QuickPress: Pissing and Whining

But in a good way! (Well, not the whining.)

[Note: I wrote this last night, right after The Events, but I fell asleep before I managed to click “Publish.”]

This has been a, uh, well — a shitty day. It started with Barnum whining, repeatedly, and continually, from the moment my PCA arrived, until I got up, hours later.

Only one time out of the four times we took him out, did he pee. And that was the third time, when my PCA took him out. He didn’t pee the first two times, when I took him out. Augh!

This is an ongoing issue — the “holding it” issue. The not-getting-elimination-while-on-leash-let-alone-on-cue issue.

It seems that Barnum’s compelling reason for waking me was that he had had difficulty getting his cone-head (Elizabethan collar) into the crate overnight, and he was bored, uncomfortable, and grouchy on the floor, so he wanted me to be uncomfortable and grouchy, too. No, not really. I think he just wanted something interesting to happen to take his mind off of his discomfort.

I have been trying to view these 10 to 14 days post-surgery when Barnum has to be kept quiet, including only very minimal exercise — on leash — as an opportunity to work on our loose-leash walking and elimination-on-leash/cue. In the beginning, it wasn’t looking good. He went several days without pooping, and barely ever peed.

Barnum has a perfectly lovely LLW when anyone but me is walking him, on foot, because he learned never to pull on leash as a puppy when he was walked during the winter, when I couldn’t take him for walks because of snow. When he was older, and spring came, and I took him out, using my pchair, he pulled like a freight train, and I have tried like hell to establish a LLW in the out-of-doors, with zero success.

So, when I twice today tried to take him for a walk, and neither time got past the driveway, it was pretty damn disheartening. However, during our second “walk,” when I had given up and turned toward the gate, he pooped!

I was ready with my cue, clicker, and jackpot of treats. Then, after taking his treats (!), he peed! A one-two punch! (Or, a two-one punch, if you want to get technical.) More treats! Then he pooped again! Cues and clicks and treats, oh my!

Then, we came in and had our evening. He was been pesty and whiny again. Sometimes he can make it into his crate, and sometimes it just wigs him out too much to have the cone banging into the sides. So, he has decided the solution is: my bed. He’ll just hop on up here when the mood strikes. And if I tell him to get down and don’t let him back up, he whines. Urg. Eventually he made it into his crate and settled.

I got to work on my BADD post and started infusing. When the pump alarm goes off, Barnum does a brilliant job alerting to it (going to heroic lengths to get out of the crate and hop on my bed with the unwieldy cone banging into the crate and bed sides). I feed him his dinner as his reward, and then. . . .

The human finally clues in to something Barnum has probably been trying to communicate to me for a couple of days.

The poor dog.

I have light-switch extenders on most of the light switches, which Gadget used to turn the lights on and off. Barnum has been accidentally pulling the anchoring screws right out of the walls when he bonks them with his E-collar. Since they’re not in use, I’ve just let them hang like that.

My bedroom light switch is right next to my door. When I’m in my bedroom, my door is usually shut, which means Barnum can’t get to the bell that hangs next to the outdoor-door to indicate he has to pee.

I was blogging away when Barnum started acting up. He put his paws on my bed. He whined. He paced around, bonking into things, like the light-switch extender.

Then he went over to the door, whined, sat (which got my attention, because he has learned to sit before going through doorways, and it’s the clearest indicator that he needs to go out), then intentionally bonked the light-switch extender with his cone. The long, thin rod swung back and forth . . .

like a bell.

Barnum looked pleadingly at me.

Poor dog.

“Do you wanna go out??” I said.

He did.

I took him to the door, realized I’d forgotten my hot dogs, went back to my room to get them, so he rang the bell to indicate, yes, he really did need to go out.

I took him out.

As usual, we stood around, him sniffing the air, me sitting in my chair, staring off into space, waiting and wondering how many times I’d have to take him out before he actually peed. Then he went over to the spot where he has been peeing most often — and peed! Wahooey!

I decided that rather than take him in after his hot dogs, we could wander around in the yard, as an additional reward for peeing the first time I took him out. We trotted here and there, and then, he headed toward the area where he likes to poop — and pooped!

Three poops in one day! Three pees in one day!

Yeah, we’re having our struggles, but we’re having our moments, too.

