Tag Archive: dogs training tips

Is It a Health or a Behavior Issue?

Having been the foster “mom” of eleven dogs, I have encountered my share of behavior issues with them, as well as with my own dogs over the years. When a dog exhibits a behavior problem such as housetraining, aggression, anxiety or other issues, it is always a good idea to rule out a medical problem first. A health issue can masquerade as a behavior problem. And vice versa.

Housetraining issues are a great example. When dogs who have always been reliable with their house manners and then suddenly are having accidents, it is a good indication of something medical going on. The problem could be a urinary tract infection, kidney problems, or even food-related sensitivities. My female Poodle started to urinate in the house when I switched her food. Go figure! Housetraining accidents may also be a related to the onset of diabetes or Cushings disease. Does your dog drink a lot of water? Best to get a vet check.

Has your dog unexpectedly started showing aggression? Of course, aggression is very complicated to diagnose a root cause, however, a medical issue may very well be the source. If a dog is in pain or any discomfort, they are more likely to show it by trying to bite. Please, before blaming the dog for being “mean” and possibly giving up on him, have a vet check him out. I remember many years ago when I was doing temperament testing on dogs at a rescue organization, one dog growled at me when I handled him. Luckily, I noticed that he was having trouble standing on his back leg. The vet checked him and sure enough, he had arthritis. Once he was treated, the growling stopped. He was adopted and is an amazing dog.

But the issue can go the other way, what may look like a medical issue could very well be behavioral. One of my foster dogs was having a lot of housetraining accidents. I noticed that he was drinking water constantly. I tried restricting water and he became very upset, knocking over my water glass, licking the floor, in search of water. So I had him checked by a vet. All tests came out normal. I realized I was dealing with a possible obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Because I didn’t know this dog’s history, it was possible that he had been denied water at one time and now he was afraid that he wouldn’t be able to get access to it. Who knows what else may have been going on in this poor dog’s life before he came to me? But I was glad that I had him checked by a vet. Now I knew that he was healthy and I could then decide on a treatment plan for his behavior.

So before you jump to any conclusions about your dog’s behavior, please be sure to have a vet check him out. The outcome may surprise you.


Leaving the Past Behind

Without a doubt, in my many years of working with animal shelters and rescue groups, I have met more mistreated animals than I care to count. Puppy mill survivors immediately come to mind as well as pets who have been physically harmed or emotionally abused. Emotional abuse could include screaming at the pet, lack of socialization, use of punishment or force-based training techniques and other ways that damage a pet’s psyche. From this ill treatment, many animals fear humans and require a great deal of patience and compassion to learn to trust.

People who truly love animals want to help these needy, special creatures. Being human, our natural inclination may be to want to “make up for the past” by overindulging the pet. We want to give them everything so that they will know love and security in hopes of compensating for what they missed out on. However, not all pets will benefit from being overindulged. Underneath the scared façade is a pet with a unique personality: a confident dog, a shy cat, etc. Spoiling could possibly backfire. When I say “spoil,” I mean allowing them to push your around, not training them, and not being a good parent by making them adhere to consistent rules. By all means, overindulge them as much as possible by feeding them high quality food and treats, going out for lots of walks, playing and training with them, and giving lots of affection on your terms (see my post that discusses leadership).

Take my current foster dogs as an example. These little Chihuahua mixes were found abandoned in a home. The owner had moved out and left them there, and they were not discovered for several days. When they were rescued, both were scared but one was especially shy. Nutmeg didn’t want to be around people and backed away. When I met her a few days later, she turned her head away from me and curled her lip slightly. These girls are little and so cute, easy to spoil by allowing them all kinds of privileges. Ginger, the other one, took to me immediately. All she wanted was to be hugged and petted. She overcame her fear very quickly. I could tell that her personality was sweet with a touch of insecurity. Nutmeg, on the other hand, was showing signs of confidence and pushiness, despite her initial fearfulness. The more I got to know her, I saw that she wanted to be the leader – pushing herself through doors first, walking far out in front on the leash and pushing Ginger out of the way.

Neither of these dogs’ personalities could benefit from being spoiled, although they no doubt deserved it. Instead, what they really needed was security. And that is accomplished by me, their “parent,” being the leader. Ginger needed the security of knowing that I was taking care of her. Nutmeg, however, thought she wanted to be in charge but like a rebellious teenager, needed me to be a good parent so that she would relax and not try so hard to be in charge. With her nervousness, she was not equipped to really be in charge although she wanted to be.

