(Vengeful?) Pottying On The Couch!

@hizbaby if you figure this out, please do tell. My pup, 10 weeks, does this and I am certain it is vengeful. It started with crate training. When we'd put her in the crate she'd throw a fit. If we left her be, she would eventually get super hysterical and then just poop in the crate.

My wife would then make me take her out to clean the crate. I wondered if she started to learn that pooping resulted in getting her out of the crate - therefore - pooping = attention and time away from crate. So we got a pen and left the door to the crate open, this resulted in her moving her poop from the crate to the pen when angry we didn't let her out.

Now, she's having trouble with the biting feet thing and we've been working through this. One of the solutions we've read, is the that you give her a time out. Well, we've also read that you shouldn't put a B in a crate as a form of punishment, because they will associate bad times with the crate and hate it more. So to have a "time out" place, I took all the possibly dangerous things out of the half bath we have downstairs and started using it as the time out place.

This is today. Three times I asked her to stop nipping at people's feet. Three times she ignored me. So I picked her up, put her in the half bath and closed the door. She's throw a fit and I'd let her out when she calmed down. On the fourth time, I opened the door and low and behold poop in the corner. I let her out, cleaned it up, and put her back for another time out.

Thankfully, this time she seems to be behaving. But there is no doubt in my mind now, that she does this when she's displeased.

@ntasd - She has no idea why she is being locked in a room? Biting feet is what she would do with her littermates and remember now your scent replaces her littermates, so you need to yelp loud and I do mean loud... and turn you back to her with a firm no... each and every time she does that and replace with a toy/chewy that she can have...asking her to stop will not cut it.... Are you putting her in the crate when you are there? If so, she wants to be with you... Are you feeding her in her crate? Is she sleeping in her crate? And is that crate in your bedroom? They want to be with you. Have you talked to her breeder?

last edited by tanza

Hi @tanza, thanks for the reply. I shortened want I did to "asked her to stop." We yelp, turn our heads away from her and then firmly say no every time. She does not stop. Most of the literature that we've read suggest that if she doesn't curtail her biting after 3 or 4 times of this full process, you give her a time out. So that's what played out. The only piece of your suggestion we're not doing is the chew toy, because she doesn't have any interest in them. Every time we try to distract her with a chew toy, she drops and goes right back to biting feet.

We only crate her at night. Because she has separation anxiety, we've started putting her in her play pen outside for 5 mins at a time and our plan is to increase the time out there over time.

We are feeding her in her create. We get into her play pen with her and play so that she associates the pen with good times. We've bought a stuffed toy that has a heart beat sound and pulse in order to give her the comfort of other pups/her mom in the crate.

She is sleeping in her crate. The crate issue is starting to work itself out. It's been a while since she's done eliminated in her crate.

I was sharing with hizbaby, that the behavior she described seems to mirror what my little lady is doing. She eliminates when she's upset.

@ntasd said in (Vengeful?) Pottying On The Couch!:

We yelp, turn our heads away from her and then firmly say no every time.

Perhaps addressing the issue before it happens?
Your pup is teething, the same way a human baby would teeth. Everything that can go into the mouth does. So, let's focus on relieving the pain... take a washcloth (not the good ones!), soak it, then wring it out. Leave it twisted up like a rope and toss it into the freezer. When your pup nips you, say "no", then offer the frozen washcloth and say "here, bite this".

If you need to make the washcloth more attractive, you can smear peanut butter on it, or soak it with chicken broth. There are ways to make it a better treat. Your choice, but the primary goal is to be able to praise your pup for choosing to chew on the "right thing". Which is obviously not your ankles!

IMO a "time out" isn't the way to address this. If she bites feet and doesn't stop when you yelp (Yea, squeaky toy!) then physically prevent her from continuing the biting. She's a pup, not a 100 lb dog, just bear hug her until she quits, then immediately let her go and praise. Rinse, repeat (if she does). No crates when you are available to supervise. Spend time with her, teach her what is "legal", what is not. Sounds like perhaps this pup was removed from Mom and siblings a bit early since she is not responding to your cues. She needs to learn what actions are off limits, as her mother would teach her.

@ntasd said in (Vengeful?) Pottying On The Couch!:

We get into her play pen with her and play so that she associates the pen with good times.

She should also associate the crate with something other than punishment, poor little girl. You do seem to have got off on the wrong foot with her. Try to gain her confidence, play with her around the house, not just in the playpen. She is part of your family now. She shouldn't feel the need to behave like she does.

I don't know if I'm typing in another language or if I've just upset the collective forum. We NEVER punish her in her play pen ever. She have never been put in time out in her play pen. That pen is being used for: 1) the place where her crate is at night so that we can leave the crate open as that seems to make her more comfortable; 2) a place where we play and enjoy each other together in addition to our playtime outside the pen; 3) a place we are using to help build up her ability to be away from us slowly. We're currently doing 5 minute intervals.

