How can I stop my dog from peeing in the house?

As much as we love them, our dogs can come with some bad habits that can occasionally make them less-than-desirable housemates. We can forgive the slobbering, forgive the hair all over the place and we can even forgive the odd aroma coming from their butts, but there’s one thing that’s more difficult to turn a blind eye to – peeing in the house.

Why do they do it!?

Annoying as it is, before we even begin to tackle the preventative measures, it’s important to rule out any underlying causes of this annoying habit. Firstly, is your dog still quite young? We accept that puppies may have trouble with bladder control but, particularly with larger breeds, we often assume they have ‘grown up’ before they actually have. While you can blink and your tiny puppy has transformed into a giant, strong dog, their bladders can take a little while to follow – on average, it takes between 4-6 months to potty train your puppy.

On the other end of the spectrum are senior dogs. Just like humans, they unfortunately can suffer from weaker bladder control as they age. You could be forgiven for assuming that your previously well-trained dog has just become lazy if he or she starts peeing indoors, but it may sadly just be a sign of their age.

Is your dog peeing in the house a cause for concern, or an inconvenience?

Probably the most important factor in determining why your dog is peeing in the house, is to rule out any underlying illness. Peeing in the house can be a symptom, rather than a habit and, particularly if it’s a sudden change, peeing in the house should always be investigated by your veterinarian. A simple bladder infection could be to blame, but so could more serious infections, diseases and even tumors. It’s always best to get your dog checked out than to live with regrets.

Hopefully though, your dog is perfectly healthy, and their annoying habit is exactly that. If this is the case, then how exactly can you stop your dog peeing in the house?

Get your dog spayed or neutered

Dogs can be territorial and peeing in the house can be a sign of territory-marking. Male dogs in particular can develop this behavior, but they don’t have exclusivity and the ladies can be just as bad! Spaying and neutering lower the level of hormones associated with dominance and can reduce, and sometimes stop territory-marking altogether. 

Don’t use ammonia-based cleaning products.

To you these may smell ‘clean’ (albeit overpowering) and they will certainly kill germs, but your dog doesn’t know what’s written on the bottle and to them, these products smell similar to urine. Many non-ammonia-based products are also ineffective – as humans, they kill off the smell of dog urine, but our dogs’ noses are far more sensitive, and they will often still pick up the underlying scent and return to the scene-of-the-crime to repeat the offense. If your dog has peed in the house you need to soak the area thoroughly with an enzyme-based pet odor and stain eraser which will eat away at the odor-causing bacteria and leave the area free from the scent of urine for both your nose, and your dog’s nose.

Don’t punish your dog for peeing indoors

It may seem counterintuitive but reprimanding your dog for peeing in the house can actually make the problem worse. If you catch your dog in the act then by all means say no, try to get them outdoors and praise them when they continue. If you are too late and you reprimand your dog, he or she may associate the act of peeing as the ‘bad’ thing and not the fact that they did in indoors. This can lead to a neurotic dog that doesn’t want to go at all, who then ends up holding their bladder too long and having even more accidents as a result.

Reward good behavior instead

When your dog pees outdoors, remember to reward him or her! Dogs love being told they are a ‘Good boy’ or a ‘Good girl’ and will happily repeat a behavior to be told this again. Keeping treats nearby and showing your approval can be one of the greatest ways to stop bad habits and to encourage your dog to pee outside rather than in the house.

Don’t be lazy…

We mean this in the nicest possible way, but the human factor can have more to do with your dog peeing in the house that you think. Young dogs won’t know they are meant to be telling you when they need to go out, so you really need to take them outside at regular intervals. When a dog gets older, he or she will naturally have a greater association with the yard being a place to go potty, but simply leaving a door open all the time in the early days won’t necessarily work as your dog may see the yard as a playground rather than a potty area.

While prevention is of course better than cure, sometimes it’s too late. Our premium pet odor and stain remover is safe for use on almost any surface and will eradicate the offending odors quickly, leaving you to enjoy your time with your dog, which is really what it’s all about.