I am really at a loss today! Poe, my three-month-old lab/golden retreiver mix, is very well housetrained for the most part - aside from the occasional "adjustment" accident since we just moved into a new place a few weeks ago. But she goes to the door when she needs to go out, goes "potty" on command, etc.
Last week it poured rain almost every day, but she didn't really seem bothered by it. In fact, I think I was more annoyed by the rain than she was! However, this morning, she peed outside as usual, but refused to poop! And I can't think of any other explanation for this, except for the rain.
I know she had to go, because she has a very regular "schedule". She always goes first thing in the morning when I let her out of her crate (she did actually go at that time), then about an hour after she eats her breakfast, and again about 4.5 hours later when I come home from work to let her out during my lunch break. So far today, she has not pooped at all since before breakfast!
This morning I spent over 40 minutes trying to get her to go. She peed in the backyard right away of course, but would not poop. I took her for not one but two walks - nothing. In between walks I tried to get her to go in the yard by taking to to a spot where she had gone before, and I held up a treat and said "go poopy". But she kept whining and trying to pull me back toward the door. Finally I was running so late for work that I could not wait any longer, so I had to put her in her crate and leave.
I figured by the time I got home at lunchtime, she'd be about ready to pop and it would be no problem to get her to go! WRONG! First I tried the backyard - pee but no poop. So then I took her for a walk, still nothing. And to make matters worse, while we were out on our walk she gobbled up an entire pile of poo (pretty sure it was cat) before I could even pull her away from it, so now I'm worried about parasites too! So when we got back from the walk I tried the backyard again, using the same tricks from the morning - taking her to the right spot, saying the command while holding a treat - to no avail. Again she just whined and kept trying to pull me back inside.
It's just not possible that she wouldn't have had to go - she was just holding it in for some reason? So at this point, I'm not sure if there's something wrong, or if she's just being stubborn because she doesn't want to go in the rain. I know the ideal thing to do would be to wait outside with her until she goes, but unfortunately I have to work so I don't have all day to wait around with her. At any rate, I hope she's not going to hold it until it stops raining, because they're calling for rain all week long and she's going to get sick!
So, any suggestions? Help!
Maybe her body is digesting the food better now and at this point there is not as much waste to eliminate...........
Dogs do NOT generalize well. E.g., if you teach a dog to fetch in the home, always from a certain chair in a certain direction, taking the dog outside and asking it to fetch will be like speaking Chinese to a person who understands only Greek.
SO, change the circumstances (add rain), and it can be an entirely different situation to your Lab.
I'm copying (below) a post I've previously made many times because it has suggestions that might be helpful to you.
A few words discussing the difference between using "The Mantra Technique" for Peeing and Pooping.
I use a mantra of "Puff, Pee-pee! Puff, Pee-pee!" when I want her to pee. This now results in an immediate squat and pee.
This is an effective technique BUT there's a considerable difference in the response of dogs to using it for peeing and pottying.
What the mantra does is serve as a Conditioned Stimulus (the mantra) to provoke the Unconditioned Response (peeing). Peeing usually occurs because the bladder is giving signals (Unconditioned Stimulus) to the brain that it's full and needs to be emptied.
Other stimuli can also give signals.
For instance, the more we are in need of tinkling, then the more that the sound of running water, or pumping gas, can increase our urgency to go. Those sounds are non-deliberate Conditioned Stimuli that have become associated (conditioned, learned) to go with tinkling.
Consistently using the mantra "Puff, pee-pee" is a way of adding a deliberate cue to serve the same purpose.
Dogs have great facility, sometimes a seemingly inexhaustible capacity to pee wherever they want to.
They "read" other dogs' "pee-mail" messages with their nose and make their replies.
Over and over.
So using the well-conditioned mantra, "Puff, Pee-pee" gives an almost immediate response.
Not so with my mantra, "Puff, Potty!"
Dogs can't poop over and over at will so it's much more difficult for them to poop on command.
Using the mantra for pottying helps along and sometimes finishes a process.
There has to be digesting food in the intestine. Food there is slowly passed through it by the peristaltic movement of the intestine (somewhat like an alternate squeezing and relaxing at an area to pass the digest on to a spot slightly closer to the exit). So it has to get from the intestines down to the colon (the vestibule of the intestines) and then out the rectum/anal sphincter.
When the colon signals to the dog's brain that it has full occupancy and the dog's brain judges that this is a suitable place, the dog assumes the pooping position and discharges the waste.
Using the mantra "Puff, Potty!" helps promote the peristalsis, helps get full enough occupancy of the colon to deserve evacuation but it's a much slower process.
As in a gun, a bullet has to be in the magazine, it has to be lifted into position, it has to be put into the firing chamber, the trigger has to be pulled and the firing pin smashed into the cartridge.
If the digest/bullet isn't already in proper final position, using the mantra will never result in the desired pottying but it can help the process along -- although we need to realize that this is a much slower process.
Last edited by Bob Pr.; 05-31-2010 at 01:37 PM.
Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]
Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":