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Date:   14 May, 2009
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DOG BEHAVIOUR
HOW TO STOP YOUR ADULT MALE DOG FROM URINE-MARKING INSIDE THE APARTMENT - 2 CASE STUDIES
Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
Case written: 14 May, 2009

CASE 1. HOW TO STOP YOUR ADULT MALE DOG FROM URINE-MARKING INSIDE THE APARTMENT
Tuesday, April 21, 2009

On March 31, 2009, the 1.5-year-old Miniature Schnauzer was neutered. He stayed 10 days at Toa Payoh Vets so that we could condition and train him to pee and poop outdoors as he had vigorously urine-marked the apartment at home. The mother was at a loss as to what to do. So I proposed re-training him to eliminate outdoors by confinement in the crate while not being exercised 3 times/day. It would be easier to train the dog at Toa Payoh Vets as he would also be neutered and needed post-operative care for 10 days.

In the meantime, the mother would neutralise all the urine smells at home. At the end of 10 days, the dog would go home but be crated for 1 month while being exercised outdoors 3 times/day as at Toa Payoh Vets.

The mum came today to get the neuter and the microchip certificates to renew his dog licence at the Post Office.

"How's the dog nowadays?" I asked the mum.

"He is doing well and does not pee indoors anymore as he is outdoors 3x/day," the mum said. "I needed to ask why he vomited yesterday and on the day he came home. On the day he came home, the cause could be due to the car ride, but last week he vomited once again."

"Did your daughter bring him downstairs?" I asked.

"No," the mother said. "She's busy at school. The maid did it."

"Most likely the dog had eaten grass or something in the grass outdoors," I guessed. "Ask the maid."

The mother nodded her head.

"He is a lucky dog," I said. "Usually other dogs go outdoors 2x/day or less."

The mum was happy anyway. I continued, "After one month, let the dog wander around the house in between his outings per day and see what happens. If he does not urine-mark inside the apartment, it will be considered a great success."

As at May 10, 2009, there was no complaint or consultation from the dog owner. I presume everything was working according to the plan and the dog was no longer vomiting.


FLASHBACK
 

The 13-year-old daughter believed that it was extremely cruel to neuter the 1.5-year-old Miniature Schnauzer. So, the domestic worker had to mop the floor and wash the furniture every day. Every time she did it, the male dog urine-marked the furniture again. The carpet was not spared too. "Nobody at the groomer could advise us as to how to stop this urine-marking behaviour," the exasperated mother said to me.

"It is difficult for the groomer to advise you" I said. "A deep understanding of the male dog behaviour is needed before one can offer some advices on how to stop urine-marking inside the apartment.

"It is the execution of the recommendations of how to  stop the anti-urine-marking behaviour inside the apartment that is difficult for the owner. Without the owner's effective execution, the dog continues to urine-mark even after neutering." I knew many time-starved Singapore dog owners just simply could not comply with the advices given.  

The mum must have been stressed by this anti-social behaviour as her forehead creased when she spoke to me. 

"Neutering at 6 months would be effective," I explained that it was a bit difficult to know whether urine-marking would stop after neutering now that the dog was 1.5 years old. "But the operation would likely reduce the urge to urine-mark. There is still a need to train your dog to pee outdoors with a routine to be strictly adopted after neutering."

The daughter was quiet during the consultation. She was as tall as I am for a 13-year-old. Seldom do I meet such a tall Asian girl at 13 years of age.

She seemed to understand her mother's frustrations about having to keep the dog away from the carpet and the sofa. It was a losing battle every day. The young girl did not object to the neutering.

But later at home, she phoned me to ask whether the dog would feel the pain or die during neutering as she had surfed the internet. "Unlikely to die," I said. "There is no pain during neutering as the dog will be under general anaesthesia."

"How about doing vasectomy?" she enquired.
"Vasectomy can be done," I said. "But the urine-marking problem will persist as the male hormone testosterone is still being produced. Testosterone makes the dog want to urine-mark to carve out his territory and to urinate over the spots marked by other dogs."

With great reluctance, the daughter said no more. Neutering was done for the sake of peace of mind for her dear mum.
 


