House/Potty Training Struggles - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-30-2019, 06:42 PM Thread Starter
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House/Potty Training Struggles

Hey there,

First post on these forums but I have a 5 month old golden retriever boy named Astro. We also have a 2 year old GSD. We are having some difficulties with house training (specifically with pottying in the crate). I looked through previous posts but most of the suggestions we've tried and are doing actively. He is fantastic about going potty outside when we go out, he goes immediately and generally seems to be catching on to the "go potty" command outdoors. He gets praised and gets unique treats for pottying and we use our cue command. He is holding it through the night, we take up water an hour before we go to bed and let him out to potty right before.


Now the BIG problem is his crate during the day. I've scoured through past posts and didn't find much about older puppies like this, but please do link me if you know of any issues like this! Like I said, he holds it all night and goes out in the morning. He will go EVERY time we go outside. When he is in the house, so long as I am on top of letting him out to potty every 15-30 minutes (particularly during playtime), he's not having accidents. He does have an accident if I fail to give him play time breaks which I know isn't his fault, but hasn't happened in a long time.

He is going in his crate frequently, though, throughout the day. He had a UTI when we first started dealing with this at about 3 months old and we did get that taken care of, and he does not have a UTI now (follow up check showed clear.) We have a divider in the crate so he has enough room to turn, lay down, but not enough to separate the area for pottying. No towels/blankets/anythig, just bare tray (we even bought a new tray after the UTI business to see if it'd help thwart this.) We clean with enzyme cleaner Nature's Miracle every time and wash it down.

He gives no warning, does not whine, scratch, or make much fuss before he goes in it, and he doesn't mind sleeping/laying in it. I've come around the corner after smelling it and he just laid down in it right after. I take him out every hour while he's in the crate, but I'm at a point I'm trying to take him out every 30 minutes when I can because there's times he just doesn't make it the hour if he's actively drinking water throughout the day. I'm at a bit of a loss. It's a toss up if I leave the house if he'll have gone in his crate even after I made sure he peed and didn't chug water right before I left. I do think a lot of the times it corresponds with the fact he drinks SO much water especially during play time. It happens after being put up while being out and playing and chilling in the house a lot.

Usually playtime involves free access to water, he drinks A LOT, so I do take him out every 15 minutes during playtime. At the end of playtime, I put him in crate to settle after I let him out again to pee. I go to check on him about 15-20 minutes later, and usually he's peed again in the crate by then.

I've successfully potty trained our other dog when she was a pup, following limited water at night, treat/praise outside pottying, tethering when playing inside, supervised while out of crate, playtime breaks, frequent trips out, appropriate crate size. Just struggling now with my boy! Any insight or trips would be greatly appreciated. He's an amazing dog despite the peeing problems, but boy we get a lot of bath time from it lol.

Edit: We also start with a personal obedience trainer in 2 weeks. I do intend to bring the issue up then too.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-30-2019, 06:52 PM
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At 5 months, having to pee every 15-30 minutes seems like an awful lot. He should have a strong enough bladder to hold it for far longer. Especially if he can hold it all night. Is he in a crate at night time?

If he is not in the crate during the day will he still pee on the carpet or the floor? By 5 months old I think we were taking Denver out every 2 hours or so.

Is he in the crate while you're at home? Is it possible this is a learned behavior to get you to let him out of the crate so he can be with you while you are home? If he really is drinking excess water, maybe limit how much he drinks at a time so he isn't filling himself up on water.

I hope you can get to the bottom of this! Maybe a follow up with the vet to rule out anything else that could be causing excess urination? Best of luck!!
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-30-2019, 07:05 PM Thread Starter
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At 5 months, having to pee every 15-30 minutes seems like an awful lot. He should have a strong enough bladder to hold it for far longer. Especially if he can hold it all night. Is he in a crate at night time?

If he is not in the crate during the day will he still pee on the carpet or the floor? By 5 months old I think we were taking Denver out every 2 hours or so.

Is he in the crate while you're at home? Is it possible this is a learned behavior to get you to let him out of the crate so he can be with you while you are home? If he really is drinking excess water, maybe limit how much he drinks at a time so he isn't filling himself up on water.

