Help save an adorable little puppy from a grisly bloody death

Because I am just about ready to send him to one.

We have a Jack Russell puppy, about six months old now, mostly purebred, possibly with a bit of other stuff thrown in, and we’re having housebreaking issues. I know, I know, that’s normal, but just let me explain. Here is what he looked like back in January.

We’re doing pretty well with the going outside thing - he’ll usually go when we take him out, although it’s not nearly 100%. I think he’s about where we could expect him to be as far as that goes. The problem is that he doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with going inside, and in recent weeks, it has become clear that this is mostly psychological.

The other day we had to go somewhere and leave him alone for a little bit. We took him out first, and went out to the car. I remembered something I’d forgotten and went right back inside - huge puddle in the entry. This has been happening more and more lately. He’s got some sort of separation issue big time. Any time we’re not in the same room with him, he lets loose with both barrels. Don’t think he’s neglected, either. He’s not. There’s someone home with him nearly all the time.

And now, it’s beginning to almost seem like an attention-getting mechanism. He has a certain run he does when he knows he’s doing something wrong and he wants us to come chase him (like when he snags a sock from the laundry), and he just now did it after covering half of my stepson’s bedroom floor. We literally finished playing with him and came into our bedroom and were in here for less than five minutes when he did it.

Now, I have researched this, and everyone says kennel training kennel training kennel training. We started well with this back when we first got him, but kind of gave up once he started pooping all over his kennel, which everyone promised he’d never do. We’ve started back up with it, and we’re making good progress, but he’s still much much happier when he can see us than when we’re gone. But even when we get him fully trained to the kennel, we simply can’t lock him up every time we need to go into the next room for five minutes.

With warmer weather coming, we can chain him up outside when we need to leave (he has a 20 foot chain that can slide on a 175 foot line, so he has plenty of room to play), but even then, he’s only happy if the door is cracked open and he can see one of us sitting at the table. If that’s the case, he’ll entertain himself nicely. If not, he’ll practically kill himself trying to get to the door.

First thought about the crate training: He should have just enough room to turn around and lie down, and that’s it. I’m going to guess that the reason you’re having more progress now is that he’s grown some and takes up more space in the crate?

Also, do you have him on a set feeding schedule? It’s easier to control his potty habits if you control input as well as output. I will also assume that you go outside with him for potty time and praise, praise, praise when he goes outside.

I have no experience with separation anxiety; hopefully someone more knowledgeable will be along soon.

Yep, yep, and yep.

He is 6 months old fer chrissakes. Not to be blunt, but you tie him up, when he is a very active breed, when you are just inside, he is still a little baby, you are not clear on if you have a set schedule or not for eating, sleeping, and potty time, he has no safe place like a crate to call his own, and clearly you are stressed out - I can see it from here, what you you think he sees?

My own border terrier just turned 1, we got her at 8 weeks, I was taking her out probably every 90 minutes at first, she always had a crate (our older Jack/Chihuahua mix had to start in the crate at the same time!) and still it was not until recently that I would say she is mature enough to not go in the house. Even then, the fact that spring has come and so the patio door is always open to the yard is a factor, plus they have 3 specific walks every day at least around the block.

You need patience, more playing time with him, and you probably need to run him at least every 2 or three days until he is pooped, and get him on a predictable schedule, then he will be ready in another 6 months.

My nephew and his wife breed them. From everything I’ve been told, they are a really, really challenging breed. They are very active and intelligent, and if you don’t provide them with mental and physical stimulation, they WILL find outlets for their energies.

Personally, I’d look into getting a professional dog trainer’s advice, because this little guy is trying to be Alpha Dog in your household, and he’s doing a pretty good job of it.

We have rarely tied him up, and so far only when we’re out there to play with him. He’s getting lots of attention and exercise, and he is on a schedule. He’s taking to his crate more and more now. He’s asleep in it now, in fact.

Just to add, as I said in my OP, I think overall we’re about where we should be with housetraining. I don’t expect him to be perfect at this stage. It’s this emotional peeing we’re having trouble figuring out how to deal with. It’s definitely not a matter of physical control - he’s deliberately doing it for some reason. We’re trying to figure out why it’s happening and how to fix it. If my OP was a little hyperbolic, well, it’s been a hell of a day. We all have days like that.

