Understanding dog toileting issues
Toileting, the evacuation of urine and faeces waste products is a natural behaviour. To a certain extent, having a problem with toileting, is a human issue. Most dogs are comfortable with having their waste products deposited nearby. In fact, having their scent surrounding them may provide some comfort to anxious dogs. Most dogs, however, will tend to toilet away from their sleeping and living quarters and well away from food.
Toileting: a natural behaviour & a learned one
Dogs must toilet. This is natural. Where they toilet is a learned behaviour. This we can teach them.
Most dogs are happy to toilet outdoors given the chance. Some prefer particular substrates underfoot, with grass being a common preference. Most dogs will generally get used to whatever has been provided for them while young; generally grass or soil when outdoors. Occasionally a dog will favour smooth surfaces such as concrete, tiled areas or decks. A few may enjoy using carpet!
Punishment does not work with toileting 'accident'. Your dog will simply pee behind your back. Instead you need to teach your dog where you would like them to toilet." Dr Jo
Reason to toilet: age
Puppies often take months to learn to hang on overnight so don’t be alarmed if your puppy wees on the floor overnight. Provide an appropriate spot for them to toilet. Usually putting newspapers down near the doorway works well.
Reason to toilet: accident
Most adult dogs will have an occasional lapse in cleanliness, perhaps when they are caught short, their exit is blocked or it is raining outside.
Reason to toilet: medical issues
Inappropriate toileting can be a symptom of a medical condition so it is important if your dog has changed their behaviour that have them checked out by your vet. Urinary tract conditions should be treated. If your dog is ageing, they may have some incontinence. Again your vet may be able to help.
Reason to toilet: pica
Occasionally inappropriate behaviour habits, such as eating faeces, arise in our pet dogs. This behaviour may indicate a medical condition so again a vet check is required. Often, however, this habit has formed in a previous lifestyle of a newly adopted dog or it occurs with puppies who are overly enthusiastic at eating everything they come across. An impoverished environment or an inability to move away to toilet can also result in a dog eating poo.
Reason to toilet: anxiety
Your dog’s unwanted toileting habits may be a symptom of anxiety, especially separation anxiety, where your dog frets when left alone. There may also be other symptoms exhibited such as destructive behaviours, barking or trying to escape. If this is the case, follow the tips given in Dr Jo’s book Dog Anxiety Problems Solved.