I know this is kind of lengthy, but I want to get all the facts out there in case there's something I'm missing
Almost one week ago my wife and I adopted a 10 week old female boston terrier from a breeder. Her first day here was good, and at night she slept on the couch with me (I know a box on the floor would be better... but I was afraid I wouldn't know when she had to go out!). The next two days were good too- my wife and I had created a schedule for taking her out and we kept to it pretty rigidly with good results- she only had a few accidents, and she peed and pooped almost every time we went out (8-10 times per day). At night she has slept in our bed, with good results- no accidents in the bed, she wakes us up around 3:00 am to go out and then sleeps again until we get up around 6:30. We tried to pen her in the kitchen, but we live in an apartment and her whining just wouldn't stop. We ignored and ignored and it just went on and on and on... so we caved and put her in bed with us. Frankly I'm not sure how we'll get her out of the bed once she's older... but that's for another post
We have no other place to take her out for house training than a small (maybe 10'x20') landscaped area near our front door. There is a great park less than a block away, but we think it's too far for house training. The planter we use is adjacent to the sidewalk with the street beyond, and the occasional car parking on the other side. Add in pedestrian traffic and it can be a little noisey at times. Certainly not ideal, but there are bushes to screen her from most of the commotion. Her training seemed to be going well.
The problem started this past Tuesday, which was her 5th day with us and her first day spending time alone in her crate. In the morning the weather was awful. We live in Ohio, and though spring is here, there are still very cold days. Tuesday had it all- howling wind, sleet, cold temperatures, the works, starting in the early morning. Here's her schedule from that day:
The weather only turned bad after the 12:10am trip out. That's when she started losing her mind every time we try to take her out. You can see that there aren't nearly enough "poops" on that list. Which means she's pooping in her crate and eating it, which we know to be true. She's tried to eat her poop every time she's been out. Tonight we started her on Deter from Excel in the hopes that she will put an end to that trend. Doesn't make for good doggy breath...
We have always agreed to approach her with as much patience as possible, but we are worried (and a little frustrated) that she has regressed. True, it's only been a week, but we aren't finding any information directly relating to our situation. We have read a seemingly infinite number of blogs, web advice articles, books, pamphlets, etc., but we are still left wondering what to do.
Here's the usual scenario. Come home from work, ignore her in her crate for a few minutes (as many guides advise), then open the crate and say "outside!" to her and put her collar on. Then the leash. This is when it goes wrong. You can see it on her face and in her body language that she knows what's coming. She braces against the leash as I walk towards the door. Do I pick her up, drag her, or coax her? Well, all are wrong depending on what you read. So I usually end up picking her up, because I know she is deathly afraid to near the front door out of our apartment when she has a leash on. The sight of the door itself never phases her when she's unleashed- though she still won't go through it at all. Add to that the fact that she starts shaking the instant you pick her up. Doesn't matter who- she shakes like a chihuahua and her breathing quickens.
So now she's shaking because she's been picked up, and shaking because she's headed to the door. The shaking intensifies (throw in some squirms) as we walk through the hall to the next door, then down the flight of stairs to the ground level. Out that door, and she's trying to claw her way out of your arms and back in. I have read that she shouldn't be carried to the place she's being trained to "go" in. So I put her down right outside the door. She claws at it and climbs the stoop desperately trying to get back in. I give her a couple of corrective tugs on her leash (either a harness or nylon collar, neither works) and she fights it. So instead of dragging her or coaxing her (both bad! apparently) I pick her up again and take her the ten feet to the "spot" (a walk she was making only two days ago and since we got her...). I put her down, all the while careful to only ever say "outside!" and to not pay her any attention (as advised) and wait. She stares at me, shivers, maybe pees a little (a tiny, two second pee, and I swear it must be only to satisfy me and take her back in... because there's more, much more waiting for the living room carpet) and then cowers next to a bush in the dirt.
She used to go crazy trying to get up onto me, trying to climb my legs. Now I think she associates me with this torture and doesn't even want to acknowledge me. Today's schedule looks about like yesterdays, except she pooped twice inside in the span of one hour between 8 and 9pm (the second one was unattended- we were trying to encourage her to come up the stairs to the second floor just by hearing our voices... backfired). She now won't poop at all outside seemingly. The weather has improved, but it is still fairly cold. There isn't much snow on the ground, and her usual "spot" is clear down to the mulch. It's cold, but we put a sweater on her. Maybe that isn't enough?
