There’s an old joke: “My dog always does his business on the newspaper — but only while I’m reading it.” If your furry pal has suddenly decided to alter his toilet habits after a lifetime of good behavior, you have to figure out the underlying issue (of the problem, not of your newspaper) before we can step in with any re-training he may need.
The first thing you’ll want to do is eliminate the possibility of a lurking health issue. Bladder or bowel disorders can cause incontinence without warning, making it impossible for your dog to get his appointed bathroom zone in time. These cases usually respond nicely to veterinary treatment. Dogs may also develop some degree of urinary incontinence in their elder years; again, your veterinarian may also be able to recommend treatment methods or lifestyle changes to help minimize the problem.
An otherwise healthy pet who suddenly disobeys his house training may be “acting out” against something in the home that he finds distressing. Scary sounds such as gunshots, fireworks or thunder, or even an overwhelming chemical or household odor, can drive a dog away from his relief area. Separation anxiety can also cause a dog to go to the bathroom in the wrong part of the house, and a fear of being crated can cause a pet to lose control as well. We can work with these dogs to train the fear out of them and help them become more comfortable in their environment.
If your dog’s break in house training remains a mystery despite your best detective work, contact Sit Means Sit. We know dogs, and we can discuss his behavior with you or even observe him in the home to try and get at the root of the problem. Good luck!