Why is my Dog Having Accidents in the House After Moving?
As a general rule of thumb,anytime unexplained bladder or bowel problems take place in a previously house trained dog, it would be appropriate to assume that this may not stem from a possible behavioral problem because there are many medical causes for accidents in the house. For instance, if you are mostly seeing inappropriate urination you may be dealing with a dog urinary tract infection, decreased muscle tone of the urethral sphincter, bladder stones and much more. If you are seeing inappropriate defecation, you may be dealing with parasites, bowel disorders and more.
As much as you may find it odd for Rover to develop a medical condition right now, keep in mind that stress does make a dog much more vulnerable to illnesses. As the saying goes "a healthy mind in a healthy body" applies to dogs as well.
After seeing your vet and ruling out medical problems, you can then approach the inappropriate elimination by treating it is a behavioral problem. Stress can be a contributing factor for both urinary and bowel changes in a dog.
For instance, some dogs when stressed may start "marking" in the home. These outputs of urine are often targeted to objects that are the source of stress such as the bed where new guests have been sleeping, luggage and other areas frequented by "new" people. The purpose of this form of urination is the dog's desire to make things 'smell familiar again". In the same way, stress can cause inappropriate defecation . It is not unusual for a well house-trained dog to have an accident in a new home briefly after moving.. Scolding the dog for these accidents will only worsen the anxiety the dog feels. So how to deal with this problem? Here are few tips:
Management: in this case, this entails supervising your dog as much as possible and preventing rehearsal of the unwanted soiling behavior. In other words, keep her on leash and manage the issue since you are better capable of monitoring her. Feeding her at the same time each day will also help since this makes her bowel movement more predictable and "on schedule". Watching your dog for pre-potty signs (sniffing, whining, circling, appearing distracted) will also help you get a bit of advanced notice so you can take her promptly out as needed.
Invest in a DAP diffuser. these can be found in your local pet store. DAP diffusers contain the synthetic version of a naturally occurring pheromone known as "Dog Appeasing Pheromone." which is meant to induce feelings of well-being and comfort .French veterinarian Patrick Pageat felt the use of such pheromones might help calm stressed adult dogs. You can find DAP under the form of sprays, diffusers and collars.
Find out if there are noises that are stressing your dog. If your dog is reactive towards a certain noise, you can try putting your dog in a room where the noise is less intense (desensitization) and feed a treat every time your dog hears the noise (counterconditioning)
Also, consider that some dogs tend to "regress" in their house training habits when they move to a new home. This occurs because dogs are not the best animals in generalizing. We saw this before, but it is worth repeating. If your dog was used to going potty in a special place before and now there is a new place, she may have difficulty adjusting. Make sure you offer plenty of opportunities for going potty successfully outside. When she does, immediately throw a party, praise and give her a treat. A great way to help a dog generalize potty areas is to put the act of going potty on cue. To learn more about this read my article" Training your dog to go potty on command"
If you clean up a mess inside, make sure you use a good odor neutralizer such as Nature's Miracle or any product with enzymes. These products remove traces of odor. If your dog smells areas on your carpet where she previously soiled, these areas are reminding her that those are the right place to go. Soon a vicious circle forms and she will continue to use those areas because they smell like "bathroom". Investing in a black light may be helpful in this case: the black light will identify soiled areas on the carpet so you clean them properly.
It's a good idea to provide a good exercise regimen to help take the edge off and calm your dog down down a bit.
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Disclaimer: this article is not to be used as a substitute for veterinary advice. If your dog is sick, please consult with a veterinarian for a thorough hands on examination, assessment and diagnosis. By reading this article you accept this disclaimer.