Dog Help Needed (Please!)

So we have a three year old pug named Wilco. Since we live in an apartment, we originally trained Wilco to use puppy pads and we also took him outside occasionally. We were basically too lazy to take him out regularly and used the pads as a crutch.

Things were good except that he’d miss his pad half the time (or he’d pee so much that it would flow off of the pad before it could be absorbed) causing an annoying amount of cleanup. This past spring, we decided to stop being lazy and do away w/ the pads completely. We now take him out every time he has to go. Usually first thing in the morning, first thing when we get home from work and then right before bed late at night. Again, everything was going well.

A few weeks back, Wilco started having weird accidents. We wouldn’t see it happen but we’d discover these pee trails all over the apartment (thankfully we have hardwood floors). It was as if his pee released for some reason and he ran around the place freaked out, causing quite the mess. Sometimes this would happen not long after we’d already taken him out, which we thought was odd. We chalked it up to him getting excited over something and losing control.

More recently however, he’s decided to just go ahead and go wherever and whenever he pleases. We still take him out on schedule but if he decides he has to go NOW and we’re in the bathroom or taking a shower - he’ll just go on the floor. This morning he went on our living room rug (discovered that the fun way) and two nights ago he created a massive puddle in our hallway.

Basically, it seems that when he has to go - he doesn’t feel the need to hold it until we can take him out. Unfortunately, we never catch him in the act and since you can’t really scold a dog for something that’s already happened; we’re not sure what to do.

He has a crate which we’ve begun using more to keep him locked up while we’re out. But sometimes this happens when we’re in the kitchen cooking or doing something else in the house. He decides he has to go, and goes.

What can we do? Should I put pads back out and start over? I’m not in love w/ that idea because he needs to re-learn that it’s not ok to go in the house. Do we just need to take him out more often? That doesn’t really fix the real problem either does it? Anyone have some advice on how to retrain our pug.

I should note that as far as animals go, and even as far as pugs go, he’s not that bright. You know how they say that you can test a dog’s intelligence by throwing a blanket on him and seeing how long it takes them to get out? Well, he doesn’t usually find his way out.

Do you make a big freaking deal about it when he goes outside? I mean, like throw a giant party with treats deal, plus cue word (we use “go potty”, which means you better not say that word for any other purpose.) I don’t know if it would fix your issue, but it’s made Captain a very efficient business-doer.

Also, you should take him to the vet to make sure there’s nothing wrong, like a UTI that would cause painful urination.

Do you really only take him out three times a day? I’m not familiar with this being the norm for dogs, but I could be off. I have a fenced-in backyard and my dog (although older and larger) goes out about 8 times a day.

Does your dog graze at his food or does he have normal feeding times? Mine eats 3 times a day, and goes out after each feeding time without fail. You definitely need to get him outside every time he eats.

Seems to me that you really need to go out with him more if he is needing to pee more. If you try that and he’s still peeing more than usual, do have him checked out by a vet. Like humans, excessive urination is a sign of diabetes!

Take him to the vet ASAP to rule out any physical causes.

Will definitely take him to the vet to rule out medical issues.

The three times a day has always worked well w/ him because he doesn’t really do anything while we’re gone except sleep (we assume, since when we had him using pads they would be spotless when we got home, and then he’d go a LOT. He also doesn’t eat much or drink much in the AM. He tends to eat a couple of times at night. He doesn’t graze, he’ll usually eat all of his food at once.

I should also mention that it’s not just urination that’s a problem. Recently (same time the urination problem started), he will poop on the floor if we wait too long to take him out in the morning. And by too long, I mean that I made him wait ten extra minutes while I took my shower. Instead of holding it until he could get outside, he just took a dump in the hallway.

First off, take him to the vet, because it might have all started with a UTI. Or he might be diabetic, or drinking more than usual because of some other condition. You should rule all of that out first.

Also, although this probably isn’t the main cause of this, I don’t think three times per day out is anywhere near enough for a small dog. Most people pee more than 3 times per day, and his bladder is tiny. Before, he might have had enough motivation to try to hold everything, but now that he’s discovered how much nicer it is to go when you have to go… you’re pretty much screwed. I try to take my smaller dog out for at least 6 pee-breaks: first thing in the morning, after she eats breakfast, mid-day if I’m home, right after work, after her dinner, mid-evening, and right before I go to bed.

It sounds like you need to start over from scratch, and I recommend crate training. Basically you keep the dog contained in their crate (which they will usually be reluctant to foul), take them outside frequently (I would take him out every hour during the day if you want to make quick progress), praise and treat for outside elimination, and only let him loose in the house under direct supervision, and for a tested amount of time you know they won’t pee during… for puppies, usually 15 minutes, and it sounds like you can’t trust this dog very far right now either. So when you are cooking dinner, he’s crated. Don’t let him out of your sight. If he pees inside, make it clear it’s bad, but don’t go overboard.

