Q: Last year, I adopted a nine-year-old chocolate Lab who had been badly neglected and has permanent limited mobility. He joined my pack of two female Jack Russell terriers and my 13-year-old male Catahoula hound. Both males are neutered. After about two months, they started marking the furniture.
When I find urine, I've done everything from yelling to speaking calmly to not saying anything when cleaning the area. I have used every kind of cleaner I can find, have given my hound extra attention to make him feel loved and put diapers on him. Do you have any other recommendations?
A: It may seem as if the behavior is related to the new dog, but there's a good chance it is not. Our advice is to take the dogs to your vet to rule out health problems that may be causing the behavior.
Often, dogs appear healthy, but if they don't feel good, breaking housetraining or marking objects may be the only way they have to get their message across. Also, both of your males are seniors; problems with arthritis, cognitive dysfunction, kidney disease or other health issues could be contributing to their behavior.
If your dogs get a clean bill of health, the first thing to do is to make sure you know which dog is marking. Consider setting up an inexpensive video camera in the area where marking occurs to identify who's doing what and when.
"Try to create opportunities for them to not soil in the house," says Dr. Kathryn Primm. That may mean taking them out more often, rewarding them when you see them potty outdoors and restarting the housetraining process as if they were puppies.
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