Snowmagedon 2015!

We had an afternoon of fun here in Alabama.  I decided to get a bit artsy with my photos of the dogs.


River – not impressed with me stopping his play for this photo.  Typical boy!

Jazz again

Lina.  She didn’t feel the need to stop playing for a photo.

Zero photos of Jewel.  They were all black blurs on a white background.  5 month old puppy and snow equals nonstop F. U. N!!  I did manage to get a short video

Looks like the kids are out of school again tomorrow.  That means my productivity on the blog and website will be at a standstill.  Oh well, maybe I can do more next week. :)



Blog and website updates!

Over the next week I will be making some changes to both the blog and website.   I am not sure when the last major overhaul of these two sites occurred.  Maybe 3 years ago?  In any case, I think it is time for some updated photos on the banners and a change of scenery.   This is a time consuming event.  I’ll have to edit and resize photos after I locate them on my external backups.  Then format them for the web and tweak any changes so the fit my new design.  I’ve started the process on the main website.   Things are likely to change dramatically, but even the few things I have done today have freshened it up a bit already.  Anutta Poodle’s Website

So with that in mine, please understand links might get broken and things might be harder than usual to navigate.  I will do my best to make this as seamless as possible.




Frozen Bubbles?

This isn’t really poodle related, but some of you might enjoy my frozen bubble captures from this morning’s cold temps.


To create frozen bubbles you need temperature’s below 15 degrees.   This morning Aiden comes running into the bedroom saying “It is 9 degree’s outside, Mommy!  We have to freeze bubbles!”.  So, I dragged my rear out of my nice warm bed and proceeded to do just that.  This was the second time I have tried to capture bubbles as they freeze.  The first attempt was back in November I believe.  I had no idea what I was doing and learned so much from that experience.  I think I had a grand total of 4 decent shots.  This time I took maybe 40 photos and most of them were really good to excellent, requiring only minor cropping and very little changes to exposure, white balance, contrast, etc.    If you would like to see ‘good quality’ versions of these captures, you can view them on Flickr here:   I’ve uploaded a few things I have done recently to Flickr and for those interested in photography you can see the camera settings.  I joined a local photography group on Facebook and they suggested I make a Flickr account because Facebook degrades the photos so much upon upload.  So, there ya have it.  Learn something new every day.  I’ll be utilizing the Flickr account more as I figure out all the settings and how to embed photos here.   I’ll just be adding that to my already extremely long ‘to do’ list.

After freezing outside for only a short time, I reflect on what a blessing it is to have a warm house with indoor plumbing.  We have been a touch under the weather here these past two weeks and when that happens my thankfulness for plumbing increases 10 fold.  I thought we were over it, but it seems I was mistaken.  Winter hates me, but at least I gain some pleasure through photography!


Lisa Garza - February 24, 2015 - 8:38 pm

I love those photos, especially the last one! Looks like you went to outer space and photographed another world!

My male dog is marking in the House! How do I make it stop?

A friend on Facebook was venting about her boys peeing all over her house.  She is near her limit and wants to neuter them all.  I don’t blame her.  This is a pervasive issue that many breeders have problems with.  Most people stick a belly band on the dog and let them proceed to pee.  (For those that do not know, a belly band is a sort of diaper for male dogs. )

I’ve owned intact male dogs most of my life.  I’ve never had an issue with them peeing in the house and I won’t use a belly band.  I’ve taken a young dog to someone else’s home and they have momentarily lost their mind, but dogs do not generalize.  You have to remind them “Oh that isn’t allowed, Fluffer!”    For those of you wondering my background, I’ve had up to 4 intact males in a house full of intact females, yet they did not mark in the house once they understood the rules.  I’ve also taken in adult dogs who have spent years marking in other people’s homes and taught them not to mark.  I’ve taught abused rescues and spoiled brats who have never suffered a day in their life just the same.  Time and time again I am told “I tried that, it didn’t work”.  My answer is always “You moved through the training steps to quickly.  Go back and start again”.  This is not a quick fix and it takes dedication.  You are going to have to treat your adult male dog like he is an infant baby for months, maybe even a year.

