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Housebroken but...?

CrazyLabs
May 26th, 2010, 06:29 AM
Hello everyone. I'm new here and wanted to say hello first...now, on to the problem. I have 2 almost 3 year old female dogs, 1 lab/dalmation and 1 lab/retriever. I've had them now for over a year and suddenly they have decided that it is fun to go to the bathroom in my daughter's bedroom. Just the other night, we were all outside and they came in and went straight into the bedroom and went. They don't go anywhere else and can be left in the garage all day without incident while I'm at work. My patience is running thin with this as they are both house broken.

MyBirdIsEvil
May 26th, 2010, 06:50 AM
For now, keep them out of that area altogether. Keep them supervised at all times, because they obviously can't be trusted not to pee there, and possibly other places.

It sounds like they're marking. Something in your daughters bedroom (perhaps your daughter herself even - they may see her as a threat to their status) has triggered them to mark that area. This is more common with intact females, but can happen with spayed females also.

A couple of questions that will allow us to help you better:

Are they fixed?

Has anything in your home environment changed lately? Addition of a new family member, or a pet? Losing a family member (such as divorce or death in the family/ death of a pet, etc.)? Different routine for the dogs or you (such as you have a new job, or left a job, and now are home more often/less often/at different times)? Anything like that.

Is there anything in your daughters room that may have a strange scent that may have attracted them there to mark? Something as simple as dirty laundry can sometimes cause that. Or maybe some kind of substance that has been spilled on the floor. What do you commonly use to clean the room? Some cleaners (such as ammonia) have a smell that will cause animals to mark.

Melinda
May 26th, 2010, 06:56 AM
are you cleaning up all smells from previous accidents? there are special products to reduce the smell, once they go in a spot and smell it again it will trigger them to continue going in the same spot...and keep the daughters door closed to prevent them from going in there.

CrazyLabs
May 26th, 2010, 07:16 AM
Peaches (lab/dalmation) is not fixed, Pepper (lab/retriever) is. It seems that Pepper has to prove she is the dominant female because she has always marked on top of the spot Peaches goes...even outside.

I have cleaned the carpets with normal carpet cleaner and sprayed the obvious spots with RugDoctor Urine Eliminator. It changed nothing in their habits, but the room smells better.

Someone is usually home all the time and if not they are put in the garage as they always have been. There really haven't been any changes to the house or routine.

MyBirdIsEvil
May 27th, 2010, 01:17 PM
It sounds like you have 2 females vying for status, so you have them marking on top of each other. One being fixed will not help, because hormones from an unfixed dog can actually cause spayed females to want to mark.

Right now you need to keep them out of that room since it's the main place they are marking. They need to be supervised and on leash (even if they're just dragging the leashes) when in the house and immediately reprimanded (a firm no and tug at the leash) as SOON as you see them squat to go and taken outside. They need to know that marking in the house is a no no, and allowing them unsupervised in the house isn't going to teach them anything about it, since once you find the accident it's already over. They need to be caught in the act and told no.

I'm sorry to say that they may mark periodically no matter what you do, because it has been made a habit now, and you have one unaltered female putting off hormones and causing both of them to have the desire to mark items.
The only thing you can do is stay very vigilant with their supervision and never leave them unsupervised to roam the house.

Other things that may make the situation worse:

Lack of mental stimulation and exercise. What is your routine? A tired and happy dog is often less likely to try and mark territory within their own home environment.

Lack of long walks. Dogs that like to mark can sometimes be curtailed by being allowed to mark outdoors somewhere else. So if you're not taking your dogs on long walks where they can sniff other scents and eliminate there instead, they may roam around your house sniffing interesting things that trigger them to mark those areas.

Dogs don't understand their relationship to the humans. Dogs should always consider the human to be in control and look to them for cues about what to do.
If you're leaving your dogs to their own devices all day and then simply letting them in the house, without having worked with them (training), walked them, etc., it's no wonder they may see nothing wrong with marking the house as their territory. In this case the humans are barely part of the equation and the house is simply an extention of the dogs territory because they are being left in the garage or outside during the day and let in at night with little to no handling or interaction with the humans.
I don't know how your household is, or what your routine is, but definitely think about working with the dogs more, spending more time with them, and just interacting with them more in general. A dog that lacks interaction with humans doesn't understand to respect humans or understand what their relationship with them is at all.

Dog Dancer
May 27th, 2010, 02:05 PM
I think MBIE said it all very well, and maybe I missed it directly, but you should also consider spaying the lab/dalmation. Her hormones are not helping the situation at all. I agree that more outdoor walking would give them the opportunity to mark outside and hopefully get it out of their systems.

CrazyLabs
May 27th, 2010, 02:40 PM
They both get plenty of attention seeing as I have 4 children, so I don't think stimulation is the issue. We don't leave them in the garage or outside unless absolutely no one is home (which hardly happens anymore). I will try longer walks and see what that does for the situation. I also plan on having peaches fixed soon, so hopefully that will help. Thank you for your advice.

