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Canine Behavior/1 year old peeing in house


QUESTION: We have had our German Shepherd for a year now.  He was one in November of 2015. We also have an 8 year old Pomeranian who we had before our German Shepherd.  We tend to keep them separated because he German Shepherd loves to "pick" on the Pomeranian.  When we leave, our German Shepherd is free to roam in the Dining Room, Kitchen and hallway.  For the past couple months it seems that when we leave if only outside for a few minutes our Shepherd pees under and on our Dining Room table!  He has done this in our bedroom also while we are in the house.  I'm not sure if its because he is jealous of our other dog or what but it's getting a bit annoying because he was completely fine before!

ANSWER: If your GSD is not neutered, DO IT ASAP. He is not urinating from lack of house training, he is most likely marking.   If he is neutered, he is still marking but it will be easier to remedy if he is neutered.  Once a dog acquires about 18 months of age, he will remain "intact" behaviorally if not neutered until then.

I can't understand the "pick on Pomeranian" part of your post since you do not explain it.  I have no idea if the Pom is male or female, neutered or spayed, either.

The GSD must be prevented from having "free run of the house".  He is too young for such a responsibility; he is confused and anxious regarding the Pom; and he may be developing some separation anxiety because of these two factors.

Confine him to the kitchen.  DO NOT allow him into your bedroom at all for any reason (there is no reason he needs to be in your bedroom at any time).  Regarding urinating ON the dining room table: this is extremely aberrant behavior and I believe is a strong statement of social hierarchy (he is literally urinating where YOU eat).  The GSD is highly intelligent; this breed requires a knowledgeable owner, a great deal of socialization, and a high degree of positive reinforcement training as well as "games" that utilize the breed's skill set:  "find it", "go to it", etc.  You can find free training advice on Dr. Ian Dunbar's website:  He has an entire You Tube video course on Sirius Dog Training available from that site:

BE CERTAIN (since anyone can contribute to these on You Tube) the information you are watching comes ONLY from Dr. Dunbar or his affiliates.

Now:  feed your GSD UNDER the dining room table (twice daily: every dog should be fed twice daily).  Be certain the food you are offering is of the highest quality kibble available; consult your veterinarian!

When confining him to the kitchen, make no big deal about it.  Purchase a Buster Cube or other such "toy" into which you can place a small portion of his kibble.  Make it available to him ONLY when he is confined to the kitchen.  This creates of the kitchen area a pleasant confinement, not punishing at all.

Let's do this for one month:  feed him under the dining room table (where he has chosen to urinate); confine him to kitchen with special "toy"; never, ever for any reason scold, punish or bring to his attention any urine you find when you return home; reinforce outdoor urination with praise and small high value food reward (string cheese, chicken hot dog, small pieces only).  In one month, if the situation has not improved use FOLLOWUP FEATURE please to advise me and I will put your dog on a Behavior Modification regimen to reduce his separation anxiety, promote you in social hierarchy and hopefully resolve the problem.  Meanwhile: you must engage this dog's cognition by teaching him how to please you and how to "work".

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QUESTION: Thank you!  We will try the eating under dining table....he doesn't pee on top of it, just under and the legs.

He runs free in the Kitchen, Dining, hallway brcause he is a guard dog also.

Our Pom is a neutered male.  Colt, the German Shepherd wants to play with him, go outside when the Pom goes to pee but he thumps him hard with his nose.  

Thanks again for the suggestions!  We can hope he eventually learns and stops because at this point we will not get him neutered.

IF you want this marking behavior to stop, YOU HAVE TO NEUTER THIS DOG.  As for being a 'guard dog', unless a dog is exquisitely trained by a true professional, no dog is a 'guard dog' and such dogs do not belong in the average pet home.  The presence of the dog in your home should be sufficient to keep away all wrong doers BUT, remember this: someone who knows you have a large dog in your home, but is intent on getting in, is going to kill the dog first.

"Bumping" the Pom "hard" with his nose does not indicate aggression toward your Pom.  I suggest you go out with both of them on separate leads, walk parallel (allow your partner or a friend to hold the Pom's leash) for at least once a day.  Such parallel walking allows the dogs to become familiar with one another and should spare the Pom the rude "poking" (most likely out of intense curiosity, this GSD might never have seen such a small dog).

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.


I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.


30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

Member, APDT (UK); Psychologists in Ethical Treatment with Animals

Harcourt Brace Learning Direct: "The Business of Dog Training" "The Fail Safe Dog: Brain Training, not Pain Training"

Ph.D., UC Berkeley

Past/Present Clients
Board of Directors: Northeast Dog Rescue Connection; The Dog Project; Sav-A-Dog Foundation; etc. Pro Bono counselor: Little Shelter Humane Society My practice is presently limited to forensics. I diagnose cause of dog bite, based upon testimony before the Court, for attorneys and insurance companies litigating dog bites, including fatal injuries. I also do pro bono work for bona fide rescue organizations, humane societies, et al, regarding such analysis in an effort to obtain release for dogs being held for death in municipal shelters in the US.

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