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Dogs marking territory in back bedroom..?

I don't know if you remember me, but I was the one who adopted the little Setter mix about two weeks ago (Ranger). Ranger has adapted REALLY well, had no accidents, and he and our old dog Blackie have been adjusting really well.

Until yesterday.

I came home last night after work to find that BOTH dogs had pooped in the back bedroom. Blackie knows better and hasn't had an accident in the house in YEARS (and even then, 95% of all his accidents were illness-related). Since he knows better, I figured it was a territorial thing... Ranger poops, and Blackie goes, "Oh no. That's MY room." and poops in retaliation maybe?

So I pick it up and clean the carpet, and while I'm in the shower later, Ranger poops back there AGAIN. Again, pick up and clean, this time closing the door. No problems until DH gets home and without my knowledge opens that door.... and Ranger poops time #3 back there.

We never actually caught him in the act, so there wasn't anything we could do to  discourage it. And I've never owned two dogs before, so I'm not totally sure how to react to this, and more importantly, how to fix this. So any thoughts would be appreciated!

For the record, the dogs have limited roaming space in the house today. We don't crate them, though we have one for Ranger in case we need it. 

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Re: Dogs marking territory in back bedroom..?

  • Why not crate them?
  • I've always preferred to not crate my dogs. Just personal preference. I would rather use baby gates if necessary and confine them to the kitchen or something.

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  • It sounds like Ranger may not be fully housetrained.  The easiest way to accomplish that is to crate him when you're not there and can't watch him because the more times he is able to go in the house, the harder it will be to break him of it. 

    Also be sure that you are cleaning up after the accidents with an enzymatic cleaner like Nature's Miracle.  Other cleaners allow the dog to still smell where he went, making him think it's ok to go there again. 

  • Ditto PPs, and definitely keep that bedroom off limits when you're not rightthere to supervise. Even keeping him gated to 1 or 2 specific rooms for a couple of weeks until he's "earned" more roaming space might not be a bad idea.

    More frequent trips outside to poop might be in order, too, to make sure he simply doesn't have it in him to want to go indoors. Getting him moving outside for 10-15 minutes should get the urge sparked; Zoey almost inevitably poops within a few houses of starting to walk if she hasn't just gone beforehand.

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  • Before we had a crate for our lab, Jasper, we would put him in our bedroom (where he sleeps) with lots of toys, food, water, etc. when we went to work or left for any reason. He had some potty problems and would poo in the house, even if we were only gone to the grocery store for 15 minutes he would panic and go in the house.

    We also got him on a "poop" schedule. We took him out at the same times every day (at least three) and wouldn't come back inside until he went, which helped. We worked the times around our work schedules as we can't come home once we get to work.

    Eventually he would know when it was potty time and we were able to see the "signs" of when he needed to go. We also wouldn't allow him access to the spot he liked to poop in - even though we used the enzyme cleaners, he would still go there (he's a super sniffer!)

    Recently, we switched to a higher quality of food - which is already helping after only a day or two.

    I was always opposed to crating pets as well, until we got Jasper. It was the only solution we had to keep him from ruining our carpet. It's not as bad as I thought it would be. He sleeps the entire time once we leave, which he does outside of the crate anyway. The hardest part for me is/was once he is in the crate and you are still home he wines, etc.

    You can always "re-potty train". Start from scratch.

  • This may be an adjustment thing even though you've had him for 2 weeks.  It can take some time for the dog to get comfortable, and then behaviors can start showing up.  For example, Skippy was pretty quiet at first, but once he got comfortable, he became much more vocal.  It could also simply be that he is not 100% housebroken.

    I would also recommend crate training or gating him into one small room (perhaps the kitchen or a room with hardwood rather than carpet) and going back to potty traning 101.  Take him out often, and when you are in the house, either crate him, tether him to you, baby gate him in a small space, or plan to watch him like a hawk (tethering makes this easier).  The more times he potties in the house, the harder it can be to break him of the habit.

    It's also common for the resident dog to regress a bit when the new dog comes in, which may explain Blackie's accident.  My IL's dog is 100% housebroken, but when we took our two dogs to visit, she pooped on the floor, probably due to the stress of new dogs in the house.  I would just step back and be consistent with their training (house training, crate training, NILIF, etc.).

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