Every male dog I have owned has had a moment (or two!) when they hit full on puberty and think “Hey, I need to mark my territory!”.  It is instinct you are working against, but thankfully dogs are smart and most hate breaking the rules.  The issue most people do not communicate clearly what, exactly, the dog did wrong.  The first time you notice you are having a problem, you need to completely remove the dogs freedom.  He should be treated like he is a 7 week old puppy “until further notice”.  Depending on how long you have allowed the behavior to continue, this could take anywhere from a month to a year.  This is not an easy fix, especially if you have pee spots all over your house and a dog that has been doing it for years.

Step one:  The dog is crated or tether to you within the home.  ZERO freedom, not for a single second is that dog allowed to walk free.  If you take him outside in the back yard and want to let him run, great.  Walk him out on leash and tell him to “go pee” first on a favorite area.  Once he goes, lots and lots of praise for pottying outside.  “Good job, yes!!  Pee outside.  Good Pee Pee”.  Whatever word you use for going pee is what you need to be chanting at him as he goes.  You are teaching him that you like it when he pees outside and on command.  Let him off leash to play if you want at this point.  He must be tethered to you when in the house and not to furniture.  You are watching for him to lift his leg and if he is tethered to the table and you are in the kitchen, you cannot watch your dog.  If he marks, you will be able to see him right then and you will correct him verbally (Ahhh, nooooooooo.  NO Peeing in the house) and take him to his crate to think about what he did.  Be careful here.  Do not scare your dog.  Give him a 5 minute time out, then leash him up and outside to go pee.  Ask him to go pee.  Keep your body posture calm and make darn sure you are not upset.  We are teaching the dog what to do, not scaring him so he shuts down and learns nothing.  You cannot learn without first making a mistake and having that mistake pointed out to you.  Do you learn better when you are upset and scared, or when you are told what was incorrect in a non judgmental way?

Step two:  Clean up the pee spots.  This is where most people fail.  They do not fully clean up the urine.  If it is an old spot or on a carpet and into the pad and sub floor, it is going to take weeks to clean it properly.  You can soak the area with hot carpet cleaning solution and shop vacuum it up (or use a carpet cleaner).  Do this several times to get most of the urine off the area.  Once that is done you need to soak the area in Nature’s Miracle or some other enzyme formula.  Scrub any furniture with soapy water, then again coat it with nature’s miracle to dry.  Use a black light to see any urine spots you might have missed.  Clean them and soak them.  You need to let the sopping wet nature’s miracle dry on it’s own over a few day’s period.  Once it is fully try, soak the area in carpet cleaning, shop vac up, dump on more nature’s miracle.   Let it dry.  Those enzymes will eat up all that lovely urine and kill the smell.  When we moved into our current home, the carpet in the kids bedroom smelled of pee.  I didn’t notice it until after we moved in.  I treated this carpet for about 2 months before I got all the urine smell out.  It takes time, but it does work.

Step three:  Keep doing Step One, but if you catch him peeing again, you can shame him a bit.  Something like “OH no!  No Peeing in the house!  Ahhh, now we have to go crate”.  Again, do not be angry.  More disappointed, surprised, shocked.  You want him to absolutely think “Ok, yeah that was it.  She really doesn’t like it when I pee inside.  I wasn’t sure that was what got me crated before.  Now I get it. Humans are really weird, but ok.  I need to remember this”.  Then again, back on leash, outside to pee.  Lots of praise for peeing outside.

Step four:  Go for walks as much as the weather allows.  These will be on leash walks and the dog is absolutely not allowed to pee unless you tell him to.  My suggestion is to ask him to go on a bush before you start walking.  Once the walk starts, zero peeing.  If he goes to pee “Ahhh, No Pee.  Let’s keep moving”.  This is his one ‘free pass’.  If he does it again, take him home and crate him for 5 minutes.  He gets no more free passes on walks or anywhere else.  While walking, do some obedience work.  Greet other people and dogs with a nice sit stay.  Keep him walking beside you or slightly behind and watch your dog.  So many people put the leash on the dog and ignore them once a walk starts until the dog gets so crazy or pulls so hard they choke themselves.  Don’t be that person.  If you have a dog with you the dog should be your primary focus until the dog is trained enough for your mind to wander.  Remember why you are taking this walk.  This is potty training, with some exercise and obedience work tossed in for good measure.  Do this once a day, twice if you have nice weather and free time.  It doesn’t have to be a long walk, 5-10 mins will start to instill in the dog “Ok, this women is serious about where I can pee.”

