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What to do When Your House-Trained Dog Starts Having Accidents in the House

Sooner or later, accidents happen. The Porch Potty Community is here to the rescue with sound and proven advice.

We’ve all been there. You wake up thirsty in the middle of the night, sleepily trudge to the kitchen for a glass of water and then…you step in a puddle of something. Flipping on the light and blinking, you see Dodger staring at you, looking guilty as ever, and you know immediately what that something was.

It’s inconvenient, frustrating, and quite frankly, gross.

Dodger’s two years old! His house-training days are far behind you, or so you thought.

Before you give Dodger a piece of your mind, hold on a minute. When a fully house-trained dog begins having accidents in the house, there’s a reason.

We’ve asked our Porch Potty Community what they do when their pampered pooch starts soiling the house out of the blue. Here are our tip picks for advice:

  1. Don’t punish your dog. Ironic that our first “to do” is actually a “to don’t”, but it deserves the spotlight as you could very well make things far worse than it already is. Dogs do not remember events like we do. That “guilty look” isn’t his sheepish remorse, he’s merely sensing your irritation with no idea why it’s there. Scolding, rubbing their nose in the mess, or angrily sending them to their kennel does nothing but teaches them to fear your irrational (to them) mood swings.
  2. Rule out any health problems. There are many medical reasons why Dodger suddenly can’t seem to be trusted indoors. Urinary tract infections, kidney disease and new medications are just a few that could result in a loss of control over elimination. Make an appointment with your vet to rule out any of these conditions.
  3. Check the ingredients of your dog food. Dogs, just like people, can have food intolerances whether from the start or developed over time. Take a close look at the ingredients to see if there are common allergens that might be upsetting Dodger’s stomach. Some possible offenders: soy, wheat, preservatives, corn syrup and corn to name a few.
  4. Identify sources of stress. Dogs thrive in predictability and routine. Moving, major life developments (a new boyfriend, baby, sudden changes in your work schedule), can stress Dodger out to the point of having accidents in the home. Do not mistake this stress as “trying to get back at you” or “being jealous of a new baby/boyfriend/roommate”. The canine mind does not work that way. Stress is simply that, stress.
  5. Thoroughly clean old spots where accidents have happened with an enzymatic cleaner. Odor causing proteins from urine and feces stick around a lot longer than we can detect with human noses. However, Dodger knows every spot in the house that has been soiled, triggering his natural tendency to be drawn to the same place to relieve himself again. A product like TURFtastic breaks down those proteins at an enzymatic level, so that even Dodger can’t tell where his favorite spots were!

If all else fails, and you can’t identify a source for this new, unsavory behavior, download our free training guide: The H.A.B.I.T. Technique. It may be time to revisit some back to basics techniques to remind Dodger that a clean home is a happy home.

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