I think the Deter will help stop the crate pooping (and eating), which will force her to have to go outside- or to scramble away from me between the door and her crate and go (she will almost certainly try the latter).
We have tried to make going out a fun time- treats as rewards, getting very excited when she goes, etc. But how do you handle it when she pees a very small amount, does not poop, and you know there's going to be an accident when you get back in? Yes, repetition is good and may lead to her doing both outside, but do we reward something that isn't actually what we want? And if we don't reward the peeing, isn't that at risk too? It seems like now she's not even associating that trip with pooping.
So, what to do.
Is it the cold and crummy weather that is making her so upset? Maybe she's not only upset, but shivering from the cold and therefore unable to go? We rewarded her every time she went succesfully prior to this development, so she has an idea (maybe) that that's what we want her to do.
Or is she going through a "fear phase" where everything is scary? She began that way, trying to hide when we visited her at the breeder, but she is very well socialized with other dogs from what we have seen (she and my parents' dog played on and on). She is 1000 times better now, and a great, friendly dog. She is also usually very good with strangers... provided she isn't being held by anyone. If she's being held she's terrified and just stares and shakes as though she's in shock. Put her down and she livens up. So a "fear phase" seems unlikely.
I wish we could walk her all the way to the outside, but she will not cross the threshold of the doorway. We tried to ger her used to the hallway, keeping her out there for periods of time, but she always cowers, shakes and then tries to scramble past me or my wife and paw at the door to the apartment. It's like she's a completely different puppy when she leaves our apartment and no amount of time spent trying to acclimate her shows even the slightest sign of improvement (and it feels like torture).
BUT... once she's in someone else's house she livens right back up.
This is all very confusing to us, and we don't know what to do. We keep creating new plans to reinforce her good behavior and train ourselves to have the proper reaction, but none of it is helping so far. And I know it has only been a little while, but the terror... you should see her shake and cower and then defiantly and desperately pull with all her might on the leash. In fact, once she has peed (or not peed or pooped) outside and it's time to go in, that TOO has become a battle. I used to say "ready to go home!?" and she'd run with me out of the "spot" across the driveway and to the door. Now she claws as the pavement as I drag her towards the door, using the same command, same encouragement. Once inside the downstairs door, she runs up the stairs at full speed, either causing me to release the leash or inadvertently yank her back down a few stairs up. Neither of which I like. When I catch up to her at the door at the top of the stairs, she is nosing into the corner where the door opens, waiting to rush through and paw at the apartment door in full panic mode.
And then, incredibly frustratingly, once through and into the apartment she is the same happy, loving, friendly dog again, like nothing happened.
Then she poops in my kitchen. Again. And eats it. Again.
I'll tell you what BT, you can watch my dogs anytime braugh. As long as you record their functions as you do with yours.
03:07 PM - Peed Outside 05:31 PM - Pooped Outside 08:32 PM - Peed & Pooped Outside 08:45 PM - Played with Squeaky Booda Duck 08:49 PM - Ripped off Squeaky Booda Duck legs and head 08:50 PM - Ate Squeaky Booda Duck legs and head 09:56 PM - Pooped Squeaky Booda Duck legs and head 11:43 PM - Ate the head off Steve Yserman Bobble Head
You pay great attention to detail as the descriptive post shows, and I am assuming you have a similar feeding schedule. Which also is the key to when to take her out to eliminate, however I noticed you did forget to mention whether your Boston actually went down the stairs by herself at the time when she was eliminating correctly. Most puppies have no problem going up stairs, but down causes different reactions. I also assume cars drive by a lot, and in the city it is sometimes difficult to house train a puppy. She may be afraid of the cars and trucks driving by (eg. loud rap music bass) as she is trying to eliminate, probably not so much before as it was curiosity of your environment that drove her to "pee/poop." Does she have a problem with riding or getting into your car? If so, I would try to associate cars with your problem. Take her for many rides to the bank and so forth and get a treat, make many destinations to parks to eliminate and play with your same encouragement.