Step five:  Set the dog up for failure.  Take the dog to a place where they normally pee a bunch and get to be wild.  Maybe this is the park or something similar.  Make this a grand event.  “We are going to the park!”  Ask the dog to pee on command before you load up the car in a spot you want him to use every time you load.  Bring a crate for the car if you have room in your vehicle.  Most of the time my guys ride free in my minivan.  However, I keep a crate in the back for puppies, Lina (who gets car sick), and dirty/wet dogs.   If you do not have room, then don’t worry about the crate, but you will have to leave the park instead of giving the dog a time out when they make a mistake.  Most dogs, at this point, will think they are at a place where peeing on everything is perfectly fine.  Keep the dog on leash.  You asked the dog to pee before you left the house, so they should not need to potty.  Walk them by something tempting, like a pole that holds up the swings or a lovely tree that every dog uses near the parking lot.  Let the dog venture towards the object of desire.  They can sniff for a second, then say “Let’s go”.  Watch them.  This is the point where they are likely going to try and mark.  If they even try to left a leg you say “Ahhh, No Pee!  I did NOT tell you to Pee”.  Take them to the car, put them in the crate and shut the car.  Leave them crated for 5 minutes.  If you do not have a crate, I would just take them home saying “That was a bad choice.  Now we can’t play at the park”.  If you crated the dog, you can try one more time.  If they attempt to mark again  “Ahh, no Pee” and take them home.  Repeat this every few days until you can safely take your dog to the park, petco, etc and they do not even consider marking.

Anyone see a pattern here?  We are showing the dog that there is not a single place they are allowed to pee except the back yard, the place in the front yard where they can go before they load up in the car.  Eventually you will tell them they can pee at new places on command, but for now you are limiting them.  Dogs do not generalize.  You have to show them “You do not pee in my house.  You do not pee at tractor supply.  You do not pee at the park.  You do not pee out hiking.  You do not pee on my sisters things.  You do not pee on grandma’s bed”.  After you have done about 4 of these, they typically get the concept and will only need reminders.  The key is consistency.

Step six:  After a week zero freedom and no marking, you can decrease the trips you take outside to pee.  After another week of good behavior and decreased trips outside, you can block off a very small area where you spend time and let the boy off leash for a little bit.  With training we only change one variable at a time.  If you increase the time between trips outside, make sure he is good with that before increasing the area he is allowed to be free.   If you watch TV in the evenings, you can put a few expens around the couch / tv area.  This will allow the dog to play a bit but not enough freedom to wander the house and pee on the foot-board of your bed.  Again, treat this dog like he is 7 weeks old.  After one or two TV shows, take him outside and ask him to go pee.  You can now make the trip outside off leash.   Watch where he is marking.  If he is marking someplace like the bar-b-que grill I would tell him Ahhh and call him over to the area you want  him to use.  Clean up the grill as described above.  Pretty soon you will be able to say “No, go pee in your spot.  Do not pee there.” and the dog will get it.

The number one thing you need to be doing is watching your dog.  Make it a habit to check on him if he moves.  When he is up playing, watch him.  When he is sleeping, you can zone out a bit, but remember to zone in on him when he moves.  If you are busy and cannot watch the dog, crate time.