Yeah, it’s a lot of work, but it works like a charm, usually in only a month or so when you’re retraining an older dog.

Additionally you should clean any areas that might be retaining the smell of urine with Nature’s Miracle. Since he was pad-trained he will probably continue to think it’s just dandy to piss on the carpet if it smells like pee.

Pug owner here.

I agree with those who say “take him to the vet.” First thing is to rule out any physical issues.

If he turns out to be fine, I’d say to start over with the potty training just like you’d do with a puppy. The first thing I’d do is limit food & drink. Offer him food a couple times a day, water 4-5 times (you can leave the water dish out if you can keep an eye on him so you know when he drinks). 30-60 minutes after he eats/drinks, take him out, and encourage him to go. If he goes, throw a party and make it a big deal.

In between times, you need to make sure you keep an eye on him so he doesn’t sneak off and go. If you do catch him going inside, really freak out. Get in his face. Make him understand he is a BAD DOGGIE.

I kept my puppies in a barricade next to me while I work. You don’t say what you do during the day - if you’re out of the house, consider crate training. If you’re around, keep him on a leash next to you or in a small space where you can keep an eye on him. Basically you just need to make sure you can tell when he’s about to go and swoop him up and take him outside before he piddles.

Essentially, you just don’t want to give him the opportunity to go inside because you’re always watching. Yes, it’s a hassle. But I’ll bet it’ll only take a week or two.

As far as how often pugs need to go out - 3 times a day seems doable. Big silly spoiled Golden Retrievers with kind-hearted mothers have bigger bladders & need to go out more often, I think. Ours go out in the morning, then need to go out again before about 2pm, then they’re fine until the evening when they go out again between about 7 & 9. We usually let them out more than that, because we’re around, and they like to go check out the yard and play, but on days when we’re busy, I know I won’t find any accidents if they go out on the schedule I describe above.

Heh, my big dumb Captain only goes out twice a day. If I take him out more frequently he just stands there and looks at me like I’m a moron. Twice a day he scampers down the stairs, goes poop, pees like a firehose, and then races back up like it’s a game show.

Is he castrated?

Yes, had it done when he was six months old.

Sounds like it’s back to basics w/ the potty training (as well as a trip to the Vet to make sure all the plumbing works ok.)

One weird thing that’s happened recently as well, within the last couple of months, is that he’s finally started peeing w/ a raised leg. Since he was a puppy, he’s always peed in a squat like a girl dog. A couple of months ago he began actually raising his leg on things. Is that normal development? Should he have been raising his leg from an earlier age? Just seems strange that he started doing it at nearly 3-years of age.

I’m guessing urinary tract infection, off to the vet directly!

My boy pug lifted his leg from the time he was maybe 6 or 8 months old.

I don’t know if Wilco’s development is off or not, just thought I’d let you know what mine did.

Another alternative to the crate is “umbilical training” which requires a longer lead (about 6-7 ft) and you simply attach it to yourself. No wherever you go, doggie must follow. It helps you keep an eye on doggie.

It helped us…

With the exception of oddball dogs like Captain, three times a day is too few. Large dogs should go out more often, and small dogs should go out even more frequently than that.

We do around 5 times a day, including a lunchtime trip, so they never have to go more than 4-5 hours between potty breaks, except overnight. We sometimes get waked up for a 3 am emergency as well.

Our dogs are medium-sized (34 & 57 pounds); I’d take a small dog out more than that if I could make myself. :slight_smile:

How have you been reacting to the messes you find? Has there been negative reinforcement (punishment?) How are you showing him what you really want him to do? He is looking to you for leadership in this, as in all things.

I guess it’s individual. My 80-lb dog only really needs to go twice or 3 times daily. But I really have to keep an eye on my little dog.

Honestly, I don’t bother punishing him or getting mad at him when I discover the mess because he’s not going to have any idea why I’m upset. I’ve always heard that you can’t really yell at a dog about something unless you catch them in teh act, since they don’t have a very good memory and won’t know why they’re in trouble. Should I go ahead and act displeased and punish him anyway?

I do praise him a lot when he goes outside, but I’m going to double my efforts there and include treats.

This is the point of “umbilical” or “short-leash” training. They cannot do it out of your sight because whenever they are out of their crate they are physically attached to you.

Frankly, it sounds to me that he isn’t house trained. Try this book. You can get a used one for less than a buck.

My apartment dog solely uses pads as her area of relief we had the same problems you had - overflowing or missing the pads, until we put black garbage bags under the pads. They catch any runoff in case she misses, but more importantly it seemed to provide her more visual contrast between the pad and the floor/bag (white pads on black bags) and as a result she hardly ever misses anymore.

Oh man, I don’t know if I agree with this. I would HATE to have my dog following my every move. They get in the way enough as it is. What if you have to go to the bathroom?