My dalmatian has a separation anxiety problem. When I first got him, I’d leave the house, come back an hour later, and he’d have destroyed everything, peed everywhere, chewed up the furniture, etc. The solution is ongoing behavior therapy. We started out by paying plenty of attention to him while we were home, but not so much that he couldn’t entertain himself with his own toys. If we had to leave, he got shut up in an isolated, doggy proof room with lots of toys and hidden treats and a radio/tv playing to make noise. This helped somewhat. Later, as he got better, we expanded his territory when we left the house–say, the kitchen and laundry room, then kitchen, laundry, dining room. He adjusted pretty quickly, although we’d still come home once in a while to find that he’d eaten a 24 pack of toilet paper. Looked like it had snowed all over the house. My neighbors told me that when I left he would cry and cry and cry–she walked her dog past my house, and she said some days she’d stop and sit on the porch and talk to him through the door. Poor thingy. He’s gradually gotten better, especially now that we’ve set down a good routine. He knows which toys are his, and what time I leave, what time I come back, what time we eat, what time we walk, etc. My vet recently prescribed him a low dose of prozac, which has made a huge difference. That and he’s gotten older–he’s 5 now. We’ve also done crate training, clicker training, and he knows some signed commands. Once in a while I still come home to find that he’s turned over my herb garden or eaten a roll of paper towels, but it’s a rarity. Good luck!

It is not deliberate. He is not developed enough, either physically or cognitively, to be perfect at that age.


If he is peeing in the house, then you, being the adult human, need to set up a stricter routine, and learn to recognize the signs that he has to go when he is not on your schedule yet.

Which will be often, but will decrease over time.

You need to learn his signs as much as he needs to show them to you. You will learn to communicate with each other eventually.

You wouldn’t expect a baby to tell you when he needs to pee at 6 months, or to not need diapers to keep from peeing all over the house. Why would you expect the dog to?

BTW, it may have gone unnoticed upthread, but someone mentioned the size of the crate, and that matters. If it is bigger then for him to stand up and turn around in, it is too big. Create a little barrier inside to make it smaller. And make it a very comfortable bed, completely covered in blankets or whatever so he knows that is his “space”. Dogs are den animals, and they won’t pee there if it is the right size. Watch him closely while in the crate, that is where he will try to find a way to communicate it is time to go.

Never scold him for peeing in the house - he tried to let you know, you missed the signal.

And I repeat what I said about running that particular breed - Jacks need to move around, a lot! they are not for everybody for that reason alone! when was the last time he was run to the point of exhaustion?

Everything that** not_alice** said and then some. This is not an emotional thing and this not an alpha thing, it is a six month dog who doesn’t have control of his bladder yet thing.

Think about what you said:

So you got your puppy all excited with play time and then did you make sure to wait until he had gone to take him back inside or take him outside to go if you were playing inside?

6 month old excited puppies are going to pee. Period. They may not go while you’re playing with them (other things to think about) but after you stop, then they’re going to realize they need to go. It’s your job to anticipate that. After you stop playing with him, take him outside to go. If you’re outside, when playtime is over, wait until he goes.

Honestly, if this were me, after playtime, I would try and wait until the puppy went at least twice before going inside.

You should also associate a cue word with going. Dogs like structure. This gives a dog structure. Use a command word or phase that will only be associated with going to the bathroom.

When you take the dog, use your phrase, whatever it is “Do your stuff” etc., dog goes, huge amount of praise and a treat. Repeat until it sinks in.

And this

If the dog has enough in him to leave a huge puddle then you haven’t allowed the dog to go enough. Think about it, urine doesn’t form miraculously whenever you’re about to leave.

Also, when you’re leaving or coming back after leaving the puppy all by himself, how do you behave?

Do you get all excited and by extension, do you get him all excited? If so, don’t. Make your exits and entries as low key as possible. Ignore your puppy until he calms down and then you can pay attention to him.

This teaches him two things. First, you leaving him is no big deal and two, calm dogs get attention not excited dogs.

And chaining dogs is a bad idea, no matter how much room you give them. Dogs don’t play by themselves when left alone. He entertains himself when the door is open because he can see you or someone else and he’s trying to get your attention. Close the door and he wants inside because that’s where the action is.

Not to mention, Jack Russells need a lot more than running around on a 175 foot line. They need mental and physical exercise on a par with something like a border collie.

Good advice from valleyofthedolls and not_alice.

Basic housetraining wisdom is that a well exercised puppy who’s recently been taken out can hold his bladder for his age plus one hour. So your guy should physically be able to hold it for 7 hours. But! That’s if he’s really empty before being asked to hold it and if he’s confined properly. Crating is a fantastic way to housetrain your dog, I’m glad you’re having more success with it the second time around. Putting absorbent bedding in there might not be the best idea, though, if the crate is large enough he can pee on it and kick it away.

