You went through housebreaking your dog when he was a pup. He’s aced the concept of doing his business in an appropriate place for ages. But recently, you’ve noticed a few watery accidents in the house. It has left you perplexed, because you know he should know better. What happened?
It May Not Have Anything to do with Training
We all know the basics behind training your dog to go pee and poop in a designated place. It’s as much as an associative behavior as it is a learned behavior. It is such a relatively basic training technique, it would be hard to fathom that your pooch would suddenly forget about it, right?
First off, you should not feel alone in your pain. It is estimated that some 37% of dogs suffer from this issue. Furthermore, this behavior is more common in non-neutered male dogs, so if your buddy fits into this category, he has some company.
Secondly, this condition, which is known as house soiling, is not necessarily representative of a training forgetfulness. In fact, there are quite a few reasons why your dog suddenly started having accidents in your home. Furthermore, dealing with the issue is largely based on the root of the issue.
The Causes Behind House Soiling
One of the reasons your dog may be prone to producing accidents could be due to a medical condition. This could simply be a sign of incontinence from an aging dog, or it could be something more intensive like a urinary tract infection or the starting signs of canine cognitive dysfunction. If you suspect any medical issue may be afoot, it is prudent to take your dog to your vet and have him properly diagnosed.
Another reason for the sudden pee could be traced to stressful episodes, such as separation anxiety. This could be due to a number of factors, such as a new living space or a sudden yet steady influx of noise from outside. You may want to visit a veterinary behaviorist in this case to get help for your buddy’s nerves.
And the third impetus behind house soiling does have to do with your dog doing this intentionally. Sometimes, this could be interpreted as your dog merely trying to mark his territory. Other times, it could simply be that he has in fact regressed back to pre-training behavior.
What Can You Do If Your Dog Regresses?
If you want to fix the behavior of a dog that regressed to pre-training levels for non-medical reasons, you will have to re-teach an old dog an old trick. Going back to puppy-house training techniques may help your dog’s brain “recalibrate” in a sense, and he may re-learn the good behavior patterns were there in the first place. If you go this route, you will have to revert to the practice in full, from verbal commands to providing treats for a job well done.
You may also want to sit down and think about when your dog started to regress. Doing so may help you discover an issue or a moment that caused a shift in his life or lifestyle, which could be the cause of his anxious behavior. Some of these issues may include the introduction of a new pet, an increase of people in the home, or even a change of diet.
Hang In There!
Dealing with a dog whose pee patterns have regressed isn’t easy. In fact, there have been many people that have simply given up on dog ownership and shipped their pooch elsewhere because of this issue. However, the best course of action you can take is to be diligent and work with your pooch to get past this issue.
Admittedly, this is easier said than done – particularly since doing this requires cleaning up a lot of undesirable indoor messes. Yet through all of the accidents, near-misses, and failed attempts to get out of the house, you need to consider that your dog is still your dog, puddles of piddle and all. When you think of things that way, being willing to step up to the proverbial plate and help a four-legged friend in need tends to get a little bit easier.