How do dog training pads work?

I think the title of the thread pretty much covers it, but a little bit of background info is probably warranted…
Recently, our 6-year-old miniature dachshund has started peeing in the house again basically every time we leave the house. Luckily, we have wooden floors in the military base housing here, so it’s easy to clean up and won’t leave a stain on the carpet that we’ll be liable for later, but it’s annoying and frustrating to step in a puddle of piss when we come home after even a short trip, or to have to kneel on a hard wood floor every time we come home to towel it up when we notice it before we step in it.
We’d like to continue to let the dog have the run of the downstairs when we leave, because he’s otherwise excellent when left by himself for a reasonable period of time and it breaks my heart to lock him up every time we leave, but this is getting old. I had the idea to buy him the potty-training pads I’ve seen in Petsmart, but I honestly have no idea how those pads work… is there something impregnated into the pad that makes the dog want to pee on them, or is it just an otherwise ordinary absorbent pad? For a dog like mine, who is for most intents and purposes potty-trained, how likely is it that he’ll pee on one of those mats by himself when he’s home alone and needs to pee?
FTR, there’s no reason that I can figure for this change in behavior… there haven’t been any major changes in his schedule in months. We still make it a point to let him out before we leave the house each time, and he hasn’t exhibited anything that might point to health problems. It’s almost like he maybe couldn’t hold it any longer the first time and now he thinks it’s okay to do it every time.

Some purport to have a ‘scent’ in them, but that’s pretty much BS. Puppy pads only work with consistent training (i.e. your are there encouraging them - not away from the house), and really, they’re only useful for a first step before outdoor training. Dogs shouldn’t be peeing inside once they’re adults. I wouldn’t encourage this behaviour.

Honestly, I’d just take the dog to a vet. Even though the dog doesn’t seem to be displaying any outward signs of illness, that doesn’t mean anything. Dogs (and most animals) don’t really show signs that something’s wrong until it’s a big deal, so if he has a mild or moderate bladder infection, it’s not like he’s going to lay there and whine. He’ll just pee all over the house instead.

Strange how a 6 year old dog suddenly has a problem. Any changes in the familyto upset him? My guess is that it is stress and he won’t bother looking for a good place.

I agree that you should take him to the vet. But I don’t think trying puppy pads will be a waste of your time.

I’ve used them twice, once with an elderly cat, and once with a puppy. Both used them with very little “training.” Basically, I would just put them on the pads once in a while and let them smell them. The cat began using them right away, and the puppy would go on or near the pad almost from the start.

One of the methods I know is to put the pad on a spot where they normally pee.

(continued) Then you gradually move the pad to where you want them to pee.

Also, be sure to not remove them just because they’ve been used, assuming they have some absorption left. The smell tells the dog that it’s okay to pee there, until they equate the pad itself with peeing (which usually happens really quickly). Similarly, be prompt about cleaning up any other spots, and perhaps even use one of those ones that claim to have odors that dogs don’t like.

This is how my mom’s best friend trains all her dogs, as they are always small inside dogs. Whether everything works as she says, I don’t know. All of our dogs have been pretty much house trained by the time we got them, and haven’t relapsed.

We used something similar to these on our rescue dog that was in the habit of marking everything inside.

They worked great. He tolerated it well, even wore it for 10 hours at a time with no problems.

IMO, one of the greatest things ever made.

I need to try these on my dog. He is the most surreptitious little marker that ever was! I can never catch him in the act.