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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19828
Experience:  Behaviorist /Trainer and Dog breeder 18+ years
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My dog is 9 and has always been potty trained since I got him

Customer Question

My dog is 9 and has always been potty trained since I got him 8 years ago. We now have a 14month old boy that does not do anything to the dog (harmful) but I think he is stressing our dog out. We also moved last month. Our dog now pees in one room, but random spots, that room is mostly toys for our toddler. He was peeing when left alone so I put him in our fenced in backyard for a few hours while I was gone. When I came home I played with him and fed him and when I went upstairs for 20 minutes to put the toddler to bed he peed in the room. I have no idea what to do since I know a lot about dogs and have tried all the obvious things... please advise! thanks
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Training
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
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Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
Hi JaCustomer,
My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.
In order to supply you with an informed answer, it is necessary for me to collect some additional information from you. When I receive your response or reply, it will likely take me between 30-45 minutes to type up my reply if I am still online when I receive notice that you replied. I hope you can be patient.
I'm not sure what you have tried and I don't want to waste time mentioning things you have already tried. If you could tell me what it is that you feel is obvious and you have tried, I'd appreciate it.
Is it always in the one room?
Was this a new home or a home that someone else had lived in before?
What are you using to clean the urine up with and how are you cleaning?
Is he urinating on the toys?
In your old residence, how did he signal that he needed to go out to eliminate?
What breed is your dog?
It is getting late where I am so if I don't hear back from you pretty quickly I may be signed off the the evening. If so, I hope it is ok that I answer first thing in the morning.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for the quick response.
He is a mutt, terrier, schnauzer, poodle maybe very smart and very sensitive.
In our old house he had a dog door. Which is why I tried just leaving our door open for him when I left. I did this more than a few times and each time he chose to pee inside instead of out.
He always pees in the same room. Someone did live here before, they had an older dog but the room had no visible stains. He also seems to be peeing on different toys of my toddler. He has once before shown this type of stress when a roommate had a new puppy in our house, he peed on the owners bed.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have tried showing I am upset at the pee (not him)
I have tried ignoring him, putting him outside, and when I bring him back in showing him extra attention.
When I put him outside to leave I give him a big treat or bone which is not often.
I have made a huge effort to walk him before leaving and watching him go to the bathroom. This does not have to do with anything like that, it is totally stress related. I have let my toddler give him treats, pet him gently with my hands, and show them both attention together. They often curl up on the couch together and he does not show any other signs of stress (no growling or acting scared)
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for the additional information. It is helpful.
It is likely that the previous dog that lived in the house had accidents in that room. Urine tends to soak through carpet into the padding and if left long enough even to the subflooring below the padding. Regular cleaners and steam cleaning do a good enough job to fool the human nose, but not to fool the canine nose. When a dog is able to smell the old urine, it draws them back to the area to eliminate. Dogs are also prone to urinate over another dog's smell too.
So that may be part of the problem. In addition, an enzymatic cleanser is about the only way to break down the protein in the urine and remove all the odor. The cleaner does need to soak in and then allowed to spread out like the urine did to reach the padding and remove the odor. Some owners just elect to have the padding underneath replaced and the carpets professionally cleaned.
Remember that the toys also need to be cleaned as well if he managed to tinkle on any of them which I'm sure you did. The other reason a dog might do this is to claim the toys for himself. Dogs with urinate to mark territory and objects, so if he thinks that a certain toy should be his, he might try to claim it.
Now you could go ahead and install a dog door. But you do need to have a way for him to signal you that he needs to go out. One way is to put a bell or other noise maker on the door low enough for the dog to reach. Each time you take the dog out, ring the bell. The dog will associate ringing the bell with going out and one day ring the bell to signal to you that he needs to go out.
When he is outside, he doesn't know when you are coming back so he doesn't think about urinating before coming in, so in that situation, it is best to invite him in and then immediately take him out on a leash so he knows you expect him to eliminate. Often owners teach a dog a word that means they should eliminate. They do this by saying the word when the dog is eliminating and rewarding the dog with a treat as well. Soon when you use the word the dog tries to go so they can get the treat. I'm sure you can see where this would come in handy.
The quickest way to stop him eliminating in the room would be an indoor fence system. It would allow people to come and go but the dog would not be able to enter the room. You can see one here:
Another alternative is to create a sod patch for him inside. You take a large pan like a kitty litter pan or even a baby swimming pool. You create a platform frame with wire on top. Place newspaper or other absorbent material such as wood shavings under the platform and place sod on top of the wire frame. Since it is grass, your dog will go on it. You can remove solids and can spray the urine so it moves through and down into the absorbent material underneath. This lets you use the same piece of sod for a while before needing to replace it. You do need to replace the material under the platform.
Hopefully this gives you a few different avenues to investigate and help solve the issue. I'd start with a thorough cleaning and you might want to use a special light to find the areas where urine is present. They can be found in most hardware stores. If that doesn't help, limit his access to the room and definitely work on a signal he can use to let you know he needs out.
I hope this information is helpful to you. If you need more information or clarification, please reply and I'll get back to you as soon as possible. If you are satisfied, please take the opportunity to rate.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
You are very welcome.