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QUESTION: My dog is house trained but will go to the bathroom in the house when I am not home. She is crate trained and is fine with no bedding in the crate. If i put bedding she will pee on it. She has also peed in her pet bed where she sleeps a few times. I dong understand this because dogs aren't supposed to go in the place they sleep. I think it is because I don't notice her in the act and she knows she can "get away" with doing so. I would really like to be able to leave her roam of the house when I leave, I hate having her locked up. She is very well behaved other than this, she wont get into any thing when I leave, only pee ( or poop). I do not think it is separation problems, only that when she isn't caught in the act she has learned that she can get away with it.

ANSWER: Carrie, marking beds is sometimes a sign of anxiety.  Does she tend to be a nervous or fearful dog?  How old is she?  How much outside activity does she get - walks, sniffing time, training, physical and mental exercise?

Take up all bedding for a month.  If you don't want to crate her, get an exercise pen or create a dog-safe room, like a laundry room, closed off with a baby gate.  Never close the door on a dog in a small room.  

Once she's gone a month without marking her bed, re-introduce a mat or rug that doesn't resemble anything she's had before.  Allow her access to lie down on it only when you can monitor, like in the living room when you're home.  Feed her meals on it and if possible, put her water bowl on it.

If she can go a couple of weeks without peeing on it, put it in her confinement area when you leave for a short period of time.  In other words, you're going to very gradually introduce something that resembled the beds that she's peed on, but create a new, positive association with it.  

Please let me know if you have any questions or need clarification on anything I've recommended.  Good luck.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you!! No I dont find her to be fearful or anxious... Maybe when I leave?  (She doesn't really bark ever) She is a 5yr old beagle/bulldog mix. ( terrible mix haha, after having golden retrievers) She is definitely a brat! We go for a 20 min walk in the morning, evening, and before bed. (Every time I take her out to potty, I live in an apartment so she is always on a leash). We also go to the dog park on sundays for exercise. Thank you I will gate her in the kitchen and see how she does. I've never had a problem training the goldens, she is just a brat and knows she can get away with things if i dont see her doing it.

What do you think about setting up a video when I leave and watch to be able to catch her in the act. But still not sure how I would act on the punishment if i am not there. I refuse to use a shock collar. I am all about positive reinforcement. I will start in the kitchen and see how that goes! Thanks again!!!

Answer
If you have the capability, I would video.  It will give you a good idea of whether she's anxious when you leave - pacing, whining and urinating within the first half hour are sure signs.  If that's the case, then you deal with the anxiety and not worry about punishing.  Feel free to let me know how that goes.

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Barb Gadola, CPDT-KA, KPA CTP

Expertise

I can answer questions related to problem dog behaviors, teaching polite manners, puppy raising, and any type of training-related issues. My website page, www.DistinctiveDogTraining.com/resources offers a wealth of information on training and behavior issues as well.

Experience

I've been training dogs since 1989 and own and operate Distinctive Dog Training LLC in Keller TX. I specialize in providing practical and positive solutions for families through personalized training in their home.

Organizations
Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner
Victoria Stilwell Positively! Licensed Trainer
Association of Pet Dog Trainers
Association of Animal Behavior Professionals
Truly Dog Friendly Coalition

Education/Credentials
BS in Education
Graduate work in Behavioral Psychology
Karen Pryor Academy Dog Training Program
Certified Professional Dog Trainer

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