- Have him checked by your vet:
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 he may have a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) that causes his incontinence. There can be many other medical reasons for this behaviour – a friend of mine has a cat that sometime pees inside the house a few times per day and on other days not at all. Nobody could figure out why she did this until he chanced upon a vet who had a cat with the same problem.
It turned out his cat suffers from epilepsy and she pees whenever she has an epileptic episode.
- Do not shout, rant or rave at him:
This is counter productive and will make the problem worse, not better.
- Do not rub his nose in it:
All this will do is teach him that when he does pee he will be punished. This will make it more likely that he will hide from you and go to different parts of the house to pee or poop. He needs to know that pooping or peeing is fine and that he’s allowed to do it – outside.
- You can prevent the habit forming by neutering (ouch!)
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 please discuss this with your vet before taking any irreversible action.
- Try the Supervision Method
Try to catch him in the act. Dogs learn (much as humans do) by operational conditioning. Watch your dog closely 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. Giving him a clear “NO” command and diverting his attention will distract him and, if he was going to mark, will change his mind. If he really needs to pee, take him outside to play ball or something, and he will do it outside the house.
- Remember to be consistent.
Treat him the same way every time you see him exhibiting marking symptoms, or attempting to mark. I cannot stress the fact enough that at no time should you shout at him, or hit him – you will only make the problem worse.
Dogs LOVE treats and if you praise and reward enough they get the message and will repeat the behavior that got them the treat.
- To crate or not to crate
Remember, dogs are den animals and a healthy dog will not pee or poop where it sleeps. A dog that is confined in a dog crate and is then forced to soil its own sleeping place will not be a happy dog. He will think you wanted to punish rather than protect him. If however, your dog regards the crate as a place of safety where it can sleep unmolested and safe, then crating is beneficial.
- What about pee pads?
Make sure the pads you use are large enough for your dog (Don’t expect a Great Dane to be able to pee on a pad intended for a Chihuahua!) and if you decide to use pads then be sure to praise and reward when your dog uses them.
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