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ACCIDENTS IN THE HOUSE

If your dog is relieving herself inside the house, it may be due to one or more of the following reasons:

  • She is suffering from separation anxiety.
  • She has not been properly housetrained.
  • She couldn't wait until you got home.
  • She is scent-marking her territory.
  • She is ill.

Isolating the cause of your pet's unacceptable behavior will allow you to take action to prevent it. Below is a discussion of the most common reasons why dogs urinate in the house, and some suggested solutions.

Separation Anxiety

Most dogs simply can't stand to be away from their owners and can become insecure when left alone. Feeling abandoned, they will bark, chew on furniture or eliminate in the house. This behavior is not their way of getting back at their owners, but rather an attempt to relieve their anxiety. (Have you noticed how excited your dog acts when you come home from work? This illustrates her relief that you haven't deserted her after all!)

If separation anxiety is your dog's reason for eliminating inside the house, you can correct this by teaching her that there will be times when she will have to be alone. The sooner you train your dog to accept your extended absences, the better for both of you.

If you have a puppy, you can prevent separation anxiety attacks by leaving her alone for a few minutes at a time. Gradually, over the course of two to four days, lengthen the time you're away. Once she figures out that you do return at some point, shell be reassured and wont feel the need to act out her frustrations and anxieties. You can use the same procedure to train an older dog.

Another way to help ease your dogs separation anxiety is to leave a piece of your unlaundered clothing with her while you're away. Your scent on the clothing will help calm and comfort her during your absence.

Housetraining

Housetraining your dog properly is a responsibility you must assume as early as possible. If you've already housetrained your dog successfully and she still commits indoor accidents too often, you may want to give her a refresher course.

You might also consider whether you're meeting your dogs biological schedule for having to eliminate. Because dogs usually need to go outside 15 to 30 minutes after eating, you need to stick to this schedule to prevent unpleasant surprises. If you work late and can't get home in time to let your dog out at her usual time, arrange for a neighbor or a pet-sitting service to fulfill the task.

Scent-Marking

It's possible that your dog's accidents are actually intentional. She may be expressing her natural scent-marking instincts. When a dog scent-marks, she deliberately sprinkles a small amount of urine, primarily on vertical surfaces such as a chair leg, to claim her territory.

To stop her from scent-marking, you must express your disapproval while she's in the act. A sharp "No!" each time she does it will help her understand that urinating inside the house is not acceptable - whether for scent-marking or for any other reason. Once she's learned her lesson, she won't scent-mark, even when you're away from home.

Signs of Illness

If your dog is housetrained and doesn't experience separation anxiety, but she continues to urinate indoors, you must consider the possibility that she's ill. Elimination inside the house may indicate your dog is suffering from an ailment such as a kidney problem or a urinary tract infection. In this case, you must take her to your veterinarian for treatment immediately.