You’ve brought your new rescue dog home and suddenly they are peeing in that one spot – this is unexpected as you were told the dog was housetrained! There are a few things to consider:

1. Newly adopted dogs – even if fully housetrained – may have an accident in your home, as they get re-adjusted to new people and new routines.

2. There may have been a previous dog in the home (even from previous homeowners). Dogs may find a scent of pee and continue to gravitate towards that spot to mark – regardless of whether it’s their pee or another dog.

3. They are peeing due to being stressed or anxious and would benefit from a training session or two.

Typically, it’s reason 1 or 2 – especially when it’s the same spot over and over. If it is happening in different areas in the house, the dog may be marking (re-marking) several spots within your home. If you are convinced it’s not marking (no dog, including yours, has peed in that spot) you may want to invest in a trainer to come to your home.

Clean Up!
You will want to clean the popular spots in your home. Vinegar is the best solution to clean with, as it kills the ammonia smell in the urine. If it’s always in the same spot, it could mean the dog considers it a bathroom. If you can, pour vinegar over the spot and leave it overnight. You may have to scrub, soak, and protect the area to ensure all the smell is gone: just be careful to not ruin your floors/rugs during the cleanup process! Some stores sell cleaners that are intended for this very purpose, and you may want to invest in those instead. Whatever you clean with – read the bottle, as you want to avoid using products that contain ammonia. After cleaning, block off that area using gates, furniture, or cover it.

Positive Reinforcement!
When your dog pees outside, praise and reward! If they pee inside, do not punish them, but take them outside again. Punishing will increase anxiety, and may make the problem worse.

Break the Habit
If your dog has a habit of coming inside and marking right after a walk, watch him/her during this time period. You will need to bring it all back to basics for a bit!

  • Crate Training:  You may need to revert to crate training when you have short periods when you can’t watch them.
  • Belly Band:  Put a belly band on your dog for the minutes that you can’t be watching them
  • Umbilical Training:  Tether the dog to your waist, so they go where you go and don’t have any unsupervised time
  • Limit Freedom Inside:  If your dog can’t mind their manners inside, limit the space they can wander to.  Bedrooms, upstairs, halls should be off-limits for a while until they master house-training
  • Change Location Usage:  If it becomes necessary, place their food in the area they like to mark. Then, to them, it will be a food spot and not a bathroom spot.
  • When in doubt, consult a professional dog trainer. They can positively impact the relationship between you and your new canine family member.

Good luck!