If cars are not your problem then start at the beginning. The way you take her out. In your case; I would take her into the hallway unleashed; Reward her because she made it that far with whatever method you use: Praise, pet or food, treat; With leash in hand slowly walk down the stairs, wait at the bottom of the stairs quietly for a minute, call her name and not the come command. When she does come to the top of the stairs; Go back upstairs to reward her and go back inside the apartment, but if you haven't already, try to get through the apartment door before she does. If not, work on that all the time by blocking her with your foot or not opening the door and just stand there for a while. Basically you want to slowly coax her to go outside, overcoming one obstacle at a time. You may have to carry her down the stairs but she will follow you and go up the stairs with no problems. I would leash her once she has made it to the exit door so you would unleash her once you come back into the building. Later on you can leave the leash on her the whole way through once she's comfortable. Some tenants may look at you funny with your unleashed dog, but explain to them that you are trying to house train her. Once outside, you should walk to her spot and see if she'll elminate, if not try placing ice cubes on that spot and buy a longer leash to tie her up to safely with no cars able to hit her and hide somewhere you can see her like behind a car and call her name and yell, "Hurry up, go potty." If she trickles or fully eliminates, come out and say "Good girl," and reward her. You have to gain her trust and still show her that "Yew the boss," and not just a Tony Danza look alike. After hiding on her a few times, stay close to her with leash in hand and repeat "Hurry up, go potty." She should comply or you can walk her up and down the street past her "spot," until she does. She might just not like the spot you take her to and you should see if she can find one or walk all the way to a park, she surely would find a spot there and some on the way.
It may even be a medical issue with her eliminating so frequently and so little at a time, is it the same way in the apartment as well? UTI, infections, a cold, flu can cause irregular behaviors as well, which then you would definitely have to go to the Vet. I'm not sure about using "deter" as I've never used it and accidents in the house are normal but not so much with it being the "usual" place. Maybe a litter box could be an option as well. Either way the whole process needs work and what is good is always hard work. But your rewards will always be greater than the ones your pet receives when done with patience, persistance, and love. Happy peeings and droppings bagging!
Another thing, if she has a lot of blankets, toys, pillows in her crate, take them out for a while. And along with the feeding schedule, you probably don't want to take her out in the middle of the night, unless you work nights, so feed her during set times. Also use TP's new search function to look for information and help on topics like food, feeding schedules, training, etc. I say this because I just looked back and saw my own personal record of words per post in this topic... Monstarr know little words... good apple.
Hi, I'm a Boston breeder, and the first thing I noticed was that you mentioned she cowered away from you at the breeder's. That in itself is not normal, if the puppy is well socialized. Were they kept in a kennel, by chance? Boston babies are very sensitive, and they despise the cold. I'd say when you got her was the first time she'd been outside, and would be petrified. If I were you, I would go with this. When she wakes up, carry her outside, and let her go, but stay out a bit longer, she will eventually start sniffing around. After she's eaten, take her out again, and same thing, plus reward her with a treat when she does her business. If you catch her in the house peeing or pooping, and she came from a kennel, she won't realize what she has to do, so patience, and perseverence are the key here.When she does do it, put her nose to it, so she can smell it, say something in a stern tone, don't yell at her, and immediately take her out. My puppies are all raised in the house, very well socialized, and I've never had one that was scared of people. I have, however seen the results of a kennel raised Boston, and it took us about a year to stop her from, 1. hiding, and 2. biting, if she was cornered. Now she's a beautiful dog.I would'nt put this puppy in the crate at night. I would let her sleep with you, and do a slow crate training in the day time. If you have to leave her alone in the daytime, I would put her in an x pen, not a crate.I would not concentrate on the leash at this point, you can put a harness on her, just so she get's used to it, but this puppy needs some gentle treatment, and more work than is usual. Also, forget about the stairs, at this point. She's too scared to try it, and many Bostons won't go up and down stairs till they are 5-6 months of age.
Thanks for the replies. I'll try to answer any of your questions in order.
No, she has never gone down the stairs, not even when she was eliminating correctly. The only stairs she has managed to descend are the two from the entry way of our apartment into the kitchen/living room. Up has not been a problem on any stairs since maybe the second day.
The only times she has been in our car (probably about 5) she has been in her travel carrier, which she loves. She does not complain or shake or seem to mind at all when she rides in the car, either in that carrier or on a lap. She mostly sleeps and breathes easy. She likes that carrier so much, in fact, that if we leave it on the floor she will treat it like her personal house... she is much more likely to take a nap in that than in her crate. I'm guessing that is a problem too, and it should be removed in favor of her crate...
She does tense a little when loud cars go by, but when they are closer to her rather than on the street she actually seems more curious than afraid. It's looking more and more like the cold is the factor. Admittedly, the wind has been pretty terrible, and she tenses and shakes when it gusts, even when she's sheilded by the bushes we try to have her go behind.
