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Dutchess_III's avatar

What is wrong with my dog?

Asked by Dutchess_III (40359points) August 15th, 2014

She’s a German Shepherd between 9 – 11 years of age (not sure how old she was when she was given to us.) She is the most well behaved dog in the universe. Lately though she has refused to go outside when we ask her to, and a few minutes later she’ll pee a lake on the kitchen floor.
This morning she refused to go outside. About 10 minutes later Rick says, “What’s Dakota doing in the bathroom?” It was just an odd place for her to be.
I said, “She probably WANTS to go to the bathroom…” and sure enough, she’d peed in the bathroom.
She just started doing this about 2 weeks ago. The only thing I can think of that might be relevant is I was on the back deck when I saw her come back in through a hole she’d punched in the wooden fence. I got up and went back through the house to the sliding glass door to go out and find something to block the hole. Well, when I opened the door Dakota tried to come in. I told her she needed to stay out side….but she forced her way in. I was flabbergasted. She has never disobeyed me before. I tried and tried to get her to go back outside and she just refused.
Looking back, I’m wondering if something had scared her and that was why she so desperately wanted to come back in. Ever since then, she has refused to go outside unless Rick comes down and forces her to.

Now, when she’s outside, she doesn’t chase the squirrels or anything. She just goes under the deck and lays down.

She hasn’t pooped in the house, though.

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22 Answers

syz's avatar

Take her out into the back yard on a leash and watch her behavior closely. Reward her when she goes outside. If she seems traumatized, don’t force her, but begin desensitization work.

Consider taking her in to your vet for a check up. She needs to be checked for a UTI or bladder stone (If she hurts when she pees, she may associate it with the back yard). Does the deck have stairs? A GSD of her age is a likely candidate for hip problems.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes, it has stairs, and she is developing some hip problems. :(

longgone's avatar

Have you tried letting her out at the front of the house? The incident you describe is probably relevant, and if she had no problems peeing somewhere different, you’d know for sure.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, she comes out on the back deck with no problems, but we’re also out there with her.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I just went out back and called to her. She came to the door then turned away.

longgone's avatar

I always feel old dogs take longer to forget a bad experience. Maybe teach her a new ritual? Something like giving her a Kong/bone near the door at first, then at the door, then outside? Can she pee elsewhere, meanwhile? Because being forced outside will likely make it worse. If the floor is slippery around the deck, that could be the problem, too. My Lab has hip problems and has been cautious about doorways for ages.

Buttonstc's avatar

It’s possible that she encountered another dog or animal which attacked and now she’s scared.

Have you checked her thoroughly for any bites or puncture wounds?

You mentioned that she’s ok if you or Rick are with her so that may be what you need to do for a while until she gets her confidence back.

You mentioned that she had never disobeyed you before so it had to be something very frightening/painful.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Man, she can hold her own. I’ve seen her fight two large dogs at once when the dogs attacked us. I don’t know what it could have been. The hole just opened up into the neighbor’s fenced back yard. I didn’t hear a commotion or anything. But yeah…something happened.

@longgone the floors are carpeted in that part of the house. She has problems in other parts of the house though. :(

Retraining with a positive reward is a good idea. I’ll run it past Rick. He’s the dog whisperer.

Buttonstc's avatar

It could have been something like a raccoon or even snake which caught her totally by surprise.

A bite from either would be painful. It could have easily been a non-poisonous snake with a vicious bite.

It’s a shame our pets can’t talk to us and tell us exactly what happened. But her actions and body language are speaking volumes about how afraid she is.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I don’t think it’s fear. That breed fights when cornered. I think it’s hurting her going up and down the stairs. Watch her body language and her behavior next time you try to let her out. Watch closely, she may be scared of the pain, but her behavior will be different than fear of something else. But you’ll have to watch closely.

Dutchess_III's avatar

We have to get a doggie ramp.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I think that’s the answer

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

My dogs were also on Rimadyl for hip problems. That has potential side affects, but it worked well for my dogs. Ask your vet.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Rimadyl. I will. Thank you.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

Some dogs develop an anxiety about going to the bathroom in the presence of others.

Have you tried putting the dog out and going inside for a while?

Dutchess_III's avatar

We don’t go out with her.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe I work with a lot of fearful GSDs, just because they can fight if they feel they have to, doesn’t mean they don’t feel fear. All of the aggressive GSDs I have worked with have been riddled with anxiety and fear issues. I worked with one a few months ago who was terrified of other dogs especially small ones!!

longgone's avatar

Interesting fun fact about German Shepherds: Almost 50% of them are extremely near-sighted…very often, they must feel people or other animals appear out of nowhere. May explain why these dogs are considered rather high-strung and even aggressive, by many.

Dutchess_III's avatar

She is far from aggressive, but she’s no chicken either. When we meet strange dogs she just sniffs noses with them, and always takes the alpha spot. She just does it by body language and self confidence, not by any overt action. If a dog wants to challenge her, she’ll just look at them and they back away.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, we were sitting on the back deck with the dogs. There is a gate that leads from that deck to the back yard, but we never use it. Well, Rick cleared a path, opened the gate and Dakota went out back without hesitation. When she put her paws on the first step she stopped like she wanted to go back…but she couldn’t so she went on. I think those steps have to hurt more than the side deck steps because the back is a more gradual incline whereas the steps from the side deck are 1, 2, 3, boom boom boom.
It must be something on the side deck…..anyway, when payday gets here, if it ever does, 1st up is a doggie ramp.

Wait….Rick just gave me an update. I had come in to type this, and Rick wasn’t watching Dakota at the moment, but he said, “I don’t know what it was, but she just came FLYING back up on the deck! She was gettin’ with it!” Must be a varmint….

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, last night she dropped a huge possum on our deck. Maybe that was the problem. Rick threw it over the fence.

Buttonstc's avatar

Well, I was guessing raccoon or similar so I was close. And a possum can be vicious when cornered and those sharp little teeth of theirs can give a
painful bite.

Good for her that she got it.
Way to go, girl, you show them
who’s boss of your yard ! !

Thanks for the update.

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