As much as we can know, animals don’t think of their pasts. They live in the moment. The past is over and done. By making their “present” as happy and secure as possible, they can easily put their past behind them. No matter how we try, we cannot change the past but we can make the present and future stable and secure.

A Brief Hiatus

Hello readers! It’s been a couple of months since I’ve posted, and I apologize for the absence. I’m happy to see that so many of you are visiting the site and learning about dog behavior. I will be back posting regularly.

It’s been a very busy time. If you are a regular reader, you know that my dog, Gizzy, passed away in July. Since then, I have decided not to adopt another dog right away. Instead, I want to “walk my talk” and be a foster mom for homeless dogs.  So in early September, I welcomed an 8-year-old Border Collie into my home! She was a sweetheart and I loved her immediately. I thought to myself, “You cannot be a foster flunkout!” Missy was perfectly behaved with one exception – she had bad separation anxiety. She followed me everywhere and if I left the house, she barked hysterically, urinated on the rug, ripped down the curtains and tore the molding from the front door. Oh dear…  For the eleven days that she lived with me, I was like a prisoner in my own home. I couldn’t go out for fear of the consequences.  Thankfully, Missy was adopted by an amazing couple who had two other dogs. She’s doing great in her new home. I now know first-hand what people go through when they have dogs with separation anxiety.

Just last week, I welcomed two Basset Hounds into my home! Brooks is 8 and Zoey, his daughter, is 6. They have quickly wormed their way into my heart with their sweet dispositions and silly demeanors. I’ve always wanted Bassets and decided that life was too short not to experience these funny looking dogs. Just looking at them makes me smile! There’s a very good possibility that I may be a foster flunkout with these two!

And the very best news of all, and the main reason for my posting absence, I just completed writing my second book. I’m very excited about it and preliminary feedback has been more than I could imagine. I can’t wait to tell you more about it – stay tuned!  Thank you for continuing to keep these blog alive and I look forward to hearing from you again!

Educating Children

If you are a regular reader, you know that my passion is to educate about behavior. I assume that most people reading this blog are adults. If so, then how do we reach children at a young age to teach them how to treat animals? It’s a source of frustration for me. Yesterday and today, I saw children walking dogs alone – no parents in sight – and doing things that were inappropriate. As you can guess, that makes me crazy!

And I feel so badly for the dogs because this improper handling may change their behavior for the worse. The dogs may then lose their homes.  In both incidences, the dogs were barking at my dog and the children yelled at the dogs to stop. More than likely, they learned this from their parents. Either because their parents yell at the dog or yell at the children, or probably both! Remember my post about yelling at dogs?? Yelling very likely will increase the behavior, not stop it.

I was soooo tempted to correct the children but I didn’t. They wouldn’t listen to a stranger and would probably call me a bad name J Besides, it’s not easy to explain to a young child in a quick minute that yelling increases the adrenaline that is already pumping through the dog, causing the barking. Yeah, never mind!

So then, how do we reach children? Some animal shelters have people called humane educators who go to schools to teach about animals. Sadly, due to economic constraints, these positions are often the first eliminated. Dog training classes are a great option. I believe all dogs should be enrolled in at least a basic training class with all family members attending. That way, everyone can hear and learn about the best ways to treat your dogs. Training classes are also a great way to bond with your dogs.

If you have kids, are you teaching them what you’ve learned in my blog and through other reputable experts who believe in humane training methods?  Please comment and tell us what you’re doing!

When NOT to Use “Leave It”

One of the most useful, versatile and even life-saving cues to teach dogs is “leave it.” If it is taught and used properly, dogs can learn not to pick up dangerous items off the ground, not to eat the slice of pizza you just dropped and even not to touch your dinner when you place it on the coffee table. But when “leave it” is not taught correctly or used for other purposes, “leave it” can be ineffective or even detrimental.

