New rescue dog mom here, likely to a Basenji mix who is named Pedro.
(I was told that it was a terrier mix but a lot of its qualities make me think its more Basenji- stretches like a yogi, licks himself clean, tan/white color, furrowed brow and bat ears, super agile and will canter like a horse at faster runs, sits/squats to pee and poop. The only thing that is less so is the fact that he is less "sight hound" but has to sniff EVERYTHING.)
He is 6 months old and sweet as can be, if a little timid (but has not shown any signs of aggression with fear, just very wary of new things and can be slow to warm to new people and dogs). Just a few days into adoption he already enjoys walking/jogging with me and snuggling in the evenings, starting to learn "sit", "down", etc.
However, housebreaking has been a bit of a bear. I was told he didn't have daily accidents at the shelter, but still made mistakes here and there. For the most part he has been pretty good about pooping outside.
When it comes to peeing though, I am baffled.........Pedro will hold his pee for 10, 12, even 14 hours!!!
This is despite walking him more than 4-5 times per day, with at least 2 of those walks being 30-60 minutes and the rest at least 10-15 minutes. Yesterday he had an accident inside once at 530am (I get up early for work and made the mistake of letting him wander around off leash after a meal, even though I was watching and he was with me the whole time), then peed once at doggie daycare at 1 pm afternoon then literally did not pee for 18 hours afterwards (although he did poop), despite the fact that I walked him twice in the evening, for over an hour this morning (in all kinds of environments-- busy city street, quiet wooded park... on grass, gravel, rock hills...)... and then again for 20 minutes right after feeding. And then he finally peed in the stairwell right as he was walking into day care.
Here are all the things we've tried:
- Going out every 2-3 hours with crating in or very close supervision in between and going out at the slightest sign of sniffing or circling. And we go straight outside if he whines in the crate for more than 3 minutes continuously (ie it doesn't seem like a "hey why are you ignoring me" cry)
- Trying different environments and surfaces (at first we thought it might be anxiety about city streets since he's a bit shy... but he had no problem starting a poop in the middle of a crosswalk with oncoming traffic yesterday... sigh)
- Lots of praise and/or treats with the poops (I personally have yet to see him pee outside but I'm sure the dogsitter is praising him on the occasional walk pees he's seen)
- Strict feeding schedule (sometimes the timing is off by an hour or two, but gets fed twice a day and access to fresh water 4-5 times a day... nose always seems wet and skin taut so doesn't seem like he's dehydrated)
- Trying to interrupt accidents (I will say "hey!" or "no!" and try to pick him up into the bathtub to finish there... then immediately take him out after... but usually he will just keep peeing despite my attempts then continue to play outside without any additional elimination). I don't have enzyme spray yet but clean up right after, and he has not had accidents in the same spots yet. He has squatted to pee during the 2 accidents i've witnessed so I don't necessarily think he is trying to "mark"
He has not soiled his crate, so I guess that's the only thing working in our favor. And most of the time, he will willingly go into his crate (often voluntarily goes there to relax after eating or a busy day at daycare, and/or easily goes in with a treat to coax. Rarely do I have to gently guide him by his collar, but I have NEVER had to pick him up or force him in so far and he doesn't seem anxious about it so he seems to be mostly fine with it. The only time he whines is if he feels like he is lonely and bored-- ie I am in another room and he is not tired enough to sleep-- but even that will often pass after a few minutes with the crate covered).
He also doesn't seem uncomfortable when peeing, so I don't think he has a UTI or other health issue, although I'm certainly worried he's going to give himself one at this rate.
My next step is to spend a weekend where he is either crated (mostly) or umbilical corded to me and the rest of the time outside for 48 hours. i assume at some point he will pee outside and I will be on hand to shower praise and treats lavishly to start the positive reinforcement. But it is really tough to "catch" that moment when I have to work and he only pees once or twice a day. Unfortunately I don't have any vacation coming up and can't spend a week just doing the above.
Also we haven't had a really rainy day yet, but I'm worried how those days as well as the cold upcoming winter months are going to go when neither of us will necessarily want to spend 4-6+ hours outside a day.
If the strict weekend crating technique doesn't work.... any other thoughts???
I suppose the two other factors to take into account are that I am first-time dog owner (have had small pets before, and work daily with young children... but I find the techniques I use on my puppy work well on children and vice versa thus far ) and that he is spending a lot of time at doggy daycare right now (but he always seems happy when I pick him up, he is learning to socialize well with the other pups, so I don't think there's any concern for more anxiety there... and I have asked my sitter to start being more rigorous about crating for short stints for most non-outside time as well)
Thanks so much in advance from a new worried dog-mom!