Sometimes even a potty-trained dog will do his business indoors. It's most common in un-neutered males, who will spray practically anything. Putting a stop to this smelly, gross nuisance may be as simple as a trip to the vet, but you can also experiment with behavioral training.
Get him snipped. A dog who isn't neutered sprays anything he wants to leave his mark on, as his waste is encoded with chemicals that tell potential mates about his virility. It's as if he's leaving his business card and a glamor shot behind every time he sprays. Fortunately, most dogs quit doing this after being neutered, so if his spraying is out of control, it's probably time to go under the knife.
Watch your dog constantly. When he lifts his leg and gets ready to spray, interrupt him verbally, then take him outside. Take him on long walks through new areas, too, to encourage him to mark territory outside the house instead of inside. A dog who only ever sees the same yard is going to run out of territory to spray, so he'll expand his empire into your living room. When you can't watch him, keep him in a confined area without anything too interesting to spray, or, if he's a smaller dog, confine him to a kennel.
Clean any areas that he does spray with a disinfecting and deodorizing cleaner. Dogs tend to spray on or around the same areas when indoors, so if he can smell his own aroma on something, he's liable to give it a refresher.
Discourage too much excitement or competition indoors. Too much playing or roughhousing inside can make your pooch want to spray because he's excited. If he shares the home with other dogs, he's going to spray as a method of marking his territory and calling dibs on certain resources, like blankets, furniture and toys. If your dog engages in this kind of spraying because of other dogs, remove the items that he sprays, or, in the case of furniture, prevent him from going near those items.
- If neutering and behavioral training don't work, consult your veterinarian. Uncontrollable spraying and urination could always be the sign of an infection or other illness.
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.