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Healthy Dogs

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House Training Adult Dogs

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Rule Out Medical Problems First continued...


There are a number of medications that can cause frequent urination and house soiling. If your dog takes any medications, please contact his veterinarian to find out whether or not they might contribute to her house-soiling problems.

Age-Related Incontinence/Cognitive Dysfunction

Some older dogs (usually at least nine years of age) who were once reliably housetrained start house soiling as they age because of arthritic conditions, weakness, loss of physical control, impaired cerebral function or loss of voluntary bladder control. These dogs might leak small amounts of urine or completely void the contents of their bladders.

Behavioral Reasons for House Soiling

Lack of House Training

If a dog has always soiled in the home, has lived outside or in a kennel, or has an unknown history, it’s likely that she simply has never been house trained.

Incomplete House Training

Many dogs have been incompletely house trained. An incompletely house trained dog might occasionally soil in house, soil if she’s not given frequent enough opportunities to eliminate outside, soil only when left alone in the home for long periods, soil first thing in the morning or during the night, or soil if there’s a change in her family’s daily routine that alters her access to the outdoors. Some incompletely house trained dogs soil anywhere in the home while others soil only in infrequently used rooms. Many sneak out of their pet parents’ sight to soil in other rooms. Sometimes an incompletely house trained dog simply doesn’t know how to communicate to her pet parents that she needs to go outside.

Breakdown in House Training

Some dogs appear to be house trained, but after a time they start to occasionally soil inside.

A Surface Preference

If a dog only soils inside on a specific surface, such as carpeting, cement or newspaper, she may have developed a surface preference for elimination. This sometimes happens when a dog is housed for a period of time in a place where she’s forced to eliminate on a particular surface, such as paper laid down in a pen, a blanket in a crate, the concrete floor of a shelter run or the bottom of a hospital cage.

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