If your dog is urinating on the bed, it is likely that the problem goes far beyond toilet training issues or a bit of bad dog behaviour.
While the simple answer to this problem is to make sure you always shut the bedroom door in the future, there’s likely to be a reason why your dog is doing it somewhere as specific as your bed. So, if you stop them doing it there without dealing with the root of the problem, they might just go and do it somewhere else in the house.
Why Choose Your Bed?
Firstly, it is highly unlikely that your dog chose to relieve themselves on your bed simply because they got caught short. If you think that is the case, the easy way to avoid it is to let them out more often. If they sleep on your bed at night, try getting up slightly earlier in the morning to let them out. Remember that it is very unusual for a dog to purposefully pee in the area they sleep in.
However, if your dog urination problems have started suddenly, your dog is house trained and you can’t see any health reasons for it, lets look at two other reasons why this might be happening. Both have the same root cause – leadership – and both can be sorted out with a similar approach, yet the reasons behind them are very different.
Problems Caused by Anxiety
Dog anxiety is the first reason. Now that might seem like an odd reason for a dog to urinate on the bed, but very often a break down in our communication with our dogs allows them to believe that they are the pack leader and with leadership comes the responsibility to protect the family from danger. This becomes really difficult for the dog when the family leave the house with the dog locked inside it! Inevitably it causes the dog a lot of anxiety as it worries about where you’ve disappeared to, if you are safe and whether you’ll be able to find your way back.
If you try and look at it through your dog’s eyes, their actions will start to make a lot more sense. Because how would any good parent cope with the loss of a member of their family? The answer is too often very badly. A frantic parent would try anything to get their children back, and in the case of some dogs, when their instincts kick in they’ll decide that the best way to make sure the family can find their way back is to scent mark in the house.
It works in the wild. They just haven’t worked out that our sense of smell is not as good as theirs.
It’s likely that the dog sees the bed as a central part of the den which is why they are urinating here, but watch out as they can equally do it elsewhere in the house, particularly near doorways or on the furniture.
Challenging You for Pack Leadership
Urinating on the bed can also be a direct challenge for leadership of the pack. With this action your dog is marking the bed and claiming it for himself/herself and trying to establish themselves as top dog.
Instinctively, leadership a very important issue to a dog because it can be a matter of life and death in the wild. As pack animals they cannot operate without a leader, so if they don’t think you are, they will assume that it must be them. But sadly, however well suited they might be to leadership in the wild, dogs don’t understand our world so being pack leader tends to create a lot of anxiety for a dog.
How to Stop the Problem
Here’s the best way to deal with these dog behaviour problems is a simple, straightforward and effective way – learn how to show your dog that you are the pack leader.
This is central to the whole problem because when you communicate clearly that you are leader, your dog will not feel the need to challenge you and it will automatically reduce your dog’s anxiety because they will no longer feel responsible for keeping you safe. Although leadership is too big a subject for this article, you can click here to watch a free video series that deals with both anxiety and leadership.
Establishing yourself as leader is not a particularly difficult task, but it will require you to put in some training work with your dog and be patient and consistent until your dog learns to trust you and accept you as their leader.
Don’t be put off by thinking that leadership means that you have to be dominant or cruel, poke your dog or pin them down. Although you may have seen dog trainers showing dominance in that way, that approach is a recipe for getting yourself bitten! Just learn to show your dog in a way it understands that you are in charge.
If you have tackled a similar problem in the past and have got rid of it, leave us a comment below and share how you did it. Or if you have any questions you’d like to ask, submit them below.