It’s happening again. You thought your poodle’s potty-training days were behind him, and he knew that the bathroom was outside and outside only. Suddenly, you find pee on your furniture and the floor, and you feel like you are back to square one. If this is your situation, do not be discouraged. There are a few simple things you can do to stop your poodle from peeing in the house.
Owners can stop their dogs from urinating in the home by spaying or neutering and providing proper supervision and containment training. Poodles pee as a result of illness, anxiety, marking, or urinary incontinence. While not uncommon in dogs, urinary problems can indicate more serious medical or behavioral problems.
In addition to these steps, knowing why your poodle is peeing in the house can be a key component in employing the most effective ways to help your poodle stop and get back on track. As always, consistency in training is key. Take a look below to find out some practical steps you can take if you notice this behavior.
Stopping a Poodle from Peeing in the House
While this behavior and what seems like a potty-training regression can be frustrating, it is very important to be patient with your pup. Knowing what is triggering him to mark his territory is a very important first step.
Five options for addressing and fixing your poodle’s peeing include:
1. Spaying and Neutering Your Poodle
The number one preventative measure to keeping your poodle from peeing in the house is to get him fixed. Poodles who are not fixed mark to seek out mates and let them know they are ready for mating. To avoid this, the best thing you can do is make an appointment with a vet and get your poodle neutered or spayed as soon as it is safe for them.
Note: While the traditional age for getting your pup fixed is between 6-9 months old, the ASPCA states it is safe for dogs to be fixed as early as eight weeks old as long as there are no other health issues that may complicate the procedure.
2. Establish Dominance
Secondly, it is important that your poodle knows you are the boss of the house. If they feel that there is no authority figure around, they will take up the role themselves, leading to the marking behavior.
Establishing dominance will involve some training on your part and requires firmness (not harshness). It can include such things as being the first to enter and leave your house, requiring your dog to stay at your heels when you take them for walks, and expecting commands such as “sit” or “stay” to be followed before offering them food, treats, or toys.
3. Clean Messes Using an Enzyme Cleaner
It’s no secret that a dog’s sense of smell is much better than ours. If your poodle has peed in your house to establish dominance, and you use a standard cleaner, he will still be able to smell his own scent and think he in charge. This will throw a wrench in your retraining efforts.
An Enzyme cleaner, however, is strong enough to effectively cover the scent from your poodle’s sense of super-smell, and you can start fresh with training. Additionally, enzyme cleaners can be found at affordable prices in a variety of stores and online stores.
I use Rocco & Roxie Supply Professional Strength Stain and Odor Eliminator. Check out the current price and more information on Amazon here.
4. Supervision and Containment
Another great, if somewhat time-intensive, way to break your poodle of marking up the house is through supervision and containment. Like it sounds, it involves keeping a close eye on your poodle so you can notice any signs of marking the area around him.
There are two ways to discover signs of marking in poodles:
Whenever possible, tethering should be the go-to training method. Tethering involves keeping your poodle on a short leash and close by you at all times. keeping your poodle close by means that you will likely notice immediately when your dog is about to start peeing.
You can distract and/or startle him out of doing this by making a loud noise, saying no, and taking him immediately outside—thus reinforcing the idea that pee belongs outdoors.
If you do not have the time to tether your poodle, then the next best thing you can do is create a restricted area specifically for your poodle. Depending on the size of your poodle, this space can be a crate or an entire room.
Put pee pads, food, water, a bed, and his favorite toys in this confined space with him. Poodles know their own items and won’t feel the need to mark them. Instead, they will use the pee pads and re-learn that pee belongs in a specific space—and not all over the house.
5. Reinforce Good Behavior
The final way you can stop your poodle from peeing in the house is by reinforcing good behavior, which boils down to being consistent with the steps above. Take your dog out regularly—be it every half hour or every hour—and at the same time in the morning. He will learn a routine, and it will become a habit.
When you take your poodle out to pee, bring them to an area that you have designated for them every time. Be firm about not letting him pee on the way, even if he is outside, as not doing so may confuse your dog.
Perhaps the most effective aspect of reinforcing the behavior is rewarding your poodle when they do pee outside in their designated area of the yard. Purchase some special treats that they do not usually get specifically for this purpose. Rewarded poodles are happy poodles, and they will continue the rewarded behavior.
