House Soiling and Urine Marking Behavior
If your dog is soiling inside the house,
first take him to your veterinarian for a check-up. He
may have a medical problem even if he doesn’t act
sick. Many different kinds of medical conditions from urinary
tract infections to diabetes to parasitic infections can
cause a change in your dog’s elimination habits.
Your veterinarian may want to run tests on urine, blood
or stool samples.
Dogs soil, or relieve themselves in the house for many
different reasons. Your dog may never have been fully housetrained,
or he may be having a breakdown in his housetraining due
to a variety of reasons. He may be afraid to go outside,
or not want to because of uncomfortable weather (too hot,
too cold, too wet).
Your dog may be afraid of something – such as a
noise , like thunder or fireworks, or of being left alone
. Fear loosens the bladder and bowels, causing your dog
If your Fido has been soiling for quite some time, or
has never been fully housetrained, he may have developed
preferences for indoor surfaces and locations, such as
the carpet in the dining room, rather than outdoor areas,
such as the grass in the corner of your yard.
Your dog may be urine-marking. Because dogs urine mark
to announce their presence, marking often increases when
something changes and the dog believes he needs to re-assert
his presence. Urine-marking in multi-dog families often
occurs when the dogs don’t get along well or frequently
compete against one another for important resources.
When dogs urine mark, they will typically leave small
amounts of urine in favorite places rather than larger
puddles. Urine marking problems are much more common in
intact (not neutered) males, compared to neutered males
and females. Just because your dog is lifting his leg or
urinating in the house doesn’t automatically mean
he’s urine-marking – he may just be relieving
Can you connect the marking to some event that your dog
saw as a social challenge or change in his social environment?
Do you have houseguests? Have you acquired a new pet? Do
you have new furniture or carpets? Is the soiled object
something that can carry outside odors such as shoes, a
briefcase or a coat?
Dogs may also urine-mark when they are anxious . Depositing
their own familiar scent in their surroundings is thought
to have a calming effect on dogs. If your male dog isn’t
neutered, that’s your first step in decreasing urine-marking
No matter the reason, never ever try to punish or discipline
your dog by showing him his “mess” and yelling
or hitting him. Your dog cannot connect the results of
his behavior with your later attempts to punish him. Punishment
after the fact doesn’t work and will damage your
relationship with your dog. Your dog is not soiling to
make you mad, to be rebellious or to leave you a message.
PRODUCTS FROM HELPING FIDO THAT
WILL HELP YOU UNDERSTAND, PREVENT AND RESOLVE HOUSESOILING
AND URINE MARKING PROBLEMS
Do you need help training your Fido puppy? When she was
a puppy, we trained our Irish setter Coral without ever
saying NO, NEVER spanking her and with relatively few “accidents” in
the house. Puppy “accidents” are nothing more
than a breakdown in supervision or the result of not providing
puppy with enough potty breaks.
You’ll find Coral on the cover of our award winning “Raising
a Behaviorally Healthy Puppy” book
that gives you an easy to follow, effective, step by
step housetraining plan.
We also authored two DVDs for PETsMART on housetraining.
Although not available on our website, you’ll find
them in your local PETsMART store. Look for “Crate
Training the Right Way” and “Housetraining:
A Plan for Success”. If you don’t find them
on display, ask a PETsMART trainer to help you locate them.
We have to be honest, avoid their Potty Training manual.
If your Fido is soiling ONLY when she’s left alone,
the problem could be separation anxiety. If that’s
the case, you’ll find our “Managing
the Home Alone Dog” CD helpful. Remember though, soiling
only when home alone can happen for reasons other than
separation anxiety. The most common are some other kind
of fear related problem, insufficient number of potty breaks,
and your dog knowing that she’ll be scolded when
you ARE home, but never scolded when you aren’t.
That’s another reason why showing your dog her “mess” after
the fact just doesn’t work.
If your Fido is soiling or marking consistently in one
spot, try a harmless “booby trap” such as the
startle him when he approaches the spot. Designed not only
for cats but small or easily frightened dogs, this is a
motion detector that emits a harmless spray and hissing
sound when triggered by movement. Great not only for housesoiling
and urine marking but for counter surfers and trash trowlers