How to Stop a Dog From Peeing in the House?

How to Stop a Dog From Peeing in the House?
Written by Graeme Hall

We all love our furry friends, right? But let's be honest, there's nothing more frustrating and annoying than coming home and seeing a wet spot of dog pee on your carpet. You know your dog did it; he is looking at you with that expression (we all know that look), and there's no one else in the house, so he must be the culprit.

Despite your best training efforts, your dog is still urinating in the house - is there a way to stop this?

This is one of the most common problems you’ll face as a dog owner. In most cases, dog peeing can be nipped in the bud when they're a puppy through some basic potty training exercises. 

However, there are dogs that are just plain stubborn and continue to pee in the house no matter what you do to stop them. Some may be perfectly fine and have great toilet habits for many years but then suddenly they pee on your carpet.

Dog peeing can be pinpointed to several causes, such as territorial marking, submissive peeing after being reprimanded, or even incontinence if you have an aging dog.

Overcoming the problem will vary depending on what's triggering your dog to pee in the house in the first place. So before you continue reading take a deep breath because you will need a lot of patience and perseverance if your dog is stubborn (... and now might be a good time to stock up on some Febreze!).

Why is Your Dog Peeing in the House?

The first thing you need to do is to make sure that there isn’t a medical condition that's causing your dog to pee on your carpets. There are quite a few medical conditions that can affect your dog's bladder, such as incontinence, bladder infections, or even something as simple as a change in your dog's diet can have adverse consequences on their toilet habits.

This is especially true if your dog was house trained, but is only recently having more accidents.

If you're unsure or slightly concerned about your dog urinating (frequency, color or smell) it's important to take your dog to your local veterinarian just to have peace of mind that there isn’t an underlying problem that’s causing the urination.

Below are other reasons why your dog is peeing in the house; when you know the cause, you can typically find the cure.

Is Your Dog Urine Marking?

Even though dogs marking their territory with urine is rather uncommon, it happens. If your dog feels that there's a new threat in his home, such as a new dog, or scent, or even a visitor stopping by, he may feel the need to tell everyone that this is his place by marking (peeing) on carpets and other areas around the home.

To overcome this issue, some basic obedience training should help to reduce and even stop your dog from marking. He’ll stop acting like the leader in the home, and you can take back control once he knows who’s the boss.

Also, it’s worth pointing out that when you have your dog neutered, they're far less likely to mark their territory with urine.

Reward Your Dog For Peeing Outside

We all know dogs love rewards and praise, it lets them know they’ve done something right. So if your dog is peeing in the house, an excellent way to knock the habit on its head is to give your pooch some positive reinforcement every time they pee outside.

So whenever they go outside to pee you’ll want to give them plenty of praise, you can even give them one of their favorite doggy treats as a reward.

If you're patient and do this 3 or 4 times a day, you'll definitely see a change in their toilet habits.

Let's be honest, your dog loves being rewarded!

Maybe Your Dog Doesn’t Know Any Better?

Puppies are notorious for peeing in the house; they don’t know any better. Because they’re young, they haven’t had enough time to learn the basics of being house trained. Also, they'll have smaller bladders compared to an adult dog, if they are not let outside to pee they will have no other choice but to pee in the house.

Another reason your pooch might pee around your home is if he's a rescue dog that has a long history of living in kennels. If your dog has spent a good amount of time living in dog kennels, there's a good chance he has picked up some bad habits or hasn’t even been properly house trained to begin with.

It's easy for a dog to slip back into bad habits, especially if potty training wasn’t reinforced while they were in the kennels or worse case, they never even mastered it in the first place.

housebreaking adult dogs

Catching Your Dog Before They Pee

One of the most effective ways to stop your dog from peeing in the home is the catch them before they act. There're a few telltale signs that your pooch is about to pee - often you’ll see them sniffing the ground, circling awkwardly, or even cocking up a leg.

As soon as you see any of these warning signs, you need to give them a quick startle. Often stamping your foot, clapping your hands or shouting will get their attention and will stop them before they pee.

Once you have their attention, you must get them outside and wait for them to pee. You can then follow through with rewarding your dog as mentioned further up this page so they will associate peeing outdoors with a reward.

Once this is repeated throughout the day, and over a few weeks, your dog will get the hint that something isn’t right and you should see a big difference in his toilet habits.

Remove Lingering Scents

If all else fails, I recommend looking into scents in and around your home. I touched on this briefly above when I talked about your dog marking with urine in the home. Remember your dog has a keen sense of smell, so even if you can't smell anything, the chances are your furry friend can.

Over the years I have discovered that a dog will typically pee in a place that already smells of urine. If you’re lucky enough that your dog already does his business outside you have probably already noticed that they always seem to pee in the same spot.

The same goes for the inside of your house, if the dog can smell their urine then there is a very good chance he will continue to pee in the home until that someone has removed scent.

If you think about it, it makes sense. As far as the dog is concerned he's peeing in the correct place because it already smells of pee, right? 

So you really can’t hold a grudge towards your dog for peeing indoors, because your pooch doesn’t understand what the big deal is, he's doing nothing wrong in his K9 mind!

As I mentioned, your house could smell great to you, but your dog may have different ideas, remember their sense of smell is far greater than ours.

To truly get rid of any lingering smells of pee in your house you should use an ‘enzyme’ based cleaner, rather than an ‘ammonia’ based one.

A good enzyme cleaner such as Rocco & Roxie Odor Eliminator should eradicate any lingering scents altogether. I recommend forgetting about simple spot cleaning and look at the bigger picture by cleaning your entire house with a steam carpet cleaner so you can reset your dog’s indoor peeing behavior.

Once your house is pee free, you can that get back to basics and teaching your dog how to pee outside.

why does my dog keep peeing in the house

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About the author

Graeme Hall

Graeme is the founder of Doggytastic! which is where he blogs about dog training, health, nutrition and anything else related to keeping a dog happy and healthy. Want to know a little bit more? Make sure to check out his full bio.

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