Why Do Young Poodles Pee in the House?
If a young poodle is suddenly peeing in the house after months of being potty trained, the most likely reason is that they are marking their territory. Marking behaviors can result for the following many reasons.
The most common reasons young poodles pee in the house are::
- To let other dogs know they are in charge: If you have more than one dog in your home, they will try and establish an order of hierarchy. One way they do this is by peeing or marking the area around them.
- To let other dogs know they are ready to mate: Regardless of whether they are male or female, dogs will urinate to signal that they are ready to mate. An un-neutered male will do this mainly when an unspayed female is in the house or nearby, but a female will do it whether there is an un-neutered male nearby or not.
- In response to new people in the home who “don’t belong”: This can be applied to visitors or new people living in the house. Whether your great aunt is coming to visit, if you are a college student or a single person looking for a roommate, or if you will be bringing a new baby in the home soon, this is something you should be prepared for.
- To let the other household members—human or canine—know that they are the alpha: If your poodle is the only dog in the house and you start finding pee on your pillow, bed, or in random spots throughout the house, your poodle has likely gotten it into their head that they are top dog. Their marking is both a way to let you know that they are in charge and let others (dog or human) know that you are theirs.
Why Older Dogs Pee in the House
While marking behavior is common in poodles, there are some instances when your poodle pees in the house, and it may be beyond their control. One such reason is the age of your dog. If you notice that your older poodle is suddenly peeing in your home, consider taking him to the vet for a proper diagnosis.
Older poodles may pee in the house because of:
There are many possibilities and physical ailments that become more common as your poodle ages that may be leading him to make messes in the house. Whether or not you can stop him from peeing in your house depends on what is causing this behavior in the first place.
This chart shows common illnesses and their symptoms that can cause poodles to pee in the house:
|Diabetes||* Infections (such as ear infections) that keep coming back or won’t go away |
* Weight loss
* Loss of appetite
* Increased thirst leading to increased urination
|Cushing’s Disease||* Increased thirst leading to increased urination|
* Excessive hunger
* Skin infections
* LethargyPanting more than normal
* Skin that bruises or breaks easily
* Hair loss
|Kidney Disease||* Either drinking more water or drinking less water leading to an increase or decrease in urination|
* Lack of energy
* Weight loss
* Lack of appetite
* Pale gums
* Unusual smelling breath
|Thyroid Disease||* Decreased or stable appetite but gaining weight|
* Shedding more than normal leading to patches of bare skin
* Skin thickening
|Urinary Tract Infection||* Increased urination|
* Crying when they urinate
* Blood in urine
* Licking the genitals
|Arthritis or mobility issues||* Usually over the age of 8 |
|Neurological issues||* Seizures|
* Head pressing
* Circling or disorientation as if they are not sure where they are
* Loss of ability to use limbs
* Increased and/or unusual pain and sensitivity to touch
|Estrogen deficiency||* Hair loss|
* Leaking urine when they move
|Emotional issues or stress||* Yawning, drooling or panting more than normal|
* Whining or barking
UTIs, Diabetes, and Thyroid Disease
For issues such as UTIs, Diabetes, or Thyroid Disease, the problem may clear up as soon as your dog gets their urine and/or blood tested, gets a diagnosis, and is placed on proper medication.
Stress and Anxiety
If you have taken your poodle to the vet, and they have not found anything amiss physically, your poodle may be dealing with stress. In older dogs, this could result from anything that breaks up their normal routines, such as a new environment, new people, or new pets.
Note: It’s important to determine the source of your dog’s anxiety and create a calming and reassuring environment for your pet. Once any underlying stresses are addressed, negative physical symptoms will likely improve.
Arthritis and Dementia
However, for other issues such as arthritis or dementia, it may be tricky or downright impossible to completely stop this behavior.
Through no fault of his own, your poodle may simply not have the physical stamina to move fast enough to make it outside in time to pee, or their mental capacity may have deteriorated to the point that they cannot remember they need to go outside.
In some cases, both reasons may be in play.
