A dog who sneaks off to do odd jobs may be the most maddening creature to have as a housemate. If you’ve already made the mistake of hauling him to the scene of past crimes and meting out some form of punishment you are not alone in your frustration. After-the-fact confrontations never work. Worse still, they will drive your dog’s bad behavior further underground-along with the friendship you share with him. There are effective ways of handling the stealth urinator or pooper but there are no short cuts. To be successful, treatment needs to be targeted at the cause.

  • First rule out physical disease.
    • Your veterinarian can check for causes of excessive urinating like diabetes, kidney disease, and adrenal disorders.
    • Bladder stones and infections are common.
    • Dogs can drop stools due to disorders of the anal glands, colon, or spinal cord.
    • Some pets house soil if their joints are too painful for them to get outside in time to eliminate in the right place.
    • Aging brain changes can cause older dogs to lose their memory of house training.
    • There are good treatments for many of these problems.
  • One simple solution may be neutering.
    • Many intact male dogs mark their territory with urine on vertical surfaces like walls, furniture, and curtains.
    • It comes naturally to them but you and I both know that this is a social faux pas. The president and first lady could drop by anytime.
  • Another common cause of covert desecration of the home is canine confusion on – What are the rules, anyway?
    • The same reliable housetraining methods that worked well on a previous dog may not have conveyed the same information to your current dog.
    • It’s actually innate for a dog not to foul its living space, so what went wrong this time?
    • Failure to understand the house rules is not a sign of low intelligence or spite.
    • A dog who “doesn’t get it” needs a step back and a fresh approach.
  • Dogs who sneak off to urine or fecal soil may have learned the wrong lesson very well.
    • Rather than never eliminating inside and always doing it outside a dog can simply misunderstand.
    • Getting corrected when the leader makes the bust but never reaping a consequence when the boss is out-of-sight can impart the message that house soiling is perfectly OK when a human isn’t present.
    • This is nobody’s fault. Start fresh with the structure in my article called
      • Dr. Nichol’s Blog – Puppy Housetraining
      • https://drjeffnichol.com/blog-puppy-housetraining/
    • Forget scolding and punishing. Nothing about these histrionics tells your dog what to do instead.
    • He will lose interest in his bad old habits once he is clear on the concept.
  • Eliminating the scent of old urine and stool will be essential (Anti Icky Poo and Zero Odor work well).
  • These dogs are a challenge but if you’re consistent and patient your dog has a good chance of avoiding a life of crime. We hope.