Sunday, April 14, 2013

5 Reasons Your Dog Pees in the House

We have all experienced it at one point in our lives - either you catch Fido with his leg hiked towards the ceiling or you step in a wet puddle in the middle of the night - but what follows is always the same...you are on your hands and knees with a slew of cleaning supplies dreading the day you fell in love with those adorable puppy eyes.

Regardless of how it ends, there are 5 reasons your dog does "the diddle" in your humble home. In no particular order - lets examine Spot's rationale...

#5 - Fear or Excitement 

This is most common in female dogs. When your furry friend gets scared or excited, yellow fluid seems to sneak out of it's body. The mess can range from a few small dribbles to a full-on puddle flood. The only way to combat this mess is to have your friend wear an absorbant garment and to find ways to be more calm or less scary (depending on what is causing your pup to leak). Try to enter the house with less enthusiasm - this can do wonders over time.

#4 - Incontinence

As humans, we've all known an elderly family member who had to start wearing Depends underpants because they couldn't keep everything inside like they could when they were younger. Dogs are no different. As they get older, the hormones that control bladder function and the underlying muscle structure weaken. There are some medicines that will help your pet have a little more control but, ultimately, as your pet ages you will need some type of absorbant undergarments for him or her. There are reasonably priced and comfortable ones available at your local Pet Store or online at stores.

Another cause for incontinence is when your pet has a bladder infection or a urinary tract infection. Have your vet check for one of these types of underlying causes. Who knows - maybe your pet is not permanently incontinent.

#3 - Territory Marking

If you examine your dog's bloodline - you will find that their ancestors were wolves (as hard as it is to look at a Yorkie and imagine this - it is true). Some dogs are farther removed from their ancestry than others but they all have an internal instinct we are working against as their owners. We want our pets to coexist within out immaculate living spaces and their instinct is to "claim" this fantastic "den" as theirs.

One way to qualm your dog's desire to hike up his or her leg on your favorite couch is to get him neutered or her spayed early (ask your vet for the best time frame as they do not all agree on this and I am not a vet).  Most vets agree that there is a time frame that is optimal to "fix" your dog that will curb its natural hormonal instincts to procreate and to mark in the house. However, this is not a perfect fix for most dogs... but it does help.

Another trick is to keep constant supervision on your dog and "catch" your dog "in the act". If you prefer to skip cleaning up messes and want to have a life that doesn't not involve constantly stalking your pet around the house - try a gadget that does both of these things for you like The Housebreaker Kit. It prevents the pee from getting in the house and sets off an alarm to train your dog and alert you of the crime.

#2 - Your Dog is Trying to Impress You

If you are thinking about now "Impress me?! I am pretty sure the last time I came home to a flooded yellow carpet and my head exploded - my dog was cowering in the corner in fear..." then you are correct. However, many many many well-intended (lazy? yes but well-intended I believe) pet owners set up a Wee-Wee pad in the house. The very instant that dog went to the bathroom on the Wee-Wee pad there was an entire audience of cheers and hoards of snacks and everyone was so very happy. Yah!! The dog just learned to go to the bathroom in the house and its owner celebrated!

Imagine the confusion that Lassie had when he attempted to be even more impressive and decorate the white rug in the living room only to be met with an angry owner. Humans can be so confusing! "Why are you not impressed?" Lassie wonders.

Solution: if you haven't used a Wee-Wee pad yet - don't start. If you are using Wee-Wee pads now - get rid of them. Many people are so afraid to take their puppies outside in bad weather or before all the puppy shots are administered that they use these pads - try to find a clean area outside if at all possible to avoid this confusion.

#1 - Your Dog Really Doesn't Know Any Better

How is this even possible? You may be asking yourself this very question. Yet, this is probably at the top of the reasons that a dog will drench your home with urine. So many of us are inundated by all the different things in or lives that it is very difficult to train a dog early and correctly. If the dog is from a shelter or is rescued, it will need to be retrained just like a puppy at first until you are certain that the pup knows the House Rule #1 - Do Not Pee inside these Walls!

In the wild, a den would be minuscule compared to even the smallest apartment us humans live in. A dog needs to learn the boundaries of what is considered his or her new den when they first enter a home. If there are odors from other pets soiling the place - these need to be removed or your dog will be fighting an uphill battle to figure out the territory. (Ever wonder why dogs seem to soil the same areas over and over again? You guessed it - they dog's nose can find the tell-tale odor that screams "pee here - I am the toilet" even if those odors are actually hidden under a carpet in the den.)

If your dog isn't ill, isn't too old to "hold it", has been neutered or spayed, and doesn't leak submissively out of fear or excitement - odds are your dog just doesn't "get it". Time to start at ground zero and retrain that pup like an 8-week old on his first day on the job. If you want to make your life a little easier - two key tools to do this with are a crate and The Housebreaker Kit.

Good luck with that if he is a 190 pound Mastiff, by the way.  Which, I imagine, it wouldn't take many 190 pound Mastiff puddles to convince an owner to get serious about housetraining - stat!