If Fido's using your home as a potty or has started marking the inside of your home with urine, you'll need to use behavior modification techniques to discourage this unwanted behavior. You can use these techniques to train your pup to eliminate outdoors, retrain him if he was not properly housebroken in the past or to discourage his desire to urine mark as well.
Use Positive Reinforcement Techniques
Use positive reinforcement behavioral modification techniques to train your pup to eliminate outdoors rather than inside your home. Bring him out to the same spot to potty each time you go out and immediately reward him with a treat after he finishes urinating, along with some verbal praise. If you catch your pooch in the middle of urinating indoors, interrupt him with a loud noise, like a clap of your hands, and bring him to his outdoor potty spot. When he finishes outside, reward him. You always want to associate eliminating outdoors with good things, like treats and praise, so it's more desirable for him than urinating indoors.
Confine Fido Between Bathroom Breaks
Most pups won't eliminate where they sleep, so putting him into a crate or a small area cordoned off with pet gates discourages him from urinating indoors between potty breaks. After he urinates when you take him outside, allow him 15 minutes of freedom indoors before crating him. Every three days, if he doesn't have an accident, increase the amount of freedom allowed indoors after potty breaks by 15 minutes; decrease it by the same amount if an accident does happen. You can also tether your pup to you instead of confining him between bathroom breaks and watch him carefully for signs that he needs to urinate, including sniffing, circling or pacing.
Keep Calm and Consistent
Your dog needs a consistent schedule with little to no stress; otherwise, he may begin to urinate in the home. Bring him out to potty every four to five hours, a few minutes after meals, first thing in the morning and before bed. Feed him at the same times each day so that you know when he will eliminate, and take away his water just before you put him to bed to prevent accidents. Spray synthetic dog pheromones around your home to help keep your pup calm and discourage him from marking items with his urine.
Things to Consider
Have your dog spayed or neutered to prevent him from urine marking indoors due to his desire to mate. Bring your pup to the vet if he suddenly begins urinating indoors after being fully house-trained. A medical condition, such as a urinary tract infection, could be the cause of his accidents, which will subside after treatment. If your pup gets a clean bill of health from the vet, she may prescribe him an anti-anxiety medication to reduce his desire to urine mark. Not only will these medications calm your pup, but they will also enhance his behavior modification training.
- The Humane Society of the United States: Urine-Marking Behavior: How to Prevent It
- ASPCA: Urine Marking in Dogs
- The Whole Dog Journal: Training Your Dog to Prevent Unwanted Urination
- Oregon Humane Society: Reducing Urine-Marking Behavior in Dogs and Cats
- Cesar's Way: Housebreaking Your Puppy: Do's and Don'ts
- The Humane Society of the United States: Housetraining Your Dog or Puppy
- Petfinder: Housetraining
- Vetstreet: Canine Urine Marking (Indoors)
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.