And I just know y’all reading this are as fascinated by my dog’s urinary and bowel movements as I am, right?

OK, but humor me anyway?

– Sharon, the muse of Gadget (I ripped the light switch extenders out accidentally only — when I was overzealous with my nose), and Barnum (SDiT? and little pisser)

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11 Responses to “QuickPress: Pissing and Whining”


  1. 1 Carol Birdwell April 30, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    Though it’s been close to 13 years, I remember the pains of housebreaking Lily. Sheba was the easiest ever, some dogs just like going outside, I suppose. Lily was a ‘holder’ also. No matter how long I kept her outside, she would wait until she came in…then go! It was so completely frustrating. It took a move to a new place, I didn’t move to housebreak her, just needed a cheaper place and from the day we moved in, she never went in the house again, go figure. So, yes, I share your complete enthusiasm for pees and poops, hurray!! Go Barnum and high paw!

  2. 2 Karyn April 30, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    Oh me do I remember trying to get Thane to go on leash when I first got him. We walked around and around in the pouring rain – it was nuts and he was adamanat that he could hold it until I quit being so stubborn and took the leash off- not a chance!
    He learned because it became you go busy or you get locked in crate until you do go busy outside on leash.
    It was hard for sure- and I dont ever want to go through it again but I am sure I will have to.

    The extra poop btw could be a result of anesthesia, antibiotics, etc Are you giving him probiotics? Sometimes they too can cause more movement until they get used to them.

    Its awesome though that he is going better for you at present. I think dogs that are allowed freedom to busy off leash have the hardest time learning to busy on leash. I hope this is the turning point for Barnum in that way.

    As for the cone and the crate- poor Barnum. I remember how much it frustrated Met. I cant imagine Thane adjusting to such an item but they all seem to when its necessary.

  3. 3 brilliantmindbrokenbody April 30, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    I think all service dog people have to have some level of attention to their partner’s bowel functions. I think I’ve had to more than most, because Hudson’s GI is very touchy. We’ve now had to change food um I think 5 times to try to find something that he’ll be okay on. The vet thinks he’s developed an actual food allergy. Joy.

    Hudson’s big thing with holding is rain. If it’s raining, or has recently been raining, he doesn’t want to go. He’ll hold pee for up to 2 days and poop for up to 3 days when the weather is mucky. The only exception is that he’ll pee in harness if I find some grass and tell him to do his business. It’s weird to me that he’s more willing to do it in harness than out, but I guess it’s because if he’s working he knows that none of the commands are in the slightest bit optional. Who knows!

    ~Kali (and Hudson, who is still sulking after being measured for the cone)

  4. 4 kendra May 1, 2011 at 3:52 am

    you said:
    And I just know y’all reading this are as fascinated by my dog’s urinary and bowel movements as I am, right?

    me:
    YES! seriously, i am celebrating with you and barnum!!!

    fyi, did you see my suggestions for other possible styles of cones that might be easier on barum? it’s in comments somewhere …

  5. 5 Martha May 1, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    Woot, go Barnum! It’s frustrating sometimes waiting for the relieving; my first guide Valerie held her poop for four days because she didn’t like the new area we moved to on campus. My current guide Dee refuses to poop in the rain and stares at the door back inside with ears flat and tail tucked.

  6. 6 Sharon Wachsler May 2, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    Thanks, Carol. He doesn’t go inside the house (although he doesn’t yet have the concept of what other places are indoors or out, for example peeing on the asphalt in the barn at the vet’s), so he is “housetrained,” he just prefers to pee off-leash. But, we are making progress.

  7. 7 Sharon Wachsler May 2, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    He’s already on a probiotic — I give it to him every day.

    I’m pretty sure it was just a backup from having not gone for so long. He also didn’t really eat for two days because of the fast before and after the surgery. He’s been regular in the last few days.

    And he’s got the cone off most of the time now! Every once in a while, if he gets itchy and starts to lick, I have to put it back on, but he’s only been a part-time conehead for the last 3 days. grin.

  8. 8 Sharon Wachsler May 2, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    Oh, and he did learn how to move around in the crate with the cone on. His method for dealing with it just evolved to: Bash into everything hard enough and something will give!

