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Pond Pooper

Dear: John Wade

My puppy that is half Labrador Retriever and half Siberian Husky female named Pebbles. I live on Lake Erie on a beautiful sandy beach that I frequent all the time with Pebbles but my boyfriend has stopped taking her there and I feel I will have to too if I cannot get my puppy to stop defecating in the water. The most recent time was this week-end in front of a least twenty people some of them actually in the water including me when she crouched down and did her thing again. I have to bring a plastic little shovel with me and follow her into the water and scoop it out and it’s very embarrassing she does this every time even when she’s already gone before can you give me any reason why she would do this and how to get her to stop. Pebbles loves the water but it’s unfair to us swimmers. – W.C.

Dear W.C.

No kidding. This is a new one for me and now that I’ve dusted myself off from rolling around on the floor laughing I’ll do my best to help and I’m warning you in advance the last piece of advice in this column is going to throw you for a loop.

What Pebbles first needs is a review of her diet as higher grain diets don’t digest as well and the dog usually has larger and more frequent bowel movements. I’m not quite sure where to send you to get an idea of what you’ve got and what you might need to switch. Try going to talk to some of the owners of “ma and pa” dog food retail outlets. They pick what they put on their shelves and you’re usually talking to someone that has been around the block a few times.

Pay particular attention to the type and amount of treats she gets. As a rule of thumb, stay away from grains. Another rule of thumb is estimate how much you give her in a day. Let’s say 5 biscuits, then take her body weight, let’s say 50 pounds and divide it into yours, actually we better do mine as I’m not getting into trouble by suggesting your body weight. So that’s 220 divided by 50 = 4.4. Now multiply 5 biscuits by 5 = 22 biscuits a day on top of meals. Now tell me if you think that would effect overall trips to the toilet.

Secondly, when she is being fed? If what goes in is timed hither thither, then so is what’s going to come. Get her on a schedule. For your breed if she’s around 6 months, feed her twice a day. Put the food down for twenty minutes tops and take it up. If she doesn’t eat either meal, she doesn’t get any treats. We’ve all heard that before. Same applies to dogs. Personally I wouldn’t be given her any treats just in case until you’re on top of this. Shortly something called a gastric colic reflex will attempt to stimulate a bowel movement. Find a place in the yard that you take her every time. Get her thinking that is the bathroom. You have to accompany her each and every time she goes out so she sticks to the spot and doesn’t get distracted.

If you were to take her to the beach and I wouldn’t until this is resolved keep her out of the water on a 20-30 foot least. So she loses one season at the beach. She’ll have many others.

If that last is going to really cramp your style then what you’re going to have to do is all of the above and (I warned you) the match trick. Professional dog handlers often do this before they take a dog into the show ring. They moisten a cardboard match stick and insert it partially into the dog’s rectum and then stand back. Apparently it works, no personal experience myself and highly unlikely to get any. I heard a story once about a novice handler that was having trouble doing the insertion and realized she hadn’t moistened the match stick, so she popped it into her mouth to moisten in up.

Well good luck with Pebbles I’m going to go for a swim now.

– John

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