Miniature Schnauzer. Obsessive Urine Marking inside Apartment. Toa Payoh VetsZOLETIL SEDATION AND ANAESTHESIA IN THIS CASE 
Zoletil 50 - 0.2 ml IV. Dog was sedated within a minute. I noted that the dog salivated a few watery drops and had a bright red maroon tongue as if the dog was dehydrated. The normal tongue colour during xylazine sedation which I often use is pink.

Zoletil also caused the pupils to be dilated unlike xylazine, even at this low dose. I gave a 0.5 ml atropine injection IM and the pupils went back to normal size while the salivation ceased within 2 minutes. Isoflurane gas anaesthesia was given. Neutering was uneventful. I find that Zoletil IV is not as good as xylazine in sedation as there is a need for atropine to prevent the above-mentioned side effects. Xylazine has the main disadvantage of causing vomiting after injection.  Zoletil 50 at 0.1 ml IV was more useful in the sedation of cat than in the sedation of the dog in my opinion.  


RE-TRAINING THE DOG TO PEE OUTDOORS
1. This dog was warded for 10 days while the owner neutralised the urine smell inside the apartment with white vinegar:water at 1:3 using a piece of rag. She did it 3 times.
2. The dog was crated but taken out 3 times a day to exercise and pee and poop. Meal times were 2x per day. This routine was performed for 10 days. The owner was informed and told to continue the routine.

The 13-year-old daughter was prepared to wake up at 6 am to bring the dog outdoors first thing in the morning as the dog usually eliminated in the balcony. However, my routine was taking the dog out at 8.00 am and so the domestic worker could do the job.

It sounded cruel to crate the male dog. This method ensured that he would not pee and poop inside the crate as he wanted to be clean. He was happy to go back to the crate after the exercise as he had to rest after neutering.

He went home on Day 10 and so far, there was no complaint. The owners had to adhere to the routine or it would be back to square one. The dog would be confined inside a crate for the next 4 weeks and observed. He should no longer be urine-marking inside the apartment as he had a routine he would look forward to. This means that the mum would no longer be stressed out and yet maintain the harmonious mother-daughter relationship. The mum thanked me personally and I hope she would now have peace of mind.


CASE 2. A NEWLY ADOPTED ADULT MALE MALTESE STARTS URINATING OUTSIDE THE NEWSPAPERS. WHY?
 

April 13, 2009,
Dog Owner XXX wrote:

Dear Dr. Sing,

Toilet-Training and Urine-marking, adult Male Maltese/Dog. Toa Payoh VetsI came across your blog http://puppytoilettraining.blogspot.com/ through google & was wondering whether I can e-mail you for some advice.

I've just adopted a 2-year old Maltese on Saturday afternoon & he's been with me for 2 nights.
Previous owner caged him up for almost a year with hardly any run-around play time because of certain circumstances. He's kinda paper-trained. But what I would like to do is to get him used to his new environment whereby he does it in the toilet instead, but still on paper.

Is it the right way to train him if I were to confine him in just the toilet area with the paper within? Food & water to place on another side.

Warm Regards,
XXX
 

From: Kong Yuen Sing
Sent: Tuesday, April 14, 2009
To: XXX
Subject: Re: Newly Adopted 2- year old Maltese

Thank you for your email.

As each dog behaves differently, I can only propose the following which may be suitable as your dog is mature and almost paper-trained:

1. Keep dog in toilet for 2-4 weeks but with a baby gate so that he can see you.
2. Place newspapers 100% on floor.
3. Place dog's urine smell on newspapers (use 2nd piece of newspaper with urine).
4. Observe the location where the dog pees and poops (usually away from sleeping area).
5. Reduce the papered area by 50% gradually over 1-2 weeks such that his toilet location is the newspaper.
6. Say "pee here" (on newspapers) and give food treats on success (if you are around). Persevere.
7. Change soiled papers promptly.
8. Open the baby gate but not to give the dog excessive area. Increase the area of freedom by a room and monitor. If dog goes to paper by himself, you give praise and food treats. Persevere.
9. Neutralise "accident" areas of peeing with white vinegar:water 1:3
8. Let me know how long you will take to succeed.