Cushing’s Disease and Kidney Disease
Cushing’s Disease and kidney disease both present with some of the same symptoms—most notably increased thirst and decreased energy. This increased thirst will drive your poodle to drink more water, leading to him needing to urinate more, both in amount and frequency.
However, this lack of energy may make it difficult for him to make it outdoors in time, leading to more frequent (and bigger) accidents in the house.
When female dogs get older, their bodies start producing less estrogen, which makes their muscles, including those they use to hold their bladders, weaker. Instead of the urine being held in their bladders until they are ready to pee, urine will move to the vestibule area and leak out when they move.
Luckily, this problem is not very common, and most often occurs in dogs who were spayed at a very young age.
What to Do if an Older Poodle is Peeing Due to an Ailment
While it can be disheartening to see such indications that your poodle is approaching the end of their life, if they are otherwise healthy and happy, there are some things you can do to help your dog and have more time with them while also ensuring that your floors and belongings are not a constant smelly mess.
To help an older poodle who is peeing as a result of medical issues, try:
- Doggy diapers: Doggy Diapers will require regular changing so your poodle’s skin does not get irritated, but it is a great option for keeping your floor mess-free.
- Potty pads: These pads are specifically designed for puppies and dogs who have a hard time moving fast enough once they feel the urge to go. There are many options for potty pads, including reusable and odor eliminating pads.
- Wee-wee patch: If you want something a little more grass-like that can be used for your older dog who can’t quite hold it long enough to make it outdoors but still prefers grass, the Four Paws Wee-Wee Premium Potty Patch is a great option. It is reusable and washable, which saves money. Check out the current price on Amazon here.
2. Territory Marking or Regression in Training
While marking is probably the most common reason the poodle you thought was potty trained is suddenly going in the house, there may have been a disruption, confusion, or lack of consistency in the potty training process, and he may have simply regressed.
Some ways to tell the difference between territory marking and regression are:
- Whether your poodle is pooping and peeing in the house: If he’s still going outside to poop, then they are likely marking.
- The puddle’s size and whether it is in one location: The big puddle is an indication your poodle has emptied its bladder. Peeing all over the house or spraying on things means he is likely marking their territory.
- The age of your poodle: A puppy will not engage in marking behavior as that is something that starts happening once their bodies have matured, usually around six months.
- Whether he is peeing in the same spots: A poodle marking his territory will keep marking the same spots. If he is peeing in different areas every time, it is probably not marking.
How to Handle Regression or Marking in Older Dogs
When it comes to handling potty regression or marking in older dogs and the mess that comes with them, the rules are very similar. If you have had him checked out by a vet and any physical ailments are ruled out, then the next step is to reteach them, starting from the beginning with taking them out consistently and at the same times—each morning, before bed, and frequently during the day.
If your poodle has been diagnosed with a health issue, be sure to never limit their water intake as this can be very dangerous for them.
Instead, deal with any messes using a strong enzyme cleaner and having places inside for them to use the bathroom, such as a wee-wee pad or a potty patch.
3. Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence occurs when your poodles lose bladder function and control. Urinary Incontinence is almost always a medical problem, but can also result from behavioral issues in some dogs. While uncommon in younger poodles, incontinence becomes more prevalent as your dog ages.
Causes of Urinary Incontinence in Poodles
Urinary incontinence can be a complex medical problem and the cause is not always obvious. You may want to involve your dog’s vet to help with the diagnosis of incontinence, as well as developing a plan of action to help prevent further progression of this condition.
Possible Causes of Urinary incontinence in poodles include:
- Weak Bladder
- Urinary Infection
- Hormonal issues
- Diseases such as diabetes, Cushing’s disease, or kidney disease
- Prostate problems
The main reason poodles start peeing in the house after you have potty trained them is because they are marking their territory. While it is frustrating to have to retrain your poodle, there are some simple steps you can take to get your poodle back on track. These include getting him fixed, making sure he knows you are in charge, cleaning the soiled area with an enzyme cleaner, watching him closely, and reminding them of and enforcing training rules.
Keep an eye out for any other sudden changes in behavior such as increased whining, irritability, or decrease in energy. Additionally, take note of physical changes such as hair loss, weight gain or loss, or limping. These can all be signs that your poodle may have a health issue and not a marking issue that needs to be properly diagnosed and treated by a veterinarian.