Here are some tips to help deal with the situation, understand what's going on, and solve the problem so you and your canine companion can remain friends.
First you need to understand the underlying cause of the problem.
A dog does not just start peeing in his own house for the fun of it. Ask yourself if your dog is peeing in the house or merely marking his territory?
A big clue is normally found in the location. If the dog is peeing against upright objects then it is probably an attempt to mark his territory. Male dogs normally cock their legs when they pee so they necessarily pee against upright objects. A good clue is the amount of urine involved. If you're drowning in the stuff it's a pretty sure bet that your dog is regarding the house as his new toilet and you need to discourage him. Should you have only small puddles to deal with, then the cause is more likely to be related to marking territory.
Copious amounts normally means the dog is urinating because he feels the need to do so and either couldn't, or didn't want to, go out. If your dog pees during the night it might be a good plan to let him drink more earlier, rather than later at night, and take him outside for a pee before going to bed.
Understanding why dogs mark their territory.
A dog has a sense of smell that is significantly more developed than that of a human. (This is one of the reasons they are used as sniffer dogs by Police Forces around the world to find explosives or drugs.) While his urine might smell offensive to humans, to other dogs it is as good as a letter. It tells them who he is, and whether he or she is available to mate. It also establishes dominance over other dogs ("I was here first, so this is my turf"ý), and helps to dispel his feelings of insecurity and builds confidence.
If your dog is struggling with confidence problems, any sudden change in his home environment can trigger this behaviour. For instance; the arrival of a new baby may mean that your dog is now not getting as much attention as previously. Changes such as this engender anxiety and may cause marking behaviour.
Do all dogs do this?
Absolutely. Small dogs are more inclined to pee inside the house than larger dogs; males are more likely to mark than females. Two or more dogs in the same house may regard each other as competition and are then more prone to marking.
While marking is a natural thing for your dog to do, he needs to understand that he is not allowed to do this inside the house.
What can you do?
If this is a recent development with a dog that has never exhibited this type of behaviour the best thing you can do is take him to the vet. It is possible that there may be an underlying medical condition, such as a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) that causes his incontinence.
Neutering at an early age can prevent the habit forming, or can stop marking behaviour. Of course neutering is not always an option should you want him to breed, but it's best to discuss this with your vet before taking any irreversible action.
You could also try the Supervision Method and try to catch him in the act. Dogs learn (much as humans do) by operational conditioning. Watch your dog closely for when he starts exhibiting signs that he might be thinking of marking. Such signs can include sniffing, or circling in spots where he has marked before. When he starts to lift his leg make some noise to distract him and get his attention. Give him a clear "NO"ý command and divert his attention. If he really needs to pee, take him outside to play ball or something, and he will do it outside the house. If he wanted to mark the distraction will have changed his mind. Remember to be consistent every time you see him exhibiting marking symptoms, or attempting to mark.
Please do not shout at him, rant or rave, or hit him at any time - you will only make the problem worse.
In order to speed up the learning process be sure to lavish praise upon him when he pees where you want him to. Dogs learn fastest from positive responses to their behaviour.
Clean the spots where he marked, or peed thoroughly, but don't use ammonia. Dog urine contains ammonia and instead of deterring him it will only make him think some other strange dog is leaving messages. Instead, use a solution of water and vinegar to wash the areas thoroughly.
If you don't make too much of a fuss over the whole thing you can easily change your dog's behaviour and get him to pee where you want him to, i.e. outside the house!
If you found this article helpful and would like to know more about modifying your dog's behaviour why don't you have a look at my Squidoo lens and feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you think.
About the Author
I've been owned by numerous dogs and have had many rewarding experiences with them over the years. Housetraining them, or modifying aberrant behavior is easy and rewarding. If you would like to learn learn more about stopping your dog peeing in the house or otherwise positively modifying your dog's behaviour, please visit my Squidoo page dealing exclusively and more in-depth with this issue, and feel free to tell me about your experiences.
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