I've got an eight month old bitch, Scout. We are having lots of fun with training, and she gets tons of exercise. So far she's been a delightful handful-and-a-half… but in the last few days we've run into a bit of a sticky wicket with house training, and just wondering if anyone else has run into this particular issue. I'm probably going to go overboard on detail, but am hoping for detailed feedback!
Every day our routine is I get up at around 5, feed the cats, putter around for a bit as I wake up, then get her out of the crate about 5:20, 5:30, collar on, out the door on a leash, potty in one area of the yard, work out for an hour, feeding, then tethered on mat with toys for a couple hours (or crate if she's squirrelly). The workout might be a parkour-style play & walk, a short run next to the bike plus scent work or other training games, or just a long walk. Often the workout happens somewhere that necessitates a car ride, first. Sometimes if I have a late working night, I'll sleep an extra cycle and get up at 6:30, which doesn't affect the routine otherwise.
In the last four days, she's refusing to pee in order to relieve her bladder in that morning potty break. She's eager to get out and do the fun thing, and she's just coming out of her first heat cycle so she's discovered the joys of marking out in the world, so she no longer sees the utility in the morning pit stop.
The first day this happened, we stood around in the potty spot in the yard for twenty minutes, then took laps around the yard (on the theory she just needed a little physical action to wake her bladder up) for another twenty minutes, and then I gave up. I knew she'd pee as soon as we got to a novel area, and figured I'd wait until after her heat cycle to do any "enforcement", for now I figured I'd just work on reinforcing the potty "command" with treats and praise when she did pee. So I put her in the back seat (harness/belted this time, in cooler weather I crate her, but I'm overly sensitive about the heat and humidity here and the crate feels stifling in seconds). We went two blocks to the farm store (dogs welcome, potty area next to the parking lot. I parked, went to get her out, and she was peeing on the seat. I "no potty!"'ed and scooped her out onto the grass, but of course she was done peeing.
Day 2 of the standoff, she again refuses to potty in the yard, so we aborted the routine and went back in the house. I handed her off to my husband so I could go to work, with plans to try again in an hour. She was tethered next to him while he worked, on her mat. She waited about twenty minutes, then went and peed on our other dog's bed.
Day 3 she again refuses to pee, and I finally catch a clue that this is a pattern, so we went back in the house and back in the crate. I or my husband took her out every hour on the hour for between fifteen and forty minutes, all day until midnight. She refused to pee. We tried standing in the potty spot for the whole time, tried walking laps around the yard, tried running laps, tried simple training games, she would either stare off at a gnat two blocks away if we were just standing there, or would try to pull toward the street, or would do whatever I asked, except she would. Not. Pee. Or poop. Or drink water. All day long. Finally at midnight I crated her and went to sleep, figuring that she'd either cry if she got desperate, and I could get up to take her out, or she'd pee on herself and then we'd have that issue to contend with, but either way I figured she could live with her choice for a few hours. Her bladder didn't feel distended and she wasn't uncomfortable with me palpating for it.
Day 4: I took her out again at five, and we stood around for ten minutes, walked around the yard for twenty, then stood in the yard for another ten, and 43 minutes in, she finally peed. She about half emptied her bladder, I cheered like an idiot the whole time and gave her a whole jerky strip, then we went on a run and she did great. I fed her when I got home, but she still wasn't interested in water. My husband took her and the big dog out for a long walkies later that day and she peed and pooped normally then, too, and drank a bunch of water when she got home.
Today is Day 5. No morning peeing. We set up to do the whole thing all over again, and every hour one or the other of us has taken her out, and she won't pee. My husband just took the 4:30 attempt, and he just called me to report that we achieved pee, and he treated/praised her and was taking her straight out on a walk. So this time it only took most of the day. Hopefully tomorrow it'll be even faster?
I have talked to her breeder about it, but just wanted to share the bladder show-down in case anyone else has had this kind of battle. In case anyone is concerned, I'm acutely aware of bladder heath concerns, so we'll be closely monitoring her for any symptoms of irritation or infection from holding it. I did consider that issue, but there are going to be times when I'm not going to be able to take her out for a fun romp, and times when I'm not going to be able to offer her hourly pee breaks, or times when we're travelling and there's one specific place I need her to pee when and where I tell her to because there might not be a comfy opportunity for a while. She is JUST coming out of her heat cycle, and I would NOT have chosen to have a show-down about anything while she was in heat, but she peed in the house and car, so... back to basic potty training boot camp.
Off to search the forum for potty training mishap stories!