Canine Behavior/Dachshund Urinating Behavior
I have an 8 month old Miniature Dachshund named Charlie. Charlie started having urinating issues in May. He was fully potty trained at about 4 months. I have had him since he was 8 weeks old. I have taken him to the vet and he has come back with a clean bill of health so there are not physical issues going on. The vet even did a blood and urine workup on him just to be safe.
Charlie has started urinating on EVERYTHING. The couch, carpets, our beds and even me at one point. He even started urinating in his own bed. I have had to keep him in "his room" because as soon as you walk away he urinates on something. "His room" consists of his kennel inside and a small baby gated area that is connected to the doggie door so he can go outside as well. Since I started having to keep him in his room, his bad behavior has increased. He has started barking excessively and marking things in addition to urinating, as well as refusing to walk well on a leash. He used to be so well behaved and had basic command training down to a T. Charlie is not a happy camper, but I am not sure why this behavior started or how to fix it. There have been no new additions to the family or drastic changes in our schedules. I talked to a trainer, and we are going to start with some anxiety classes, but I get a feeling this is a serious behavioral issue and not something a basic trainer is qualified to handle. Charlie NEVER urinates on something in front of you, it is always when you are not in the room. For example, I was watching a movie and he was curled up on my lap. I moved him from my lap to the couch cushion and went to the kitchen. I was gone a few minutes and he urinated on the couch cushion I was sitting on but still went and curled back up on the cushion I set him on when I went to the kitchen.
I love Charlie to death but I have had to replace my couch and now my bed because I can not get the smell of his urine out. I have used an enzyme shampoo that his vet recommended for the couch and carpets but it isn't working. The smell just keeps coming back. I don't want to get rid of him, but this has become a serious problem and I am coming close to my wits end. I have researched the Dachshund books I have, but none of them cover as drastic a situation as this. The only things that come close are potty training and marking behaviors.
Thank you in advance for any suggestions or help.
This is a breed INFAMOUS for house training failures and difficulty. But Charlie is not failing in his house training, he's desperately making social hierarchy statements and isolating him is making it far worse.
First: Charlie should not be confined to a small space but, rather the kitchen (with baby gates cheaply available at Walmart), with a comfy bed, water and a diversionary toy (only when you are not at home) such as a buster cube that dispenses a small portion of his daily diet when he rolls it around. If you demonstrate the toy to him, he will very quickly get the idea. Only give it to him when you are leaving the house.
Under other circumstances, put Charlie on house tab (very lightweight leash) and use belly bands:
I'm assuming he has been neutered??? If not, do so immediately. Marking behavior is a sign of anxiety but also can be the result of the scent of bitches in estrus (which the dog can scent five miles away!) Discuss with your veterinarian a short period of progesterone treatment to assist in the extinguishing of any male hormones that might be contributing to this problem.
Reinforce your house training: start over. Take him out, when he urinates say (calmly and quietly) "go pee, good dog" then pop a tiny treat in his mouth when he's done. If you find he has marked indoors while you were gone, IGNORE IT. Do not address him because of it and do not clean it up in his presence. With the house tab, and keeping him in sight of you in the same room when you are at home, you can easily (if he's leg lifting) see him "sidling up" to something to urinate on it. Clap your hands, sing a song, whistle...do anything that will interfere, get his attention, but not frighten him, then happily pick up the house tab and take him outdoors for urination.
This isn't the end of the world. This is a very young dog at a very vulnerable age, in development biologically (brain), psychologically (fear phase) and emotionally (social hierarchy. Let's try this benign approach for the next three weeks. Question your trainer's credentials, ask for references, check them. If you are satisfied, employ him/her so long as YOU ARE NEVER UNCOMFORTABLE WITH THE DOG'S BEHAVIOR IN HER/HIS PRESENCE OR HER/HIS ADVICE. Talk to the veterinarian about progesterone treatment (can't hurt).
If the dog persists, we will put him on Nothing In Life Is Free. This is a radical approach for so young a dog but it will give him a clear signal of his place in your social hierarchy. NEVER reprimand him for his "mistake", to him it is not a "mistake". Never get angry (watch your body language). Make him part of your family, do not isolate him, it's making this worse.