Inappropriate urination indoors is one of the most frustrating aspects of being a dog owner. Not only is this behavior smelly, messy, and unhealthy, but depending where the dog urinated, it can also be a time consuming chore when it comes to clean up. While a puppy peeing on a hardwood floor is one thing, it is entirely different when an adult dog pees on the owner’s bed. What are the reasons for this all-too-common occurrence and how is it remedied?
My Dog Peed on My Bed – Is This a Dominance Issue?
Dog owners are often mistakenly led to believe that every bad habit their dog develops is rooted in dominance. Some trainers will warn that a dog peeing in a human’s bed is doing so to assert this area of the “den" as his or her own territory. However, in reality dogs are not that evil or conniving. While peeing in the bed is rooted in evolution, it has nothing to do with dominant hierarchy. Instead, listed below are common reasons for bed wetting.
Your dog is trying to cover his or her scent
When dogs exist in the wild, they must cover their scent in order to protect themselves from predators. Young dogs that are unable to fend for themselves are especially prone to this behavior. This is also the reason why your dog likes to roll in the most disgusting items, such as dead animals or feces. Puppies, or even dogs that simply did not lose this natural instinct as they aged, will often find areas of the house that contain the scent of their owners (i.e. their protectors) and immerse themselves in that odor. They may find your dirty laundry and roll around in that, or, more often, they will find your bed, which contains the greatest amount of your odor. If your dog has to potty and can no longer hold it (especially if he or she is a young dog), going in your bed seems safe since it will hide the scent of the urine (at least to your pup’s overly sensitive nose!).
Your dog is scared
As a corollary of the above reason, your pet may urinate on your bed as a way to soothe him or herself after a particularly upsetting incident. Does your pet pee on your bed after being scolded or when you leave for extended periods of time? If so, your dog may be urinating on the bed out of fear. While some owners may feel that their pet is doing this in order to “get back" at the owner after a particularly harsh scolding or because the owner was gone longer than normal, in actuality your dog is simply frightened and peeing in your bed is a coping mechanism in order to cover his scent in that of his protector’s. While this behavior is certainly strange, you can rest assured that your pet is not simply being vindictive.
Your dog has a medical condition
If this behavior appeared suddenly, especially if your dog is older, it could be indicative of an underlying medical condition. Dogs that have been reliably potty trained do not like to urinate in the house and it may be extremely distressing to them if they feel the need to go but are unable to hold it. In this instance, peeing in the bed may be a combination of covering their scent as well as being fearful. You should have your pet checked by a veterinarian to rule out causes such as a urinary tract infection, incontinence, or diabetes.
Your dog is overly submissive
While many people prefer to own submissive dogs because of their eager-to-please personalities, dealing with submissive urination can be a huge headache for a pet owner. Dogs that submissively urinate may do so when frightened, when excited, when happy, when anxious, or for seemingly no reason at all. A dog that is urinating out of submission is also letting everyone know that he or she respects all other dogs, humans, and animals in the house. While your submissive pet may be easy to get along with, unfortunately he or she may think that urinating in your bed (the area that smells most like you) is a sign of ultimate respect.
How to Avoid a Wet Bed
The first step to training your dog not to pee in your bed is to develop a greater understanding for the underlying cause of the behavior.
Make the bed off-limits
Your dog will be unable to pee on the bed if he or she is unable to access the bed. Unless you are in the room with your dog, keep the bedroom door closed at all times. You be wondering whether this will cause your dog to urinate in another area of the house, such as on the couch or floor. If your pet has only peed on your bed thus far, there is little chance he or she will suddenly choose to pee elsewhere. If, however, limiting access to the bed does cause urination in other areas of the house, then a refresher course in potty training may be necessary. At the very least, making the bed off-limits will eliminate the need to have to wash the sheets and disinfect the mattress.
Crate your dog
If you are unable to restrict your dog from the bed, consider crating your dog when you are unable to keep an eye on him or her. With patience and a positive attitude, nearly every single dog can learn to love the crate. The key is to gradually train your dog using positive reinforcement and treats. In the beginning, simply feed your pet meals in the crate and slowly work towards leaving him or her kenneled for 3 – 4 hours while you are away. Not only will the crate keep your dog avoid your bed, but will also help reinforce potty training if that is still an issue.
Take an Obedience Class
Even if your pet has learned basic commands, obedience classes can teach an owner far more than simply how to make a dog sit, stay, or come. In reality, obedience lessons reinforce communication skills between dog and owner and help create a stronger bond between the pair. Often, lapses in potty training and inappropriate elimination in the house are due to miscommunications between dog and owner. Sometimes the dog is trying to send a message and feels it must resort to extreme behaviors in order to get the point across. Other times, the dog simply does not understand what the owner means when he or she asks if the dog wants to go outside or says “I’ll be right back." Attending a refresher course on basic commands can help remind both pet and owner how to effectively communicate with one another.
Use a Belly Band
When all else fails, a belly band will help teach your dog not to urinate inappropriately on the bed. A belly band is a strip of fabric that wraps underneath your dog and is held in place with Velcro. A feminine pad or diaper is placed inside the belly band, and if your dog does choose to urinate in the house, your pet will simply pee on him or herself, which will quickly teach your pet right from wrong.
Cleaning Up After Your Dog Pees on Bed
Perhaps the most important aspect of discouraging your pet from peeing on the bed is to remove all odors from the sheets and mattress – both yours and his.
Removing Canine Scents
Did you know that dog urine contains enzymes that only your dog can smell, even if you have thoroughly cleaned the area of the accident? Additionally, these enzymes act as a calling card to remind your pet to return to the scene of the crime for future calls of nature. In fact, many pet owners sabotage their own attempts at remedying their pet’s inappropriate urination problems by not properly cleaning up after these accidents. The only way to thoroughly clean up every trace of a dog’s odor is to use an enzymatic cleaner, such as Rocco & Roxie Professional Strength Stain & Odor Eliminator. This spray cleaning solution should be sprayed directly onto stains on the sheets and mattress in order to eliminate proteins that cause your pet to continue coming back to the same area. This particular product is the number one seller on Amazon and is highly rated at 4.5 stars. It has also been shown to be safe for every surface, including difficult-to-clean mattresses or box springs.
Removing Human Scents
Just as removing the dog’s scent is important, it is also necessary to remove your own odor, in order to make your bed a less appealing retreat when your dog is frightened, anxious, or looking for protection. Be sure to wash your sheets on a regular basis. If you are prone to night sweats, changing your sheets every day may be necessary in order to hide your odor from your pet.