Good question, let’s cover a few of the questions we must ask ourselves.
❓ How old is your dog?
If they are young, they might not have yet learnt where you would like them to go and their bladders aren't fully developed yet, so they can't hold much for very long!
If they are older or this has just started to happen, go and see your vet for a check-up. When a new behaviour appears, it is always best to get a thorough health examination from your registered veterinary surgeon so they can rule out any medical reasons.
❓ When is it happening?
Is it after a walk, before a walk, in the middle of the night, first thing in the morning and so on? Think of the specific time when it is happening so we can put some measures in place to help.
👉 Overnight/first thing in the morning – get up in the night for a quick toilet opportunity for your dog or get up earlier if it’s happening first thing. They are obviously desperate!
👉 After a walk (even when they’ve had a wee when out) – they didn’t quite finish their wee and finished it when they got back. When they wee outside it is really important to praise them but make sure you wait until they have totally finished. Sometimes they may stop mid wee to enjoy their praise and realise they still need to go when they get home.
👉 When people arrive/ when excited – this is simply when your dog’s bladder isn’t quite strong enough yet and the excitement just makes it difficult! We’ve all been there! Make sure any greetings are done in an area where you are easily able to clean up and keep greetings as calm as possible to help.
👉 Randomly seems to happen – go back to basics! See our article on 'How to toilet train a puppy' and give it a couple of weeks of dedicated attention. If after those two weeks you see no difference at all, get a vet check done.
❓ What are you doing when you find accidents?
How we react and deal with accidents is vitally important to help dogs understand where we would like them to go and we must remember to stay calm. Shouting, rubbing their nose in it or any punishment after the fact WILL NOT TEACH your dog where to go, it simply makes them WEARY of you. That’s not training, that’s intimidation.
Instead, make sure you clean the area thoroughly with an appropriate cleaner specifically made for dog wee accidents. We need to ensure the enzymes in the urine are completely removed as dogs will smell these enzymes and go again on the same spot. We can’t smell the enzymes and even if we think it’s clean, we have to ensure it’s clean to a dog nose standard.
❓ Have you used puppy training pads/ newspaper in the past?
If the answer is yes then it’s maybe a case of teaching our dogs again as we may have confused them. If you have previously taught your dog to go to the toilet on pads or newspaper inside the house then you change your mind and want them to do it outside it can be very confusing to a dog.
Instead, use the pads or newspaper simply as a barrier to protect your floor in case of any accidents but do not teach or reward your dog for going on them. From the moment you being your dog home the rule should stay the same:
Toilet = OUTSIDE and NEVER inside.
You are doubling your work load too! Teach your dog where they should go and don’t confuse them.
Stay consistent, stay vigilant and make sure you help your dog to learn where they should go. Remember that they are dogs and it’s completely natural for them to go to the toilet anywhere but where they sleep. If we expect them to go solely outside then it’s only fair, we take the time to teach them this properly.
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