Potty Training Answer B
Your puppy never poops in the house. (Well. Almost never.) She seems to have gotten this part of Potty Training down perfectly. When ever you take her out, she poops and pees flawlessly. You praise her and give her treats every time she goes potty outside, and you’ve worked hard to take her out frequently.
Unfortunately, she still pees in the house, even in her own kennel. She particularly likes peeing on your dirty laundry, and has even peed on your bed a couple of times! You know you shouldn’t have let her training get slack, but its been months since you began training, and things aren’t getting any better. What’s going on?
Congratulations, your puppy is potty-trained. She understands that she needs to relieve herself in the backyard. Unfortunately, she’s still not housebroken, because to her she’s not relieving herself. She’s leaving very important doggie messages around the house.
By urinating on things, she is in effect claiming them as her own. “This is my bed,” she says, peeing on it. “This is my human,” she says, peeing on things with your scent.
To her, these are vastly different things.
How do you communicate to her that doing this is not okay either?
First, let me recommed this link from paw-rescue to you. It goes into great detail about why dogs mark. It’s the best article I’ve found, and I don’t think I can write a better one, so there you go. Feel free to bookmark this article and read that one now, or just read this summery and go back to the link later:
A brief summer of paw-rescue’s page:
- Dog’s mark to advertise their sexual readiness, rank in the pack, and willingness to defend the territory
- Insecure dogs mark more often than secure ones
- Dogs that lack human leadership are more likely to mark than dogs who have strong human leaders
If you don’t have a UV flashlight yet, get one. Every time your dog toilets in the house it leaves a scent telling the dog “POTTYHERE!!” Not necessarily something you want in the house. The UV flashlight shows up stains you might ordinarily miss, but your dog won’t. The only way to get rid of the smell is to saturate the stain with an enzymatic cleaner specifically designed for dogs. You can find enzymatic cleaners here or at any pet store. (I don’t see the UV flashlights too often, so call around before wasting your gas on a wild goose chase)
Find and clean every puppy stain you see. Don’t lightly mist the stains either, completely saturate them all the way down, and have them soak for as long as possible to remove the stain.
While you are doing this have someone else puppy sit, take it to the groomers for a few hours, or put it in the bathroom on newspaper or in a kennel with regular outings outside. You don’t want him running around making more accidents in the places you just cleaned! When your house is a complete, “Clean Slate” you’re going to have to move on to step two.
Become the Alpha Dog
It’s okay, you can open your eyes. This does not involve violence. There are many possible reasons as to why your dog is marking. Whether it’s drive to find a mate or warning other dog’s to stay away, your dog is marking because she thinks she’s in charge. It’s not just the male dogs who do this. Females can be just as bad as males or even worse!
In order to make things better, adopt the NILF strategy. NILF stands for Nothing In Life is Free. If your dog wants anything at all, she has to earn it. The only way to earn it is to get it from you. Try the following tactics:
- No treats, toys, or food freely available for your dog to select at will. All of these things come from you. If he wants the food, he has to earn it. Make him sit before letting him have it. Does he want a chew toy? That’s fine, he can have it. Have him lay down and wait while you get it. He doesn’t know how to do any of these things? Start training.
- Don’t carry your small dog, especially not while he’s relearning his new place in life. Don’t allow him up on the couch or on the bed. When he’s no longer peeing in the house, you can invite him up onto the couch when you wish–providing he does something for it.
- Kennel your dog at night, or lock him out of your room. Elevating him to a physical height equivelant to yours is as good as elevating him to house leader as well. You can invite him up once he’s learned his place in the pack.
- Take him for a walk every day. If he tries to take the lead and pull, simply turn around and walk the other direction. He may flounder around and rush to get ahead of you again. That’s fine, just keep turning and walking the other way, make your movements sharp and unpredicatable. Eventually he’ll stay behind or next to you so that he can keep in eye on the Crazy Walking Lady.
- Any wet spots in the house, and puppy goes into lock down for six weeks. Tie him to you with a leash if you have to, but he does not get out of sight until he can go six weeks without urinating.
Consider Neutering or Spaying
A dog that doesn’t have a constant surge of hormones running through its system is less likely to mark than one who has those hormones. If you neuter the dog young enough, it may never feel the urge to mark.