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Dogs in this post:

  • Spook - male, seven-year-old dachshund
  • Ino - female, four-year-old Cavalier King Charles spaniel

Situation setup (not necessarily important, you can skip this):

Recently my mom hasn't been able to take care of her (basically “our” because the dogs are both part of the family, but we don’t live at home anymore) two dogs, Spook and Ino, and she won’t be able to in the future. So I will be taking care of Ino for now on and my brother has Spook.

They both are free range, house dogs. Spook's very well potty trained to whine at the door when he wants to go out no problems at all. Ino hasn’t been the easiest to train. She scratched at the door instead, which was OK because it didn’t end up scratching, but I think she stopped doing that. She doesn't at my house and I think it’s because she always was let out when Spook was let out. Every once in a while when we went out and weren’t there to let her out of the house, she would go to the washroom in my dad's office.

Problem

Ino has a tendency to urinate and defecate on the carpet which is all of upstairs of my house or in the tile bathroom downstairs.

I live in the city and I walk Ino every day in the morning. And she always goes to the washroom on grass. Nothing new. But my hypothesis is that she correlates grass with carpet and that’s why she goes to the washroom in the house (note her old home didn’t have any carpet at all). I understand that doesn’t hold for the bathroom, but it’s all I got.

For the last six months, I’ve been using the puppy potty training method of bringing her out of her kennel and directly outside to go washroom in the morning and positively reinforcing when she does. But it has zero effect, aside from preventing her from actually going to the washroom inside. Otherwise if I let her out and make food or something, she will go in the house.

At this point I don’t know what to do. Everything I find online pertains to new puppies that haven’t been trained or catering to old dogs. From what I can tell, positive reinforcement plus prevention isn’t giving me results. I think I need some form of negative or positive punishment push factor that’s intuitive to dogs and doesn't promote fear. But I can’t think of anything aside from interrupting her. I also don’t think spreading smelly dog potty repellent is an option in my house. Any ideas? I’m using dog pee remover, but at this point I’m probably still going to have to replace my carpet

Side note: Ino recently just had an undiagnosed seizure-like incident. And the emergency bills were pretty expensive. At least right now I can’t really afford a $100 training session.

Edit: I discussed with the vet about Ino's problem peeing in the house during her emergency visite and the vet did a bunch of work and said she was fine

Ino's kennel trained. I'm going to start blacking off bad spots for now and see if that helps at all.

Update: I have a friend's grass pee pad now. I don't know if this will help to train her to stop peeing inside but I hope it will redirect the problem off the carpet.

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    Hi I fixed a few typos and improved punctuation, welcome to Pets. – lila Jul 28 at 19:55
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    @lila thanks! I’m dyslexic and end up just giving up so it’s definitely appreciated! 😂👍🏻 – TheDopplerEffect Jul 28 at 20:37
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    Does this answer your question? 7 month old puppy peeing in house after recently peeing outside – Elmy Jul 30 at 6:22
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    Question for clarification: you write only about the morning walk to go outside, but I assume this is not the once and only time of the day you go outside with her? Does she has a problem to hold her bladder with the long time over night and because of that you mention the morning walk this clearly? – Allerleirauh Aug 2 at 21:20
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    If I remember all dogs I knew than pee or poo only once a day is too little. Even a human who have a lots of control about itself goes more times in the bathroom. Maybe the cause of the problem is in another corner than you searching for it. For example that your dog has a "shy bladder" and need special context to relieve oneself – Allerleirauh Aug 4 at 7:26
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I have rescued dogs and I used to help rehabilitate dogs for two different rescue centres.

You say "recently" but don't give a date. It is very common for rescued and displaced dogs to do this to begin with, (1) their routine has been disrupted (2) they associate old habits with the old home and have to start again with new habits in the new home - almost like a puppy (3) they are coping with the unsettling emotional reaction to a change in circumstances that they don't understand.

Losing her house, her human and her sibling in one go is bound to be tough. If she is a follower then the obvious solution is to have her reunited with Spook and she will take her example from him again.

