Learning to coexist with a canine can be both difficult and rewarding. On one hand, an unexpected cuddle session or simply sitting on the couch with a dog’s head in your lap is one of life’s many simple pleasures; yet, on the other hand, certain aspects of dog ownership can be frustrating and downright disgusting. One such instance is potty training; especially when an otherwise trained dog seemingly forgets his or her house manners. Listed below are the reasons dogs pee in the house as well as solutions to the problem.
Why am I having issues with my dog peeing in the house?
First and foremost, if you have found yourself searching “dog peeing in house" on your phone or computer, know that you are not alone and this is actually a common issue that many pet owners encounter at some point. Dogs relapse on their training for a number of reasons, including an underlying medical condition, boredom, because they are aging, and due to anxiety. Dogs may also pee in the house out of submission or fear, which should be treated differently than a relapse in potty training.
See a veterinarian
If your dog has suddenly begun to pee in the house despite never having done so before, the first thing you should do is have your pet examined by a veterinarian. Inappropriate urination may be a symptom of an underlying health problem, such as a urinary tract infection or canine dementia. Other conditions, such as kidney stones, should also be ruled out.
Determine the cause
If the veterinarian does not find an obvious health issue that may be causing your dog’s accidents, look for patterns in your pet’s behavior before learning how to stop a dog from peeing in the house. Do the accidents only occur when you are away? If so, the issue may stem from separation anxiety. Does your dog only pee in one spot of the house? If the answer is yes, this problem may have a simple fix. Did anything happen recently that could have been traumatizing for your pet, such as the introduction of a new animal or child into the household? These scenarios may indicate your dog is seeking attention or is bored. If possible, keep a journal to track the events surrounding your dog peeing in house to help you have a better understanding of how to find a solution.
Before you begin
There are a number of items you should arm yourself with before beginning to re-potty train your pet. Perhaps the most important is a good enzymatic cleaner such as the Rocco & Roxie Professional Strength Stain & Odor Eliminator. Dog urine contains a certain enzyme that signals to your pet that the area in which he or she peed is now the designated “pee area." If those enzymes are not eliminated, your dog will continue to pee in that region of the house, even if potty trained. The other essential item is high value treats. No matter which training technique you use of the ones listed below, you should reward your dog as if peeing outside is the best thing he or she has ever done. The quicker your dog associates pottying outdoors with positive outcomes, the faster he or she will be fully potty trained.
While each potty training technique is effective, it is important to note that each individual dog may respond differently to different types of training. Patience is crucial but if you are not seeing any results within 5 – 7 days it may be time to return to the drawing board and try a different method.
Potty Training Refresher
The first step when retraining your dog to potty outside is to treat your pet like you did when he or she was a puppy and follow all the original potty training steps. Set a schedule for your dog and stick closely to the routine. Take your pet outside at the same time every day (i.e. first thing in the morning, after breakfast, after lunch, immediately after dinner, and before bed). Take your pet to the same location in the yard each time and do not interact with your pet until he or she has peed outside. As soon as your pet potties, give plenty of positive praise, rewards, and treats.
When your pet is indoors, keep an eye on him or her at all times. If necessary, keep your pet leashed so that you can watch for signs he or she is about to inappropriately potty indoors. Signs that your dog needs to potty include whining, circling, sniffing, pawing, and excessively licking his or her genital region. Continue working on retraining your dog until he or she can be left alone without any accidents.
Use a Crate
If your dog is having problems holding his or her bladder when you are away from home but you do not suspect that separation anxiety is the culprit, a crate can be an indispensible tool. While some pet owners may feel that crating their dogs is cruel or inhumane, dogs are actually den-loving animals that prefer the confinement of small areas when stressed. When purchasing a crate, look for one that is just large enough for your dog to be able to stand up and turn around in. If the crate is too large, your dog may opt to pee in one end of the crate and sleep in the other end. The kennel is a great training tool because dogs instinctually will not urinate in areas they sleep. From an evolutionary perspective, doing so would attract predators to the den. If using a crate for potty training be sure to take your pet out to potty before you leave and immediately when you return. Never leave your dog crated for more than 4 – 6 hours and always make sure your pet is properly exercised either before or after confinement.
Ditch the Potty Pads
If you have potty trained your pet by using potty pads inside the house, you should consider that these may be to blame for your dog’s inappropriate urination issues. While many dogs can differentiate between urinating on the potty pads and urinating in other areas of the home, other pets are not as bright. Your dog may be receiving mixed signals by being allowed to pee indoors, so the first course of action should be to eliminate the potty pads and see if potty training your pet to pee outside remedies the situation.
Rule out Rebellion
Dogs, like teenagers, sometimes go through a rebellious stage. This may occur especially if your dog is less than two years old. If your pet does not feel he or she is receiving enough attention, unwanted behaviors that are guaranteed to elicit a response (whether positive or negative) such as peeing in the house, barking, whining, digging, etc. may be observed. In this instance, the best way to counteract the behavior is to make sure your dog is being given plenty of outlets for energy such as exercise and play dates, and to positively reinforce the original potty training method that worked best for your pet.
Unneutered male dogs are more likely to mark their territory inside the house than their neutered counterparts. This is especially common if you have a multi-pet household or if dramatic changes have recently occurred, such as the introduction of a new baby. Unneutered pets may feel the need to assert dominance because their testosterone levels are higher. Often, neutering your pet eliminates this behavior.
Some dogs pee in the house because of extreme anxiety when their owners leave. Separation anxiety has many causes, but is most common in dogs that have been rescued or have gone through traumatic experiences. To eliminate inappropriate peeing in the house, you should condition your dog to have positive associations with your absence. Every time you leave, give your pet a special treat, such as a peanut butter filled KONG or other toy that will keep him or her busy. Adding additional exercise to your dog’s routine can also help your pet better cope with your absence and promote a calm environment when you leave. Other options include crating your dog when you are gone, having a dog walker stop by during the day, or even utilizing doggy day care or daytime boarding services for severe cases.
What not to do
When training your dog not to pee in the house there are a number of behaviors to avoid. Never punish your dog for having an accident. Although this behavior is extremely frustrating, becoming visibly upset will not remedy the situation and may only reinforce it, especially if the problem is rooted in attention seeking. In addition, verbally or physically punishing your pet (such as rubbing his or her nose in the area of the accident) may cause your dog to become fearful, which could only further the problem by causing submissive urination.