April 23, 2009 & April 24, 2009 Reply in Capital Letters

Dear Dr. Sing,

Appreciate your e-mail.

Can I get your advice based on my schedule & how things have been for the last week.

Date of Adoption: 11th April 2009
Age: 2 year old Maltese, Male, Not Neutered

I've been keeping DDD in the kitchen with the newspaper on a pee pad nearer the other end just outside the toilet. I'm usually away from home from 8a.m. - 7.30p.m. After which I'll let him out to roam the house & follow me. At night I'll put him away in the kitchen again from 11.30p.m. - 7.15a.m. Between 7.15 - 8a.m. before I leave house, I'll play & cuddle him a little whilst preparing myself for work. He's been great so far!!! Knows how to pee on the newspaper but because he's left alone during the day without any change in newspapers, there was one time he accidentally stepped on his poo Other times, he mis-aimed & poo is either on the floor right next to the pee pad, or there's a small puddle of pee on the floor instead. How do I handle & prevent this situation?

HE WANTS TO AVOID THE SOILED PAPERS WHICH ARE NOT REPLACED DUE TO YOUR ABSENCE FROM HOME (YOU ARE WORKING). TO YOU HE HAS "MIS-AIMED".

SOLUTIONS:

1. A friend comes to your house to replace the soiled papers with new ones at e.g. lunch-time.
2. PLACE NEWSPAPERS IN 3 OR 4 SPOTS IN THE KITCHEN SO THAT HE HAS A NEW TOILET-AREA. SOME OWNERS DO THAT. ARE YOU DOING IT?
3. JUST COVER THE KITCHEN FLOOR WITH NEWSPAPERS EXCEPT HIS SLEEPING AND EATING AREA.


Another enquiry is that ever since he's been staying with me, every night when he's placed in the kitchen, he whines & scratches the kitchen door. I have yet to get a baby gate.

DOG MAY BE SUFFERING FROM SEPARATION ANXIETY AS HE CAN SEE YOU. THEREFORE SCRATCHES DOOR TILL IT IS DAMAGED. BEST YOU GET A BABY GATE OR PUT A HIGH FENCING USING PLAYPEN PANELS. THE PUPPY IS A SOCIAL ANIMAL AND SHOULD BE HAPPY JUST TO SEE YOU BEHIND THE BABY GATE.

Things got worse last night when my parents came back. DDD had to re-adjust to new-comers in the house & he refused to go into the kitchen. Even my usual method of throwing treats to one corner of the kitchen to distract him to go & stay in the kitchen didn't work this time. I had to chase him round the house for a while before being able to carry him into the kitchen.
NO OTHER WAY THAN TO CATCH HIM AND CARRY HIM TO THE KITCHEN. HE JUST DOES NOT WANT TO BE FENCED UP OR LOCKED UP. THAT IS WHY HE REFUSES TO GO TO THE KITCHEN DESPITE FOOD TREATS ETC. HE IS GROWING UP AND BECOMING WISER TO YOUR 'MANIPULATIONS'.

NO, I DOUBT HE WILL BE SCARED SINCE YOU DON'T PHYSICALLY HIT HIM LIKE SOME PUPPY OWNERS. YOU MAY NEED TO BE MORE COMMANDING TO GAIN HIS RESPECT. I GUESS YOU ARE MORE A FRIEND THAN A PACK LEADER TO HIM. SO HE BEHAVES BY NOT LISTENING TO YOUR GENTLE FRIENDLY TONES.

Is this the right way? Is he scared of me unduly? Cos i dont' want that to be the case :( :(

Please advice.
Thanx!!!!!!

Warm Regards,

XXX


 


From: XXX
Sent: Friday, May 08, 2009 6:08 PM
To: 'drsing@toapayohvets.com'
Cc: 'judy@toapayohvets.com'
Subject: 459. Toilet-training OLDER DOGS - a 2-year-old Maltese (http://puppytoilettraining.blogspot.com/2009/04/459-toilet-training-older-dogs-2-year.html)

Dear Dr. Kong,

If you remember, I wrote to you some time back on April 24 about certain issues with regards to toilet-training my 2 year old newly adopted Maltese. You very kindly gave me some advice! Thanx for that ! :)

Meanwhile, there are some developments that I wanted to update you about & ask for further advice.
I have also attached some images to this e-mail so that you can see our current kitchen that we are placing DDD, our Maltese in.

