Dog Eliminates in the House
I just adopted a two year old dog from the local humane society and she is having accidents in the house. Why would she do this? Is she mad at me?
No, she is not mad at you. Even adult dogs need to be retrained to your home when newly adopted. You did not say whether the “accidents” were urine, feces, or both. It is also very important to know if they happen while you are home or away.
To retrain your dog, keep her on a leash and go outside with her. Take her to the area in the yard in which you want her to eliminate. Walk her in small circles, and the instant that she starts to eliminate, use a cue word, such as “Hurry up”. Immediately after she has eliminated, praise her and give a small treat if you wish. Using a verbal cue should eventually help to have her eliminate upon hearing the phrase. Playing with her outside after she has eliminated is fine.
When in your house, keep a leash on her or keep her in a crate (located in a central part of the house) at times when you can’t watch her. Keeping her leashed or confined will keep her from sneaking off to eliminate when you are not watching. Take her outside to eliminate first thing in the morning, after she eats breakfast, after she plays or sleeps, after the evening meal and before you go to bed. Do not punish her for “accidents”. Your job is to help her learn where you want her to eliminate and reward her for the desired behavior. Be sure to use an excellent odor neutralizer on the areas where she has eliminated—your veterinarian can suggest appropriate products.
If she only messes while you are away, she may be anxious about being alone. Don’t punish her—punishment will only increase the anxiety that drives the behavior. Call your veterinarian for assistance. It is always good to have a stool check for microscopic intestinal parasites and a urine test, too. She could have a health problem that needs treatment.
Good luck with the new addition to your family!