A few years ago, I watched a novice dog trainer as he taught a dog how to “leave it.” He first put the dog into a sit-stay then he threw a couple of treats on the ground and told the dog to “leave it.” The very smart dog did as told – he didn’t touch the treats, however, it was not because he was told to “leave it.” It was because the man had placed the dog in a stay! I asked the man to try “leave it” again but this time, without a sit-stay command. As predicted, the dog did a nosedive for the treats.  He had not learned how to “leave it” and in a real-life situation when the dog’s owner needed to use the cue, the dog would not have responded. To learn how to teach “leave it,” read my post from January 14, 2011

I’ve also seen people use “leave it” for the wrong reasons which can and will have detrimental repercussions. I worked with a young couple who had a dog that liked to lunge out the front door and bark at anyone who walked by. The couple had worked with another trainer before calling me. This trainer put a choke chain on the dog and advised the couple to shout “leave it” to the dog and yank on the chain whenever he saw a person. As predicted, the dog’s behavior did not change and in fact, it grew worse. The dog was not originally aggressive to people but because of the negative association of getting yanked and shouted at whenever he saw a person, he became more agitated and tried to bite passersby. The better advice would have been to work on getting the dog to calm down and associate good things with seeing other people. And skip shouting “leave it.”

“Leave it” is best as an emergency command, that is, only use it when you really want to get your dog’s attention. If it is overused, the dog will become desensitized and may ignore you.  But used correctly, it’s a beautiful thing.

This is the fourth of five posts about dog barking. It really is a complex problem, not easily corrected with just a tip or two. It needs to be understood in the context that it occurs because the reason for your dog’s bark can be very different – and so should the solution. 

There’s a veterinarian who writes a pet column in my local newspaper and she has a blanket solution to barking – squirt the dog with a spray bottle.  Ack!!  Not only is this no way to treat your best friend, this punishment technique teaches the dog nothing and may in fact cause the dog to become fearful.  In today’s post, I will focus entirely on territorial barking when dogs are outside – and positive ways to stop it.

As I said in my first post on barking, the dogs who are behind fences, physical or electric, can easily develop the habit of barking at anyone or anything that passes by. This type of barking is self-rewarding because the object they are barking at often is walking by the property and will eventually disappear down the street. In the dog’s mind, he is thinking, “I bark to get them to go away…and they do!” Once a dog has established this pattern, it can be very difficult to reverse it. It will take time, patience and a lot of management. When I say management, I mean being with the dog at all times to either ensure that you catch your dog in the act of barking so that you can work with him, or being there to ensure that the dog never starts to bark in the first place.

The number one criterion for stopping territorial barking is consistency. While you are in this training period, never, ever allow your dog to be outside without someone there who will work with him. I can’t say this enough: You will want to be there to catch your dog in the act of the behavior. If you don’t, your dog will always be presented with the temptation to bark. I can hear many people who are reading this say, “My dog loves to be outside, so please don’t tell me that I need to bring him in!”  While this may be true, please consider that if your dog is doing something that you or your neighbors do not like (barking), focused training is required. Think of it this way: If your dog was having housetraining issues, you certainly wouldn’t leave him unattended in the house and expect him to learn without guidance. Same thing applies to outside barking.

As my previous posts about barking discussed, the idea is to keep your dog’s excitement level down – never allow the adrenaline to surge. Keeping that in mind, I suggest you try some exercises with your dog by enlisting a friend to help you. Bring your dog outside on a leash and have some high value treats (canned chicken, cheese bits, cut up hot dogs, etc.) readily available but don’t let your dog know you have food. Or, if your dog is toy-motivated, put his favorite toy in your pocket (again, without your dog seeing it). Now, have your friend slowly begin to walk past your property. At the very instance that your dog sees your friend, begin to feed your dog or give him his toy. The idea is to ensure your dog does not get excited and start barking when he sees your friend.

If your dog stays calm and does not bark, calmly praise him and motion for your friend to walk out of sight. Stop feeding or playing with your dog once your friend is out of sight.  This maneuver is counter-conditioning at its best.  We want your dog to think that “great things happen” when someone walks past your property.

If your dog gets excited and wants to bark, remember, do not scold or call attention to the behavior.  Instead, take him inside. His privilege of being outside is denied.

Practice this exercise over and over until your friend can walk past your property without your dog barking. (Yes, I know, it’s tough!  But all habits are tough to break, as we humans know who try to quit smoking, drinking or improve our diets.) I suggest you do these exercises in short sessions so that your dog does not simply get accustomed to seeing your friend walk back and forth and get bored with the exercise. Try doing it a few times a week – provided you have a really good friend who can help.  And you can ramp up the stimulus by having your friend walk by with a dog! Continue doing the counter-conditioning technique described above.

