House Soiling – What Does it Mean and How to Address It?

House soiling can be a common problem with dogs.

Although owners generally train their dogs to urinate and defecate outside, and accidents usually end with the puppy stage, it is not unusual to see some degree of regression when your pet will lose its way and relieve itself in the house.

It can be a bothersome discovery when you enter the room and realize what has happened.

The good news is there are solutions.

A House Soiling Myth  

Let’s address one common myth right off the bat. Rubbing your dog’s nose in the feces or urine is not a useful solution.

Dogs do not have the memories or association faculties that humans do. If you do the nose rub, then your dog is most likely not getting your point.

If your pet takes anything away from the experience, it’s probably that you’re a bad person for doing that to them.

A Medical Problem or a Behavioural Problem?  

If the house soiling problem persists, then your first step is to determine whether it’s a medical problem or a behavioral problem.

Exploring Medical Causes

If it’s a medical problem, you may notice indications of:

  • Pain when squatting to urinate or defecate
  • Pain when lefting leg to urinate
  • Inability to hold urine in bladder

Any combination of these symptoms could signal bladder infection, bladder stones, diseased kidney or liver, or a wide range of other problems.

Bring these symptoms to our attention at the clinic and we will help you address them.

Our physical exam will likely include a blood test and a urinalysis to determine whether the internal organs are functioning normally and whether any infections may be present.

We can also conduct x-ray or ultrasound image of your dog’s abdomen to look for the presence of kidney stones, bladder stones or other diseases affecting the internal organs.

Also, please note that a dog may urinate to mark territory, which is one of the reasons our clinic recommends to have your pets spayed or neutered at an early age.

If we determine a medical problem, then we will proceed with a treatment plan that should take care of the problem.

Exploring Behavioral Causes 

If we cannot identify any medical causes, then we will look at possible behavioral causes.

Has there been a change in the dog’s environment that may be causing some anxiety? Common causes include:

  • A change in household routine
  • Separation from primary caregivers
  • Left alone for longer than normal
  • A change in the owner’s schedule
  • Excessive eating or drinking
  • Something frightening the dog
  • Excessive submission or fear

Your dog will need a training program to learn when and how to relieve itself.

It is the same process used for a young puppy. Your approach should include:

  • Constant supervision
  • Prevent access to indoor areas
  • Regular feeding schedule

You may also want to try confining your dog to its sleeping area as he or she will likely want to keep this area clean.

Finally – and this part is key – reward or praise your dog for desired behavior. It’s a positive way to move in the right direction.

Going Forward

You should watch our video blog on Dealing with Separation Anxiety – it will provide useful tips that may be useful for dealing with house soiling.

If the techniques offered on our website don’t seem to work, then feel free to talk to our clinic team.

We can help with your dog training efforts with tips and insights that can help correct your dog’s behavior.

 

 

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