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Categories: Separation Anxiety

Q. My 11 year old dog has a defecation and urination problem. He will sometimes go when we leave the house, room, or leave him in the car. What should we do?
Hi Cindy,

I have an 11 year old male neutered Standard Schnauzer. I wish I had found you years ago as this behavior has been present since my dog was a puppy. As a puppy I would notice that on occasion when I would leave the kitchen area where the dog was confined to, I'd come back to find he had urinated in front of the board blocking his exit from the kitchen (he was house trained by this time). He would also do this if I went into the bathroom with my children and shut the door behind me. I'd come out and he had urinated in front of the closed door. He did not do this every time but frequently enough that I noticed. He then began doing this when I had him inside my vehicle and ran into a store or a friend's house for a couple of minutes. I'd come back to find urine on the car seat. I stopped taking him in the car. He then progressed to doing this in his crate but only if we left the house and had to run back for something or had been gone for a period of time and stopped back at the house to pick something up. It also progressed to defecating in the crate. He is not a dirty dog but it got to be very stressful never knowing when we would leave the house if we would come back to have to bath the dog and wash out the crate. Sometimes he would, sometimes he wouldn't. We just never knew what was going to trigger the behavior. I tried taking him in my vehicle again now that he was several years older but found again that if he was left for a few minutes and I was out of site he would do both in the vehicle.

At this point he is 7 or 8 years old and I thought he didn't need to be crated when we went out and left him in the house. For the most part there was no problem for a long time until recently when now if we leave the house to walk somewhere (not taking the vehicle or him) we come home and he's both defecated and urinated on the floor. It almost like he is pissed (literally) that we walked somewhere without him.

He has had obedience training as a puppy and is generally a very well behaved dog with this exception. He is excellent with both people and other dogs however he does have what I would call passive aggressive tendencies. In other words he is not overtly aggressive however postures with other dogs and can definitely be stubborn with following commands. Is this a dominance issue for him?

Any help or insight you can give into what is triggering this behavior and how to correct it would be appreciated. We basically cannot leave him alone in a vehicle for any length of time out of his site or walk away from our home without making sure he is outside to make his mess. Please help!!!

Warmly,
Mary-Lou

A. It sounds like separation anxiety.

The best thing to do is to give this dog a very predictable schedule which will involve going back to crate training basics like he’s a puppy. He’s insecure and needs structure and leadership.

Start with our groundwork program and the Pack Structure for the Family Pet DVD.

You can try using the search function on the website to find the answer to any additional questions. It is located in the left hand corner of every page on our website. Simply type in your search terms or key words and you will be directed to articles, question & answers, free streaming videos and posts on our forum.

This is more of an anxiety problem, than a housetraining problem. You may also want to put him on an herbal supplement we carry--Calm Anxiety. I give this to one of my older dogs that suffers from separation anxiety.

Cindy
  
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