Once your dog seems to be getting the hang of it, you can attach the “Watch” command that was discussed in the June 21 post.

I fully realize that I make it sound simple. It’s not. That’s why trainers are paid to come to people’s homes. If you have a problem barker, I strongly suggest you enlist the help of a qualified trainer (who only uses positive methods- please). Any trainer who suggests anything like water sprays, smacks on the nose, or other punishment techniques has not fully learned and understood dog behavior and learning principles. And I sincerely hope that you will invest the time in training instead of taking a shortcut by using a bark collar or other punishment technique. 

The next and final post on barking will focus on fear barking and play barking.

If you are like me, you have an established relationship with a veterinarian, a pet sitter, and maybe other pet professionals. My pet sitter holds a very special place in my life – no one is more trusted. After all, this person is coming into your home and taking care of your best friend. But what happens when you feel that you can no longer trust them, or are no longer satisfied with their performance? Do you speak to them, or do you just switch to someone else without saying anything?

I used the same pet sitter for many years, and she even came to my dog training classes when she purchased a puppy (over the Internet, much to my extreme displeasure). She had some training issues with the dog as an adult and she sought out my advice which I gladly gave free of charge (as I do to all of my clients once I have worked with them). The issue: This person is a screamer. And there was nothing I could do to stop her. All of my advice fell on deaf ears. Consequently, her new puppy became aggressive as he grew into an adult, as did all of her previous dogs. I instructed her on counter-conditioning techniques and tried to explain to her that the screaming causes fear and negative associations but I could not get through to her.

Was she screaming at my dog as she did hers? And then a couple other events occurred which concerned me. When I arrived home early from an extended vacation, it appeared that my dog had not been visited yet that day – it was 2:00pm.  I decided that I needed to express some of my concerns to her. Coincidentally, a stray cat appeared on my doorstep around the same time. That gave me a reason to call her and ask if I could borrow one of her cat carriers to try to catch the kitty. I left her a message and she never returned my call. Case closed.  Time to move on. I’m sure she’s wondering why I haven’t called her recently to watch my dog.  If she had called me back, she would know.

As a pet professional myself, I know that it really hurts when someone does not continue to work with me. But what hurts even more is silence. I’d rather know about a problem so that I can address it and work on the issue so that it does not happen again.  Maybe not with that person, but with someone else in the future. After all, there’s always room for improvement.

Have you needed to change pet professionals for any reason? How did you handle it?

What if people told you to shut up every time you tried to speak?  As you run up to a friend you haven’t seen in a while and exclaim, “I’m so happy to see …,” your friend shouts, “Quiet!” Doesn’t feel so good, huh?  Well, that’s what we do so frequently to our dogs when they bark. Barking is a natural behavior for dogs and it’s very unfair to ask them never to bark. Our job as dog-parents is to teach them when it is appropriate to “speak” and when to stay quiet, no different than guiding a child who is just discovering his voice.

We frequently are the perpetrators in teaching our dogs to bark and making it worse.  I recently watched a 4-week-old litter of nine puppies and the alpha male whimpered persistently for attention. His whimpering escalated to the cutest little puppy bark I’d ever heard. I also watched the natural human reaction as my friend picked up and coddled him, thinking that he would stop once he received attention. Not!  It made him worse – the behavior was reinforced and no doubt this puppy will grow up to be an attention-seeking barker.

My first dog would bark when she saw a car going down our sleepy street, and she went into a frenzy when our next-door neighbor turned into their driveway.  But I was a novice dog person back in 1988 and I encouraged her. I would run to the window when I saw my neighbors coming home and shout their names. My dog would come running, sounding the alarm. Very quickly, my dog would come on command when I called my neighbor’s names excitedly.  She barked out the window even though nobody was there. I thought it was funny and made it a game.  Her barking at anything out the window was fine because we lived in a quiet country setting. However, when I moved to an apartment a few years later, her barking was not so funny. We had a lot of activity around us and her barking brought complaints.

