Dogs take a very different view of their toilet habits than we do. On walks, dogs sniff along the ground, walls and poles to get information about other dogs that have peed there. But what about when your dog pees in the house?
Dogs have a strong instinct not to soil their own nest, and that is what we can work with when we house train dogs of any age. Praise and treats help dogs learn; punishment usually only creates fear and anxiety -especially when it is related to a necessary bodily function.
Why Is the Dog Peeing in the House?
- Age – Like babies and toddlers, puppies genuinely cannot control their bladder until they reach a certain level of development. If your pup is less than six months, absolutely start training, but understand that they actually can’t help it.
- Doesn’t Understand – If your dog is young or new to you, they might not understand where they are supposed to go. Be consistent.
- Marking Territory – If you have more than one dog, particularly if one is an unneutered male, you might be dealing with some territory marking.
- Fear/ Submission/ Excitement – If the dog is peeing right in front of you, it can be an effort to communicate that they see you as the boss … and they are a bit intimidated. This is not uncommon with rescue dogs who may have had abusive owners in the past. Or it can be that they have a fully bladder and are really excited. Another possibility is that the dog has some anxiety about the place they are expected to toilet.
- Medical Issue – Any time an adult dog suddenly starts peeing inside it suggests a medical issue such as a urinary tract infection. In this case, the vet is your first stop.
Effective House Training for Dogs of All Ages
House training a dog of any age takes time and patience. Positive reinforcement and repetition are the keys.
Bring the dog outside to the spot where you want them to toilet frequently throughout the day, and when they go, praise them. Puppies should go out at least once an hour, but mature dogs can go less frequently.
Accidents will happen. If you catch the dog in the act, simply tell them ‘no’ and bring them outside immediately. Once there, give them a little praise. Don’t dwell on scolding them. That only creates anxiety, which will make house training harder.
How to Stop Your Dog Marking His Territory Inside
If your dog is leaving a small amount of pee and not emptying their bladder, that could be marking. This is mostly an issue with unneutered males, but sometimes neutered males and even female dogs will mark their territory.
This issue can sometimes suggest confusion about the dog’s role in the household. New people in the house, including a new baby, can feel threatening to a dog if they aren’t introduced properly (i.e. slowly with lots of treats and kindness and attention to the dog). Anxious dogs will also sometimes mark their territory.
How to Help the Anxious or Excitable Dog
If your schedule is changing, that can trigger anxiety that leads to indoor accidents. Try to keep your dog’s schedule for walks and meals as consistent as possible and introduce changes to your own routine gradually if you can. For example, if you are returning to work after being home for an extended period, start leaving the house at your normal time every morning and returning after a few minutes. Make sure your anxious dog gets enough exercise; pent-up energy can turn into anxiety. Chew toys and puzzle toys like K9 Connectables can occupy your dog and reduce their anxiety.
Dogs instinctively don’t want to soil their own space, and with patience and encouragement, few will continue to have accidents if they are taught where to go and given ample opportunity on a regular schedule.
If your dog has persistent problems and nothing here about how to stop a dog from peeing in the house, consult your vet. We love the Foran Pet Care Nutri-Calm for helping to keep your pet feeling relaxed through the day, even if you’re back at work.