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Shih Tzu leaving behind ‘surprises’ upstairs

Updated: January 30, 2012 4:02PM

Q. My 5-year-old male Shih Tzu, Jake, finally discovered he was able to go up and down our stairs about 18 months ago. Turns out [that’s where] he leaves his “calling card” — pee or poop. He never does this on the main floor of our house. I am home with four dogs during the day and I let them out frequently.

Since he will also sneak down to the basement and do it, there’s more to the story. My veterinarian says he has never heard of this type of behavior.

A. Jake is one confused little woofer. No matter how you rationalize his behavior, the truth is your dog is not trained properly. Give him boundaries, a crate or a gate. Cordoning him off and only letting him wander with proper supervision insures he will do little to displease.

Don’t pat yourself on the back too vigorously for letting your dogs out frequently. It’s simple to open a door. If you take the time and really walk Jake — and all of them — you will find your pets are better-behaved with exercise and clear direction from you.

Q. We adopted our yellow Labrador mix, Biscuit, from the shelter. He has started urinating and pooping in the house at night. There are no accidents during the day when we’re at work. When I get home around 2 p.m., I let them (we also have a 7-year-old shepherd mix) out and they do their business. Their last outing is around 9 p.m. Yet, when I come downstairs around 3 a.m., he’s urinated and pooped. My husband says we should try crating him.

A. A crate will be great. Visit and search for an entry called “Crate Training — A Vital Link.” Courtesy of the American Dog Trainers’ Network, this tells you everything you need to know to educate your dog to live comfortably and cleanly inside your home.

The importance of training our pets to be good citizens cannot be underestimated. When dogs do bad, people suffer. When dogs do well, every creature feels secure and happy.

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