The other solution requires an intensive period of a couple of weeks full-time to establish new habits under supervision - this will work if you do it right.

Finally, the problem may sort itself out if it has only been a short while since the disruption.

I have some thoughts about how to use training to sort this out but I'd need to know the timing of events and the exact circumstances. I'm retired now and not sure if I want to start dealing with individual cases. There will be behaviourists near you who will be able to help if they are any good.

EDIT

You say, "Everything I find online pertains to new puppies". Good! Treat her like a new puppy. If necessary, use a pen to start with. It will give her a sense of security when left alone if you introduce it as a safe place. She will be much less likely to soil her own home area. Then you can gradually increase the space allowed. It can take a couple of weeks to generalise this to the whole house.

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  • Thanks for replying. I brought Ino to live with me back in October of 2019. I expected her to be scratching at the door as she used to at home, but she ended up going potty at specific places in the house the first day I had her. (downstairs washroom tile, on the turn on the stairs carpet, at the top of the stairs carpet, spare bedroom carpet). Her emergency visit was on July 25th (See edit). Currently, she sleeps in her kennel or my bed, which I use as a kennel since she can't get down from it. She never messes her kennel or my bed. – TheDopplerEffect Jul 31 at 13:44
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    @TheDopplerEffect - One possibility is a movable baby-gate. Restrict her to places where she is definitely clean and make sure she has plenty of opportunities to relieve herself whenever she needs to. You can gradually expand the allowed area at your own pace. Once she develops the habit of always being clean in the house and always toileting outside, she will forget her old, bad habits. It's also less cleaning for you in the meantime! – chasly - supports Monica Jul 31 at 13:48
  • Ya. from what I'm seeing that is one of the things I haven't tried. I'm going to restrict her downstairs since upstairs is where she normally goes. my downstairs is pretty open so its a little hard to make a small area. – TheDopplerEffect Jul 31 at 13:52
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After reading a bit, I choose to answer this too. My thinking comes from another point of view.

The dog seems to be the second one after Spook in the ranking in you mom's house. And it seems that the problem starts when she has to move to your household.

If she is a shy one, who needs a strong feeling of safety to feel good, then the move was very stressful for her. She lost the well known house, walking area and her "dog to follow" in one step.

She starts to relieve herself less often, even does not mark during the walks, and favors to relieve herself inside your house, where she feels safe.

Dogs could relieve themselves best, if they feel safe and could relax. Stress is a disruptor here. So your first aim should be to make her feel comfortable when you walk her. You could search for strategies to show her at the walk, that you care for her and that she could do what a dog do (sniffing, marking, ...) while you do the "work" defending her against the unknown new environment. Look close at her, find the places she likes, where she feels comfortable. Be patient yourself. If she is a "follower" then she is very sensible for your mood and feels unsafe if you are nervous. (The little brain of dogs could not grasp that she herself is the cause for your nervousness. There must be a danger that causes her leader to be nervous/stressed.)

As you two started to live together, it sounds like she refused the second chance to relieve. But it also could be, that she was in stress and only could relieve if the bladder was fuller than full. (The muscles that close the bladder could not stand the pressure anymore.) Maybe now is the time to try again minimum two walks a day. I think it would be good for her, if she could count on them at nearly the same time each day. This will relax her too.

If I let the house moving aside, there are some other circumstances that could help her to relax. If she is an active dog and likes to sniff and run around, she would be most relaxed after some playtime. Additionally, the movement of the body stimulates the digestive system and not only the bladder could be emptied.

If she is more the not active type, then you should not rush with her through the walk. To much distraction by exercise or other dogs or whatever could make her feel in a hurry and not able to use time for relieving herself.

If you limit her water resource, it could also be, that she does not drink enough. A dog needs a constant access to fresh water. Stress could cause her to drink less than normal too.

And the last point: holding the urine in the bladder for 24 hours will probably cause health issues. For example kidney stones, a very painful thing.

(The fact that she chooses the grass and carpet has a simple reason for me: these surfaces do not reflect the drops and she stays clean. Instead, a smooth and flat surface makes the urine splash back to her fur, a clearly bad feeling.)

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