My pup had been doing great with only occasional excitement piddles. We had gradually expanded his free area to more of the first floor.
Now over the last several days suddenly repetitive pee accidents, especially in the evenings, very commonly several in a row including immediately after having peed in the yard. Still dry when in crate including overnight.
Okay the what to do is straightforward enough I guess. Back to in crate more if we cannot literally watch him like a hawk and/or keep him attached on a leash in the house to watch him as well. Frustrated to have to do that and open to other less backtracking of suggestions.
But why? Why the major regression at this point? It does not seem to be the same as his excitement piddles (glee pees). And it’s not submission. He’s doing when people are home, have been home, and while they are not directly interacting with him. Is he old enough that could be marking behaviors emerging? Is this teenaged rebellion?
The first thing I’d do is take him to the vet to make sure it’s not an infection, even if he’s dry in his crate. It can still be a UTI, especially considering the repetitive nature of it when not confined. I’ve seen that exact same behavior in my own dogs, and that’s what it was.
If the vet visit doesn’t turn anything up, have there been any changes in his environment? Has anyone moved in or out or changed their schedule? Have you redecorated (once, I had a new carpet that must’ve been treated with something that smelled like pee pads to our young dog)?
Sometimes dogs, like children, go through adolescent defiance. Testing boundaries. What can I get away with?
Make sure there is no UTI or other medical issue, then go back to the basics - crate up, leash even in the house, eyes on him all the time. Clean every accident thoroughly. He will pick up pretty fast that while you still love him, relieving himself in the house is a no no. It sounds like he has the control - so its either medical, or you just have a teenager.
I’ll repeat the vet advice. Start with that. The fact that it’s so many accidents right in a row leads me to thing there may be something medical going on.
Other than that, sometimes pups go through a period where they need a refresher on all kinds of things, including housebreaking and basic obedience. I wouldn’t characterize as boundary testing. It’s just a developmental period.
I’ll take the “see your vet” advice under consideration and if it persists after stepping back to the basics some (tighter supervision, more crate, etc.) maybe I will. We had thought of that immediately but this is pretty inconsistent with a UTI - long periods including outside of crate that it does not occur, mostly occurring when more than one household member is home in the evenings. UTIs result in wetting accidents pretty much round the clock. But yes I will have a urine checked if it does not resolve fairly quickly with behavioral management.
Household is no more chaotic than its baseline.
The possibility of “adolescent defiance” is really closer to what I was asking about. In humans at least young children (not just teens) often go through periods of behavioral difficulties right near major developmental growth spurts. Searching some I read that this happens commonly in dogs too but more often a bit older than this. Have any of you seen it, or marking behaviors, this early?
15 week is very early for the regression, I think. Not too early for incomplete house training, particularly if you’re seeing it mostly when there is more than one person around. Step up the house training itself and see if that helps. Some pups are housebroken that early, but many are not.
I think he’s too young to be fully trained. Dogs have remarkable bladder capacity, he may be taking a leak in the yard to please you but not fully understanding he’s supposed to empty his bladder sufficiently to last until the next time you he goes out. Dogs are pretty smart animals but sometimes they miss the point. When he’s outside are you coming right in after he pees?
Not sure how susceptible to UTIs male dogs are, certainly male cats are, so it’s worth checking into.
At 15 weeks, your dog is almost four months old. That’s early for reaching sexual maturity, but not too early to start feeling the effects of his growing body. He might be starting to feel the urge to start lifting his leg and marking his territory, which might interfere with his willingness to empty his bladder. That is, if he’s urinating to mark, he’s probably not fully emptying his bladder, which means his bladder isn’t getting emptied as fast, which means he’s not on empty when he’s still coming inside. (Which for his owner, means he’s going to need more exercise and play time to encourage him to pee it out).
He’s not really doing this to be defiant, as in he’s refusing to get a haircut and blasting ICP on his laptop. He’s just experiencing new hormones and learning how to be a dog.
Once he moves into adolescence he will also start getting more of an urge to roam and become completely stupid around female dogs.
While you’re talking to the vet about UTI’s, talk to them about neutering. Most vets will want you to wait until six months, but it can be done sooner. Anesthetizing puppies can be puppies is tricky, is the thing, though. It sounds like it’s time to discuss the process.
As for the home life, I would recommend increasingly longer walks and back to basics for crate training until you all work through this.
The last puppy I adopted, back in 2003, was 11 weeks old and had already been spayed. The only caution I had been given was to not let her play roughly for two weeks until the incision had completely healed. She healed uneventfully. Neutering at 15 weeks should be OK.
Our veterinarian urges spay/castration between 8 and 12 weeks. She does puppies and kittens for shelters at 6 weeks. According to her, morbidity and mortality are lessened, assuming a competent surgeon.
We had discussed with our vet at our lest visit and she slightly prefers waiting until close to a year, but if hormonally driven behavior becomes problematic is comfortable doing it any time after 6 months. She discussed that the advantage of waiting is minimal and that shelter dogs getting done very early works fine even if she does not see it as ideal. And she mentioned that the potential advantage of waiting is less of an item of importance for my not big dog.
Meanwhile returning to the basics seems to be helping with his regression.
Merneith, how long do you suggest our walks be? Most days of the week he has at least one one to two mile walk and at least one more of several blocks. Some days it is just two of several blocks and in the yard multiple times. I had gotten particularly frustrated when one of the episodes had occurred fairly soon after one of the longer walks.
I do think he is too young to have hormonally drive marking behaviors and more likely I just eased off on the tight supervision too fast and gave him more room than was wise.
Still, is all marking hormonally driven? He clearly commonly leaves urine in reserve after he pees to use as he sees fit, either later on a walk, or … otherwise.