I hope you can get to the bottom of this! Maybe a follow up with the vet to rule out anything else that could be causing excess urination? Best of luck!!
It definitely has felt like a lot. He does stay in the crate at night after we go to bed. He's let out in the morning to be with us (I don't recall the last time he's had an accident over night since the UTI, never in the morning when we get up.) and usually gets put back in his crate in the afternoon or for tasks like when I'm making lunch, otherwise when we can't supervise him during the day time (going out, shower, etc.) My husband and I both work from home so maybe it could be a learned behavior, especially since he was taken out of his crate throughout the UTI problem a lot for baths/cleaning?

He definitely drinks a lot at once, at any given time. I've always been a bit unsure of limiting how much he drinks at a time especially since the UTI, but maybe that would help since I do think it correlates to him peeing more frequently in the crate when he does that.

I intend to make another visit to the vet this week to talk about it. It's been about a month since the UTI was taken care of and he was cleared, but the problems have persisted.

No troubles on the carpet so long as I'm breaking up play time often enough. Maybe two accidents in the last 4 weeks I've cleaned up? And I know when they took place, I'd taken my eyes off him and didn't give him a break so it was my bad.

Thank you, we are trying to sort it out! He's been a happy, playful and sweetest boy we could ask for and been thick as thieves with our other dog.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-01-2019, 12:58 PM
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Denver also has a tendency to GULP down his water sometimes. Especially after play time. Sometimes I will say "that's enough!" if he's been gulping down water too fast or for a long time. He usually stops and then will come back for a little more water later.

It is really easily to accidentally "teach" puppies a behavior that you don't necessarily want them to learn. When Denver was a small puppy we would always lift him up int our SUVs to go places in the car. Now that he's bigger he won't jump in the car we STILL have to lift him up onto the seat...just a learned behavior to wait for us to lift him in. He jumps up on our couch and bed which is higher off the ground. And we didn't even think about inadvertently teaching him not to jump into the car!

A friend of mine has a hound dog....and she would let him out of his crate every time he would wine or howl. Now she can't put him in the crate AT ALL without him howling or crying because as a puppy he learned wine/cry in the crate = mom will let me out.

So there is a chance that he is associating peeing in his crate with being let out, especially if he was being taken out to be cleaned up every time during the UTI.

I would try limiting water...maybe only filling up the bowl halfway, or strategically taking the water away maybe an hour before you put him in the crate to get work done. Another thing you could try is using a gate to keep him in, let's say the kitchen, instead of the crate while you're working. We used to gate Denver in the bathroom if we needed to do some cleaning or whatever.A place with bare floors that are easy to clean if he does have an accident. You could at the very least try that for a few days to see if it really is an association with the crate.

Let us know how it works out!
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 05:20 AM Thread Starter
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So following the suggestion of “limiting” how much he drinks at a time seems to have helped a lot when it comes to settling in after playtime. I just make sure he isn’t drinking the entire dish at one time, taking little breaks between.

I do think we have isolated the main issue. Astro is really attached to our other dog. They play together, do their training together (with me), and sleep in the same area but have separate crates.

However I’ve realized when he pees in the crate is really only happening when it’s JUST him crated, as in our other dog isn’t in the room with him. I think he has separation anxiety from her. He does fine without us home but only when he is away from our other dog does he whine/howl/and then subsequently pee the crate. If she’s at least in the room with him, he’s fine.

What can I do to start adjusting him to being more independent from her?
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 09:20 AM
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...What can I do to start adjusting him to being more independent from her?
Start taking daily walks without her and going places in the car without her. Equally important: sign up for obedience classes and start having a separate thing you do without her to build his confidence. An obedience foundation opens up a whole new world. You can do agility or nosework or continue with obedience but it will give him confidence. Consider it an investment in his future and your happiness


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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 12:24 PM
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Have you fully sanitized the crate? Really made sure to get rid of any trace of the scent? If not, do a full cleaning of the whole thing - base and wires - with soap and water. Scrub. I find the commercial enzime cleaners aren't entirely effective - I prefer a 50-50 solution of vinegar and water. Once you have cleaned it with soap and water, spray the whole crate heavily with the vinegar mix. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Rinse it, and do it again. After that time, once it is fully dry, stick your head in and if there is ANY trace of the smell of urine at all - do it all again. If he has been peeing on the plastic tray a lot, it may be worth just buying a new tray.

