A dog owner posed this question that is a variation on housetraining.
“I recently added a 9 month old mid-sized mixed breed dog to my family. My dog came from the shelter. For the most part, she is housetrained, but here is the problem- I take her outside and she pees. Then, when I bring her in, she will get in her bed and urinate there. What is this about and how do I handle it?”
To solve this problem, we need some information from the dog owner. Some of the questions would be: How long have you had the dog? Has the behavior just started or has she done this since you got her? Are there any other pets in the home?
- A Veterinary check.
- The first step is to make sure there are no bladder or urinary problems such as an infection, etc. Your veterinarian can check this for you.
- How often does this happen? Once a month could be a lapse in training. Three times a day could indicate a well-established habit. In this case, a refresher course beginning with the basics of housetraining is a good idea.
- Are there any other pets in the home? If there are, your dog could simply be marking her territory when she comes inside. “Just a reminder everyone, this is MY bed.”
- If other pets causing stress for your new dog, some training that involves giving your pup reinforcers (e.g., treats) in the presence of the family pets can help.
- If other pets might be the issue, consider moving the bed to a quiet place until your new dog is acclimated.
- When you do take your dog outside, spend enough time that she can empty her bladder. A quick walk may not do the trick. Ideally, there will be time to run and play and get good exercise.
- Get rid of the odor. To address this problem, you need to remove the urine scent that signals to the dog, “this is where you can pee.” Use an enzyme cleaner or replace the bed and use a plastic cover underneath the fabric cover (which is easily washable) until the problem is solved.
- In the case of a developmental lapse or just to build confidence in general, training is always a good idea, and a great place to start is with AKC’s Canine Good Citizen program: http://www.akc.org/dog-owners/training/canine-good-citizen/