Step Seven:  Increasing the size area he is allowed off leash OR decrease the number of times you take him outside to pee.  Do not change both at the same time.  After a week or two of no issues in the small area, you can increase his range.  “My dog is fine as long as I am watching him” is the number one thing I hear.  That person moved past this step to quickly, and didn’t pattern train the dog to stalk and keep them in view 100% of the time.  They are right, if the dog wanders off into another room, he might mark, so we train the dog to stay with us.  If your dog is ready, having no issues while on leash in all situations, maybe he can now have the entire living room during TV time, but he isn’t allow in the hall, kitchen, dinning room, or bedrooms.  Make sure he stays in view.  If he wanders behind the couch (and isn’t playing tag or something with another dog) make him come back around where you can see him.  You need to stay focused on him.  When you move rooms, call him to follow, maybe set up exercise pens, play yards, or baby gates in different areas of the house to limit choices.  He is to be your shadow, even following you into the bathroom.  He needs to learn to stalk you and stay in your view.  If he walks out of sight, call him back and tell him to down while you wash your face and do your hair.  It should become habit for him to wake up when you move, follow you, collapse into a sleep mass when you stop.  River now has this down to a science and he was a horrible marker in his last home!  You can do this, but you can’t go from “You are tethered to me, be good” to “You are free to go do whatever you like, I’m not watching you anymore”.  Gradually, it will be his automatic response to keep your dog within sight for both you and the dog.

Step Eight:  Allow him limited freedom.  Maybe he is a heavy sleeper, so you can leave him out of the crate at night.  This was River’s first reward for good behavior.  He had access to the bedroom while we were sleeping, then I started leaving the bathroom door open.  Then lastly my master closet.   Once I knew he was safe at night, I started taking down pens and gates around the house, but would always call him to follow me when I moved.  He now automatically follows me everywhere and even though the house only has one room blocked off for pups in training, he doesn’t venture away from me.  It is to much of a habit for him to wake up when I move and follow.  This is a good thing.

Step Nine:  Maintenance.  There will be times when they lose their minds.  If you have intact girls, watch for marking when girls come into season.  Same deal.  Keep them crated, tethered, or outside during this month until you are sure they are not going to make a poor choice.  River peed on a crate a girl was in once.  He only did it once and it was like he realized it when he did it… “OH geez.  Bad CHOICE!”.  He was crated and tethered the entire time the girls were in season.  He HATED it and hasn’t done that again.  When you visit family, limit access until you know he will be safe.  Dogs are not stupid, but they do not learn as people do and they need training in each new situation.  It will take you a while to cover all the aspects, but each time you have to step back in training, the dog will grasp the idea much faster.  “Oh yeah, ok.  Same rules.  Yeah I get it.  I can’t pee here either.”

This training is made much easier if your dog knows down stay.  Here might be a typical day for a boy in this training situation.  Wake up, open crate and put leash on the boy.  Take him outside and ask him to “Go Pee”.  Lots of praise for peeing.  Let him empty his bladder, but don’t allow him to go pee on twenty things.  This is the wake up and go pee moment.  Back inside.  Make coffee and have dog down next to you while you get a few things done in the kitchen. Ask the dog if he wants to go play for a few minutes.  Take him out back and turn him off leash.  Go shower, get dressed, etc.  Go get dog, put back on leash.  Walk over to bush and ask him to go pee.  If he doesn’t say “Ok, but you better not pee in the house!”  He is now leashed to you as you make the kids lunches, walk out to the car to start it so it warms up, then back inside to get everyone going.  He is with you the entire time.  Load him up in the car as you take the kids to school.  Once back home, take him again to pee.  Back in the house, put him in a down stay as you gather up all the bowls to make breakfast for the dogs.  Everyone goes crate for breakfast.  After that is done, on leash again, outside and ask him to pee on his bush.  If he goes lots of praise and let him off leash to go “Potty” and play.  Leave him outside for a bit to run off steam.  Call all the dogs inside, he goes on leash even if walking straight to the crate.  Crate up the dogs, go shopping / work / etc.  When you come home, back on leash, outside to potty on command, then free time to play with the other dogs.  As they come back inside, he goes back on leash.  It is time to get the kids from school.  Crate the other dogs, load up the boy in the car, head to school and pick up kids.  Go to the park after school and train the dog while the kids play.  After park, go home and when you get out of the car you ask the dog to pee on the bush out front.  Back in the house, let all the dogs outside to play for a bit while you start the kids homework.  Bring him back inside on leash and he will lay in the kitchen as you work on dinner.  If he has a strong down stay you are much better off, as he can be off to the side.  You decide to surf facebook and get some emails done while dinner is cooking.  You give him a bone to chew while you are busy.  He is tethered next to you.  He is laying down, so he can’t mark.  You can focus on emails.  Dinner is ready, so move back outside for another pee break.  You put him on a down stay on his mat while you eat dinner (or you crate him)  After you are finished eating, feed all the dogs in their crates, then outside to pee.  Take the dog on a short walk.  Back in the house for some TV time and cuddling on the couch, dog is tethered to you and enjoying the family time.  TV show is over, back out to pee and maybe play, weather willing.  You decide to take a hot bath before bed, so you bring him inside on leash and have him do a down stay next to the bathtub.  He is loving all the attention, why would he want to be somewhere else when he can hang with you.  End of day, off to crate for a nice long sleep.  Repeat daily for at least one month until the dog is fully habituated to stalking you when in the house. :)