Today we tried to get her used to the hallway, little bits at a time. I'll be working on that more when I get home. She didn't seem as afraid of our apartment door today, and I almost lured her out over the threshold and into the hallway by just being encouraging. Then, of course, I had to follow her into our bathroom where she likes to go and sit and grab her and carry her out and down the stairs where I leashed her at the bottom. She is extremely uncooperative once I set her down to leash her. She knows what's coming and is shaking and trying to squirm away. After leashing her and being excited and encouraging, I open the door and she immediately tries to go up the stairs. I hold tight and step outside and try to encourage her out. She fights and fights and shows no signs at all of calming down. So there's really no way at this point that she can be walked to her spot.
In fact, today her behavior has worsened on almost all fronts. When I returned home at about 11:30am to feed her and walk her, she had eliminated (both) in her crate, all over her pad- she would not go either time she went out this morning. However, having had the Deter treats, she couldn't eat her waste, so she threw a fit in there (apparently) and kicked it out of the crate and onto the carpet, but not before mashing some of it into the mat. My wife just told me on the phone that she saw the same thing when she returned home to check on her around 3pm. I had taken her out when I got home for lunch and then again before I left at 12:30pm.
She fights every single step once outside. As she is in her spot (which she's been carried to) she stands still and stares into space, shivering. Then she will occasionally sniff something or try to chew a leaf (hey, I'll take any signs of life at this point). I tell her to "get busy!" over and over, and ignore her for periods of time hoping she will be less shy and do her business. She usually will pee, but it's a tiny amount (I guess that might be all she can hold). There is no sign of any squatting for her other habit... I wait and wait, usually giving her about 15 minutes (all I really have at lunch, considering I'll be back out in 20 to try again...). She stares some more, looks up at me, stares, tries to walk over to me and get by my legs and feet, I step away, tell her to "get busy!" and she inches closer and closer to that bush, almost touching it with her side, eventually sitting gingerly on the ground. It almost looks like she's squatting, but I think she just doesn't like that it's wet and cold. I usually just give her a little tug on her leash and she gets up, and it repeats.
Once I give up, I say "ready to go home? Let's go home!" She used to see me start to run to the door and follow, excited to get back in. But now... now she won't budge from that spot, the spot she seems to hate. Suddeny that's better than anything and she's forgotten what's inside. I crouch down and encourage her to come to me a leash-length away- sometimes it works, sometimes she crouches down (for grip, against the anticpated pulling of the leash, not aggressively) and simply will not move. This repeats, fighting for every inch to the door. When we approach the door, she now is afraid of that too. She used to see it and try to scrample up the stoop and in the door before I could even get it open. Now she hides around the corner and claws at the concrete as I try to get her to come. She won't step up the step and into the landing area at all. I have to pick her up.
Frankly, I think she'd rather have me accidentally break her neck from pulling than be moved an inch when she's outside. Which, of course, I will not do. Even still, she actually turns away from the direction I'm pulling/guiding her and strains up onto two legs away, fighting coming towards me. If I give in to that, she doesn't run to hide somewhere, she just crouches down to the ground and shakes.
I've never seen anything like it. She hates it so much that it's like she's terrified to move. Yet she has infinite energy to fight me every step, only to stay put, right in the middle of the driveway in the coldest wind tunnel on the coldest surface.
Once I either drag or carry her inside that first door (coaxing with treats does not work at all... I'll touch on that in a minute), she is insane to get up the stairs. I will not tolerate that insanity though, and I do not release the leash, so she clotheslines herself on about the second step, running full speed up the stairs. I hate that, but it doesn't seem right to let her run out of fear like that. So I have to pin her down, gently, encouraging her, while I take the leash of and let her fly up the stairs.
Mind you, all of this is counter to maintaining alpha-male status, but what else can I do?
I had had enough at the top of the stairs on my second lunchtime trip out, and I just let her nuzzle the glass on the door. She stared and stared at where it opens, occasionally walking back out a little towards me, then to the wall, then back to stare at the door. I gave her about five minutes of this, while I crouched down and made excited noises and motioned for her to come to me. I think she gave up on the door at around the five minute mark and started to sniff around a little, approaching me but nothing like how she eagerly comes over when she's inside. I gave her a little of the treat biscuit, which she completely ignores when outside (when she pees I celebrate and try to reward her... she turns her head away and shakes), but actually ate a little of.
