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Discussion Starter #1
This is my first post, but I've been lurking a long time as we prepared to bring home our puppy in August and I'm so thankful for this forum's advice.

We have a wonderful golden retriever named Wellington who is almost five months old. He was pretty much housetrained by 10-11 weeks old or so and had few if any accidents from around that point up until about two weeks ago. He has started urinating, and occasionally defecating, in the house again. Not a ton -- usually only once a day -- but enough that has become really frustrating. Other times he rings his potty bells to go out as normal. Simultaneously, he has also developed some weird poop habits. In the past, he always went on the grass. However, recently on walks he has started to poop on the sidewalk, sometimes even while walking (i.e., not even stopping to really squat) and will often go 3 to 4 times in one 15 minute walk. Poop looks pretty normal, definitely not loose.

I took Wellie to the vet this week to rule out anything medical. She says that it's probably just anxiety and suggested CBD. We are trying behavioral tactics first, like going back to really giving positive reinforcement when he goes outside, walking out with him, etc. I know he's still a puppy, but it's so hard when he was literally never having issues and now we're back to a mess or more a day. Nothing in his environment (e.g., schedules, food, etc.) has changed, so I'm at a loss at what could even be causing anxiety. Is it something about the age he's at? He's also started barking at things too (which he never did), so could it be some kind of anxious/fear stage? We will obviously continue with the reinforcement, but I wanted to make sure there wasn't something else obvious or developmental that I could be missing. Any advice or insight is appreciated.
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Are you crate training this pup? As you know, if you are, he will not poop or pee in his bed! Using crate training it is easy to keep him going outside instead of the house. When not in the crate, he should be on a lead, attached to someone in the household to watch him for signs he needs to go out. If know one is able to watch him on a lead, back in his crate he should go.

This type of training for another 8-12 weeks, will from a habit that will not stop...
 

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Kristy
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It sounds like you need to back things up and restrict his freedom in the house. If these accidents are daily, I would back up to treating him like a baby puppy and crate him or baby gate him in the kitchen unless you are 100% focused on watching him. You don't say what age he is so I'm guessing he's 20 weeks now, it is odd that he's going backwards. However, I will say that puppies are not 100% potty trained in just 2 or 3 weeks. It takes longer to make sure those habits are cemented. If you don't go outdoors and watch him every single time, you can't be sure that he is definitely eliminating every trip outside - start going out with him again. I am going to guess that he may have had an incident where he really, really had to go and you didn't realize it - then he went in the house and realized, "hey, this works for me." So now, if you take him outside, he knows to go out there, but if you don't get the timing right, he is ok with doing any emergency potty in the house.

Back it way up and go outside with him each time to make sure he is going outdoors every time you take him out. Give the treats. Crate or gate him when you can't watch him with your FULL attention. Set a timer to make sure you're getting him outside on a schedule. Also, be sure you are feeding him meals at the same time each day and getting him out after those meals to be sure he goes. Be super consistent.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you for all the advice! He is being crate trained and does extremely well with it. He is almost five months old and went a solid 7-8 weeks or so with no accidents so the training seemed solid. He uses potty bells and is still good about doing it. The new issues seem pretty restricted to the evening and the morning, at periods when he is super active (and often playing with the kids - supervised). I am going to work on focusing on those time periods to make sure I take him out more intentionally then, without waiting for him to "ask." It's possible he got startled and peed one time and then kind of thought "well that was easier!" And I have started going out with him most times so that I can positively reinforce him. He is generally not far from me during the day -- he is like a shadow and I pretty much have eyes on him at all times. If I know I won't be able to, he is restricted in his play pen or crate, depending on the situation. Overall, he just seems a bit jumpier and I'm wondering if it's related. He was really freaked out by the leaves at first -- refused to walk on them or potty near them -- but he has gotten over that with practice and reinforcement. He's also had a number of "cling-ons" (gross, I know) and those absolutely TERRIFY him -- he runs yipping in terror to the door and I immediately help him or just reassure him as necessary. So maybe the outside is just seeming a bit scarier and going out with him more will help it. If it keeps up, I will go back to tethering, but he several of the times he has done it with me in his line of sight, near the back door, without ever signaling he wants out. I just grab him and take him immediately outside and give the potty command. Thank you all again for taking the time to respond!
 
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