MyBirdIsEvil
May 27th, 2010, 08:28 PM
4 children aren't necessarily going to give dogs the type of structured activities they need to understand how to live in a human environment. And unless you have your kids doing training and specific play activities with them, they aren't necessarily getting that much mental stimulation either. Running around and playing with a bunch of kids isn't necessarily going to be much different than the dogs running around and playing with each other all day. Unstructured/unsupervised (not sure if unsupervised or not..you didn't mention) play with kids could actually make the dogs more likely to want to move up in the pecking order of the household. They may not see kids as higher in the pecking order, and in a dogs world the humans, including children, should ALWAYS be higher in the pecking order than them, or else they'll start trying to challenge people (and marking can be included in that behavior).
The daughter whose room the dogs are marking in, watch how the dogs play with her and see if there's a difference in their interaction with her than with the other children. They may be trying to challenge her status. Especially if this child tends to get a lot of attention from you and the dogs feel left out and are unsure of their place in the household.

I will try longer walks and see what that does for the situation. I also plan on having peaches fixed soon, so hopefully that will help.

Good to hear :thumbs up

Keep us updated. :)

CrazyLabs
November 9th, 2010, 05:46 PM
So...I gated the hallway so the dogs can't get to the bedrooms. After a while, they chose a new favorite place in the hallway...I have since removed all carpet and padding and replaced it with wood laminate. Things where good for a couple months but no they are going again in the house on the wood...I'm confused and beyond losing my patience. Please help me out.

Marty11
November 10th, 2010, 10:21 AM
I can tell you from experience if I don't stimulate my terrier on long walks to mark the outdoors, he will pee on something in the house. It's usually someone's jacket that is hanging on a chair. It's kinda like a message "you won't take me out so here you go". I have a female that marks more than the male but does keep it outside. They compete all the time when going out for potty. Sounds to me like more walks and let them mark to stimulate them. I think they are competing for status in the house. Definately get the other girl fixed right away. It may help if it's not too late. This is a dominent issue rather than a housebreaking problem.

PeterAlphaPaws
November 10th, 2010, 12:07 PM
I agree that this is more a dominance issue than a housebreaking one. I would suggest that while the dogs are inside you have them leashed and attached to you consistently for 21 days. This will remove the dogs ability to go off and pee and mark their territory in your house. And if you notice them pulling off towards an area to go pee you should immediately take them outside. Having them with you constantly will also show them that you are the alpha leader and if you are the leader they don't have a reason to mark in the house. In addition, I would add frequent short, positive obedience sessions further instilling your alpha status and providing mental stimulation for the dog. After 21 days of showing the dog you are the alpha leader, they should have no further need to mark in the house. Consistency and diligence is the key! Good luck :)

luckypenny
November 10th, 2010, 12:33 PM
Crazy Labs, do you know for sure if it's both your dogs that are peeing in the house? Have either of them been brought to the vet to rule out any medical causes eg. UTI, spay incontinence (for the girl that's spayed), Cushings, etc. ? I find it odd that after a couple of months, one or both is back to urinating in the house. Is your unspayed female about to come into heat? I'm pretty certain there's a biological reason for this, and not simply 'dominance' issues :2cents:.

2sheltiesmom
November 10th, 2010, 04:02 PM
I think they are competing for status in the house.

Dominance issue for sure. Dogs will "scent mark" to show they are part of the "pack/family". Putting them in the garage and separating them from the family causes them to want to re-establish their membership/acceptance in the pack/family.
BEFORE bringing them into the house from the garage make it a routine that every single time that they are going to come into the house including after walks, car rides, play time etc., first take them outside to go pee.
To get rid of the odor, mix 50% white vinegar and 50% water, this will get rid of the smell and is not harmful to the environment, people or dogs.

CrazyLabs
November 10th, 2010, 08:02 PM
I have increased walking time, but noticed that they don't really mark on our walks. They sniff alot but hardly ever mark. The garage routine hasnt been in use in quite sometime. They only do it at night and I'm sure that it is both because the retriever always "goes" on top of the dalmation outside. Pepper will actually wait for Peaches to finish and go on the exact same spot. I've had dogs my entire life and never had this much of an issue.

TeriM
November 10th, 2010, 11:34 PM
Crazy Labs, do you know for sure if it's both your dogs that are peeing in the house? Have either of them been brought to the vet to rule out any medical causes eg. UTI, spay incontinence (for the girl that's spayed), Cushings, etc. ? I find it odd that after a couple of months, one or both is back to urinating in the house. Is your unspayed female about to come into heat? I'm pretty certain there's a biological reason for this, and not simply 'dominance' issues :2cents:.

I agree with this advice :thumbs up.

Marty11
November 11th, 2010, 08:40 AM
My male waits for the female to go and goes on top. He has a dominating personality. Do you let them go to the poles, trees and fire hydrants, even girls will pee against it.