In my previous e-mail, I indicated that he seemed to know how to go to pee on the newspaper that I've placed in the kitchen toilet.
At times, there were 3-4 accidents when we let him outside the kitchen area into the living room or dining areas whereby we were not observant enough to catch him in time to bring him to the kitchen toilet area. But surprisingly, there were also 2-3 other times whereby he actually walked into the kitchen toilet from wherever else he was in the house to pee on the paper! So, it seemed like things were improving.

However, in the last 4 days, things suddenly seem to have taken for the worse.
Previously, when we leave him in the kitchen during our working hours 8a.m. - 6.30p.m. & at night when we sleep between 10.30p.m. - 6.30a.m.; he will always pee on the kitchen toilet newspaper. As of Tuesday , 5 May 2009, he started peeing at 4 different spots around the kitchen! Near the wall ledges & even the fridge corner. What's causing this behaviour? Is it because he is not fully toilet-trained or is he doing it on purpose? He is currently not sterilized. Is this causing him to "mark territory" as some people call it?

Given this situation, does it mean that I should go back to your initial instructions of teaching him from scratch?
i.e. confining him in just the small kitchen toilet area.

As of now, during DDD's time alone, we place him in Kitchen areas II & III. When we are home, we will extend the space to Kitchen area I & then from 8p.m. - 10.30p.m., he's allowed to roam the living room & my study room.

My parents & I have actually been using negative reinforcement upon advice from other dog owners. i.e. whenever he peed in a wrong spot, we'll bring him there, let him smell the area & spank his backside with our hands 2x, saying no at the same time. But immediately after, we'll then guide him to the kitchen toilet newspaper & say "pee here" & "good boy", cuddling him a little there at the same time.

 

Saturday, May 9, 2009 10:32 PM
From: Dr Sing
To: XXX

Thank you for your email. You are very patient with the grown up dog and take a lot of time to train him with lots of love and positive reinforcement training.

Yes, your male dog is urine-marking. This is a natural behaviour. He should have been neutered at 6 months of age to prevent this behaviour. Neutering now will help but the success rate is not as high, according to some of my dog owners.

POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS TO URINE MARKING PROBLEMS:

1. Confine to crate at all times for 2-4 weeks except when you are able to supervise him at all times (see paragraph 4).
2. Neuter him.
3. Allow him to come out of the crate before breakfast, lunch and dinner. But bring him outdoors to pee and urine mark.
4. Neutralise "urination" areas with white vinegar:water 1:3 with piece of cloth a few times esp. vertical areas with urine marking.
5. Allow him out of the crate when you are at home and able to supervise him closely in case he wants to urine-mark.
6. This routine gives him a chance to urine-mark outdoors e.g. tree trunks and not make your apartment smelly. It is not a good community advice from me. It is best to neuter the dog to reduce the anti-social behaviour of urine-marking although it is not a guarantee. In most cases, with my suggested routine mentioned above, the dog stops urine-marking inside the apartment.

7. So far, I have one case mentioned above.  The owner of a male 1.5-year-old Miniature Schnauzer had a similar challenge as yours. Her teenaged daughter was against neutering and therefore the male dog urine-marked all over the apartment, causing considerable distress to the mum over the past year. There was a maid to clean up but the apartment started to smell. The dog started to urine-mark the carpet in addition to any furniture and vertical surfaces he could find.

The modern Singapore mum does pamper the progeny and therefore the maid has to clean up every time the male Schnauzer urine-marks. He even did it on the carpet. The dog came in for vaccination and I got to know that the mum was living with this problem for the past 1 year. The teenaged daughter seemed to understand the mum's distress during our discussion. She reluctantly agreed to neutering which she considered as "cruel" and did some research on the internet as regards vasectomy and phoned me. I told her that vasectomy would not resolve this urine-marking problem.