Then I opened the door, tried to block her and she scrambled past me like her life depended on it (which I'm sure she believed). Once in I repeated my wait and let her sniff at and paw at our apartment door. One of my neighbors was in the hall, and he called to her (she doesn't know her name yet), and as is typical, she did not immediately go. After a few minutes he went back into his apt, and she ran down the hall to see where he went. When he came back out to see her again, she was playful but still a little timid. 5 minutes of this and I opened our door and held her by the collar while I walked in first. Then she was instantly back to (mostly) good dog, affectionate, playful, etc.
I have taken all her toys and blankets out of her crate except one chew toy and one soft toy. Maybe that will help. I know the instinct to not soil her crate is strong, but the fear of outside seems to be stronger. She simply can't hold it forever, and if she won't go outside, it has to happen someplace. I think I'll let her sit on her peed-on mat for a while tomorrow. I wonder if the message will start to sink in that that is not the place to do those things... By the way, she had only been in her crate for about three hours when I came home to her mess at lunch. And she had peed right before she went in (and eaten breakfast an hour prior... we knew it had to come out somtime). She is capable of holding both her functions for that amount of time, provided she is actually eliminating when we take her out. It's pretty evident that the "peeing" is just for show and not the whole act. The other part... well she hadn't done that since maybe 3am, so we were crossing our fingers for some results on that 8:30am trip before she went into her crate.
And to make this more confusing, she eliminates completely when she goes out late, late at night. The last one before bed (maybe midnight) and the one in the middle of the night (3-4am) are fine for her. She still shakes and is a general baby about it, but she goes. But no other time. I know it's quiet then... but it's also the coldest time of day.
And I agree- we don't want to take her out in the middle of the night. But she wakes up on our bed and wakes us up, and most of the puppy schedules we've seen indicate that a trip then may be necessary for a while longer.
Now to answer more questions from pen.
I have to admit, I was a little hesitant when she was not immediately coming to us at the breeder. They were well socialized- there were lots of other BTs in the house, including her mother. She was shy at first, but was right in the thick of playing around after about five minutes of getting used to use being there. She played with her littermate (another female, the runt), a boy BT two weeks older than her and an adult male BT. All of that interaction seemed very functional, and the breeder assured us that she was just in a "fear phase," which she said is not uncommon for that age.
Yes, I have seen that BTs hate the cold. But this process must continue... This is where all other house training advice breaks down. Nothing seems to address this utter terror of being outside combined with very cold weather. Quite honestly, I don't think I could take it outside for half an hour trying to get her used to things if I was just sitting and talking to her while she relaxed.
The puppies were raised in a playpen of sorts, near many other BTs in the breeder's home. I can't say whether or not that would be a "kennel" but they seemed comfortable roaming the part of the house we visited.
I agree that we should stay a bit longer when we take her out. I tried that today, but it hasn't really shown any results other than making her more and more stubborn when we try to go in. I guess we can keep trying that- it's all very disheartening when there is actually constant regression in her behavior, PLUS we feel like we're torturing her. At least if it was helping...
We take her out within about fifteen minutes of her eating. The accidents don't ever occur between her meals and going out. They happen when we come back in, sometime later when she can't hold it anymore. She doesn't seem to show any signs of needing to go out. I've blocked off the step to the door and the bathroom, one of the little corners she likes to run off to (while we think she's playing) and drop us a little something on the floor. She then comes running back, ready to play. (Actually, she usually eats part or all of it first, and we can tell from her breath what happened... and then see the smudges on the floor. Gross.) Maybe that will help, but I think she is so desperate to not go out that she will be able to find some corner somewhere, always rather than go out. Or else I think she'll wait until we turn our backs and just go anywhere. Which she has done.
I haven't been able to associate "reward" with her actions. When she's outside she's so scared that she won't eat any treat, any time. She doesn't even look at them, she just stares past your hand. So even those tiny pees, which are kind of fake..., I would reward if I could. I praise her and get excited, but she won't eat a treat and she just shakes and stares. Very discouraging.
The whole "reward her for going" is basically impossible when she's in that state. And to get her out of that state... reward her for going to make her excited to go. There is no consoling her other than taking her in. Kind of a chicken and egg thing, no?
We do immediately take her out when there's an accident. See above for her fake pees and non poops. Plus shaking and fighting the leash. And we do interrupt her when we see her going, tell her "no!" and hold her near it for a moment.
She isn't really afraid of people. In fact, that's all that helps her stop shaking outside, other than going in. She will accept anyone's hand at any time outside, as long as they're warm and going to touch her. She has never bitten anyone or nipped at anyone. I don't think she's afraid of people, she's afraid of the situation, whether being held in your arms and introduced (when she shakes) or being outside.
