Ask the Experts: Indoor Marking?
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I have a 2 year old male Chi-gi I adopted from the shelter. He is housebroken and knows that lifting his leg in the house, or pooping in the house is bad….that I am sure of; yet he still does it.
I have tried everything recommended. Crating (he does fine). Puppy pads (he does fine). I have had him neutered, hoping it would help…..
I have rewarded him for voiding outside and he knows he did good! And when I scold him for lifting his leg in the house, he knows he has been bad. If I come across some poop he left in the house…as soon as I see it, he knows I’m going to be angry and he runs and hides, before I say a word to him. So he does know right and wrong.
Do you have any suggestions I can try to get him to break this disgusting habit of lifting his leg on my furniture and pooping in the house, that I have not already tried.
I would never beat him, but I am close to doing just that (I would not ever beat him – but I do think about it!)
I have swatted him with a rolled up paper…..he runs and pouts, but he will turn right around and do it again within a day or so.
I do not want to return him to the shelter, but I have worked tooooo hard for my furniture and new carpet and once that odor gets into the furniture/carpet, it is next to impossible to remove.
Please help….I’ll look forward to hearing from you QUICKLY!!!! Thanks!!!
I am sorry you are having housebreaking issues with your dog. Without a physical examination and behavioral questionnaire I can only provide you with general information about elimination problems. The best approach is to make an appointment with a veterinarian who specializes in behavior problems or is board certified.
Urinating and/or defecating inside the home is a common behavioral problem of dogs. If the problem is not rectified, the dog maybe removed from the household by being banished to the yard, relinquished to an animal shelter, or even euthanized. I am hoping there is a solution for you that will avoid those decisions.
The major causes of inappropriate elimination are; incomplete house-training, urine marking, inappropriate elimination because of underlying medical disorders, anxiety disorders , submissive urination, excitement or greeting urination. From your description, the first four causes are the ones most likely involved in your situation.
It is common in puppies and young dogs, but can become a long-term problem. Urine marking is the deposition of urine to indicate home ranges and territories and to locate and identify females that are in heat. It often occurs in territorial, sexual, and conflict situations. Dogs may urine mark inside the home despite being otherwise well house-trained, as is the case in your situation. Intact males and females in heat mark most frequently. Urine marking usually does not develop until a dog has reached sexual maturity (at about 1 year of age). Dogs with separation anxiety or noise phobias may exhibit inappropriate elimination when they are anxious. The inappropriate elimination done by dogs with separation anxiety is easily misinterpreted as spiteful behavior.
Many medical disorders result in house-soiling because of alterations in function of the urinary or digestive systems or decreased mobility, control, or awareness.
An accurate behavioral diagnosis of the type of elimination problem is necessary for successful treatment. Diagnosis is based on the age and sex of the dog, a description of the elimination behavior, and the circumstances in which it occurs. Possible underlying medical problems must be ruled out with laboratory and other tests before a behavioral diagnosis is made.
The ideal treatment for incomplete house-training is prevention. If the dog is never given an opportunity to eliminate in the house, it quickly learns to eliminate only outside. A successful training program consists of taking the dog to an appropriate location for elimination on a regular schedule, using positive reinforcement, providing constant supervision when the dog is loose in the house, and confining the pet when it is unsupervised.
Inappropriate elimination that occurs because of anxiety is treated by managing the underlying anxiety. In some cases, remedial housetraining is also required. Neutering improves urine marking in 70% of intact male dogs. When possible, remove or minimize the dog’s exposure to arousing stimuli. If the dog marks at one or two places, turn those sites into water and feeding stations. Clean and apply an enzymatic odor eliminator to the marked surfaces. Synthetic pheromone, may be helpful in some dogs to decrease anxiety and arousal level. In difficult cases, antianxiety medications may be tried.
In general, the behavior should be ignored! Do not punish or reassure the dog as this makes the problem worse. Punishment, such as yelling or swats, after the fact only confuses the pet more and creates anxiety because they can’t connect it with the elimination act. Avoid unintentional threatening and dominance gestures, and institute various training techniques. Desensitization therapy, as directed by a behaviorist, may be necessary if training changes are inadequate. Medications to relieve anxiety may be considered in cases that do not resolve with behavioral methods.
Prognosis for many elimination problems is good as long as the correct diagnosis is determined and appropriate treatment is implemented. Urine marking significantly improves in most dogs with neutering, over several weeks to months. It is more effective with early neutering before they learn the behavior. Inappropriate elimination resulting from anxiety disorders is more challenging.
As you can see, elimination problems are complex and have many causes. I encourage you to seek professional help from your local area. I wish you and your pet well.