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How to stop dogs from using house as their personal bathroom

Updated: December 4, 2012 10:56AM

Q. My girlfriend has two dogs, a Jack Russell terrier and a Weimaraner, rescue dogs that have a really bad habit of going to the bathroom throughout the house. The Weimaraner has gotten better but still likes to pee on the ottoman. The Jack Russell continues to pee and poop in the house. The previous owner let the Jack Russell go to the bathroom in her house all the time. So this problem might be tough to fix. We use enzyme sprays and cleaners when we clean up after the dogs. We are starting crate training.

A. Allow Dog Lady to kvell about what a good boyfriend you are. Any guy who tolerates his lady’s dogs messing the house is a stand-up guy. Any guy who calmly asks for tips to solve the situation from Ask Dog Lady is a prince among men.

You’re on the right track with the enzyme cleaners. And crate training is an excellent strategy. (On, there is an explainer about the great benefits of crates). If the dog was allowed to use her previous home as a big bathroom, she was not given any boundaries.

Consistency and patience are the keys to better dog behavior. Also, give both dogs plenty of outdoor time to run off steam and take care of business.

Q. We have a 3-month-old female Labrador retriever who does not seem to understand that I don’t want her to keep biting me. She goes from my hand/arm to feet and clothes.

A. Your Lab is a baby. She can’t possibly be expected to understand what you don’t want to her to do. And biting is natural behavior for a tyke that’s teething. Because you’re the mom, you’re the natural nipping target. Puppies in the den would naturally want to mouth mama until she shrieks and growls with irritation and tells them to get lost. You must do likewise. Next time you’re bitten, pull your hand or arm back quickly, squeal and say “no” in a crisp commanding voice. Quickly substitute a suitable chew such as a rawhide.

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