There are a number of different reasons for this behaviour and you’ll need to take a different approach in each situation to stop it continuing. Don’t miss out this first step because if you take the wrong action you will at best change nothing and it will leave you feeling even more frustrated about the problem. You also risk making it worse.
Use the questions below to see if you can identify the reason behind it:
Could it be connected to your dog’s health? If you think it might be, visit your vet as soon as possible because a simple course of medication could be the answer.
Could it be your dog’s age? An old dog might suffer from a bit of incontinence and equally a young pup might not have fully mastered house training yet. Either way you’ll have to show a bit of patience and try adjusting your normal routines to see if that helps or with a pup continue the house training patiently.
Could it be a timing issue? Are you leaving your dog a little too long before you let them out? Perhaps you’re missing the signs of your dog needing to urinate? Try observing your dog more closely, and try letting your dog out more regularly as it could be something as simple as that to solve the problem.
If you’ve ruled out the reasons above, here are some more reasons your dog could be urinating in the house.
- It’s a symptom of separation anxiety.
- It’s attention seeking behaviour.
- It’s a challenge to your status in the pack.
Urinating Caused by Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety is perhaps one of the biggest causes of a healthy, house trained dog urinating in the home.
The biggest indicator that anxiety lies behind their actions, is that they will only do it when you have gone out or they are left alone. It’s an instinctive reaction to their anxiety about where you have gone and whether you will come back again.
What they are doing is scent marking so you know where to come back to and it makes perfect sense to them because it would work in the wild. The only flaw in their plan is that they are assuming that your sense of smell is as good as theirs.
Rather than deal with the urination problem, you need to deal with the anxiety itself. You can find out more about dog anxiety in a free video presentation created by our resident dog training expert, Tony Knight. Just click here to watch it or click on the image above. Dealing with separation anxiety requires a lot of patience and you will need a good training programme to guide you.
Is it Attention Seeking Behaviour?
Attention seeking is quite common amongst dogs. Some of it can be cute, like bringing you things, some of it can be pretty subtle like gently leaning on your legs to get your attention, while other behaviour can be a bit more extreme like jumping up at you or whining to get you to take notice of them.
If a dog is desperate for attention, they won’t be put off by the fact that their bad behaviour gets them into trouble, just as long as they are getting your attention. The only way to deal with this behaviour is to ignore their actions completely, which is not always easy, but highly effective if you want to clear this problem up.
If your dog has just urinated on the carpet, no amount of rubbing their nose in it will help, nor will shouting and getting cross because that is attention too. Stay calm and just put your dog out of the room without speaking to them or looking at them while you clear it up. Your dog will gives up this unwanted behaviour if it does not get him the desired result – your attention.
Are They Challenging Your Status?
Very recently a lady who has several dogs asked for help when one of them came into the lounge where she was sitting, cocked his leg and started to pee on the coffee table right in front of her. Even worse he was promptly followed by another of her dogs who did exactly the same!
To stop this kind of challenging behaviour you’ll need to learn how to be the pack leader, because the above was an example of a direct challenge to the woman’s status and her dogs were trying to establish who was leader of the pack.
It may seem strange that urinating can also be a form of submission in dogs and you often see this in very nervous dogs that might pee when you call them because they think they’re in trouble. It makes sense in both situations because a dog’s status is indicated through the pheromones in the urine. One dog is demonstrating their status as leader of the pack, the other as a dog at the bottom of the pecking order.
Taking Action to Stop Dogs Urinating in the House
Once you’ve established why your dog is urinating in the house you should be able to concentrate on taking the right action. In all cases you need to be patient with your dog and be consistent in the way you deal with the problem. Sooner or later their behaviour will change, just don’t expect it to happen overnight.