How to stop my dog from peeing in the house?
July 20, 2009 8:39 AM   Subscribe

My dog won't stop peeing inside. I'm pretty sure it's the result of separation anxiety. Help?

I have three dogs, all very well well trained and housebroken. One of them, the oldest (a rescue like all the rest, but a pound puppy instead of a foster) has had separation anxiety his whole life. Intermittently, he has decided that peeing on things is a good way to express this. Which leads my other male dog to pee, which leads him to pee again, thus creating a neverending cycle of piss.

Lately, his peeing has gotten worse. Even if he's only left alone for an hour, he'll pee.

What can I do to solve this problem? The usual training techniques have not worked (word cues, kongs, etc). Is it too late to crate train him (he's 8)? Is a visit to the vet for some puppy prozac in order? (He is otherwise completely healthy -- no urinary tract probs, nothing)

I am getting ready to move, which I fear will only worsen the problem, and aside from the peeing, I hate to think of him being stuck with those feelings....
posted by unlucky.lisp to Pets & Animals (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Don't know what you mean by crate training but I would consider kenneling him when you're not around. That is, if you don't have one already, buy him a kennel, furnish it with his favorite blanket or whatever and put him in it whenever you go out.

It's worth a try. I've known more than one dog that was far happier to be alone in a confined "personal" space than free in an open space that he/she had some imagined responsibility to "protect".
posted by philip-random at 9:03 AM on July 20, 2009

Just wanted to jump in and say that it's never too late to crate train. The old adage about not teaching old dogs new tricks is a complete misconception and while it might not be as easy as crating a puppy, it's entirely doable.

I had a dog that was 12 when I got her from the pound, who had a lot of separation-induced peeing problems and she was able to adapt to crating without any problem, solving the pee issues (well until she went senile several years later but that's different). In fact, it even seemed to be a source of comfort to her, as is the case for a lot of anxious dogs, since it gives them a safe place. I don't think she had been crated before we got her either, if her complete lack of training of any sort was any indication (she was also unspayed and had horrendous teeth, so I sincerely doubt the previous owners were involved enough for crating).

Anyways, my point is, give crating a try. If you get a wire crate, also try putting a blanket over the top and three of the sides to create a cave effect. This can be comforting for a nervous dog. If it doesn't work, the vet might have some chemical solutions, but crating would be a lot cheaper in the long run, so give it a shot first.
posted by internet!Hannah at 10:43 AM on July 20, 2009

I agree. Our two dogs are crate trained and the number of accidents has been very small. Mostly they are the Italian Greyhound trying to avoid going outdoors when the weather is cold (and, to that dog, cold means anything below about 75°F) or wet.

The dogs, they love their crates and will retreat to them any time they are troubled or anxious about anything. The crate shouldn't be too much larger than the dog as this will help prevent them from creating a bathroom space within the crate.
posted by bz at 11:04 AM on July 20, 2009

Crate training is a great idea, but it is more than just putting some familiar things in the crate and then leaving. There really is a "training" part to it--especially when you have a dog with separation anxiety. You will need to get him used to the crate by randomly throwing treats in there, perhaps feeding him in the crate, starting with very short periods of supervised time, etc.

There are several books about how to do it, I recommend reading a few before you start to avoid any traumatic associations that make things worse.

I also recommend getting a really good enzyme cleaner and clean up all pee immediately with it every time to avoid the cycle of peeing. Also try and take the dog out potty a few times before you leave to help empty his bladder.

A combination of those things should help.

Good luck!
posted by Kimberly at 11:52 AM on July 20, 2009

All good advice. I've had a lot of success with positive reinforcement. Sounds simple, but praising the animal when he goes outside worked better than shaming it for not.
posted by jddizzle at 2:00 PM on July 20, 2009

If advice here doesn't work check out the Calling All Pets website and podcasts. Oh, man and I just went to their website and they've stopped producing it. However, the audio archives are still available at the WPR site.
posted by nax at 5:50 PM on July 20, 2009

Our dog kept peeing in the house, so we got the indoor grass potty called grass4upetpatch the urine helps to feed the grass and it actually grew indoors.
posted by my2boyz at 3:04 AM on July 28, 2009

What Enzyme cleaners work for cat urine?
posted by my2boyz at 12:22 PM on November 14, 2009

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