My Puppy Has “Accidents” in the Same Exact Spot in my House, Help Me!

Puppies lack the future thinking of housebroken adult dogs, who, when they feel the sensation that means they need to “go”, they think “I must alert someone to let me out”.  When puppies have that same sensation, they think “I have to go”, followed immediately by “Ahh, that’s better”.  Usually they give brief hints that they need to go out, sniffing and circling being among the more obvious, but if you’re in the kitchen and he’s in the hallway, you’re going to miss his cue.  In order for you to notice, and therefore eliminate any possibility of him continuing to use your hallway as a bathroom, don’t allow the puppy to be out of your sight.  I know, easier said than done, but if you put him on leash and attach it to the belt loop of your pants, you’ll definitely notice his next cue because he’ll be sniffing and circling like a fish on a line – something you’ll surely be aware of.  If you’re not up to being tethered to your puppy, another option is to let him be loose in a confined room with you.  Choosing this option requires you to keep a close eye on him at all times  – accidents happen in a flash and even the most conscientious owner has been distracted by children, the phone, or the next contestant to be eliminated from American Idol.  A good rule of thumb is that if you’re busy and can’t be watching your puppy during the housebreaking phase (it is a phase, I promise) then the puppy should be walked (just in case) and then put in his crate or other small confined area.  Most puppies won’t soil their living quarters, so if he needs to relieve himself, he’ll let you know by barking, scratching or some other equally effective sound effect.  Also, be sure that you’re giving your puppy ample opportunities to go outside.  You may think that since he was outside an hour ago that he can’t possibly need to go out again, but if he’s sniffing and circling, take him out immediately.  By the way, you should never punish a puppy for having an accident in the house.  The blame rests solely on the shoulders of the human in the house who forgot to monitor his charge.  Accidents happen, forgive yourself and clean up the mess.

Which is a lovely segue into the importance of the clean up – if your puppy smells even a hint of his previous transgression, he’ll interpret it to mean that he’s found the indoor bathroom, and since many dogs are able to smell a drop of blood in a gallon of water, you’ll need to use a non-toxic cleaner (I use Fizzion in my house and my training school!) specifically designed to eliminate odors caused by pet accidents.  Or try the old standby of first cleaning up with soap and water and then using a mixture of 25% white vinegar and 75% water as an overspray to mask any lingering odors.   As your puppy gets older, and with close monitoring and strict janitorial standards, he’ll choose the great outdoors as the best place to go.

Kathy Santo
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Author: Jennifer Hamlet

Jennifer is the curator for Ridgewood and would love any feedback or suggestions you may have.

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