How Do I Stop a 12-Year-Old Female Dog From Wetting on the Couch When I'm Not Home?

Let your dog sit on your couch, not eliminate on it.
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As dogs age, their behavior can change because of age-related medical conditions, including neurological changes, which lead to a decrease in both their physical and mental abilities. When your dog begins to urinate your couch, it can indicate a medical or psychological problem, especially in a geriatric dog around 12 years old. Make adjustments to your home and routine to take into account your dog's changing needs and behavior as it ages. Doing so will prevent your dog from urinating on your couch, keeping both of you happy.

Step 1

Take your elderly dog to a veterinarian to check for an underlying medical condition causing the inappropriate elimination. The main cause of inappropriate elimination is a urinary tract infection, especially common in female dogs, according to Vetinfo. Other medical causes include bladder stones, diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease or Cushing's disease. An elderly 12-year-old dog may also suffer from age-related incontinence or bladder leakage. Treating any medical conditions should eliminate this behavior.

Step 2

Clean the urine spots on your couch with a biological odor neutralizer such as an enzyme-based cleaner. Absorb as much of the fresh urine as you can by pressing down on the spot with paper towels. Then wet the spot with water to rinse away the urine; press down again with paper towels to absorb the liquid. For older, dry spots, wet them first with water, then sop up any urine residue remaining. Spray the spots with the cleaner and allow them to dry overnight. If the odor of the urine remains, reapply the cleaner and allow it to air-dry. This prevents your dog from being drawn back to the area to re-mark it.

Step 3

Cover the couch with double-sided tape, aluminum foil or an upside-down plastic carpet runner to make the surface unpleasant for your dog to urinate on.

Step 4

Arrange to have a dog-walker come to your home while you're at work to walk your dog. You need to take your dog outside to eliminate at least four times a day, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and sometimes more frequently for elderly dogs. If your dog can eliminate outside, it won't eliminate in your home. You can also install a dog door with access to a secure, fenced-in yard for your dog to use during the day so it can urinate outside as needed.

Step 5

Reduce your dog's stress. An elderly dog doesn't handle stress well. If a new person has moved into your home, you've added a new pet or your schedule has changed, your dog may feel stressed. Plug in a dog pheromone diffuser to promote a calm environment and provide positive reinforcement in the form of a treat whenever your dog is in the presence of the new person or pet.

Step 6

Confine your dog to a small room or crate while you're not home. Provide it with toys, a comfortable bed, soft music and a treat ball (a toy that dispenses the treats inside when rolled) to occupy it when you leave. Many older dogs develop separation anxiety when their owners are away. A comfortable environment with a stimulating activity, such as the treat ball, occupies the dog, reducing its anxiety.


  • Never punish your elderly dog for inappropriate elimination; this will only scare the animal, increasing its stress level and worsening the problem.


  • Eliminate the odor of the stain, even if you have your dog treated for a medical condition. While the dog may no longer have the urge to urinate on the couch, the smell of urine can attract it back to that spot to urinate.

  • Ask your veterinarian about anti-anxiety medications for your dog to help stop the inappropriate urination caused by stress or separation anxiety.

  • If the dog is not spayed, have it done to help with inappropriate elimination; even older dogs can be spayed.

  • A geriatric dog may suffer from arthritis, making it painful to get down from a couch to go and urinate, leading to urination on the couch. Provide the dog with a ramp it can use to climb down off the couch with less pain.

Items You Will Need

  • Biological odor neutralizer
  • Paper towels
  • Double-sided tape
  • Plastic carpet runner
  • Aluminum foil
  • Dog door
  • Dog treats
  • Dog pheromone diffuser
  • Crate
  • Treat ball