We did pen her off in the kitchen, using a gate the first day. She peed on the paper once, twice on the floor and pooped (we think) twice and ate it. Her crate was there in there as well. When we were home and she was in there, she fought against the gate constantly and whined and cried incessantly.
I have not even tried to have her go down the stairs at this point, and I didn't plan on it for a while.
She's like Jeckyl and Hyde. Only instead of Hyde she's just completely terrified.
It's hard to imagine that this is the same dog when you see her inside and then outside. She is so loving, so playful and friendly to everyone inside. Whether at our apartment or anywhere else. Just put her down and she's fine. And she has gotten along with two other much larger dogs, trying to get them to play with her and being a typical puppy.
I feel like if the weather were warmer we could eliminate cold from the equation and then address the issue. But it's so confused for me. I don't know what to do with her.
Ok, there's a reason she's so terrified of going outside, and it's probably got to do with the cold wind, and the fact that the breeder did'nt take her out side. This is about being petrified. My advice is still the same. Don't use a collar and leash on her. Put a collar on her, if you wish, but don't attempt to drag her, with the leash. I believe Bostons and all Brachcephalic dogs should have harnesses, but you might want to wait a month or so until it's warm out side. The fact that she likes her carrier, is a good thing, not a bad thing. How big is her crate? Let her use her carrier to sleep in, if you won't let her in bed with you. I'm a light sleeper; so I can always feel a puppy getting up, so it's right out the door, and I always carry them, in a basket, or in a blanket. Do you have another exit? Perhaps try that, but I would'nt use that collar and leash yet. A timid Boston, or any timid dog, is a sign that something is not normal. Is she registered, and if so with what registry? This scenario is so not like it should be, I wish I could see her. Do you have a picture of her? Once again, slow and steady does it, and remember that she could have been scared stiff at 8-9 weeks.I wish you luck, and don't hesitate to keep us informed. By the way, you mentioned the alpha male, don't worry, this little girl knows you're the alpha. Bostons can also be stubborn, especially when they're scared. I'd also like to say that I have never, ever had a timid puppy, and the fear phase explanation is not a good one...yes if she had been scared by something, but not normal just because of her age. This behaviour is caused by many things whether it be abuse by the breeder, having her taken away from her mother too soon, or any number of things. Did you meet the sire, and Dam, and any other dogs, or is that all she had, in the house? One more thing, I thought of. I know its cold out, but maybe you could dress both of you up, nice and warm, and just carry her around outside. Pretty soon, she's going to be a Boston and be nosy. I hope this helps.
***Edited By: pen on 3/20/2008 8:29:49 PM*** Reason: addition.
So if I'm understanding you correctly, you think we should wait a month to even try to take her out for house training? I guess that is an option. It's just so strange that she goes in the darkest coldest part of the night.
We do have a harness now, and we tried that for the first few days. Pretty much the same situation, just less likely for her to hurt herself straining against us. Then we read somewhere that using a collar would make training easier, but maybe that is for walking the dog only. Plus, I don't think this type of situation was considered when those instructions were written. So we can go back to the harness, that's easy. She didn't have a problem with it on its own, just like the collar. It's the leash that's the problem.
So I guess we can drop that for now and worry about walks later. I have to admit, even though we did a seemingly endless amount of research, I did not expect this particular problem. Biting, trying to run away, peeing on things- those I expected and there is much literature on them. But a somehow traumatized dog who won't poop outside anymore- thereby elimating any chance of house training at an early age- is something I did not expect or anticipate. So it goes.
Tomorrow we go to the vet to get her set up on heartworm, flea, tick, etc, etc, meds. We'll also ask about her behavior when he examines her- I imagine he would pick up on it pretty quickly if she's truly out of the range of "normal."
Tonight she pooped inside at my wife's grandmother's apartment. Just took a two second break from playing with another dog (who she has met a couple times) and squatted right there in the middle of the living room. We saw it and stopped her instantly, but the poop was already on the way, so we caught it and took her out immediately. No scolding, just noise to distract and interrupt. In an amazing turn of events, she actually walked a little outside. This is not the same building as ours, btw. More room to walk, less traffic. But she refused to poop. Another pretend (or very brief) pee, then we went back in. I think we may have come up with something, though. She basically went back and forth between my wife and me, while I held the leash. Occasionally she'd stop and pull on the leash, but the other one of us would call her and get down a little and she'd come and then start walking again. It's too bad we can't do that every time she needs to go out. Maybe she could have pooped eventually, though we were out for about ten minutes. It was daytime, and I don't think she shook very much. We were just happy to have her walking at all, nevermind the occassional tantrum and pull on the leash.
