I'm sorry to highjack your post but I need advice badly and I haven't been able to figure out how to start a new thread. Can someone help me?
Oliver is 2 years old this month. He still isn't house trained. There were periods of time where he would be good for almost a month and then I would find a dried up potty. He knows as soon as I look at it that he is responsible as he runs out the doggie door an hides. I have always been fairly gentle with him about this, but after 2 years I will have to admit to raising my voice. He is such a delicate and sensitive dog. As a puppy he was friendly and outgoing with people and dogs. That changed at about 1 year when he became very shy around anyone but me and very aggressive with other dogs. I have a 9 month old cocker spaniel and they are the best of buddies...playing and rough housing all day. I walk them 2 to 4 miles daily, and as mentioned he has a doggie door that is accessible at all times. I've tried everything I can think of....tying his leash to me for about a month, enclosing him in a doggie playpen, putting a gate up in the kitchen so he can't access the rest of the house. Nothing has worked, and he is peeing more often...several times a day. He's great at picking spots where I can't see it on the wood floors. Most of the time I don't find it until it's dried up. I never catch him in the act. He never poops, but I can't stand this much longer. He won't come near me unless I'm in bed because I have groomed him while on the couch, and I NEVER hurt him, but he won't be a lap dog for anything. I need to say I have had 12 dogs in my life....all housebroken within 2 weeks. But I never have had a Havenese, and wouldn't do this again for anything. I love him dearly and I'm afraid to find him another home because he may get abused. Can anyone help me? I really am desperate! Oh, he eats Science Diet small bites but also gets some of his brothers puppy food every day. I also add a little canned meat to his dry food. My back yard is getting badly burned and I can't figure out what to do as I thought only female dogs did that. So, Please help me figure out how to post, how to fix my dog, how to fix my yard and if you are really kind you can help me figure out my love life!!!
First, yelling at a dog, or even "raising your voice", or even "DISCUSSING" an accident after the fact is TOTALLY USELESS. Your dog does not "know he's responsible". He only knows that when ever you see pee on the floor, you get angry, so he is throwing calming signals. The only time it EVER makes sense to (even verbally) correct a dog for eliminating in the house is if you can CATCH HIM IN THE ACT.
I'm sorry, but the reason your dog is still having accidents at 2 years of age is that you haven't trained him. You've let him have at least as much experience going wherever he wants as he has had going where YOU want. Simply tying him to your waist for a month after two years of going anywhere he wants is simply not going to get the job done. As far as I'm concerned, dog doors are great for trained dogs. They make it easier for the humans, and the dogs like them. If we had a fenced yard, I'd put one in in a minute!!! But they are NOT a potty training tool!!! Dogs do NOT learn where they are supposed to go, and more importantly, where they are NOT supposed to go just because there is a dog door available to them.
The only way you will get this dog trained is to go back to the beginning, and do what should have been done when he was a small puppy. He will need to be confined to a small space unless he can be CLOSELY supervised. "Close supervision" means EYES ON HIM every single second
!!! If you can't do that, he needs to be back in either a crate or an ex-pen. Then you need to TAKE him outside (not let him out through a dog door) and stay there with him
to make sure he pees or poops. If he does, have a huge "party" give him a TON of treat, presented one at a time, then he gets to come in and enjoy some SUPERVISED freedom. If he doesn't go, he goes back into the crate or ex-pen, and you try again in an hour. (you'd use a shorter time for a young puppy, but an adult dog should be able to hold it for an hour) As he shows that he can stay accident free in a small space, enlarge the space, either to the entire kitchen, or a larger ex-penned area with an easy to clean floor. SLOWLY increase the area you trust him in. If he makes a mistake, it is YOUR fault... don't get mad at him. Simply go back to the next smaller space where he was successful for a while. (in his case, several weeks)
We're not talking days or weeks to solve this problem... with a dog who has been allowed to eliminate where ever he wants for two years, progress toward freedom needs to be VERY slow. Err on the side of caution. The goal is NO accidents EVER, from now on! This is going to be harder, and take longer than training a puppy, because you are not just establishing GOOD habits, but trying to eradicate BAD habits that are firmly entrenched by now.
As far as the problems with socialization are concerned, all puppies are friendly, and people who want their dogs to remain outgoing and friendly as adults need to WORK at it, ESPECIALLY through adolescence. Obviously, you are far past the sensitive period for socialization, where work on these issues is the easiest. At this point, if you want your dog to respond more positively to strangers and other dogs, you are probably going to have to work with a trainer who is well versed in dealing with reactive dogs if you want to solve this part of the problem. It will be long slow work, and you may never have a dog who is TOTALLY comfortable with other people and dogs, but you should be able to get to the point that you don't have to worry about aggression, IF you are willing to work diligently on it.
As far as not coming near you, it's not just the grooming that is an issue here. YOU have to work hard to develop a better relationship between the two of you... through play, treats and training. Remember, we're the ones with the bigger brains. It's up to us to figure out what our dogs are trying to tell us. Working on tricks together is a great way to do something fun with your dog. Take a class! You will both enjoy it! Some dogs, even our "velcro" Havanese, are just not "lap dogs". Each one is an individual, and you need to accept and love him for who he is. But you can certainly establish a close loving relationship with your dog if you are willing to work at it. If you want to read a really touching story about what can be done, even with a very damaged dog, take a look at this thread:
New Havanese owner needs reassurance
You don't have to read the whole thing... just read the first couple of pages and the last couple of pages. (though I bet you'll want to read the whole thing.
As far as the grass is concerned, I can't help you there. Science Diet isn't a very good quality food, so I don't know whether that is part of the problem. But it's just not a problem I see in our yard. (OTOH, with 5+ acres, things are pretty spread out here) Sorry! Maybe someone else will have something to add on that front.
It may sound like I am picking on you, but I truly want to see you develop a better relationship with a dog that I suspect is a wonderful little guy, but is clearly badly misunderstood. Havanese are no harder than any other breed to train. In fact, the trainer I work with is constantly remarking on how fast Kodi learns. BUT - They need to be TAUGHT. They don't learn in a vacuum, any more than children do. If you aren't capable of embarking on a REALLY rigorous retraining program for your little man, I strong urge you to consider surrendering him to Havanese Rescue, where there are experienced Havanese foster homes that will be able to address his training needs and get him ready for a forever home. He would CERTAINLY not be abused in any way in Havanese Rescue!!!