All that we do is play with her around the house. In every room downstairs. Heck she even goes into the bathroom with the girls when they go. Obviously we work, so there are times she's not being played with, but for those times she's mostly in her bed (a separate bed in the same room as us, not the crate.) I take her on 3, 20 minute walks every day, (I have to limit those to just side walks because she hasn't gotten her third set of vaccines yet). When I said we play in the play pen, it was because we play so much with her outside of the pen, that I worried she would see the pen as a boring ho hum place where she ends the night and therefore would start to resist going into the pen.

We may not be a perfect B household, this is our first one, but we care very much for her and we're trying are absolute best to build a warm, loving, and trusting home for her. That will happen over time and we'll be patient. More patient than this forum.

@ntasd - Is she in her play pen when you and the family are home? If so, she wants to be with the rest of the family..... and with 2 of the shots she should be fine on walks, just don't let her "sniff" other poop... and at night, she needs to be sleeping in the bedroom in a crate or in the bed, not stuck in a room by herself... they need to be with their people. This is not meant to be mean, just what I have found in 30+ years of having/raising Basenjis

@tanza as mentioned before, during the day she is not in the play pen. She is always in the same room as one of us (free, unencumbered, off leash, totally free) and allowed to do as she pleases. The only time she is in her pen alone during the day is when we're doing separation exercises. That is, I put the pen outside and I set her in there for 5 mins then bring her back in. I do that two or three times a day. So total of 15 mins in her pen by herself during the day for those.

At night, I sleep on the couch while she sleeps in her crate. It is my hope that we can train her to sleep downstairs. I may fail miserably at it, but I want to try. Right now, she's sleeping without issue until 4 AM, where she wakes up and wakes me up. I take her out she goes potty and then I put her back in the pen. She will usually then make a fuss for about 10 mins and go back into her crate to sleep. She's up again at 6:30 and then it's out to potty and a 20 min walk before breakfast. My goal is to be able to slip upstairs once she's asleep and then come down to let her out when she needs it. I know this will take a lot of time - I've been sleeping on the couch since we got her. However, I know that nothing in life is easy and good things are earned. So like anything else, I'll either earn it or decide the juice isn't worth the squeeze.

Basenji's want to be with their people, but both of your training techniques are to force her to be away from you.

@ntasd said in (Vengeful?) Pottying On The Couch!:

, I put the pen outside and I set her in there for 5 mins then bring her back in.

This might work if everyone leaves the house, gets in the car, drives away for 5-10 minutes and then comes home. But to put your dog outside and refuse to let them back in until the timer rings... I cannot see that teaching your dog how to deal with separation.

@ntasd said in (Vengeful?) Pottying On The Couch!:

I sleep on the couch while she sleeps in her crate

For the same reason, you should move the crate into your bedroom. Dogs protect their families as instinctively as they breath. If you get up and leave when you "think" the dog is asleep, what's the pup supposed to think when they wake up in the middle of the night and see you are gone?

IMHO, these training methods will only result in an insecure and anxious pup. Please reconsider your training techniques.

@elbrant said in (Vengeful?) Pottying On The Couch!:

Basenji's want to be with their people, but both of your training techniques are to force her to be away from you.
- I believe there has to be a balance. We're going to have her for nearly two decades, there will be times that she will need to be alone. I'm trying to build a foundation so that she can cope with those times. I took this technique from several puppy training books. I know that Bs are different. By Friday I should finally have, Mrs. Kenworhty's book and hopefully there will be new insights I can use there. But for us the answer can't be, "just let her be with you 100% of the time."

@ntasd said in (Vengeful?) Pottying On The Couch!:

, I put the pen outside and I set her in there for 5 mins then bring her back in.

This might work if everyone leaves the house, gets in the car, drives away for 5-10 minutes and then comes home. But to put your dog outside and refuse to let them back in until the timer rings... I cannot see that teaching your dog how to deal with separation.

@ntasd said in (Vengeful?) Pottying On The Couch!:

I sleep on the couch while she sleeps in her crate

For the same reason, you should move the crate into your bedroom. Dogs protect their families as instinctively as they breath. If you get up and leave when you "think" the dog is asleep, what's the pup supposed to think when they wake up in the middle of the night and see you are gone?
- I have been testing this out. He crate is in the living room. Once she's asleep, I go the family room and work. She's gotten up a couple times and makes a little noise, then goes back to sleep. So far, I haven't noticed a major reaction to her waking up without me there. Like I said, "I'm trying." If I notice that it is unproductive, I'll go to plan B.

IMHO, these training methods will only result in an insecure and anxious pup. Please reconsider your training techniques.
- Happy to reconsider. Any suggestions for how to help her with separation issues?

@ntasd said in (Vengeful?) Pottying On The Couch!:

the answer can't be, "just let her be with you 100% of the time."

Not 100% of the time, but when you are home, let the dog get used to being "on it's own". At your dog's current age, toileting is not going to be "spot on". Clearly you will need to address taking the dog out in an attempt to avoid accidents. Other than that your dog should be given an opportunity to "explore" her home without being in a crate or pen. Using baby gates might be a good option to keep the dog in one room. Ideally, you want the dog to be in the same room you are in, even if your attention is not fully on her. This shouldn't be a problem if the room has been "puppy-proofed". She will learn what is "ok" and "not ok" over time. But she won't learn if she is confined to "x" amount of square feet in a pen.

