Author Topic: When my son's ESA affects my service dog  (Read 936 times)

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Offline Ash

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When my son's ESA affects my service dog
« on: January 04, 2017, 05:52:48 PM »
My son has his emotional support dog.  First off, my son is a high functioning autistic.  Zavi is a dog I got as a puppy in the hopes of making her my service dog, but she reached a certain stage in her training and decided "nope, I don't want to do this, and you can't make me!"  ~big sigh here~  She is now two years old.  So now she is a "pet", except when my son has one of his melt downs, in which case, she curls up in his lap while he sits cross legged in the floor and he rocks her back and forth until he calms himself.  My problem is that she is not quite housebroken. No matter how often I take her out, and whether or not she does her business outside, she still comes in and has her favorite place on my living room floor (vinyl floor thank god) and leaves a nice little care package for me.  This has gotten worse since I brought Athena in.  And now, to my dismay Athena left me a present today!   What do I do?

Offline Kirsten

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Re: When my son's ESA affects my service dog
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2017, 06:11:24 PM »
Is it always feces?  If yes, then you probably aren't walking your dogs long enough.  It takes physical activity to stimulate the bowels to move so you need to walk them for at least 15 minutes for most dogs before they'll be ready to deficate.

If it's not always feces then it's a toilet training error and you'll need to go back to the beginning:
1.  thoroughly clean the target area with an enzymatic cleaner.
2.  move a large piece of furniture on top of the target area.
3.  for a minimum of two months do not allow either dog unsupervised access to any part of the house.  That means you either tether them to you or crate them.  Every time you see them showing interest in toileting, you interrupt and rush them out the door on a leash.  Never without a leash.  And you go with them and reinforce toileting in the correct location.  Two months is optimistic once this behavior is established.  It's more likely to take a year to fix.  If you allow zero errors for the first month you have the puppy it's down hill from there, but if you fail during that first month, even once, you set yourself up for a lengthy repair job.  Raising a puppy is intensive.  It takes a huge amount of focused attention to do a proper job of it and wind up with an easy care dog at the end (one who doesn't destroy personal property, toilet in the wrong place, counter surf, get into the trash, etc.).
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Offline Ash

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Re: When my son's ESA affects my service dog
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2017, 06:15:48 PM »
oh wow! you described everything zavi does.. I have had to replace all socks and underwear...and several things she has destroyed..and if anything is left on the counter..it winds up in the floor.  a year??  When I have her in my ((home office)) she is on her best behavior...it is like a kid...when i can't hear her, i go to see what she is into!  lol

Offline Ariel

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Re: When my son's ESA affects my service dog
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2017, 06:19:51 PM »
I would suggest crate training on both dogs. Also tether training on your SDIT. Tether training was the best thing I ever did with my SDIT when she was a young puppy. She was on a leash attached to or within an easy arm's reach of me at all times that she was not off leash with interactive play in the house or in my apartment complex's dog park. Otherwise she was in the crate if I was unable to watch her.

I had her on a tether for nearly the first two months after she came home. This made it easy for me to housebreak her since I was able to see her beginning to feel an urge to toilet and could easily get her outside. If she began to exhibit a behavior I did not like (such as digging at the carpet) I could easily redirect her and if I saw her thinking about it, I could ask for a different behavior so she'd get praised, not reprimanded. Behaviors that aren't practiced extinguish quickly. The more the behavior can be practiced without consequence, the harder it will be to get that reliability.

Regarding tethering, it is not just useful for young puppies. I brought this back out when she had a spike of teenage rebellion at 7 months for a few days and that cleaned her house manners back up. Went back to crating her at night. Basically any time I couldn't have eyes on her, she was crated. I'd highly recommend tethering (or minimally having a drag line to easily reach) to anyone who has a dog who is practicing behaviors out of sight that are destructive, disruptive, or dangerous. In this case I'd say if your SDIT becomes reliably unreliable at housebreaking this could potentially transfer into a public setting and would be dangerous to a career as a service dog.

I'd definitely suggest crating your son's ESA when she's not being actively supervised. Take her out every 15 minutes until you see her toilet and then she can have free reign for a few hours assuming she does not have other vice behaviors. Housebreaking an adult dog is the same process as a young puppy, an adult dog just has bladder and bowel control that a puppy does not.

This will either make it easier or harder than a puppy, depending on the situation. I'd guess your son's ESA will be more difficult than a young puppy given that she's spent so much time without being seen, reprimanded, or otherwise had a successful break in her developed habit of going out then coming in to toilet. I'd do the same with your SDIT, possibly toilet them separately if you're worried Athena is watching and feeding off of your son's ESA.
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Offline Kirsten

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Re: When my son's ESA affects my service dog
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2017, 06:20:12 PM »
It's a lot easier to prevent bad habits from developing than it is to fix them once they've become habit.  So she's been doing these things for two years.  And now you need to replace that history with a new history of better behavior.  For every time she has done the wrong behavior you need to practice at least twice doing the right behavior instead so that the habit of doing the right thing finally outnumbers the habit of doing it wrong.

Yeah, it's going to take a while.
Kirsten and Tardis
In loving memory of Cole (1/11/99 - 6/26/12)  He gave me back my life.

"The one absolute, unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world -- the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous -- is his dog." -George G. Vest

Offline Kirsten

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Re: When my son's ESA affects my service dog
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2017, 06:22:08 PM »
Ariel is talking about starting with a puppy, one with no bad habits and trying to raise to not develop bad habits.  What took her two months will take much much longer with a dog who already has developed bad habits.
Kirsten and Tardis
In loving memory of Cole (1/11/99 - 6/26/12)  He gave me back my life.

"The one absolute, unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world -- the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous -- is his dog." -George G. Vest

Offline Azariah

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Re: When my son's ESA affects my service dog
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2017, 12:03:18 AM »
I'm having to start from scratch on teaching Serenity crate manners as she has this terrible yelping thing going on that only happens in the crate and I need to remove her from that situation. It blows.

She's still not completely potty trained at home on the pee side - in part due to my not being 100% diligent AND the fact that she actually will pee in her crate (unlike most puppies). So I'm having to start over on that too.

Both suck. I feel for you.

Mine is only 5 months - but I've never had an issue with housebreaking a dog before now...
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Offline PaulaO

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Re: When my son's ESA affects my service dog
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2017, 10:56:32 PM »
Had a dog that no matter how long we walked around, he would come in and poop inside. I started tying the leash to the doorknob when we came in so he couldn't get to any of his usual places. He would be near frantic, needing to go. After five minutes, we'd go back out. When he went, I acted as if he just pooped a million dollars.

It took a while for him to break the habit. But he did. And when he did, no matter where he would be on our little farm-lette, he would go back to that spot of the yard to poop. He'd pee anywhere, but he had to poop there.

This was, wow, 20 years ago? He was our first dog. We knew so little about how to train one. He turned out to be a fantastic best friend.
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