In terms of sleeping, she's in bed with us. It makes it very easy to know when to take her out, and she absolutely would not stay in her carrier on the first night we tried it, even though it was near our bed. So she won that battle (along with many others it seems...).
Her crate is a 24" wire crate, based on the expected adult size of a boston. We have it partitioned down to a little under half that length, with a washable pad in the bottom and one chewy and one hard toy. We also have old towels covering the top so it's a little more like a den for her.
Her carrier is substantially smaller, though about as long. Narrower and much shorter and cozy. I don't believe she has ever soiled it.
How do you think we should handle the crate soiling? She can't eat it anymore because of the pills, but she smashes it and throws it out of the crate. You could tell she was distressed by its presence. She was messy and she had been pulling at the towels that cover the top of her crate, which she hasn't done before. There was a tantrum, to be sure. She also pees, which I am surprised by. I figured she couldn't hold the poop anymore, but she could definitely have held the pee. Would you leave the pad in for a while? I know they hate to lie in their own mess, but I don't want to be cruel.
There is no other exit out of our apartment or the building. The back exit is a fire escape, basically. Loud and steep.
She is registered with AKC.
When you say something is not normal it makes me a little worried. The breeder seemed to love her dogs, and she told us so many stories about the grandparents and greatgranparents of our puppy. As I mentioned earlier, she had the three puppies for us to look at, plus we saw an unrelated adult male. We also saw our puppy's mother, who was gentle and affectionate. There were many other bostons around. They all seemed very well adjusted and were not afraid of us or aggressive at all. It just seemed like our puppy took a few minutes to warm up.
Here are some pictures. What are you hoping to see?
I am glad you haven't had a timid puppy. Count yourself lucky. This is a lot of work, as expected, it just makes us feel really mean and crappy for having to take her out fruitlessly over and over again while she is so scared.
And now every little thing she does makes me worry that she isn't right. Today she started chewing on her right hind leg. I think she's just playing, but what if it's more? She doesn't sound vicious and there's no blood. It doesn't last long, and she doesn't do it that often.
Everything is suddenly making me feel like we've adopted some kind of abused hopeless animal. Half the people we talk to say "don't worry about it, she's just a puppy." The other half say "no, none of this should be happening. She's not right." Every step of this has been incredibly confusing and met with contradicory advice, which is frustrating. As I've said before, we read and read and read about boston puppies before we did this. And all that preparation has come unraveled. Now as I sit here, about to have to take this poor creature out and watch her tremble in complete terror I think "did I have a gut feeling about her being timid? Should we have gone somewhere else? Should we have adopted the runt instead?"
Well, out we go again. She just woke up and started biting my wife suddenly.
Thank you for all your help.
***Edited By: btguy on 3/20/2008 11:53:46 PM*** Reason: additional info
I don't think her behavior is normal in any way BUT it is extremly workable just don't give up. Nothing is hopless if you have the will to work with her. Hopefully the vet can help you out tomorrow. Not to scare you anymore but one thing did stick out to me and that's that you mentioned 2 different times about there being many other boston's there. How many are we talking because I get the impression that it was a BYB...
You're probably right about it being a BYB. We had a lot of trouble finding a "reputable" boston breeder in the area. We used the Boston Terrier Club of America referral service (email their site and they send you a list of names and numbers, no other info), but we could never reach anyone in our area (up to about a two hour radius). And quite frankly, doesn't calling someone's house out of the blue seem a little shady to begin with? That really strikes me as a BYB-type situation. How could we possibly differntiate that from a BYB?
True, if our puppy's behavior is due to crappy BYB breeding, then we probably should have expanded our search even if it would have been much longer than a two hour drive. But frankly we were a little put off by being interviewed and scrutinized by a breeder... I'm sure it would have been fine, but so much of what we saw online made it seem like the inquisition and that a majority of people are unfit to own a dog.
We did receive AKC papers (though I know that doesn't mean much), shot records, a pedigree, a health guarantee, etc. But even all that seems to be insufficient to guarantee anything, based on web research.
I know it shouldn't be as easy as "hey, let's get a dog!" But the whole time we were looking we were frustrated by the inability to access some type of official, good, or responsible breeder with any certainty. I guess that's another issue, though.