Barking is a complex problem and not easy to correct.  Sadly, for that reason and because many people don’t want to bother investing time into training their dogs, several punishment-based collars have been invented.  Shock collars, citronella collars and collars that emit a tone can be purchased.  I found a very distressing web site that claims to help people stop nuisance barking.  They sell these kinds of collars and advocate methods such as shouting “NO!!!” when the dog barks and spritzing him in the face with a water bottle and even smacking him on the nose with two fingers.  Ack!!  I not only don’t advocate any of these methods, I abhor them and the people who sell, recommend and utilize them. Talk about destroying the trust in your relationship with your dog

Dogs bark for various reasons and to address the problem, we need to break it down into situations. Not all barks are the same.  Before we can address how to stop barking, the source needs to be understood. Here are a few general categories of barking.

Excited or Alert or Fear Barking: Many dogs bark when they hear noises, see people or other animals. I don’t know of very many dogs who will not bark when they see someone out the window or hear the doorbell or knock on the door. This barking is often driven by cortisol and adrenaline which are emitted as the result of the classic “fight or flight” response. Or the dog could simply be excited to see someone, which also creates an adrenaline response.

Territorial Barking:  The dogs who are behind fences, physical or electric, can easily develop the habit of barking at anyone or anything that passes by. This type of barking is self-rewarding because the object they are barking at often is walking by the property and will eventually disappear down the street. In the dog’s mind, he is thinking, “I bark to get them to go away…and they do!” 

Attention Seeking: I covered this often-annoying habit that some dogs have of barking to get attention in a post on May 2.  See that post for solutions.

Boredom and Separation Anxiety: In my post on separation anxiety, I discussed how it is a sad fact that so many of our dogs have to be left alone for hours every day due to our busy lifestyles. They don’t get the exercise and mental stimulation required to keep them happy and bark-free.

Play Barking: Some dogs express their delight by barking. And we humans can inadvertently reinforce this habit when we laugh at them and encourage the behavior. Unless the barking annoys you too much, I would hate to squelch your dog’s happiness by trying to eliminate the barking during play.  This is a tough one to tackle!

In my next couple of training tip posts, I will discuss methods – all positive! – to help extinguish nuisance barking. Woof!

How many of you dig your dogs but don’t dig it when they dig?  It’s spring – almost summer – and your flowers are blooming, your vegetable garden is planted. And your dog is thrilled to have so many new, fun places to dig up!  Some dogs simply love to dig and could care less about how much time and tenderness you spent creating your beautiful oasis.

There can be several reasons why dogs dig. One primary reason is genetic. Certain breeds such as Dachshunds were bred to dig. Believe it or not, humans actually created this dog for the purpose of finding critters way, way back when. And when some people get this kind of breed and the dog digs up their yard, they get mad. DUH!  It’s what the dog is instinctively supposed to do.

 “Just doing my job, mom!” the dog says when scolded.

And even if the dog was not bred to dig, many dogs are curious creatures. With the excellent smelling abilities of their noses, some dogs like to dig to find out what’s happening down there. My first Golden Retriever, Caper, dug a hole in the drywall of our kitchen. To this day, I still wonder what she was going after. Mice?  Old chicken bones left by the builder? Yeah, could be. 

And the two most prevalent reasons why dogs dig: lack of exercise and boredom. So many of our poor doggies live their lives according to our rules and are forced to conform to our schedules and lifestyles. For dogs, that can translate into lying around the house waiting for us to come home. Or for some dogs, it could mean being put out in the yard all day with no one to play with. Without the proper outlet for their energies, trouble is bound to follow.

And finally, many dogs dig under trees or bushes in order to find a cool place to lie, and it’s no wonder on days like these when the temperatures are in the 90’s.  (I hope that you’re bringing your dogs inside when it’s this hot!)

There are solutions to the digging problem, and many of you may not want to hear them. First of all, a tired dog is less likely to get into mischief. I recommend that you walk your dog at least once a day. The length of time depends upon your dog and the outside temperature. If your dog is young and healthy, as much as an hour or two of exercise may be necessary. My boy, Gizzy, needed several hours of daily exercise when he was younger.  But if your dog is older or not in the best of health, or if you have a brachycephalic breed (Pugs, Bulldogs, Boxers, etc.), limit the exercise time. Regardless, all dogs need time to explore their worlds. I wrote an article several years ago, Mind, Body Spirit Fitness for Dogs, that addresses a dog’s need to get out.

In addition to physical exercise, your digging dog needs to do something that he digs – other than digging, that is. If you have a dog who was bred to work (collies, shepherds, retrievers, spaniels, pointers), he needs to have an outlet for this instinct. You don’t need to buy sheep and have your dog corral them! But some training time every day gives your dog something to focus on that uses his brain. Brain work is just as tiring as physical exercise.