@ntasd said in (Vengeful?) Pottying On The Couch!:

Any suggestions for how to help her with separation issues?

Place her in her crate, tell her you will be "right back", and leave. At first, go to the corner and back, then gradually increase the time you are gone. But you have to actually be gone. Dogs can hear incredibly well. So, if your dog is in the crate and you are fixing a cup of tea, the dog won't understand why it's in the crate.

This is something that has to be modeled on your own life. What expectations do you have about your dogs behavior? Watch your dog for cues, they have a way of training you, too.

@elbrant thanks. I've gone back on my messages to try to understand why people think we have her in a pen. I can't find it, but maybe I'm just not seeing my words through other people's eyes. We don't keep her in her pen. In fact, we're doing exactly what you suggested. Our living room and kitchen are connected and they have one doorway to the family room and upstairs. We've put a puppy gate at that doorway and give her free roam of the two rooms. On one end of the living room, my step daughter does remote learning for school due to Covid. My wife works from the breakfast nook in the kitchen. The puppy, is out and free to roam that entire area. There is the occasional "get down" command when she jumps on a coffee table or end table, but otherwise, she's left to her own devices. She has a bed, NOT IN HER CRATE, with a blanket and toys. She spends a lot of time sleeping there. When she's not sleeping, she's usually at someone's feet with something she's chewing on or speeding around the couch like a banshee. Her pen and the crate are in the living room and the door is left open to both. On occasion she'll go in there. We don't stop her but we don't encourage it either.

Thanks for the tip on leaving the house. It's a little more difficult with everyone working from home due to Covid, but I think it's a good idea. Thanks!

@ntasd said in (Vengeful?) Pottying On The Couch!:

I've gone back on my messages to try to understand why people think we have her in a pen

Because you told us you were using a pen....

@ntasd said in (Vengeful?) Pottying On The Couch!:

That pen is being used for: 1) the place where her crate is at night so that we can leave the crate open as that seems to make her more comfortable; 2) a place where we play and enjoy each other together in addition to our playtime outside the pen; 3) a place we are using to help build up her ability to be away from us slowly. We're currently doing 5 minute intervals.

Now I feel like I need to dissect the thread to figure out what's what.

@elbrant yes. But only in relation to crate training. Meaning training her to be in her crate at night. That's it. Other than that it's as I said above.

"My pup, 10 weeks, does this and I am certain it is vengeful. It started with crate training. When we'd put her in the crate she'd throw a fit. If we left her be, she would eventually get super hysterical and then just poop in the crate."

@ntasd - Again the crate at night needs to be in your bedroom, next to the bed.. they do not do well sleeping in a room by themselves...

@ntasd Hello! As for Willy's mysterious couch potty, it has disappeared as quickly as it came ... she has not done it again, she has resumed her usual routine of the B-500, which includes up. on over any furniture we are not sitting on, primarily we sit on the love seat.
I KNOW in my heart she was doing it to express SOMETHING, but whatever it was, I can't know! I DID for a couple days after the "events" not allow her to get on THAT couch, if my telling her to get down did not work, the sight of the spray bottle induced an immediate response, after a day or two of that, no issues!
As for biting your feet, O yes! and it hurts! I found that when she was younger (like 2 months ago!) that OW THAT HURTS and an abrupt stop would let me get hold of her, and I would pick her up and get EYE TO EYE and tell her FIRMLY "NO BITE" then release her and ignore her, NO eye contact, NO talking to her for all of 3-5 minutes, and it did not take long for her to understand that biting feet in motion was NOT acceptable.
She is still learning the difference between play biting and too rough, but is MUCH better, even when playing tug of war and fetch ( I know, B's don't typically fetch, but she does, and will do so for a really long time!)
I find that getting EYE TO EYE and a firm talking to ( I use the word SHAME, in conjunction with the infraction, which she seems to understand is an expression of my disappointment ) followed by completely ignoring her goes a long way. A few minutes of ignoring is all it takes, she does NOT like not being talked to or looked at. I firmly believe that these little demons thrive on attention, and if being good doesn't get it, being bad is the next GO TO. As for the crate being viewed as punishment, or used for time out, all my former B's, and this little one were / are aware that there is a definite difference between "good crate time" and "time out crate time" - I did / do the same treatment for time out - NO eye contact, no verbal intercourse, and not long in the crate on a time out resulted in a better behaved pup upon release. They completely understand the difference between a happy mama and an unhappy mama! And as everybody knows, If Mama aint happy, aint nobody happy!
I know you will ultimately reach your goal, it takes a lot of patience and love, the love part is easy, the patience part takes some work!

@elbrant I also wanted to say thanks on the advice on the frozen shirt. That's working really well as her new favorite chew thing.

@ntasd - Frozen carrots work well also

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