Dog Behavior Modification Techniques for Urinating in the House

Praise and reward your dog every time he goes in the right place.

Praise and reward your dog every time he goes in the right place.

Living with a dog that pees in the house can drive even the most patient pet parent right up the wall. If your dog has been using your house as his personal potty station, it may be time to start experimenting with techniques to help modify his behavior.

Potential Causes

Your dog is claiming what's his. Marking is an instinctive behavior dogs use to claim and defend their territory. Though marking comes naturally to all dogs, it is most commonly seen in unaltered males. Your dog may not be completely housebroken. Inadequate or incomplete training may lead to wet spots in the house. Your dog may not have sufficient access to appropriate elimination areas, which can cause a previously housebroken dog to have accidents. Your furry pal might miss you while you’re gone or be afraid of loud noises coming from outside. Stress and fear can stimulate a dog's urination response. Some dogs lose control of their bladders when they're excited. Geriatric dogs sometimes suffer from natural aging conditions that make it more difficult for them to hold their water. Your dog may be sick. A urinary tract infection, for instance, can lead to elimination problems in previously housebroken dogs.

Medical Interventions

Take your dog to the vet for a health screening to rule out illness as a cause. Consider getting your dog spayed or neutered. Sterilization surgery can significantly reduce and sometimes eliminate marking behavior in dogs. If your dog is making puddles simply because he's old, it is unlikely behavior modification can help. Geriatric dogs generally require drugs to help minimize soiling accidents. Talk to your vet about possible treatments.

Behavior Modification Techniques

Catch your canine companion being good. Positive reinforcement is one of the most effective behavior modification techniques for dogs. Praise and reward your buddy every time he urinates in an appropriate area. If you give your dog a loving word, a gentle stroke or tasty treats each time he eliminates in the proper place, he is more likely to repeat that behavior. Let your dog know that you disapprove of his urinating in the house. Introduce a negative stimulus in response to your dog’s inappropriate urination. If you catch him in the act of peeing in the house, startle him with a loud noise like clapping your hands or interrupt him with a firm “no” and immediately take him outside. Never use physical harm as punishment since this may encourage fear-induced urination. Supervise your dog at all times and keep him confined when you're not around. Crate training is a common behavior modification technique for dogs who urinate in the house. When you must leave your pup alone, keep him in a crate until you return. Dogs do not like to urinate where they sleep or eat, so being in a crate will encourage him to hold his urine until you get home.

Tips

Be consistent. Reward your dog every time he eliminate in the appropriate place and reprimand him each time you catch him urinating in the house. Do not reprimand your dog for urinating in the house unless you catch him in the act since he will not understand what he did wrong if punishment is delayed. Thoroughly clean any surfaces in the house that your dog has urinated on. Dogs tend to mark the same areas over and over again so use powerful cleaners to wipe away any scent that might tempt your dog to repeat the unwanted behavior.

 

About the Author

Kristina Barroso is a full-time teacher who has been freelance writing since 1991. She published her first book, a break-up survival guide, in 2007 and specializes in a variety of topics including, but not limited to, relationships and issues in education. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Florida International University.

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