Next, if you want to stop your dog from digging, management of his environment is key. First, start by placing a barrier around the area where your dog likes to dig. Prevention works wonders!  If that works, great. If not, then you will have to do some training. As difficult as this may be for some people, dogs require guidance to do the right thing. I know, I know, you just like to open the door and allow your dog to go about his business.  But if his business is digging your yard, he must be watched and trained.

Catching your dog in the act of digging may be the only way to stop the behavior. If you see him beginning to dig, do not scold him. (Remember, if you are a regular reader of my blog, when you call attention to a behavior, it rewards the behavior.) Instead, call your dog to you and when he comes, praise him lavishly. Get a toy or a treat and motivate him to do something else that may be more fun than digging. Move away from the area where your dog was digging and either play with him or do some training. Repeat this every time your dog attempts to dig.

One final way to stop you dog from digging – keep him on a long leash. You can quickly interrupt the behavior and redirect your dog.

Sorry, sometimes there just aren’t easy and convenient ways to correct inappropriate behavior! Our dogs like to do what comes naturally and makes them happy, and often the behaviors are in conflict with living in a human world. They need to be kindly and compassionately shown what we expect of them. We owe it to the ones we dig!

Some dogs can be trained to eliminate outside within days with no trouble at all. And some dogs just don’t seem to get it – or they don’t want to.  I’d like to believe that all dogs can be housetrained if given the proper training and enough patience.  Dogs learn at different rates and some may take longer than others, especially puppies who have smaller bladders.  And I’ve run across particular breeds such as Yorkies which are often very challenging to achieve consistent bathroom habits. (Oh, and by the way, the term “house breaking” is no longer politically correct because it implies the use of force.)

Below are the time-proven methods for helping your dog to learn where to go potty.

 1.          Use a consistent door/location

Always take your dog out the same door and to the same place in your yard.  Dogs are scent animals and recognize their own odors.  Establish an area in your yard or wherever you regularly walk your dog and wait for him/her to eliminate there.

2.          Create a consistent schedule

Establish a routine feeding and walking schedule daily.  Do not deviate from this schedule, even on weekends.  Take your dog outside to the designated spot immediately after each meal, immediately after each playtime, immediately after awaking and right before bedtime.  Puppies need to go outside about every 2 hours. It’s also important not to allow your dog to free-feed, that is, graze all day. Free-feeding does not help dogs to regulate their bowels. And very few in-between meal snacks too!

3.          Never let your dog out of your sight

Until your dog is housetrained, do not let your dog in the house unsupervised.  Use either a crate to confine your dog when you cannot supervise him/her, or use a leash to keep him/her close to you.  This way, you be able to catch your dog in the act of eliminating in the house.  Then, you can immediately take him/her outside to the designated spot.  

4.       Reward, never punish!

Should you see your dog beginning to eliminate in the house, interrupt the behavior with “ah, ah, ah – outside!” and take the pup outside.  Never, ever scold your pup for eliminating in the house.  And dogs do not understand when you stick their noses in their housetraining mistakes, or if you hit them when they have an accident.  This only teaches them to fear you, to eliminate in the house when you are not looking or sneak off to another room and do their business there.  Instead, use praise and treats for when your dog eliminates when and where you want.  The very instant that your dog begins to eliminate in this place, say “Good dog!!!” with lots of enthusiasm, then give a treat when he/she is finished. Don’t wait until the dog has come back into the house. 

5.          Be patient!

If you are housetraining a puppy, expect training to take several weeks, depending on the breed, because of small bladders.  An older dog can be trained in a few days with the proper attention.  Expect your dog to make mistakes occasionally from the beginning.  Please be patient and continue to follow the principles.

6.          Thoroughly clean up all accidents

Carpet cleaner alone is not effective to remove pet odors in the house.  Use a pet deodorizer such as Nature’s Miracle.

If you’re still having problems after faithfully following these guidelines, first consult with your veterinarian.  Your dog may have a health problem such as a urinary tract infection.  If your dog gets a clean bill of health, then consult a pet behavior consultant.  A qualified specialist can take a good look at what’s going on in your house and in your relationship with your dog, both critical factors in determing the success of house training.