Dog on the Couch

2016-06-16 06:00

WHEN I go out I leave my miniature Schnauzer, Bruno, in the house, but every time I do this he piddles behind the curtain where he thinks I won’t notice it. How can I stop him being sneaky and dirty? He knows he is doing wrong and ‘lies’ about it by acting embarrassed and ashamed when I scold him.

Bruno’s Parent

There are two things to look at in this behaviour, namely, his chosen spot for his indoors toileting and secondly, his behaviour when you return and discover that the deed has been done.

Many dogs will be inclined to relieve themselves where there is an odour of pee or poo. The only way to rid the area of the smell is with an enzymatic detergent which breaks down bacteria. You will also need to spray the area with a ‘pee’ repellent to prevent recurrences. I suggest further that you place a cat litter box with newspaper or dog potty pads inside. Initially place the tray in the vicinity of the previously frequented place. Once Bruno accepts the box you can move it to a more convenient spot.

Bruno is not being deceitful. He has learnt by experience that your reaction to his misdemeanour will be upsetting. What you attribute to shame on the dog’s part when you return home is rather a fearful response to your reaction when you are faced with the unpleasant chore of cleaning up. Dogs will try to deal with this by displaying calming signals or appeasement and avoidance behaviours which involve postures such as crouching and lip licking.

Try to make sure that Bruno is let out to do his business before you lock him in the house, and also that he isn’t left for too long in case he really has to heed the call of nature. If you think he is urinating too frequently then I would suggest that you have checked over by a vet to make sure there isn’t a health issue causing this behaviour. -Susan Henderson© (Accredited Animal Behaviourist)

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