Anyone Can Train Their Dog – May 2012

Anyone Can Train Their Dog

By Art Hess

No Secrets


A while back I received a phone call from a lady who had a dog management question relative to transporting two dogs north. We discussed her questions and when we finished she said her friend had said, “If you talk to Art could you ask him about my problem with Chico?”

It turns out Chico is a four- year-old miniature Schnauzer. The friend has had the dog since a puppy and they live alone with no other pets. The problem is the dog has recently urinated several times on the pillows on her bed.

I asked if the dog had any signs of incontinence or appeared to strain while urinating or dribble following urinating. These can be signs of kidney problems and should be addressed by your Vet immediately. The answer was no to these questions which I suspected because the pattern of the urinating she suggested is almost always a psychological problem not physical.

I went on to explain that when dogs start to suddenly urinate in the house when they had no previous history the usual cause is a change to the dog’s environment. Had there been house guests? Had someone visited with another pet that had the run of the house? Had furniture been re-arranged or replaced? You see dogs are not particularly comfortable with changes in their lives much like many people.

They know where things are and they even have a tendency to “mark” the same trees or posts when out on their daily walks. When their environment is altered they will go about “reclaiming “ their space and possessions. If a visiting dog laid down by their master’s chair for an extended time and left a scent on the chair leg it is conceivable that a dog would feel he had to “mark” over the other smell in order to reclaim his chair and space. When your dog insists on marking every tree, bush, and post on the daily walk, he is telling the world of other dogs that he has “passed this way” and is leaving his mark.

This is a roundabout way of explaining to the lady possibly why the dog urinated on the pillow. If he was accustomed to sleeping in that area and for whatever reason he was denied that privilege then he was simply reclaiming his territory.

At this point the lady let out a shriek and laugh and proclaimed, “I knew she was seeing a new fellow, but I didn’t think she was sleeping with him.”



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