House Training Your Dog (Part 3)

Troubleshooting the Difficult to Train Dog

As we have learned, all dogs need to be house trained so that they can understand that it is not OK for them to eliminate in the house. House training works best when handled with positivity and consistency.

The best way to go about this is to follow two main guidelines: 1) prevent elimination accidents by confining and closely supervision your dog, and 2) take your dog outside on a regular schedule and reward your dog positively with a treat and praise when they go where you want them to go.

Accidents can occur in any location in the home, but you may notice that your pet soils more in certain locations, such as in spare rooms that are not used frequently, or on carpeting versus hard wood floor. Very young puppies (under 12 weeks old) don’t have complete bladder control and might not be able to hold it very long.

Older dogs that have had accidents may not have had proper or completely housetraining and don’t understand that it is not ok to go inside. Or some dogs that may have been doing well with house training may start to regress and start having accidents for seemingly no reason at all. To help you troubleshoot why your dog may be having accidents in the house, here is a list of reasons why your dog may be regressing during the house training process.

Too Young to Be Fully House Trained
Most young puppies do not have the bladder or the bowl control to be able to be house trained. When training young puppies you need to be patient and not push them to be trained too fast- you will only cause more stress for them and for yourself.

Incomplete House Training
Many dogs simply haven’t learned where to eliminate—or they haven’t learned a way to tell their people when they need to go out. Some dogs have accidents only under specific conditions. For example, your puppy may soil when he’s home alone for long periods of time, first thing in the morning, sometime during the night, only when you’re not watching or only in infrequently used rooms.

Urine Marking
If you have a male dog who is over three months of age and frequently lifts his leg and urinates on items in your home, it is most likely urine marking. This is primarily a behavior problem, not a house training one and can only be resolved by neutering your pet as soon as they start to exhibit this behavior. The longer you wait to neuter your pet, the more this becomes a learned behavior and the more likely it will become permanent.

Separation Anxiety
If your dog only soils when he’s left alone in your home, even for short periods of time, he may have separation anxiety. If this is the case, you may notice that he appears nervous or upset right before you leave him.

Submissive/Excitement Urination
If your dog only urinates during greetings, play, physical contact, scolding or punishment. If this is the case, you may notice your puppy displaying submissive postures during interactions. He may cringe or cower, roll over on his belly, tuck or lower his tail, duck his head, avert his eyes, flatten his ears or all of the above.

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
Dogs with urinary tract infections will have to urinate frequently, but will always leave small amounts of urine. You may also notice them licking their genital area more frequently.

Change in Diet
If you’ve recently changed the amount or type of food you give your dog, they may develop a house soiling problem. Especially if you change the food to quickly, your dog can have intestinal upset accompanied by loose stool or full blown diarrhea. Avoid this problem by doing a slow, gradual switch of your dog’s food over a 2 week period of time.