Also - is the crate too big? When he pees in it, is he able to not lie in the pee? If so, the crate is too big. Either size down or move your divider to make the area smaller. He only needs to be able to walk in, turn around and lie down. They do not normally like to pee where they sleep.

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 08:51 PM Thread Starter
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Have you fully sanitized the crate? Really made sure to get rid of any trace of the scent? If not, do a full cleaning of the whole thing - base and wires - with soap and water. Scrub. I find the commercial enzime cleaners aren't entirely effective - I prefer a 50-50 solution of vinegar and water. Once you have cleaned it with soap and water, spray the whole crate heavily with the vinegar mix. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Rinse it, and do it again. After that time, once it is fully dry, stick your head in and if there is ANY trace of the smell of urine at all - do it all again. If he has been peeing on the plastic tray a lot, it may be worth just buying a new tray.

Also - is the crate too big? When he pees in it, is he able to not lie in the pee? If so, the crate is too big. Either size down or move your divider to make the area smaller. He only needs to be able to walk in, turn around and lie down. They do not normally like to pee where they sleep.
We bought a new tray shortly before my original post. It isn’t too big, enough for him to turn and lie down but not big enough he can pee and avoid it. I’ve thoroughly cleaned it, but I haven’t tried vinegar just enzyme cleaners.

He doesn’t seem to do it just because. I think it’s primarily happening when he is crated alone and can’t see anyone/our other dog isn’t in the room. He does get fussy when it usually happens (I’ll walk away and here him whining and shuffling, then come back shortly after and he’s made a mess.) If I crate my other dog at the same time (which is in the same room), I don’t think I’ve recalled a time he’s peed his crate. I really think it’s a separation anxiety/when he ends up alone thing. He doesn’t do it when we leave the house and my other dog is around or at night, just during the day when we crate him and take Luna out/we are all out of sight. It seems to be very situational.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 08:54 PM Thread Starter
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...What can I do to start adjusting him to being more independent from her?
Start taking daily walks without her and going places in the car without her. Equally important: sign up for obedience classes and start having a separate thing you do without her to build his confidence. An obedience foundation opens up a whole new world. You can do agility or nosework or continue with obedience but it will give him confidence. Consider it an investment in his future and your happiness <img src="https://www.goldenretrieverforum.com/images/smilies/smile.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Smile" class="inlineimg" />
Thank you, I will start doing their activities separately! He is wonderful in the car by himself albeit a little rowdy, but he’s about the most fearless thing ever! We are signed up for an obedience class that starts in 2 weeks with a trainer at the golden retriever club here. I am very much look forward to it.

Is it still okay to keep both their crates in the same area you think? I’m wondering if I’ve buggered it up by having him never really alone at any time since if we were gone, my other dog is always with him and he’s never really been by himself much.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-15-2019, 01:16 PM
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We bought a new tray shortly before my original post. It isnít too big, enough for him to turn and lie down but not big enough he can pee and avoid it. Iíve thoroughly cleaned it, but I havenít tried vinegar just enzyme cleaners.

He doesnít seem to do it just because. I think itís primarily happening when he is crated alone and canít see anyone/our other dog isnít in the room. He does get fussy when it usually happens (Iíll walk away and here him whining and shuffling, then come back shortly after and heís made a mess.) If I crate my other dog at the same time (which is in the same room), I donít think Iíve recalled a time heís peed his crate. I really think itís a separation anxiety/when he ends up alone thing. He doesnít do it when we leave the house and my other dog is around or at night, just during the day when we crate him and take Luna out/we are all out of sight. It seems to be very situational.

Do you need to crate him when you are home? My pup HATED being in the crate if I was home, so I just didn't do it. She was fine in the crate when I left the house. It really is two completely different things to them. If you are there, they don't want to be separated.

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