Back to basics with litterbox training?

  • Hi everyone! Long time no write again - thought I'd get the peanut gallery opinion on litter box training. So I have (had) Tayda trained to use a litter box filled with Equine Pine pellets when we aren't home. We've moved around several times in the last couple years but each time she seemed to have adapted pretty quickly. But in our new place, she seems to have regressed a bit.

    Her situation in our previous houses have all been pretty similar. She was blocked in the kitchen with about 12x12 of room to "roam" in. I had a dog bed on the floor for her, and near the door to the outside I put a large shallow tupperware bin (the kind you can buy to store stuff under a bed) with the pine pellets in it. And with that set up, she has been fine all day, peeing in the bin multiple times before we get home. There was a rug in the room, but she never (or very rarely) peed on the run - always in the box.

    But this time, the kitchen situation is not one that allows for her to be blocked in efficiently. So I have her blocked in the family room, which is a bit bigger. She is able to sleep on the couch during the day if she chooses, and i have the bin with the pellets near the door to the outside. This seemed fine for the first 2 months or so that we lived here. But then I started coming home to finding pee in the box AND pee on the rug or on the wood floor next to the rug. It is large amounts of pee so I don't think it is a UTI or anything like that. I really feel like she's just getting lazy about walking ALL THE WAY (about 10 feet) over to the bin. Is that possible? Boooo….

    So I am now trying to go "back to basics" with the litterbox training. I have her back in a LARGE crate, with a dog bed taking up half the crate, and a litterbox with pine pellets taking up the other half. The idea being, of course, that she won't want to pee on her bed, so she'll pee in the litterbox and that will help get her "re" trained.

    HOWEVER, today was the second day of trying the "back to basics" training. I videotaped her yestserday and today and this is what she did.

    Day one: didn't pee in the box at all, peed in her bed, and then slept in it.

    Day two: didn't sleep in her bed. slept in the litter box. The tape ran out before she peed in the litter box so I don't know if she slept in it after she peed in it, but I suspect she did.

    ugh, now what??? If the idea is that by giving her only a small area to sleep in and an a litterbox to pee in, and dogs naturally don't want to sleep in her pee..... what now? She seems to be at least "okay" with sleeping in the litterbox? strange! I don't remember her doing this last time around.

    Any ideas would be appreciated!

  • How many hours a day is she crated? How old is she? Is there anyone who can come in once a day and take your basenji out for a pee/poo break?

    IMO, I would not place a litter box/pan in her crate. Granted, I am a novice at owning a basenji, but I know my Kipawa would not want to sleep right next to where he pees or poops.

    I'm sure you will get some excellent feedback to help you.

  • She is in the crate for about 9 hours a day and she is 9. She has Fanconi so she does have to pee several times throughout the day so a mid day dog walker would not solve the issue. For the past 2 or 3 years she has been just peeing in the litterbox with little to no issue throughout the day. I really don't want her to be crated long term, this is just a way to get her used to knowing that pee goes in the box - so that I can gradually have her loose in a room again. I was blocking her off using baby gates into a smaller area, but she has become a bit of a Houdini and escaping from the enclosures I've been putting together. I've just never known a dog to be okay with sleeping where she pees - which is what is seemingly going on right now. Either she peed on the blanket and then slept on it, or she sleeps in the litter box. Very strange behavior for her.

    Although last night, I put her in the crate for about 1/2 hour while I was out cutting the lawn and came back to her having peed in the litter box and then laying on her bed - so that was a bit of a success.

    My husband is home today so we won't have another days worth of observation until tomorrow.

  • Is she on the Fanconi protocol to keep her health the best it can be?

    If your husband is home today, keep the litter box in the crate and leave the door open. Perhaps for today, your husband could guide her to the crate where the litter box is so she can pee. Do you have a command word for peeing that she knows? Kipawa's breeders use 'hurry hurry'. It works well. If you don't have a command word for pee, you could incorporate one when you see her use her litter box. I know you won't always have someone there to use a command word, but as part of her pee training, you might find this useful.

    When she pees in the litter box, have him give her TONS of praise and perhaps a treat that is allowed on the Fanconi protocol. As you said she pees several times a day. Today you have an opportunity to show her what a good girl she is when she uses the litter box.

  • Hi Michelle…I don't have any great idea. My only thought is that perhaps if you limited her space (maybe an expen - with a top) with her crate in the expen and a litter box in the expen - outside of her crate, she would get back in the habit of keeping her crate clean since she would have the option of peeing in the litterbox and then moving back to her crate to sleep. Maybe she figures since the litterbox is in the crate, what is the difference between going there or in her bed...guessing here. I'm thinking there is some sort of disconnect on the large space and the litterbox...maybe it needs to be her own small space.

    I wish you lived closer because I'd loan you my expen to try...

  • That's a good idea - I can try that. We actually have an expen but when I used it, she scratched the wood floor next to it trying to get to the other side. I'll have to find something to put under the expen so she can't scratch at the floor. and just an FYI - we actually live in Providence, RI now! Not sure where you are but might not be all that far!

    and yes, Kipawa - she is definitely on the Fanconi protocol - has been for almost 4 years now and doing great!

  • Michelle…go to Home Depot/Lowes and get a big piece of linoleum...that's what lots of people put under expens. Wow, didn't know you where in Rhode Island - I'm still in Maine - so not that far, 2.5 hrs - for future reference. 🙂

  • Ah - great idea Renaultf1! We went and picked up a big piece of linoleum yesterday so I'll cut it tonight and set up our new enclosure! Thanks!

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