My Cocker Has Suddenly Become 'Un-housebroken'

by Gina

Wet And Sandy Golden Cocker Spaniel Sitting On The Beach

Wet And Sandy Golden Cocker Spaniel Sitting On The Beach

We adopted a 3-year-old male almost 6 months ago, after the passing of our 11-year-old. The cocker rescue location was hesitant to adopt him out because he had some aggression issues (fear-based not alpha based).

He was well house trained and we felt that we could handle him and, to date, we have.

In six months he now allows us in his space, can be clipped and bathed without a muzzle, is civil with cats, and no longer resource guards.

HOWEVER, within the last two weeks, he has started urinating and defecating in our living room or the boys' bedroom.

He exhibits no stomach upset or illness that would cause this. Nor has he had a change in diet. We take him outside and he stands or plays where he used to do his business. It's like all of a sudden he's forgotten that the potty is outside and instead thinks it has moved to the living room.

This dog has made HUGE strides in social behaviour. I just can't understand what is causing this issue now.

Thanks, Gina

Reply from Pauline (Web Owner)

Has he been neutered? He may be marking his territory - it's interesting that he's urinating in the boy's bedroom.

If you are confident that your Cocker Spaniel has no kidney or urinary problems, then this may be a behavioural problem.

Have you recently moved home? Have there been any significant changes in the household? Changes in domestic circumstances can cause upset and result in behavioural problems.

Whatever the reason, I would recommend that you begin re house-training him - see our advice on potty training. Let him know that you won't tolerate his new 'misbehaviour'.

Make sure you remove any scent of urine by using a proper enzyme cleaner as normal cleaning products will simply mask the smell from humans. Your dog will still be able to smell his urine which will encourage him to go there again.

You can buy a good urine cleanser from any good pet store. Once you've done this, keep the boys' bedroom door firmly closed.

I'd also recommend you crate him when you're unable to supervise him as dogs very rarely toilet in their own 'den'. You'll find advice and information on crate training your puppy here.

Best of luck!

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Trust Your Dog
by: Suzette

I agree with everything Pauline said. Also, what I found with my Cocker Spaniel, is that she responds to a specific sound to help her go to the bathroom.

I can't whistle, but I say 'weeeeee' a couple of times in different pitches. Importantly, I have a word , ie 'home' which indicates to her we are going inside, and I find that she then knows to do whatever she needs before we enter the building.

So decide on a routine, and stick to it - your dog will fit in. I find my Sally will sit right in front of me when she needs the bathroom with a distinctive look in her eyes - pay attention and you will learn to recognise the 'look'.

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