So, we essentially have a lower quality puppy than we expected to get, and she probably has some type of emotional/behavioral problems stemming from a poor upbringing. Or possibly a genetic issue. And, sadly, she is probably much more likely to have congenital problems than we had thought. That was the main issue we had- how to avoid a poor sick dog later in her life.
We'll make the best of it, and keep trying to train her. Even if she's not as healthy as a more responsibly bred puppy, she is still very cute and we'll give her the best try we can.
You know, I wouldn't consider either of us dumb, and yet finding a good puppy has proven to be very, very difficult. Don't you think it would make more sense to make "responsibly" bred puppies extremely easy to access, instead of not having ads or websites or stores or referrals? If all of those methods of finding a breeder lead to BYBs and puppymills (as so much literature indicates), then how is the average person, regardless of intent, supposed to be responsible when adopting a puppy?
None of this is directed at anyone here. I really appreciate all of your help, and in fact she has been much better now that we are taking her out without her leash. Plus we found a snack she can't resist, so we're able to reward her for pottying now.
Thank you all for your help and input. Please don't take my venting on the entire puppy-adoption process personally. We've learned many lessons already. I just wish we didn't have to learn them after the fact (and after having tried so hard to be careful!).
***Edited By: btguy on 3/21/2008 12:43:35 PM*** Reason: Change information
Sorry, I did'nt mean to make it sound like a hopeless case. It is just not normal for a Boston to hide,when you go to the breeder's.They're supposed to be all over you, all the time. Once again, did you meet the sire, or was the bitch taken out to be bred? I really like the look of your little puppy, she has a nice short cobby body, and a Haggerty spot, that hopefully stays. I don't know if it's the lighting, but her eyes looked a tad blue, in the last picture, and her jaw looks a bit undershot, but it could be the way she's laying. No, I don't mean stop everything for a month, with the toilet training, she should be well on her way by now, that's why I have my suspicions about that breeder.If there was a puppy there 2 weeks older, that means she had 2 litters at least, almost at the same time. Did you get references for her? Just carry her out side, for now, and stay out as long as humanly possible. If you could explain where you live and what's outside, I could get a better picture, maybe you did, and I've forgotten about it.( I'm going to look back at your other posts too). The main thing to concentrate with this dog, is persistence, just quietly keep taking her out, she will get the hang of it.You don't have to ever yell at this dog, a stern voice is all you need. I would also change your wording, when you want to take her out to "Let's go pee" I know that sounds insignificant, but the dog will equate eliminating better with that, than " Get busy" If you have her in bed with you at night, and take her out in the middle of the night, when you take her out, say "Let's go pee" in the most excited tone you can muster, and take a treat, I would just keep them in your pockets. A few tips with the leash, when you get outside, providing there's no traffic close by, drop it. Start leisurely walking around, say ing "Go pee" making sure she's not escaping, which I can't see, because she's too scared. In the house, you and your wife can both hold treats for her and put the leash on her. Slowly pull on it, whilst encouraging her to come, and give her a treat.If she balks, slacken the leash, and wait, try again. If she simply won't do it, wait a week, and try again. It's possible that the breeder hit her dogs with a leash, or dragged that puppy with one, although that's a useless thing to do.How long in the day time is she in her crate? I still advise an x pen if she's in the crate all day.One more thing. Try and relax. I know it's frustrating, but Bostons are smart little dogs, and she will catch on. The warm weather is going to make a huge difference.
Now I've re-read your posts, I see a few more things to comment on. You seem to be adhering to some advice that does'nt always apply to every puppy. What is the point of ignoring her for a little while, when you get home, and she's in her crate? She's a puppy, and if it were my dog, I'd be getting her out of that crate and making a big fuss of her, immediately after, take her outside, for this puppy, I would'nt have her in a crate at this point, especially if it's all day. Each dog is individual, and some advice given in books works, but not geared to every dog. I'm glad you've dropped the leash. The dragging and her losing it, on the leash is not good. You can work with that once she's potty trained., meanwhile practising in the house. The way you find a reputable breeder is by asking for references, and asking about championships on the parents, as well as taking a copy of the pedigree, and researching it. Did she come with a health guarantee, and what was in it? Were you asked to take her to your own vet within 72 hours of purchasing the puppy, to make sure she's alright? Did the breeder ask you to fill out an application form? Were the parents OFA'd and CERF'd? From what I can see, she's a lovely little dog, as long as I'm wrong about the blue eyes, and the jaw. Just from what you can remember how many dogs could you see, and was this breeder in a rural setting, or in the city?