I have a 1 year old blind portie that WILL NOT potty train!!

Posted by heathergoldbergqcom
Mar 1, 2012
Kebe was stepped on by her four legged mommy when she was five days old. They believe that the blindness is a result of the cranial nerve damage. She had some vision up until about five or six months and has now finally lost all of it. I do believe that she is physically and developmentally delayed as well. So perhaps she is really more like a six month puppy and still needs more time. Is that possible?

She was just spayed 3 1/2 weeks ago. Maybe the surgery, recovery and meds have mixed her days and nights as she has also reverted back to a 3 1/2, 2 1/2, 1 hour nightly schedule. Although we try to keep her very busy during the days. She does not enjoy walking, yet. She is thrown off by the wind, cold sidewalks, different sounds and smells and eventually freezes and refuses to walk. So, I was walking her on a treadmill for a few weeks and then she learned to stop on that, too. I take her swimming a few times/month to a therapy pool(does not seem to make her any more tired than usual). We play a lot during the day... up/down stairs, tug, lots of chewing and doggie puzzles galore. We make sure that she is awake from early evening(4:30ish) until bedtime(11ish)with lots and lots of physical and mental stimulation. She has a very regular eating schedule and water is pulled at about 7:30pm. I have tried essential oils to calm and relax her before bed.

She has been tested several times by her vet for many possibilities. She does not have a bladder infection or UTI. I do not think she has bladder weakness as she can and does go many weeks at a time with no accidents by telling us she has to go potty with many hours between potty breaks. Then it as if she gets lazy, stops telling us and falls back into a bad, but easy, habit of going potty simply whenever she thinks of it, impulsively. I think this is a behavior and I am not sure that I have fully potty trained her as I constantly take her out and have never really consistently given her the chance to tell me. Her cues are much harder to read as she spins a lot due to the blindness. I am just not sure how to teach her to let me know that she needs to go outside.

She spends the majority of her time in the back of the house between the laundry room, kitchen and connected great room. She does not have run of the house and is never left alone without being gated in the laundry room (a room the she quite enjoys even when the gate is not closed).

We can go weeks without incident and then she will, all of a sudden and out of the blue, enter a period of several accidents per week. I have potty bells on the back slider. I have tried to teach her to bark to notify me (which she often does when gated in laundry room at night). Unless I take her out every 1 1/2 or 2 hours, she simply pees or poos wherever and whenever she wants when she is in this cycle. She still does not sleep through the night and is still not potty trained. Again, she has been evaluated by her vet and cleared of any apparent physical problems. I do not know what to do... am tired, frustrated and feel defeated.

I have never had such troubles training any of my other puppies and certainly by 1 year, we had all acclimated to our new lives together. I, however, feel like I am still in a holding pattern with Kebe and do not see light at the end of the tunnel, yet.

Please help! Any tips? Thank you for your response and I appreciate your considerations!
Posted by KOPCaroline
Mar 2, 2012
Hi there,

This sounds so unique! I understand why you're a bit on edge over it.

I'm not convinced its a behavioural thing, as opposed to a neurological disorder, perhaps tied in with the trauma she suffered as a young pup. Has your vet done any neuro exams on Kebe, or tested her cranial nerve functions, reflexes, proprioception, etc etc? If not, you may want to look into that - it could help.

I'm not sure what advice for training to offer other than keep doing what you have been - it sounds solid and should be getting you results. The only other thing I can think of at the moment for you to try would be putting puppy pads in with her, so at least she may be able to train to use those when she feels the need "inappropriately". At least it would save your floor and you cleaning up a million messes when these bad weeks come around.

Have you noticed if its always the same time frame between bad weeks? For example, is it three good, one bad, or something like that? I really wonder if its a nervous system thing comparable to epilepsy or something, but is affected her more caudal nerves instead of her mentality (or both).

I'm sorry its not great help - but I'm very curious about Kebe! Hopefully the puppy pads help, and hopefully other members have other views...