Toilet Training Problems in Older Puppies or Adult Dogs

hese notes should be read in conjunction with those on toilet training young puppies.

  1. If an adult dog starts to urinate or defaecate indoors this may be due to a medical problem and you should arrange to have the dog examined by a veterinary surgeon.
  2. If the dog uses a particular place indoors: Deodorise the area (wash with biological washing powder solution then spray with surgical spirits). Allow him to visit the place only under strict supervision. If he shows signs of intending to urinate there again (e.g. sniffing) he should be distracted and taken outside.
  3. Territorial marking:
  4. This is characterised by small amounts of urine being deposited frequently to mark territory, especially if a strange person or dog comes into house. If these events can be anticipated then the dog should be kept out of the way, or kept under strict supervision. Castration may result in some improvement in this behaviour in about 50% of male dogs. An injection can be given which mimics the effects of castration for 3-4 weeks. This can be useful to judge if your dog’s inappropriate behaviour is likely to improve after castration.
  5. If your dog goes to the toilet indoors only when left on his own this could be a sign of separation anxiety. If there are other signs of destructive behaviour or if he barks and cries when left alone then the toilet problem should be considered as an expression of separation anxiety rather than as a problem with toilet training per se.
  6. Messing at night: Do not feed the dog for a few hours before bedtime. Take the dog out last thing before retiring.
  7. If caused by anxiety at being separated from owner it may help to allow the dog upstairs, or to come down to him during the night

Punishment is likely to make matters worse.

Again, if an older dog starts to have difficulty getting through the night without needing to pee then you should seek the advice of your vet as there may be an underlying medical problem.