How To Stop A Dog From Peeing In The House?
Many dog owners, just like yourself, have the common issue of trying to stop their dog urinating in the house. As pet parents, it is important that we take our responsibilities seriously and understand both why our dog is doing this, and how we can stop this behavior and live in peace in the home.
Why Does My Dog Pee In The House?
It is essential to ascertain why your dog is peeing in your house. There can be both physiological and psychological causes behind this behavior.
First, you should determine if the urination is territorial marking or incontinence. Marking can be characterized by the dog lifting his leg to pee against walls and objects. This is the dog claiming his territory and is usually behavior directed at new and unfamiliar items brought into the house, although not always. Large puddles of pee inside the home are more likely to be an indicator that the dog lost control of his bladder and is suffering from incontinence.
- Incontinence caused by underlying medical cause
It is important to ascertain there is no underlying medical condition causing urinary incontinence. This is especially important in dogs who have previously been consistent in using suitable toileting areas, and in older dogs who develop incontinence with increased frequency either over a short or long term basis. Bladder infections and tumors can both cause incontinence, especially in older dogs.
Therefore you should first get a full health check from your vet to rule out physiological causes. The vet will ask you for information on your dog's problem, such as how long he has been having accidents in the house, will give your pet a physical exam, and may run blood tests.
- Territorial marking caused by feelings of insecurity or because of a perceived threat
- Incontinence caused by separation anxiety, submissive fear or lack of house training
Recently Had A New Baby? Is The Problem Worse When Visiting friends?
This is very likely to be territorial marking. You may find your dog has started marking the house upon the arrival of a new baby, and this is a common problem reported by dog owners. Such a big lifestyle change, having to share your time, having less walks and new smells and noises in every room, is a major change for your dog to adjust to.
If your dog embarrasses you and urinates when you are visiting friends or relatives, then consider keeping your dog on a lead at all times so you can be close by to identify and correct any marking behavior.
Have You Been Consistent With House Training?
As dogs are one of the family, it is important that each family member is consistent with training and the methods used. Every family member, no matter how young, should be involved in training at an appropriate age level and it's easier than you think to get the young ones involved!
Is Your Dog Suffering From Separation Anxiety?
Dogs who bark, chew, howl, urinate and defecate while they are left alone are often suffering from some degree of separation anxiety.
Dogs who have separation anxiety will often recognize your behavior as you prepare to leave the house (putting shoes on, picking up car keys, etc), and may follow you around, eliciting head scratches and whining, as they predict you are about to leave them alone.
You should seek the help of a certified dog behaviorist if you suspect your pet is suffering from separation anxiety. They can give you specific training tips, such as keeping your departures low key and using distractions such a chew toys, or even crate training and medication for severe cases.
Never punish a dog who soils the house while you are gone. Even though they may have a "guilty look", this is just a reaction to your tense and angry body language upon returning home. The dog will not understand why you are shouting and is likely to start fearing your return. This causes the problem to escalate as the dog becomes more fearful.
Dogs can urinate when they are afraid, so are unlikely to learn nor form positive relationships with their family members if they are fearful.
How To Stop A Dog From Peeing In The House?
Depending on the cause of the problem, the solution will be very different. However, there are some basic solutions you can try for almost every situation.
- Spay or neuter the dog. Intact dogs are more likely to scent mark, so having your pet spayed or neutered often goes a long way to preventing territorial marking in the house.
- Remove the scent completely. When your dog is looking for somewhere to urinate, he will search for areas that already smell like urine and feces. By eliminating these odors, you are discouraging your pet from using these areas again. You must use an enzyme based cleaner, not ammonia based for it to be effective.
- Deep clean your house using a steam cleaner to be sure that all traces of the scent are gone.
- Using a spotlight which highlight urine is an excellent tool to locate where your pet is urinating and marking around your house.
- Consistent Training. Catching them before, during and after the act and acting accordingly
As soon as they start to behave as though they are likely to pee, such as excessive sniffing and circling with their tail between the legs you need to be consistent with your corrections.
- Distract the dog. Give a firm command, e.g., "NO PEE!" while making a distracting noise, such as clapping our hands or shaking a plastic bottle of stones or coins.
Redirect the dog to a suitable location - you can physically lift the dog and place down in the garden, or you can use vocal commands to get the dog there ("Outside" command while standing inside an open doorway, or by standing in the garden yourself and calling your dog to you using your recall command.)
Praise heavily when they urinate in the right place - they want to remember how happy it makes you when they go to pee outside so make it memorable when they get it right! Give the best treats, use your best puppy voice and make a song and dance about it! It is vital that you never hit or shout at your dog for getting it wrong - this will never get the result you need and you will just end up with a fearful dog!
- Train the dog to ring a bell to indicate they would like to go outside
Teaching your dog to communicate better when he needs to toilet is not only a long-term solution but lots of fun for both dog and owner too! You can make your own bells from canary bells, or children's toys, however, there are now several cheap, great models available online. Train your dog to use these bells only when they need to toilet, and not every time they would like to run around the garden. It is important to be consistent with training.
First, you should introduce the dog to the bells in a calm and friendly manner, so he knows that the bells are safe and can even be exciting! Let them smell the bells, bite them and feel safe with the sound they make. Smaller dogs may feel more comfortable with the sound of smaller bells, but you can experiment and see what equipment works best or you and your dog.
Next, you need to make the dog associate the bell with the action of going outside to pee. When your dog starts to behave as though he needs to go to the toilet, with the bell hung on the door handle, encourage him to knock it with his nose or paw and when he does so praise him lots and let him outside to pee. You can guide your dog to the bells using treats or your voice, just remember to keep it fun!
Repeating this exercise consistently and regularly will instill the meaning of the bell into your dog, and it won't be long before he is ringing the bell to go outside to pee, instead of marking your favorite rugs!
- Training pads are ideal for puppies and older dogs for overnight, or when they will be alone for extended durations with no access to a suitable spot to the toilet. These can also be used inside crates, although dogs with separation anxiety will usually destroy them if placed directly inside. Consider using a mesh crate and placing the pad underneath the mesh to reduce the damage to the pad with anxious dogs.
- Install a doggie door and use positive training to encourage your pet to use the door whenever he needs to go to the toilet. This is a great option in a multi-dog household, or if your dog is particularly energetic and demanding to go outside
By following the steps above, not only will you hopefully eliminate the problem if your dog urinating in your house, but will also form a better bond and relationship with your pet. Which tip or technique worked best for you? Let me know your training journey in the comments!