Potty Training An Indoor 3-Year Old Cocker Spaniel
It Wasn't Me - Honestly!
We adopted a 3-year old female cocker spaniel from the cocker rescue in Austin, Texas. The original owners returned the dog as an owner surrender because of an inability to potty train the dog for about 1 year.
Foster parents did not comment on this area.
The cocker is not abused and has a wonderful temperament.
We have had her for about three weeks and her indoor habits vary with no definite regularity for both pee and poo.
She has been checked by our vet and passed the exam. She is an indoor dog and enjoys our walks three times a day.
What things have worked for you to begin to manage the problem?
Reply from Pauline (Web Owner)
I'm sorry to hear about your little problem with your rescue dog but I'm confident that you'll have it remedied very soon.
You've had her checked out by the vet so you know she's otherwise healthy!
One thing that may be causing your cocker's irregular toilet breaks could be the upset and 'trauma' of moving into her new home and having a new family. This will obviously settle down once she becomes more familiar with her new environment and her new family.
Her problems may also be caused by a change in diet, if there's been one.
I think it's probably early days yet, but I believe that once she settles down to a regular feeding program, twice each day, and regular walks to stimulate her bowels, her toilet patterns will develop and get back to normal.
In the meanwhile, let's get started with the potty training.
I'm not sure whether she's ever been fully house-trained, but I would recommend you begin all over again.
The trick is to see the signs that she's about to poop or pee and stop her in her tracks by giving her the 'No' command, in a firm voice. Don't shout as that could frighten her. The firm command will probably have the effect of startling her into stopping in mid-stream.
Take her outside immediately to the area you have designated for her toilet and allow her to continue. When she's finished, praise her profusely and offer her a treat.
She will learn that one type of behaviour gets your disapproval and another gets lots of praise and even a treat!
I am assuming that you are using a pet urine cleaner to clean up after her. If you're not, although it will look and smell clean to us humans, your Cocker will be able to smell where she's been which may encourage her to go there again - it's a never ending cycle unless you can remove all smells. You can buy this type of cleaner at most pet stores - your vet may also sell it over the counter.
If she continues to do her toilet in your home, it's because you weren't there to stop her. (We can't always be around though, can we?)
However, until she's fully house-trained, it's important for you to be around to catch her in the act so that she understands what you want from her. If you scold her after she's done the deed, she won't link the two together so she won't understand what she's done wrong.