11mo old Labrador behavior and potty problems

Discussion in 'Labrador Training' started by islandlabmama, May 4, 2021 at 2:26 AM.

  1. islandlabmama

    islandlabmama Registered Users

    I'm desperate! Our trainer has been no help and I'm at my wits end. A little background...

    We have an 11 month old purebred lab (male/neuter) who has been and is still crate trained. We did intense training with a certified trainer at around 4 months old and we were told all of the 'issues' (chewing on furniture, destroying shoes etc) he would outgrow. To this day, he still sleeps in his crate and is crated anytime we are unable to supervise him as he cannot be trusted. He will still chew on anything in site and even chews on the baby gates we had to put up to babyproof the house. Even if we are upstairs putting the kids to bed for 20 minutes, we have to crate him or we will come down to find something has been destroyed. The trainer keeps reminding me he is still a puppy and this is normal puppy behavior. We have a large fenced yard he has free range of and on top of that has 2 walks/day.

    Aside from the chewing on shoes, anything in site, our biggest problem is potty training. While he rarely has accidents in the house, it definitely still happens as he seems unable to signal to us that he needs to go out. Here's a typical example of when/how an accident occurs. It's never after a long period of time.

    - Was let outside to run the yard at 6pm. Kids played fetch with him and he ran all around but the kids weren't sure if he peed or not. 7pm I'm making dinner and all of a sudden he pees in the middle of the kitchen floor, quite casually. I immediately put him outside so I could clean up the mess.

    Firstly, he does drink a lot. He guzzles water and I've contemplated withholding, but we live in a hot/humid climate and I've assumed it's a response to that (after running around outside). Secondly, he seems to need to be 'forced' to pee outside. In the morning after being crated all night, I cannot simply open the door and let him out to pee. If I do that, he will just sit at the door. I need to physically walk him out to the grass and tell him to go potty. This is a regular problem with him - he won't voluntarily potty unless someone escorts him down to the lawn and tell him to. He also doesn't bark, doesn't sit at the door or do anything else to let us know when he needs to go out. Therefore, we let him out very frequently to try to avoid accidents but as in the above example, it doesn't always work.

    I grew up with labs and I always remember them barking or scratching at the door when they need to go out. They would also go out on their own and didn't require my parents to escort them and command them to pee/poop. I guess I'm wondering....am I just being impatient and all of the above is normal for an 11 month old lab? Or is this abnormal behavior at this stage?
  2. sarah@forumHQ

    sarah@forumHQ Moderator

    Oct 1, 2018
    Hi there, welcome to the forum :)

    Pippa has written about potty training an older dog on our main site, which I think you'll find useful.

    It might also be worth asking your veterinarian to check your boy over, to rule out a medical problem such as a UTI causing him difficulty with bladder control.

    But I think the most likely explanation is simply that at some point when he was younger his potty training progressed too fast without him really understanding what was expected of him, and he still doesn't really understand what's expected of him.

    In which case the solution is to go back to treating him like a puppy again, and take him out very frequently, so that YOU make sure all his pees happen outside. And build up good habits from scratch. It will take time and investment, but it will be worth it in the long run.

    A couple of other things I'd suggest are:

    - tell the kids not to start playing until after he's peed, so he doesn't put it off in all the excitement
    - if he needs company, give him company!

    Also, learning to scratch at the door to be allowed out is a mixed blessing - dogs don't save it for only when they need to pee! So stop worrying about that - it rarely turns out how people hope ;)

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