My dog bit me

Last Edited By Krjb Donovan
Last Updated: Mar 11, 2014 07:42 PM GMT

Question

Hi Colleen,

I have a male toy poodle. He is about 5 years old. He was fully housetrained and has started urinating all over my house. Yesterday he urinated on Christmas gifts, I yelled at him and smacked him on the butt. He did it again today. I smacked him with a fly swatter and was going to put him outside. While sitting in front of the door he growled and showed his teeth at me and bit me. Enough to break skin and make me bleed underneth my nail. I've tried retraining him and keep him in an enclosed area, only to have my husband say that it's not the way to do it. He believes that putting his nose in his pee and smacking him is the way to go. I don't, but I'm at my wits end. He is not neutered and my husband doesn't want to do that either...(must be a male thing). Any advice you can give me would be of great help.

Thanks,

Angiw

Answer

There are several things I would like you to bear in mind with your question. To be honest, I think you really need the help of someone who can work one on one with you and your husband to get you on the same page for training, as inconsistency between the two of you is probably the biggest problem here with training. Firstly, hitting is never never never helpful. The dog will not be able to tie the "punishment" with the crime, he will only learn that he should be afraid of your hand, which is probably why he bit you in the hand in first place. Being aggressive with your dog (smacking, rubbing his face, beating with fly swatters) will only teach him to be aggressive with you, and that is what's happening here. If your dog was well house broken before, and has suddenly started urinating inappropriately indoors, there may be a medical cause. A urinary tract infection or problem with his kidneys are just examples of some of the things that can cause a sudden change in housetraining. My best advice to you is to start at your vet's office - have him examined and his urine checked for an underlying problem. If he gets a clean bill of health, then you can start working on his behaviour. I agree with you that you must start his training from scratch, and confinement when unsupervised, followed by praise for appropriate toileting hare the hallmarks of good housebreaking practice. "Rubbing his nose in it" is one of the oldest old wives tales in the book and certainly does not work. Fear and submission will cause dogs to urinate - it is a deeply ingrained instinct - so yelling and hitting him will actually make your problem worse and not better. Talk to your vet, rule out a medical problem, and then work with your husband on a strategy that you can both follow to help your pet - only with kindness and consistence will you be able to solve this one. Oh - and a word about neutering. If you dog is "lifting his leg" to things in the house, there may be an element of territory marking here. No doubt some of this is hormonally driven. Neutering may help to some degree if this is part of the cause, but at your dog's age, most of the behavour will be learned so carful training will still be necessary. Best of luck to you!

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