We all love our dogs very much. In fact, we love them so much that we are sometimes able to overlook some of their bad behavior.
However, if your dog starts to pee on your nice and expensive furniture, it is definitely time to draw a line in the sand.
To help you do this, in this article we will discuss the topic in some detail.
First we’ll explain some of the primary reasons dogs tend to pee on furniture, followed by a list of tried-and-true tactics for addressing those reasons and stopping the unwanted conduct in its tracks.
Why Are My Dogs Peeing on the Furniture?
As difficult as it may be to believe, when a dog pees on the furniture he/she is not trying to make you angry, nor is it a sign that the dog has irreconcilable problems.
In fact, there can be many reasons why a dog starts—or continues—to urinate on your plush sofa, chairs, or even your bed, and not one of these reasons is beyond fixing with the proper care and training.
In this section, we will go over a small list of explanations for this unwanted conduct.
Your Dog Is Anxious
Just like their human counterparts, dogs can suffer from extreme anxiety and nervousness.
But unlike their human owners, dogs often express that anxiety by nervously tinkling wherever and whenever the mood may strike, including those instances in which your dog is on or near your furniture.
So what exactly causes anxiety in dogs?
Here’s a very short list of potential explanations:
- New surroundings. Have your recently moved from one house to another? Did you arrange the furniture in such a way that it might confuse your dog? Believe it or not, any such changes can bring about short-term or even sustained anxiety. Just like you felt nervous or anxious when you left middle school for high school, changes in a dog’s surroundings or in his routine can be major triggers for anxious behavior.
- New addition to the family. The birth of a child, a new visitor or guest in the house or the addition of a new pet into your home can all play tricks with the psyche of your dog, which in turn can lead to anxious urination. Anything that is new or out of the ordinary for a dog can potentially cause this behavior, especially in those dogs who are predisposed to such conditions.
- Separation anxiety. The final type of anxiety we will talk about is separation anxiety. Dogs are pack animals by nature. Thus, they are happiest and most content when their human pack is around them, even if that pack consists of just a single owner. When you leave the house, maybe to go to work or to school, it can trigger a lot of anxiety in your dog—so much that he/she might express that anxiety through unwelcome urination on your things.
Some Medical Conditions May Be to Blame
Medical conditions and/or age may be causing incontinence in your dog, which may explain why he is suddenly peeing on items that once were unthinkable.
These conditions, including old age, diabetes, kidney disease, bladder problems and certain urinary tract infections, are, believe it or not, the very same conditions that can cause incontinence in adults.
Ask any 60-year old man if he is still peeing the same way he did in his 20s and you might hear some discouraging answers.
The same is true with dogs.
The good news is that many of these conditions can be addressed through medication, and those that cannot are mitigable through certain behavioral training.
Dogs Are Territorial
Dogs—especially male dogs—are territorial by nature.
One of the ways they express this trait is by peeing on objects, even in instances when the “urge” to pee is simply not there.
Dogs mark their spots (including furniture) with urine—a strong-smelling waste product—to a) assert “territorial control” over that item, and to b) enable them to find that spot in the future.
As you will read about in the sections to follow, there are many ways to curtail this territory-marking behavior, including having your dog spayed or neutered.
Your Dog Is Simply Not Potty Trained
When people bring a new dog into the house, they cannot—and should not—assume that the dog is potty trained, even if the dog is an adult.
Alerting their owner that they need to go outside and pee is not an innate behavior, which means dogs are not born with this sense.
Instead, it is a learned behavior that needs to be taught and consistently reinforced.
There are a myriad of strategies for properly potty training a dog, and some work better or worse depending on the age, breed and temperament of the animal.
We will discuss a few of these tactics in the “how-to” section to follow.
Innate Submissive Behavior
One of the behaviors that is innate in some dogs is submissiveness, and unfortunately, many dogs express this by peeing.
If a new guest or pet is introduced into the home—someone or something unfamiliar to your dog—he or she may hide in another room before finally coming out to inspect things.
Your dog will probably do some sniffing, and some may simply rollover and wet themselves in submission, even if they are occupying your nice leather couch.
Fortunately, with many of the steps discussed in the next section, you may be able to curtail or completely end this type of conduct for good.
How to Prevent Dogs from Peeing on Furniture
As you have read above, there are literally countless reasons why your dog may pee on your furniture, but the ones we have discussed here are easily the most attributable.
So now that we have adequately answered the “why” question, let us now discuss the “how” by outlining some of the ways we can stop the behavior from happening inside your home.
Potty Train and House Train Your Dog
If your dog or puppy is new to your home, you cannot just assume the dog is housebroken.
Instead, you must introduce your method of potty training from the moment you get the dog.
Because if you allow bad potty behavior to go on for too long, trying to break your new dog of those habits will become even more challenging.
There are books upon books and articles upon articles on “How to potty train a dog.”
Therefore, choose a method that works best for you. One of the most tried-and-true approaches for doing this is crate training.
Purchase a crate that is large enough to enable your dog to stand, sit and lay comfortably, but not so big that it allows him to do his business inside the crate.
Several times a day, especially after meals, take him out of the crate and move him outside immediately.
Watch him carefully until he relieves himself, then immediately take him back inside and into the crate.
Allow him to become familiar with the home’s exit point—where he will leave to go urinate.
Over the course of a week or two, give him more and more time outside of the crate during the day, and take him outside several times a day.
If he has an indoor accident, recrate him immediately and start the process over.
This consistent and persistent type of crate training is one of the best ways to house train your new dog.
Once your dog is allowed to spend most of the day inside your home, it is crucial that he understand the places that are off-limits.
This should include all furniture, especially if the dog has had accidents there before.
As much as you might like having your dog beside you in bed or on the couch, this type of freedom can sometimes lead to accidental and unpleasant consequences.
Get Your Dog Neutered or Spayed
It is not unusual for non-neutered and non-spayed dogs to continue marking their territory, even after they have been properly house trained.
Unfortunately, that could result in some wet and unpleasant furniture.
In cases such as these, neutering or spaying is the way to go.
Neutered and spayed dogs are far less likely to exhibit territorial behavior, making them calmer and better behaved dogs in general.
In fact, most experts agree that “fixing” your dog is “the best way to control unwanted indoor urination.”
Clean the Pee Spot Quickly
In cases where a dog is marking your furniture as territory, it is vital that you clean the spot immediately once you remove the dog from the area.
Dogs have a very powerful and discernable sense of smell.
Thus, if you allow the stain to set in, your dog will no doubt return to that area again and again, continuing the same conduct.
Clean the spot with hot water and an unscented detergent, or a furniture-cleaning product that is recommended for this purpose.
Avoid cleaners that are ammonia-based, as your dog may mistake that scent for urine.
Take Frequent Walks
Be sure to make time for a few walks with your dog during the day.
Not only will this allow him an opportunity to relieve himself, it can also make your dog healthier and calmer in the long run.
Walks are especially important if you live in an area with little to no outdoor space, such as in an apartment.
Address Anxiety and other Medical Problems
Last but not least, some dogs pee on furniture because they are anxious, and some are simply incontinent due to age or medical problems.
Be sure to discuss all your dog’s symptoms and unwanted behaviors with your vet.
In many cases, medication and treatment can address and even cure the underlying cause of the problem.
As you can see, there are several things that can cause your dog to start peeing on the furniture.
Finding out the reason why your pup is doing this is how you work on stopping it from happening.
We’ve offered several ways for you to deal with this problem, so hopefully your furniture stay pee-free in the future!