    Lady, Jersey, and Gadget all learned to do a certain amount of maneuvering of the E-collars to get them around or over things. Barnum just slams through things. As a result, the E-collar already has a major set of cracks. We duct-taped it, and so far, it’s holding. . . .

  9. 9 Sharon Wachsler May 4, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    LOL, Martha, your post made me smile. Not that I am enjoying your struggles and frustration, but it’s good to have the companionship.

    The neutering has already had one positive effect, which is that for over a week, Barnum has not been allowed to be off-leash outside or to go for long walks, so this has really forced the issue of going on-leash, and in the last two days, especially, he is going much faster, both peeing and pooing, on leash, and more often.

  10. 10 Sharon Wachsler May 4, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Thank you, Kendra, for your celebrations with us! *grin*

    Yes, I did see your comments about E-collar alternatives. I looked into those when Gadget had his mast cell cancer surgery, and none seemed good options. The soft ones apparently just buckle up or bend and will not stop a really determined dog (which all mine have been), and some of the others — I can’t remember them all now — seemed like they wouldn’t prevent getting to all areas or would not provide enough coverage. There is also the MCS issue of the fabric and foam in many of them. I decided, in the end, I’d just go with the usual kind Although I did, for Gadget, put a lot of padding on the part that went around his neck and also on the larger opening. That was to make it more comfortable for him, as well as more comfortable for those of us he kept hitting with that sharp edge.
    Barnum’s collar seems more comfortable on the dog end of things — the loops are more rounded and safer — but since he already cracked it pretty badly, I’m not going to put a lot of resources into making it comfy cuz I don’t know how long it will last. But, he’s been cone-free for 48 hours, and unless something really unexpected goes wrong, he should be done with it (until or unless something bad happens that requires surgery or whatnot).

  11. 11 Sharon Wachsler May 4, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    Kali,

    Yeah, true about the SD people. However, not all my readers are SD people! Sometimes I wonder if they will keep coming back! LOL

    I’m sorry to hear about Hudson’s GI issues. I have been there! Gadget had irritable bowel and food sensitivities and food allergies and such. When I got him, he was covered with sores, and his coat was all discolored from licking, and whenever he pooped, it was diarrhea. He was mess. It was something I had to manage his whole life. Digestive enzymes and probiotics helped.

    There were only two brands of dog food he could tolerate. One was the prescription kind, for digestive issues, which I didn’t want to keep him on, because it had a lot of stuff in it I didn’t want to feed him. The other was Solid Gold Holistique Blendz. He was on that most of his life.

    When I discovered, after he got cancer, that all kibble is carcinogenic (regardless of the ingredients; because the high heat extrusion process creates carcinogens), I switched him to homecooked meals. It took some tweaking, but I was surprised how well he did on it. It was not the mess I anticipated. He acclimated very quickly, and he loved it!

    Barnum is now on a combo of raw meat (raw meat, bones, and organs) with some supplementary grains and veggies, and it’s become quite easy for me. The supplementary food is just leftovers I can’t or don’t want to eat. (Because in this case, my GI system is a lot more picky than his.)

    It can be a daunting prospect to consider, especially when you already have so much energy going into your illnesses and such, but often a homecooked or raw diet works out well for a dog with allergies. However, my experience, and that of others I’ve talked to is that once you switch over to something that works, it’s often easier than commercial dog food. If you want any information or pointers, email me, and I’ll do the best I can to provide info and support. Also, it’s turned out not to be expensive, as I had feared. Premium dog food costs so much, and by using freecycle and Craigslist and other tricks I learned from others, I can get a lot of his food free or cheap.

    I don’t know if this is something you are interested in at all, or if your program has rules about what you can or can’t feed (I know some do), but I just thought I’d put it out there, because it was such a big deal throughout Gadget’s life.

    Oh, and I am really starting to think that Hudson IS a bouvier! They are famous for hating the rain (and stubbornness). Someone told me recently that her bouvs refused to go out and eliminate AT ALL for three days in a row, because it was raining! Jersey always acted like rain was a personal affront to her, and would hold it until she absolutely couldn’t wait, then dart out, pee, and dart back in.

    WHen he was a puppy, Barnum would SCREAM if he was out in the rain and I didn’t let him come in till he had eliminated. He acted like each rain drop was killing him. He’sa always been a bit of a drama hound.


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