One of the most common problems dog owners experience is a dog that isn't housetrained and who still urinates (or defecates) in the house. It's frustrating, it's unsanitary and it may seem to be an insurmountable problem.
If your dog is starting to leave little puddles on the carpet, don't reach for a rolled up newspaper - examine the possible causes, then you can develop a plan of action to help your friend develop more sociable toileting habits. Here are some of the more common reasons your dog may be urinating in the house:
1) Medical problems
Especially if you're dealing with an older dog or if your dog's behavior has suddenly changed, the first step to solving a urination problem is to rule out any medical problems. There are numerous medical conditions that can cause excessive, "inappropriate" urinating including Cushing's, kidney disease, bladder infection, bladder stones or diabetes. Trauma, such as a spinal injury can also cause problems.
Some breeds are prone to incontinence or an ectopic ureter, even at an early age. In rare cases, spayed females may also develop incontinence, although this problem can be easily resolved with hormone replacement.
2) Lifestyle Issues
You also need to examine your lifestyle, and keep track of when your dog has accidents. For example, do you let them drink large quantities of water after a long walk or ramp, but don't give them an opportunity to urinate before you leave the house for the day? Do you assume their barking is more about squirrels and not a request to go outside? Do they get too busy playing when they're outside and forget to go potty?
Stress can also cause your dog to forget their training. If you've adopted a new puppy, have visitors or are working longer hours, your dog may be urinating out of anxiety or excitement.
3) Your Dog's Age
If you have a puppy, perhaps they're just too young to "hold it" as long as you would like them too. If your dog is a senior citizen (it often creeps up on us before we realize it) they may be "forgetting" or they may no long have the ability to hold it - age-related incontinence.
A senior dog either through loss of muscle tone or loss of memory may need to go out every two or three hours. And some older dogs seem to need more frequent trips outside in the "wee" hours.
4) Behavioral Issues
Submissive urination is a problem experienced by timid, easily frightened dogs or abused dogs. A dog whose been severely scolded for urinating in the house may not go outside when you're watching, but wait until they're back in the house and you're in another room to leave a puddle. Puppy mill dogs have never been trained to control their urination and have become accustom soiling their sleeping areas have no problem piddling anywhere.
A natural, although still unacceptable behavior, is marking. Males and females, intact and even neutered, may feel the need to let other dogs know where their boundaries are - those boundaries may include the sofa or the bedroom carpet.
If you have a dog with a behavioral problem, it may be time for a call to a behaviorist.
5) Insufficient Training
It's surprising but many people expect their dog only needs to be told once or twice to be completely housetrained. Many owners also don't realize that dogs don't "generalize", dogs don't assume that the living room is off-limits as a toilet just because they've learned not to go on the family room carpet. While it's true that some dogs - even young puppies - seem to need only one lesson, other dogs need a bit more help and a few more lessons.
Once you've ruled out everything else, return to basic house-training protocols. A few refresher lessons may be all your dog needs to stop having accidents in the house.