intervals of approximately six months until late in life. During estrus, the female is fertile and will accept a male. The bitch should not be bred during her first season."

"The bitch’s cycle is divided into four periods."

above is an excerpt from https://www.akc.org/breeder-programs/breeder-education/akcs-guide-responsible-dog-breeding/

Edited by dog person

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Kathryn

Dog person -- I guess by your definition human females would be "adult" at about 11-12 these days...and I don't think they are.  I look at dogs the same way -- takes more than sexual maturity to be considered an adult.  I do hold with lots of folks here who think that, by the age of 2, most cairns have settled in and could be considered adults.  Those trying "teenage" years seem to last with these dogs...

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dog person

Humans and canines are two different species.  No comparison.

Not my definition, just going by what the veterinary professionals say.

Check with your own vet, see what he says.  The more opinions the better.

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Kathryn

I think the point I was trying to make, dog person, is that sexual maturity is only one characteristic of adulthood. And I think if I were to ask my vet at what point I could consider my dog an "adult," she would also consider more than sexual maturity in her answer. 

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Idaho Cairns

" I believe in ruling out medical reasons for changes in behavior, appetite and  bathroom habits first before assuming behavioral."
My experience with Cairn pups AND  my checking account balance leads me to reverse your approach.

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DoubleTrouble

Thank you all for your responses - these are very helpful!! It sounds like the trainer we spoke to gave us poor advice.  We are definitely having good luck getting them to do their business outside, so that's not an issue, but we just can't get them to stop going inside! So maybe it's that we haven't been stern enough about it.  My question here though - what if you catch them in the act, scoop them up and take them outside, but they've already relieved themselves... do you just stand there and hang out, or are you waiting for them to go again? Mine typically have finished when we've tried this and I feel like they just look at my in confusion - why are we standing outside?? It's also good to hear that there is variability in how long this takes- and that it is harder with two. I don't mind this so much (don't get me wrong, I want them to be trained!), but I am just so worried they will never get there! We've been trying for months.  So your comments and stories are very helpful. We'll give this another try and let you know how it goes. THANK YOU!!!

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Idaho Cairns

Not to worry, they will "get there" if you are persistent with "No!", "No Potty!", and "Bad Dog" while scooping them up and taking them outside immediately and if they go outside, making a big show of approval, pets, hugs, much verbal praise--lots of "good dog!", hand clapping, dancing, over the top reinforcement of their doing the right thing.  Your neighbors will think you have lost your mind but it will work.  The pups will quickly make the connection between what and where is bad and what and where is good. 
Clearly you are probably not going to get all the instances of going inside--you can't spend every moment monitoring their inside behavior but you can get enough to make both the negative and positive reinforcement effective.  Further, the more you monitor their inside actions you will begin to recognize when they are about to make their potty moves and head them off before they err.
Usually it won't take long before you and the dogs are working in harmony with each other on this matter and the really good part is when they begin to recognize the importance and finality of the "No!" command--that command, which I believe is the most important and first command a pup should  learn from it's master is critical to having human control.  "Sit", "Stay", "Come", etc. are all way back secondary to the critical "NO!" command.
Finally, try as hard as you can to identify where they have gone in the house and to the extent you can clean the area and deodorize it as completely as possible. 
Extra time and effort taken now will guarantee you years of pleasant ownership of this intelligent and generally wonderful breed of dog.  Don't let them fool you--they are smart as tacks and it doesn't take them long to make the kind of connections necessary to get things sorted out successfully.
Let us know how it goes.
 

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sanford

Hang in there, DoubleTrouble! I've been on this forum for a good number of years and your problem is probably the no. 1 concern of new cairn parents. One bit of advice I picked up is that you will probably have to use the word "No" so often, that the pup will begin to think that is its name! I've also heard it said that as a breed, cairns can be "slow to mature"... Not exactly a tactful description, but certainly groan-worthy, if true.☹️

As an aside, I remember telling the parents of 2 high-energy (human) kids that I could never be a good parent because I could never say "no" to 2 such adorable toddlers. The folks looked at each other ruefully and said... "Oh, you learn to say "no" very quickly"! I guess the same thing applies to our cairns.😀

Edited by sanford

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Hillscreek

Just read thru this and agree with most of it. In my doggy experience Angus was the slowest of any pup of various breeds I've owned to become reliable in the house. Even slower than my jrts and way behind my retriever pups. I learned to do what others above have said.: restrict to small fenced area in the house. Crated when I left the house, taken out a zillion (or so it seemed!) times a day. Firm 'no' if accident inside and hurry outside. Stand around and give command eg go potty, do business or whatever. I said this so often he eventually learned to go on command which was great as we travelled quite a bit. Always on leash outside for bathroom time. Reward with praise but not food.

Some breeds seem slower to get control over the sphincter muscles, some seem to have smaller bladders ........

He was six months old before being pretty much trained. I still did not let him out of my sight - of course for many, many reasons besides bathroom business as I'm sure you can guess. Sometimes let him free near me in a restricted area with his leash attached and trailing. Catch a pup quicker that way!

It will take a while double trouble but you will get there. As sanford says this about the number one question cairn pup owners have. Many many comments and questions - you are definitely not alone.

It might be double trouble now but later it will be double the fun ...........hang in there:)

 

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