The dog was neutered. I kept the dog in Toa Payoh Vets for 10 days while she got her maid to neutralise the apartment. At Toa Payoh Vets, we took the dog outdoors 3 times a day, after meals. He controlled his bladder till he was outdoors. The owner continued the same routine of outdoor exercise 3x/day and confinement in a crate (or balcony) when not supervised. For the past month, there has been no urine-marking inside the apartment. The mum was so happy. It is very difficult to remove urine smells from carpets and that was what was distressing her so much.

I hope the info helps.

May 11, 2009
XXX
wrote:

Dear Dr. Sing,
 
Thank you for your reply!
So, just to confirm that based on what I've been doing in terms of confining in the kitchen areas etc..it's the right thing to do?
 
Yes, you did the right thing. 

1. Confinement in a confined space is essential to paper-train the adult dog or puppy. Otherwise it does not know what the owner wants him to do.
Confinement can be in various forms:
1.1. A small room e.g. kitchen, bathroom, balcony where it is easier to clean as the floor is tiled.
1.2. A crate or cage
1.3. Being tethered to the leg of the dining table or hook on the wall (for a small breed) so that the puppy has only limited area to move and eliminate. 
1.4. Being tethered to the owner's waist for similar reasons as in paragraph 1.4.

2. Use a baby-gate to let the puppy can see the family when it is confined in a small room as puppies are social animals.

3. In your case, despite confinement, your adult male dog pees outside the newspapers at various spots. The reason is due to his natural instinct. He needs to urine-mark in his confined area to mark his territory. Some first-time puppy owners have told me that the puppy or dog is wilful as he is home alone or not given attention or has regressed in his toilet training. To human beings, this seems to be the logical explanation.

Very young male dogs may still squat to urine-mark. Some owners tell me that the dog in such situations is not urine-marking. However, many will know how to lift up their leg to urine-mark on vertical walls or objects as they mature or see other male dogs doing it when taken out for a walk.

Toilet-Training and Urine-marking, adult Male Maltese/Dog. Toa Payoh VetsThe suggested solution in your case is:
1. Be perpetually vigilant. Give the dog a loud "No marking" command when he attempts to do it. He will try again and again whenever he can if he is the alpha-male personality. He just has to do it.
 
2. Bring him outdoor every day, 2-3X per day (if only it is possible for you) so that he can "urine-mark" outdoors.

3. Crate him at other times when you are unable to monitor him for the next 4-8 weeks (<4 hours). Leaving him home-alone inside the utility room may frustrate you sooner or later. I notice a lot of temptations for the dog --- so many shoe-boxes ready to be urine-marked!

My consultation room's drawers were once urine-marked by a client's male dog and all my documents were stained yellow! I was not vigilant for a second and that was terrible for me as I had to throw away all my dog vaccination papers.

4. If you touch other dogs or be in the company of other dogs, your male dog may feel the need to urine-mark or grip your legs or mount the pillows (in some of my cases).

OR

3. Neutering and bringing him outdoors as proposed for the Miniature Schnauzer in Case 1.

Thank you for your permission to use your pictures for the article. Best wishes. 

 

The adopted adult dog urine-marks. Therefore, he cannot be permitted access to the kitchen when he is home-alone. He is kept confined to the utility room and is supposed to pee onto the newspapers in the nearby bathroom. A door separates the kitchen from the utility room in Singapore's modern condos. Neutering will reduce urine-marking urges. A routine of going outdoors to eliminate or to urine-mark is a solution some owners undertake. With time and training, neutering and this routine will eliminate indoor urine-marking. 
Toilet-Training and Urine-marking, adult Male Maltese/Dog. Toa Payoh Vets Toilet-Training and Urine-marking, adult Male Maltese/Dog. Toa Payoh Vets
Toilet-Training and Urine-marking, adult Male Maltese/Dog. Toa Payoh Vets Toilet-Training and Urine-marking, adult Male Maltese/Dog. Toa Payoh Vets
  Toilet-Training and Urine-marking, adult Male Maltese/Dog. Toa Payoh Vets

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