House Training Adult Dogs
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
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.
A dog might be reliably housetrained until a major change
happens in her household, such as the addition of a disliked individual or the
permanent departure of a favored family member. Dogs who soil because of
anxiety tend to eliminate on furniture, beds or sofas-areas that smell strongly
of particular people or other animals. Sometimes a dog will become the target
of another household animal’s aggression, which might cause anxiety and limit
the dog’s access to places to eliminate.
Anxiety-induced house soiling may be impossible to distinguish
from anxiety-induced urine marking unless an anxious dog defecates as well as
urinates in the home.
Fear of Going Outside
Some dogs are afraid to go outside, so they eliminate indoors.
These dogs might only defecate inside, since defecation requires a more
vulnerable position than urination.
Dislike of Cold or Rainy Conditions
Some dogs hate to go outside when it’s cold, snowing or
raining, so they soil indoors when the weather is bad.
Some dogs urinate in the house because they’re scent marking.
Dogs scent mark for a variety of reasons, including to claim territory, to
identify themselves to other dogs and let them know they’ve been there, and in
response to frustration, stress or an anxiety-provoking situation. A dog scent
marks by urinating small amounts on vertical surfaces. Most male dogs and some
female dogs who scent mark raise a leg to urinate. If you suspect that your dog
is urine marking, please see our article, Urine Marking in