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Doc Sara
Doc Sara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 952
Experience:  I am a dog and cat veterinarian with a lifetime of experience in our family veterinary hospital.
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We moved into our home 8 months ago and our dogs keep

Customer Question

We moved into our home 8 months ago and our dogs keep marking territory inside and outside the house and my husband is getting very annoyed. What can we do to stop this.
Many thanks for your help.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr Marta Lepes replied 1 year ago.

Hello Wendy, my name is***** and I will help you.

My goodness, this is such a common problem in cats and there are products available to discourage it. Give me a few minutes and I will do a search of some veterinary information to see if I can come up with something for dogs.

Expert:  Dr Marta Lepes replied 1 year ago.

I cannot come up with any simple suggestions.

Are all of your dogs females?

Did they have this problem at your former house?

How many dogs do you have and how many are marking?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have one male and one female shitzhu, the female is marking territory inside the house. They have both been neutered and no they definitely did not do this in the last house. The female dog Jenni is 8 years old and the male dog Bailey is 13 years old.
Expert:  Doc Sara replied 1 year ago.

Hi there, I'm Dr. Sara. I'm a licensed veterinarian who works exclusively with dogs and cats. I definitely have some ideas for you.

Firstly, it's paramount that you have Jenni checked over by the vet and have a urine sample checked for infection. Bladder infections, bladder stones, and bladder cancer can all cause a dog to start having really frequent urinations and cause them to have urgency enough that they can't make it outside in time to pee outside. It's extremely important to be sure that there's nothing medically wrong before proceeding to behavioral modification techniques.

If we are sure that there's no medical problems, then it's likely that Jenni is having a lapse in her house training skills - meaning that she has forgotten that she's supposed to go outside. This is more likely to happen when you're distracted and their home life changes - so moving to a new home is definitely a potential trigger. If the urinations are only happening when you are not home, it could be a sign of separation anxiety, which would need to be addressed by appropriate training and behavioral modification. I always suggest assessing the dog for separation issues (urinating or defecating in the home when you're away but not when you're home, barking excessively when you leave, appearing anxious as you're preparing to leave the home, destroying doors or other objects in the home while you are gone) and dealing with that if it's present. Next, you want to go back to the basics on house training with her to remind her that she's supposed to go outside, not inside.

There are two important parts to house training a dog: the first is the ‘training’ part and the second is complete and absolute supervision.

Let’s start with training - You can, and should, train a dog to pee or poop just like you can train them to sit. Go outside with your dog, (take cookies!) walk around the yard with them and tell them to ‘go potty’ or whatever word you want to use to teach them to go - just like you’d tell them to sit if you wanted them to sit. When they do go to the bathroom, keep using your 'key phrase' (in my example, I'd say 'good potty!) over and over, then as soon as they're finished, give them the cookie. It's important the the reward happen RIGHT AFTER the behavior (in this case the peeing). If you wait until they come inside, then all they learn to do is come back inside, not necessarily to pee or poop. Depending on how fast they pick it up, you can have your dog pottying on command within a few weeks.

The second part of house training is the supervision part. She can't be allowed to be out of your sight where she might have an accident. I know this is really really tough, but it's really important that you catch her before the has the opportunity to make a mistake, then give her the opportunity to do the right thing, followed by LOTS of praise. If she's been punished for peeing or pooping in the house before, often the 'take home' message is 'don't pee in front of the humans, they get angry and yell at you' which results in a dog that then sneaks off to pee where you can't see. If they've been punished before, then they're going to be hesitant to pee or poop in front of you - even outside, so this is a hurdle you will have to be aware of and be patient with your pup. It helps to have them drag a leash around the house attached to their collar so that if she starts to go to the bathroom you can calmly pick up the leash and lead her outside. This is less likely to scare them than you reaching for the collar to 'drag' her outside. Always make sure that once you get outside, you're prompting her to go by using your key words and rewarding her as soon as she's done peeing outside. Crate training is a fantastic way for many dogs to be contained safely when you are away and also at times when you're home and can't watch them. It's OK to put her in her crate for a short period of time if you're having a really hectic time and can't watch her - as long as she relaxes in the crate and just 'hangs out'.

In severe cases of house training issues, some vets will consider prescribing an anit-anxiety medication like fluoxetine to help the pet relax. Frequently generalized anxiety can be manifested by house soiling - it's how they're showing you that they are anxious about something. Just like in people, generalized anxieties don't really have a definable trigger, so just because we don't think they're anxious doesn't mean that they're not.

I hope that you find this information helpful - please let me know what other questions I can handle for you

~Dr. Sara


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