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Canine Behavior/Senior Female Dog -marking territory?


Hi!  I have a 10 yr. old female miniature poodle that has not been spade.  She lately has been "peeing" on my chair, sometimes while I am in it, and sometimes in her bed at night.  Her bed is located near my bed.  I thought it strange that it does not have a strong urine smell, maybe because it is usually fresh when I find it?  I don't know if she is marking territory or just getting old.  She has never had pups.  She follows me everywhere and has to sit in the chair with me every time I am in it.  Sometimes she gets upset when my son (8yrs) wants to sit with me in the chair and now there isn't room for all 3 of us now since he has gotten bigger.  She plays well with him though.  I thought of starting her on bladder pills and see if that helps.  What I have found are not made for smaller dogs and I will need to cut them in half.  Any suggestions?

Thank you for your time.

Thank you for your question. The first order of business - before you start giving your dog any kind of pill at all - is a vet visit. Whenever there is a sudden change of behavior, it's necessary to rule out medical conditions.

Potential medical causes of inappropriate urine include (this is not an exhaustive list): urinary tract infection, bladder or kidney stones, tumor, senior incontinence, thyroid dysfunction, diabetes.

Potential behavioral causes for inappropriate urine: stress, anxiety, fear. If she has never marked before in her 10 years, I would not expect it to start now.

That she's still in tact (hasn't been spayed) is also a concern. Intact female dogs who have never had puppies and are over 4 years old are prone to a major uterine infection (pyometra) which can be fatal if left untreated for more than a few days.

It is imperative that you have a complete vet exam as soon as possible. This exam should include a urinalysis as well as blood work and probably an in depth thyroid test - the one they send out that looks at 7 different aspects of thyroid function, not the in-house one that looks at just 3 or 4. Issues with thyroid can cause problems all over the body and in nearly every body system.

After you've completed that, and treated any underlying medical condition with this dog, if she continues to urinate inappropriately, please contact me again and we'll address possible behavior causes for the behavior. But until the vet exam determines she's healthy (or treats any medical condition) there is nothing I can offer you without compromising my ethics.

I don't mean to scare you, but I also would hate for you to fail to identify a treatable medical condition and allow it to progress to something that becomes untreatable.

Please followup after the vet exam and let me know what, if anything, is found.

Los Angeles Behavior Specialist

Canine Behavior

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Jody Epstein, MS, CPDT-KA


IF YOU BELIEVE YOUR DOG IS ILL OR INJURED, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LOCAL VETERINARIAN IMMEDIATELY. THIS IS NOT THE FORUM TO ADDRESS URGENT MEDICAL ISSUES. I AM NOT A LICENSED VET AND HAVE NO DIAGNOSTIC SKILLS. ***I have been answering questions on All Experts for over 8 years now. I enjoy being able to offer assistance in this forum. I do need to be clear, though. If you’re looking for free advice about a specific behavior question, you MUST submit your question to me via All Experts. If you bypass All Experts and write to me directly through my website, I will ask you to submit via All Experts. On the flip side, if you’re local to Los Angeles and you wish to speak to me privately about an in person consultation, please go through my website. I appreciate your assistance in keeping my volunteer work on the volunteer site.*** I can answer questions about the following canine behavior issues: obedience, timid/fearful & fear-based aggression, nuisance behaviors, families that are expanding with either new human or new animal members and many other issues. If you have potty training questions please first read my trio of blogs at If you still have questions after reading the blogs you can post your specific questions here. PLEASE be as specific as possible when asking a question. Give me a detailed example of the situation - dog's behavior, body language, circumstances surrounding the issue, what the consequences are (another dog's response, your response), etc. I can only provide insight if I can get a picture of the whole scenario. If I ask for further details, please provide them. In person I would normally observe for at least 90 minutes to assess the situation and the dynamics before offering tools and suggestions to modify it. In writing it is ever so much more difficult. Thank you for your participation in the process.


I have been a professional obedience trainer for 9 years, and specializing in behavior modification for 8 years. I have owned dogs my entire life. I own my own dog training and behavior modification business called Nutz About Mutz.

I am a Certified Profession Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA), #2133301 ; I am a member in good standing with the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), #77763 ; I am an AKC certified Canine Good Citizen evaluator (CGC), #71253

Publications ; ; Multiple articles in the local pet magazine Pet Press (found across Southern California)

I have a masters degree (MS) in Animals and Public Policy, with a minor in Animal Behavior, from Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. I also have 3 years of graduate education in Animal Behavior and Learning from UM-Missoula and UL-Lafayette. I continue to educate myself to canine-specific behavior through extensive reading, online interactive workshops, vidoes and attending canine behavior conferences, workshops and seminars. Beginning in March, 2017, I will be the Behavior & Training Manager at Second Chance Center for Animals in Flagstaff, AZ.

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