Housetraining a puppy is not an easy task. But what about when adult dog urine "accidents" begin to happen indoors? This is a very frustrating and not uncommon situation that can occur after adopting an adult dog from a shelter or from another home (as well as with dogs in general as they age).
Housetraining may not have been a concern or a problem in the dog's former life but if it becomes a problem for you now or in the future, here are some suggestions that may help you in addressing the possible causes of these accidents and to start working on solutions:
This should be your first step!
Do not start training or re-training a new-to-you dog until medical issues such as a urinary tract infection or the possible onset of canine cognitive dysfunction have been eliminated.
This action can lead to the dog learning that people are not safe and are unpredictable and may even make the dog afraid to go potty in front of you, even outside. This can actually lead to more frequent indoor adult dog urine "accidents."
Anxiety about certain outside noises and separation anxiety can cause accidents.
Many dogs can develop anxiety to the sound of outside noises, especially that of thunderstorms, construction or traffic noises. If the noise is temporary, such as construction noises, it might be possible to remove the dog to somewhere else such as a doggy daycare facility when you are not home.
If the noise is consistent, a possible solution might be soothing music. (Check out Through a Dog's Ear.
Limit the length of time you will be gone or make other arrangements for your dog if you are going to be longer than usual. Here, again, is where doggy daycare can be helpful or perhaps contracting with a neighbor or professional dog walker to come in during the day to take your dog out may help alleviate his or her anxiety.
Make every effort to eliminate odors so that your dog can't smell past accidents. Please see a professional rug or carpet cleaning professional such as ABC.
Keeping your dog off carpeted areas, if possible, would be a good solution. Dogs may be less likely to go on a hard surface but those adult dog urine "accidents" would certainly be much easier to clean up if that happens.
Dogs also have a natural desire to keep their personal area clean so an exercise pen or a baby gate to section off an area of your home would make it easier for both you and your dog. Don't forget to include bedding, water, and anything else that would make your dog feel comfortable when you are not able to be there.
An adult dog (especially a newly adopted one) needs the comfort and serenity of a secure and loving home. Punishment for accidents that may not be the dog's fault should never be an option.
Behavior modification is the key here. It is up to you, the owner, to address the bad behavior by managing the dog's environment and by providing the training needed for better behavior.
Removing urine from wall-to-wall carpets and rugs can be both tricky and expensive.
ABC Oriental Rug and Carpet Cleaning Co. can help with the urine odor removal, especially from handmade rugs. (Urine odor removal from synthetic and tufted rugs will often exceed the value of these rugs and is generally not recommended.) Unfortunately, urine stains are usually permanent.
Urine removal from wall-to-wall car-peting is labor-intensive and time-consuming. New carpeting or hard flooring may be the best option in some cases.
In order to minimize the damage from those adult dog urine "accidents," always thoroughly blot the affected areas with absorbent material as soon as possible. Do NOT rub and make sure to blot from the outside of the area to the center so as not to spread the urine. The use of over-the-counter odor eliminators and urine removers may actually set any stains.
For a thorough explanation of urine odor and stains and ABC’s Urine Odor Removal process, please click here.