When your dog keeps peeing in the same spot in your home, it can be tough to convince them that no, that specific area in your closet, on your prized potted fig tree, or under the table is not, in fact, an appropriate potty area.
But it can be done. You just need a deliberate, perfectly timed plan to break the habit for good.
Kill The Odor For Good
The scent of dried urine acts as an attractant, so as long as any trace of that scent remains, your dog will keep peeing in the same spot.
“But I clean!” you say, and you truly do use carpet spray on your dog’s favored pee spots.
But when your dog pees on the floor, it soaks through the carpet into the backing and sometimes even down to the hardwood beneath.
You’ll need to use an enzyme-based pet stain cleaner to break down the uric acid salt crystals in the stain.
Regular soaps, detergents, and homemade cleaners (such as a combination of baking soda and vinegar) DO NOT break down uric acid, so if you’ve been holding off on buying a real pet stain cleaner, there’s most likely still traces of uric acid in that spot.
How To Use Enzymatic Cleaner To Clean Urine Stains
For fresh stains, use paper towels to soak up as much of the urine as you can.
Then, spray a generous amount of enzymatic cleaner on the spot. It should seem like you’re using too much. I know that stuff is expensive, but if it can keep you from having to replace the carpet, it’s well worth it.
Also spray the surrounding area. Remember that urine splashes, so there may be traces of pee near the wet spot.
Follow the directions on the spray. Generally, you’ll have to wait then minutes, then blot the area.
Never use a steam cleaner to clean urine stains. Urine contains protein, and when protein is heated, it “cooks,” just like an egg when you break it into a hot pan.
Now, how do you know if you truly obliterated that urine stain?
You can use a handheld black light and/or use the enzymatic cleaner again after the first application has dried.
Now that you’ve put all of that elbow grease into killing that stain, you may need to use a pet gate or other barrier to keep your dog away from the area.
Though removing the scent removes a huge cue, the visual cue is still going to invite them back to mark their scent again.
Change Things Up
Now that the scent is gone, it’s time to change up those visual cues.
Can you move furniture around? Create a barrier? Maybe you can put a rubber mat over the area.
Repurpose The Area
Now that the scent-based and visual cues are gone, you’ll need to reconfigure your dog’s mental cues.
Because even though the area looks different and smells different, they’ll still have fond memories of peeing there.
It can help to spend time in that area playing, practicing tricks, and possibly even placing your dog’s food and/or water bowls there.
Training Tips For When Your Dog Keeps Peeing In The Same Spot
Okay, so you’ve taken apart your dog’s pee spot, now what?
Well, without some training in place, your dog will find a new favorite spot.
While you’re working on the above steps, make sure your dog has plenty of access to the outdoors.
When does your dog have accidents? Is it at night when you’re sleeping, or during the day when you’re at work? You can crate your dog at those times, hire a certified professional dog walker (they have business insurance, know CPR, and won’t make silly mistakes like leaving doors unlocked), or, or, if you can, take your dog out more often.
Are they letting you know when they have to go potty? If not, try potty bells.
Are they lifting their leg to mark the spot? This may be more common in dogs who live in a house with a fenced-in backyard. The backyard may take care of their need for relief, but not their need for new, novel areas scented with other dogs’ pee. Pee-mail is a form of mental stimulation. More walks around the block, at the park, or in other public places can satisfy this need so your dog won’t do it indoors.
When To See A Vet
Urinary issues, like a urinary tract infection or bladder stones, can make it difficult for your dog to control their bladder.
Any time your dog has a recent change in their usual habits, it’s worthwhile to rule out a medical problem. You’ll get the peace of mind that your dog’s not sick or in pain so you’ll be ready to move forward with training.
Ask your veterinarian to do a urinalysis. You may even be able to bring a urine sample to your vet without scheduling an office visit if you’re worried about the cost.