Dear Lisa: I have a 15-month-old female Newfoundland and a week ago adopted a 15-month-old Jack Russell Terrier. The dogs seem to play and get along well, but my "Newfie" is now urinating in the house. The vet seems to think it is a behavior problem. The Newfie does not squat like normal but rather the urine just seems to leak out. Help!-- Squatter's Rights
Dear Squatters: I'm sure having two young dogs, still puppies really, in the house is loads of fun but also lots of work, especially getting them to adjust to the new routine of canine co-habitation. Although you don't say in your question whether your new dog is a male or female, it sounds like it's another girl.
Marking in the house is a traditional male dominance trait to say "this is mine." However, females can exhibit this same type of behavior. I had a female once that would always follow the boys around the yard and "mark" on top of where they just marked. And to you point, it wasn't your typical "squatting" to go potty either. She would slightly lower her hind end and even lift her leg like the boys. So it sounds like your Newfie's dribble of urine might be marking the house as "mine" and letting the new arrival know that she has squatter's rights!
Check with the Vet
You did do the right thing by taking her to the vet thinking there may be a health problem associated with the urine stream. Did your vet do any tests during your visit? I would have asked for them to at least do a urine culture to see if bacteria were present which might indicate a bladder infection thus leaking urine. If the dribble continues or get worse I would return to the vet.
As for the new dog, make sure that you continue to give your Newfie lots of attention and don't make a big fuss over the Jack Russell just because she is new. While dogs don't get jealous in the human sense, they do tend to guard and protect what they see as their people, or especially as their people who feed them. You may want to for the time being until they settle in, keep the dogs gated in the kitchen to prevent marking around the house and treat them as equals in love, attention and playtime.
Dear Lisa: I have a 2-year-old Alaskan Malamute whom I have been trying to train to walk on a leash. He travels from left to right constantly but not straight forward. How do I teach him to walk a line when on a leash?-- Walking a Straight Line
Dear Walking: The Alaskan Malamute was originally bred to pull heavy loads of freight. As one of the oldest Artic sled dogs, they walk best when pulling down on their front ends, usually while in a harness. He's not meant to be one of the faster racing sled dogs but rather one that has strength and endurance to haul big loads over many, many miles.
It sounds like your dog is already walking out in front of you and weaving back and forth at the end of his lease, which would be typical for the breed. However, you must first get his attention so that you can communicate what and how you want your dog to walk on a leash. When he's 6 feet in front of you there is no way to grab his attention.
Shorten the Leash
One of the easiest methods to rein him in was taught to me by my obedience instructor. Make the dog sit on your left side in the heel position, his shoulder parallel to your knee. Before placing the leash in your right hand (instead of the normal left) bring it behind your back. This way the leash will go from your right hand behind your legs (or back depending on your height) to your dog's collar.
Now when you get ready to walk forward, the shortened leash will automatically stop him from running out in front of you and he will adjust to your step. In your left hand carry some treat, either cheese or liver, something hard that he can nibble on while you walk. Praise him when he is staying next you. Start this exercise in short sessions and increase his heeling time and before you know it he will be walking in a straight line right next to you.
Another method is the turnaround trick. Whenever he walks out in front of you do an about turn (turn 180 degrees in the opposite direction and keep walking). The "pop" on his collar will have him following you. If you do this every time, eventually the dog will get the clue that each time he tries to run ahead of you he gets pulled around in the other direction, which he will grow tired of. Eventually he will be walking by your side either looking for food or because he wants to go in a straight line and not in circles.
Lisa Peterson, a long-time owner/breeder/handler of Norwegian Elkhounds, is the AKC Director of Club Communications. If you have a question, send it to Lisa at email@example.com and she may select it for a future column. Due to the high volume of questions we cannot offer individual responses. Read previous columns here.
(c) 2008 The American Kennel Club, Inc.