Sunday, December 12, 2010

Canine Elimination Problems

According to Karen Overall in her book, Clinical Behavioral Medicine for Small Animals, there are 11 possible reasons for a dog’s potty training to break down. They are:
  1. A medical condition
  2. Incomplete potty training
  3. Lack of access to an appropriate potty place
  4. Surface preference (will go on grass but not on pavement; the carpet but not grass)
  5. Anxiety, most often separation anxiety
  6. Marking
  7. Submissive urination
  8. Excitement urination
  9. Elimination associated with fear
  10. Attention-seeking
  11. Geriatric incontinence
When your dog has a second potty accident in the house, do two things: 1) start journaling the accidents (what, when, where) and 2) make an appointment with your vet. Ruling out common medical conditions like urinary tract infections and gastrointestinal issues will help you determine if the issue is behavioral in origin.

If your vet says there is no medical condition involved, determine – by observation and journaling – which of the other 10 possibilities might be playing a part in your dog’s inappropriate elimination. Engage the services of a dog trainer or behaviorist if you are unable to correct the problem.

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