This was incredibly long, but if you have a dog who is marking in the house and you do not want to resort to diapers, this method works.  You might spend a few months getting the training right, but think of the years of happiness a well mannered male will bring to the entire family.


Courtney - February 11, 2015 - 1:48 pm

Wow! This is so informative! Thanks for taking the time to write it all out. Very interesting and it makes perfect sense. Quick question, would you do this exact same process if you were starting with a 10 week old male puppy? Or is this simply a resource for when they hit puberty or other issues as an adult dog?

Rhonda smith - February 11, 2015 - 2:08 pm

Thank you so much for this information , I will put it into practise immediately , one boy at a time …. Thanks for taking this time out I will pass this info on to every friend with an entire male …. Can’t thank you enough …

Becky - February 11, 2015 - 4:44 pm

Courtney, you can use the above with any puppy or adult as far as house-training goes. This was written for adult males who are marking, but I use the exact same method with baby puppies, though they might spend more time in an ex-pen next to me instead of tethered. One other note, smaller dogs take a bit longer to train, because their idea of ‘enough space’ is smaller than a large breed and the size of their messes much smaller / harder to identify. House training Lina, our Mini Poodle girl, took much longer due to several facts. She was raised for 5 months in a kennel situation and allowed to go on hard surfaces. She is small, so she could potty 6 inches from where she might play and it would not effect her personal comfort level. A Std Poodle pees a gallon. A mini pees half a cup at most. It took me a year to get her reliable in the house, but recently I feel I could leave her out over night. She already stays out in the computer room when I am not home, but I haven’t left her totally free in the house. She is 1.5 years old now. I figure a couple years of effort is worth it, as she is likely to live to be 15! :) If I take time to make sure she is non-destructive and totally understands bathroom rules now, life will be easy later.

Courtney - February 11, 2015 - 11:50 pm

That’s interesting about smaller dogs and house training. I had always wondered why they seem so much harder to train. But that makes total sense. And most people assume they would be completely trained by a certain age so then they stop with the consistency and have a small dog that continues to pee in the house.

Lisa Garza - February 18, 2015 - 10:07 am

Great information! Becky, in a future post can you discuss fighting? My two spayed female standards have been getting into skirmishes lately and I want to know what’s the best way to respond to these situations.

Marlane - February 18, 2015 - 10:42 pm

Learned a lot! At 10 mos, Mycroft hasn’t started marking even though tons of people tell me I’d better neuter him before he does. I still go out with him at odd times just to continue praising him when he does potty…want it to remain a good experience. Thank you for all the tips…gives me a plan and confidence should it become an issue.

Mica’s UKC Conformation Debut!

I am a bit late in posting this, but Mica made her UKC conformation debut on the weekend of the 24th of January.  She did great both days, taking Best of Winners or Best Female all weekend long.  She gained all 3 of her competition wins and only needs 5 single points to finish up her title.  Heather hopes to show her in a few months at the next local show.  We are hopeful she will finish up the title then.   Heather showed her on Saturday, but let a Junior handle her on Sunday.  It was a great experience for both dog and young handler!

Here is Heathers update:  Mica went to her first conformation show this past weekend. I showed her on Saturday and our friend Emily showed her on Sunday which allowed me to take some photos. She is 5 points shy of earning her UKC Championship. We will try and get those last points in May.

Mica is maturing into a lovely young lady!  We are excited to see where Heather and Mica go next.  Mica lives in San Antonio with Heather, Jack, and another of our Poodles, Mr Quincy.