Q We got our third miniature schnauzer two months ago at 9 weeks old. We have his crate in our kitchen, in which he has not soiled. After the first two weeks there were no mishaps in the kitchen, so we introduced him to the rest of the house. Right away he went into the den and took a poop on the new rug. Next it was the dining room rug — three times on different corners.
We thought he might smell our old dog, so we kept him out of the area, and I deep-cleaned the rugs. Slowly, we let him back in the room. After no problems, we left the gate open. A week later, he pooped on the hardwood floor in the living room area and repeated it a few days later.
This last time my husband caught him as he finished and he ran under the table, so he clearly knew my husband was not pleased. We're getting to our wit's end. We never let him in the area unless he has been outside beforehand, and as he is having no problems controlling himself in the kitchen, it isn't that. He has been to the vet and is up to date on all his shots.
We never had this issue with our other dogs, and I wonder if we are missing something. Any suggestions?
— Kathy, Centerport
A Every dog house-trains differently. Your puppy is still quite young and just doesn't have the hang of things yet. When things aren't working, always start over. Take him outside immediately after every nap, after every meal and major treat and after playtime.
When you take him outside, reward him for relieving himself in the yard, which will help speed up house training. As soon as he squats to poop (or pee), say "go potty" to mark the behavior and then "bingo," or any other reward word you want to use just for him (each dog should have his or her own reward word), and then give him a treat. Dogs are smart. If you reward him every time that he relieves himself outside, he will soon be scratching the door to go pee/poop and get his treat.
If you suspect he is trying to cover up accidents from previous dogs, use an enzymatic cleaner to remove any traces of odor. Use the kennel when you can't be around to monitor and limit his access to other parts of the house until he is fully trained.
Q I am experiencing a problem with my neighbor. He walks his dog without a leash. Recently, my daughter was walking with her leashed dogs, and the neighbor's dog jumped on her and her dogs. We called the police, 311, animal control and spoke to my neighbor. He still walks his dog unleashed and even lets her outside unattended.
I know there is a law in Chicago for dogs to be leashed. What can be done? I don't feel that the city or police pay much attention to situations like this.
— Oxana, Chicago
A Police don't have time to deal with most pet issues, but animal control officers do. Leash laws are meant to keep people and other animals safe. Leashed dogs can feel threatened by an approaching unleashed dog and become very protective of their owners in these instances. I know you have called animal control before but call them again and ask them to talk to your neighbor.
Q I have an 8-year-old, 125-pound Great Dane. She is in great health but recently started licking her legs and paws; not constantly, just sporadically. She is kept indoors except for three walks a day. She gets her teeth brushed and is bathed at least once a month. Any thoughts?
— John, Boca Raton, Florida
A Dogs may lick their paws and legs for many reasons, but the most common reasons are allergies, which causes itching, and arthritis, which causes pain in the joints. Both are often relieved from excessive licking, but that can lead to sores on the skin.
Because she is a senior pet, have your vet check her for arthritis as there are medications to help with that discomfort. Then, make sure you bathe her with a shampoo for sensitive skin, just to be safe. After that, if she is still licking, consider introducing a limited ingredient food in case she has a food allergy.
Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, author, columnist and pet expert who has more than 25 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories and tips to email@example.com. Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal.