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Common Behavior Problems

Housesoiling and Urine-Marking Behavior


If your dog is soiling inside the house, first take him to your veterinarian for a check-up. He may have a medical problem even if he doesn’t act sick. Your veterinarian may want to run tests on urine or stool samples.

Dogs soil in the house for many different reasons. Your dog may never have been fully housetrained, or he may be having a breakdown in his housetraining. He may be afraid to go outside, or not want to because of uncomfortable weather (too hot, too cold, too wet).

Your dog may be afraid of something – such as a noise, like thunder or fireworks, or being left alone. Fear loosens the bladder and bowels, causing your dog to soil.

Your dog may be urine-marking. Just because your dog is lifting his leg or urinating in the house doesn’t automatically mean he’s urine-marking – he may just be relieving himself.
Dogs urine mark if they think something is threatening their territory. They will typically leave small amounts of urine in favorite places rather than larger puddles.

Can you connect the marking to some event that your dog saw as a challenge to his territory? Do you have houseguests? Have you acquired a new pet? Do you have new furniture or carpets? Is the soiled object something that can carry outside odors such as shoes, a briefcase or a coat?

Dogs may also urine-mark when they are anxious. Depositing his own familiar scent in his surroundings is thought to have a calming effect.

Females will urine-mark, although probably less often than males. Males that are not neutered will almost certainly mark, so if your dog isn’t neutered, that’s your first step in changing the behavior.

No matter the reason, never ever try to punish or discipline your dog by showing him his “mess” and yelling or hitting him. Your dog cannot connect the results of his behavior with your later attempts to punish him. Punishment after the fact doesn’t work and will damage your relationship with your dog. Your dog is not soiling to make you mad, to be rebellious or to leave you a message.

We have lots of resources for you if your dog is housesoiling -

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