When you take him out, are you going out with him? Are you taking him to a specific spot where you want him to elminate? If not, it will help if you do. Going out with him ensures that he’s really going, if you let him out into the yard or put him on his tether alone (not a great idea, though, dogs can easily get tangled in their tethers) and assume he’ll go if he needs to you might be letting an unrelieved dog back into the house. Giving him a “potty spot” makes things more consistent for him. As valleyofthedolls said, praise and treat when he elminates in the proper spot.

When you take him out, give him 5 minutes to pee, then another 5 to pee again. Puppies often don’t empty on the first try. If he doesn’t go within 5 minutes, take him back in and take him back out in 15 minutes. During those 15 minutes he needs to be in his crate, tethered to you, or in a small area where you can watch him closely. Sniffing around or circling means he has to go, scoop him up and get him to his potty spot!

Puppy has to go out to pee immediately after: eating or drinking, playing, getting up from resting, and waking up for the day. When you’re gone, he needs to be crated. How much freedom does he have right now? Is he allowed the run of the hosue when you’re gone?

I never understood this with dogs since they’re a hierarchical animal. We had a dog when I was a kid and went from paper training to trained in a month. Nose in poo, yell no, gently whack on head with rolled up newspaper to make scary noise. Take dog and papers outside, giver praise for doing a good job. Done.

Because unless you catch the dog pooing in the house and interrupt him he’s going to have no idea why you’re punishing him. He has to poop so he does, then an hour later you come home and shove his nose in it he thinks “why on earth is this crazy person shoving my nose in poop and smacking me!?”. Dogs do not know that going to the bathroom in the house is “bad”. Although if you whack them with a newspaper every time you come home and find it they may start being frightened of your arrival home and slink away when you come in the door, making it seem that they “know they’ve done something wrong”.

OK, lets review the facts, my dog was trained in a month, dog in question is still not trained after 3 months. It’s not doggy rocket science for them to associate the word NO with a visit to the scene of the crime. Everybody I know did it that way when we were kids and none of us needed a doggy psychiatrist.

Your conjecture that dogs will fear their master’s return is unfounded because the dog isn’t being punished, it’s being taught. I suppose if you hit it with a baseball bat I would agree with you. If I was doing it today I would use an empty 2 liter soda bottle because they make a lovely thumping sound with little effort.

I am reading this thread with interest because I have a similar problem. Well, I thought I did but it seems this puppy’s problem is being attributed to age. Mine is three so there goes that theory.

Maxwell has a doggy door so it isn’t even like he has to hold anything. This only happens when we leave and he goes around “marking” with a little squirt of pee here and there when we leave him too long. He holds his pee all night and never pees in the house when he isn’t alone. Each morning he gets up and goes right out on his own. If he has to go and we are home, I hear him going out and coming back. We don’t have this problem with our other dog who is a year younger.

I don’t know what his deal is but it is making us crazy. Unfortunately, he can’t be put in a crate which would be the best solution. He has collapse trachea and when we tried to crate train him he would get so upset and have attacks and pass out. Not an option.

So I will keep reading and if anyone thinks this might be a separation thing and has a solution, I am all ears too.

But it works every bit as well if you completely omit the punishment part. No smacking, no nose-rubbing, no scolding.

If all you do is take him out and praise him when he goes, it’ll work just as fast. If he messes in the house, dab a paper towel in it to hold the smell, take him and the towel outside, put towel in grass, place him in front of towel, and praise him. No scolding needed.

Since it works just as well and avoids your dog forming a negative association with you, there’s no need for you to do it, is there?

The above advice is for general potty training, not separation anxiety, by the way.

Is your dog neutered?

I have 7 Jack russells, yep 7.

After 2 years the boys will occasionly slip and pee in the house, the girls never do and we have 3 doggie doors. What not-alice said and others are right. Jacks are highly intelligent but extremly active, you need tons of patience and give him to me(or someone else) before you grind him up please. If you keep him you will have a very loyal dog that would die for you.

Having his nose shoved in feces and being whapped on the head isn’t punishment? :confused:

Sailboat gave a great answer, I can’t add much to that!

I say again, what I’m suggesting is not punishment. Pointing a dog’s nose at the evidence isn’t punishment for an animal that licks it’s ass in between doggie kisses with it’s owner. And the bonking I’m talking about is also not punishment, it’s noise and vibration. It reinforces the word NO.

It’s a package deal: “NO, BAD DOG” is backed by visual reference as well as smell, sound, and vibration.

Training involves getting the dog to do what YOU want and that involves becoming the ALPHA dog.