Petiquette With Jim Burwell: House Soiling in an Adult Dog
Discovering that your older, mature dog is house soiling in your home can be frustrating for many dog owners. After eliminating any medical causes, you must take a look at other reasons for this behavior.
If your dog has become anxious, this can cause house soiling in a mature dog. Let’s look at how this can come about.
Once your dog is six months or older you both begin to develop a certain confidence with each other regarding house training. Or, at least you think so. As your puppy passes the age of 6 months and is feeling confident in his sense of place, you are confident that you’ve done a great job of house training him as a young puppy. In fact, you’re so confident, that he’s graduated from sleeping in the crate to sleeping with you in bed.
While things may look great on the surface in your relationship with your now adult dog, circumstances change in our lives every day that can have profound effects on your dog.
Here’s a good example:
Let’s say you get a new job requiring a move across town or to a new city. You’ve made the transition and things are looking great. You may be putting in more hours to settle in to the new job. However, changes like this can be unsettling to your dog.
His old home has been taken away. He is now in a new environment where everything is unfamiliar. Your schedule has changed, you are working later. You leave food and water down for him as you have been getting home past dinner time. Did I mention the dog food was the grocery store variety? Filled with cheap carbohydrate fillers?
His expectation of your arrival time is no longer valid. There’s even a chance that he is walked much less because you get in too late to walk him. And this is where it starts. You come home to a mess on the floor in your new home.
Marking in the house can be a sign of insecurity in dogs who are old enough to be house trained. This starts to become very frustrating for you while at the same time, the anxiety builds in your dog.
Your preference is to leave your 5 year old dog loose in your home to lounge at his leisure but instead, you limit his daily activities to the bathroom. His stress builds as he continues to soil in the bathroom. So how can you turn this around? Let’s take a look.
Put him on a learn to earn program adding lots of structure to his life.
Require him to earn everything by performing a sit, a down and come, for the things he wants in life which are food, space, access to you and walks outside.
Consider a gradual move to a once a day feeding at night by reducing his morning meal by 25% each day and adding it to his evening meal. In four days he will be eating once daily at night. Later on you can begin to feed a snack in the morning.
Feed him a high protein low carbohydrate diet. Cheap carbohydrates cause excess serotonin in the brain which can cause anxiety.
Commit to taking him on structured walks twice daily.
Play down your departures and arrivals. Ignore him for 5 minutes when you leave or come home.
Work on good owner leadership skills by requiring him to work for everything Institute three, 2 minute training sessions each day doing sit, down and come, to give your dog a sense of working for leadership rather than feeling responsible for it himself.
Usually by the end of the first week you can start to see fewer accidents in the home and by weeks three and four, your dog should have no issues with house soiling at all.
Anyone witnessing their dog’s anxieties in the form of house soiling should take a look at making some positive changes to your relationship with your dog.
It does take work but a revitalized relationship with your dog is worth every penny.
Dogs are quite simple creatures, we tend to complicate them. To find simple, uncomplicated ways to help your dog be a great companion we invite you to visit our award winning site on dog training. And remember, “Opportunity Barks!”