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Pees in House

Yorkie Pees in House When Left Home Alone


Hi, I'm Kay and my Yorkshire Terrier's name is Vinny. He's a 7 year old male that we've had since he was a puppy. He's had some eye operations but is currently in good health.
Our little problem is the following.  Vinny is close to us. He walks regularly with me and follows me everywhere. We run a resort, therefore he is with us 24/7. He is housebroken. When we're with him, he pees and poos outside and also alerts me to his needs. 

But, when we leave the house to go to dinner or places that we can't take him, he pees all over the floor. 

He is taken outside to the bathroom before we go. I think he's peeing all over the house as some type of protest that we've left him by himself. 

I know he can hold his bladder, because he is fine at night from about 8 PM til 7 AM the next morning. Can you suggest what we can do to break him from this habit?


Hello Kay, As you explain this, it sounds like your dog is peeing in the house when left home alone due to a separation anxiety issue. Some dogs can work themselves up into such a state of panic and fear that the bladder lets loose. If so, this will happen despite housebreaking and regardless of whether or not the dog has just gone to the bathroom earlier. 

It may be hard to imagine, since dogs can act just fine as we leave (though some will pace, whine and start to feel anxious) and of course when you get back he will be acting fine. When you are gone, he may be physically showing distress (pacing, jumping, circling, drooling) or he could appear cool as a cucumber on the outside, but feeling quite frazzled on the inside. 

You spend so much time together, that it may be an issue of him needing to learn that it IS okay to be home alone for a short amount of time. This is not uncommon with this breed and the impact of what he is feeling when alone is probably amplified due to being lucky enough to spend so much time with you on a daily basis.

So, while it may seem as if he is peeing all over the house in protest, it sounds like this is an issue of losing control due to overwhelming anxiety and stress that is suddenly thrust upon him when he finds himself isolated in a quite home with his owners gone. As you can imagine, dogs cannot reason that owners will be back soon. To your Yorkie, his entire world and his 'pack' have fallen apart. That's a lot of any dog to handle. 

There are several things that you can do, that when done, should come together to help:
1) He should not have full reign of the house. This allows him to pee just about anywhere and until the issue is fixed you'll want to limit the damage that he can do and the places that he urinates. 

Each spot that he piddles on is then potentially marked as a bathroom spot the next time. Another benefit to limiting where he goes when home alone is that if in a smaller area, he will feel a bit more secure.

A dog in a big empty house will feel lonelier than one in a smaller, area (if it is set up properly).

If you can imagine him roaming from room to room looking for you and not understanding why you are not there VS being in one spot with lots of things to keep him calmer, you'll see why this would be better. 
2) Decide if you want to set up gates to keep him in the corner of one room or to obtain a portable indoor canine playpen. Both are good choices. Then, you'll want to leave the entrance to this open, so that he can investigate it at first...and then learn that its a good place to relax and play later on. You'll want to encourage him to use the area, so that he does not associate it with only being used when you leave.

3) Use a quality enzyme cleanser to thoroughly clean all spots that he has urinated on in the house. While dish soap or other cleanser may appear to work, they will not eliminate small trace odors of urine. Those lingering scents will be picked up by your Yorkie's nose to signal that it's a bathroom area. 

4) Within his new personal area, have lots of quality toys, blankets to cuddle, a quality canine bed, chews, Kongs filled with treats and water (best in a water dispenser). The #1 element to place inside will be a companion toy. There are made for dogs that simply cannot handle the empty feeling of isolation; it can help take some of that weight off of his shoulders.  These types of toys are big enough for a Yorkie to snuggle with and the secret is a soothing, calming heartbeat that offers a dog the feeling of having company. *** If you'd like to see recommendations for this and other aids, look to the Yorkie Specialty Shoppe.

Place pee pads in one corner of this area, so that if he does need to pee (or pees due to nervousness) there is a 50/50 chance of it being done on the pads. 

Keep his area set up at all times, not just when you are going out. 

5) Every now and then, when you WILL be home, place him in his spot for anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes. Go about some tasks, allowing yourself to be in his line of sight. Do not respond to barking or calls for attention. This will teach him that being there does not necessarily mean that it will be for a long time nor does it necessarily mean you are leaving.

6) Do some 'practice runs' by having him home for only 30 to 40 minutes or at least 1/2 of the time you'll normally be done.

7) Do bring him out to pee about 20 minutes before leaving and then immediately place him in his area in a matter-of-fact way, closing the exit. This way, he will not learn that you leave the moment he's put inside with the entrance closed. This gives him time to focus on a new toy or notice a treat-filled toy without feeling nervous or antsy. 

8) Unless you will be gone on a super sunny day and are sure you will return shortly, be sure to leave at least one light on.

9) Leave on a radio (pleasant talk show or easy listening music) or a television (pleasant 'old time' show such as The Danny Thomas Show). 

10) When you arrive back home, do so in a low key way, not making a loud announcement.   Peek into his area to see if he peed. If he did pee on the pads, that's great. If he missed and ended up peeing elsewhere, at least it was confined. Be sure to clean that area with the enzyme product we mentioned earlier.

The more you make his area enticing and the more you make short practice runs, the more your Yorkie will get accustomed to how things will be done now.  Dogs are super adaptable and in time he will learn to calm down. With this new method, he at least will not be urinating all over the place. 
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