Understanding Dog Incontinence

There can be several causes of dog incontinence. A dog can have one of several urinary tract problems or it can be a behavioral issue with several different possible meanings. It can also be a basic training issue. In any case, it's important to try to get to the reason for the incontinence and fix that versus just punishing the dog. Here are some of potential reasons behind dog incontinence as well as some ideas for resolving the issue.

Training Issues When a Dog Is in a New Home

When your dog is a puppy or new to your home, he may have accidents. Even moving to a new location can trigger old incontinence issues in a dog. Dogs have accidents if the training is inconsistent or they have too much time unsupervised. It's important to be really clear with your dog about where they should eliminate and to have one designated area outside or on a training pad.

Sometimes dog's have accidents if they're not let out soon enough after eating. Plan to take him out within 15 minutes of eating. During training, have him in a crate or under your direct supervision if he hasn't eliminated for 15 minutes. This way, you can avoid accidents or catch them right as they are happening and correct the behavior by taking the dog to the designated toileting area.

Other Training Problems

Your dog might still have accidents even if you think your training program is airtight. It only takes a few minutes of poor supervision outside a crate for a dog to have an accident. If you don't catch him in the act, he won't know what he's done wrong. Punishing him after the fact will likely lead to more accidents because he'll be hesitant to eliminate in front of you. If you focus on rewarding the desired use of the toileting spot, you'll teach him what you want.

Another training mistake is to use commands that are too complicated. Keep commands to one or two words. Make sure anyone who cares for the dog uses the same words.

Anxiety, Excitement and Submission

Many dogs can urinate when they are anxious, overly excited, or as a way of showing the alpha that they know who's boss. Some dogs will do this with any person or other dog they encounter. If your dog tends to become overly stimulated or anxious, help him stay calm by being calm yourself. Maintain your contact and alpha position with him by using commands and affirmations in new situations that might lead to accidents.

Physical Causes

A dog who has accidents may be experiencing a urinary tract problem. Dogs with a urinary tract infection may urinate in the improper place out of a sense of urgency due to pressure on the bladder or urinary tract. A dog may also begin to associate pain and discomfort with the designated toileting spot if he has an infection. He'll thus want to urinate elsewhere. Seek medical care and then focus on rewards and soothing, affirming talk to help the dog readjust to the proper toileting area.