If your resident dog is peeing in the house after a new puppy has been introduced, don't be too surprised.
Dogs use their scent in many ways, and the addition of a new puppy is a big life changer especially in an an adult dog who has been stuck in his own routines for quite some time.
The addition of a puppy can therefore come as a shock and this can cause dogs to react in uncharacteristic ways.
Let's discover more about why an adult dog may start peeing in the house after the addition of a new puppy.
Importance of Ruling Out Medical Problems
First and foremost, if your dog has never peed in the house before and now he or she is leaving urine around the home, don't be too fast to label it as a case of urine marking.
It's important to give dogs the benefit of doubt before labeling them as "spiteful" or "seeking vengeance." More about why it's so wrong to use these labels will be covered further down in the next paragraphs.
In any case, it may look a bit like a coincidence that your dog may develop a medical problem coincidentally right when you got a new puppy, but it does occasionally happen.
Common culprits of urinary problems in dogs that can cause accidents around the home are urinary tract infections, with female dogs being mostly predisposed, kidney failure, bladder stones or urinary incontinence.
See your vet to rule out any underlying medical problems.
A Matter of Urine Marking
Urine marking is the name given to the deliberate act of urinating in places.
Dogs who urine mark are therefore purposely leaving urine around places for the purpose of leaving their scent. It is different from simply urinating to physiologically empty the bladder.
Dogs who urine mark often attentively sniff an area before peeing, and often the pee left around is just a little trickle of urine.
Many time, dogs seek vertical surfaces to leave their urine mark although some times they'll also mark flat surfaces such as beds. Typically with urine marking, dogs like to pee on a variety of surfaces and objects.
Urine marking generally starts when dogs reach sexual maturity, which occurs around 6 to 12 months of age.
If the behavior is seen sooner than that, it's important considering the chances for it being triggered by incomplete housetraining.
Why Would a Dog Start Peeing in the House After a New Puppy?
Dogs may urine mark for a variety of reasons, so let's take a look at some common reasons why a dog would start peeing around the house after a puppy has been added.
1) Covering up Scent
Dogs are instinctively prone to pee nearby or over other dog's pee. The technical term for that is "overmarking." If your new puppy had accidents in the past that weren't properly removed, your older dog may feel motivated to pee over them.
2) A Sign of Anxiety
Some dogs become anxious when their routines are changed and their life has turned topsy-turvy.
When a dog is in an anxious or panicky state, the stressed body may needs to relieve more often, explains board-certified veterinary behaviorist Dr. Meredith Stepita in an article for Veterinary Information Network.
3) A Matter of Territory
Dogs who are territorial may urine mark as a response to human or dog visitors.
There may be anxiety components as well in territorial marking. For instance, dogs who urine mark something new in their homes (guests' luggage, new shoes, a new puppy's mat) may do so to make these objects smell like their "home" again.
How to Stop a Dog From Peeing in the House After a New Puppy
As seen, there can be several reasons why an older dog may start peeing in the house after the addition of a puppy. The resolution of the problem may vary based on the underlying cause. Following are several tips for tackling the issue.
Clean up Puppy Accidents Correctly
If your puppy pees in the home, make sure to promptly clean it. The most reliable products that eliminate odors rather than covering up the smell are bacterial enzymatic odor eliminating products.
Use a Black Light
Sometimes, your pup may have accidents in places that you may not be aware of. This can happen especially if you get angry at him when he accidents in the home. Intrigued? Discover more about this here: why is my dog hiding to pee?
You may not know there's a pee stain in the carpet behind the couch, but your older dog does so he'll urine mark nearby.
To identify these previous accidents, use a black light. The black light used at night in a dark room will cause the urine stains to become fluorescent. Once you identify them, clean them up with your enzyme-based cleaner and then test with the black light again to ensure you cleaned up all traces.
Prevent Access to Marked Areas
Prevent access to the areas your adult dog has shown a preference for marking in the past. Erect a baby gate or place bulky items to make the area inaccessible.
Alternatively, you can umbilical cord your dog by attaching his leash to your waist or belt so to reduce the opportunity to urine mark.
Do not place any novel puppy objects on floor until your adult resident dog has gotten used to having them around the house.
Once your dog gets better, gradually allow him more freedom, but always supervising closely.
Turn Marked Areas to Feeding Areas
Dogs tend to have a natural instinct to not urine mark places where they eat, sleep or play in.
It may therefore help to turn the commonly marked areas into feeding places /playing areas so to change your dog's emotional state about these areas.
Always closely monitor though for signs of wanting to urine mark in these places.
If the marking is due to anxiety, help ease your dog's anxiety using calming aids such as Adaptil sprays and diffusers.
Create positive associations with the puppy, by making great things happen (feed treats!) every time your dog sees the puppy.
Use a Belly Band
This is for obstinate cases, and is only a short-term solution. Its purpose is mainly to catch the urine so that no furniture or floors will be marked.
This also discourages marking since the band gets wet and cause the dog a certain level of discomfort when urinating into it.
Over use though may predispose certain dogs to urinary infections.
Establish Legit Marking Areas
Provide outdoor vertical objects (like small fire hydrants) where you allow your dog to urine mark and praise and reward him for using those.
Practice Walking By
Basically, walk your dog on a leash indoor around the commonly marked areas, and then take him outside prompting him to pee in the established legit marking areas, praising and rewarding for using them.
What to Do If You Catch Your Dog in the Act?
Ideally, you should intervene *before* your dog has raised his leg, by carefully watching his body language. If you're too late though, hold your horses.
Catching your dog in the act can cause your to get angry, but this is not the ideal approach.
Getting angry at your dog for marking will only backfire. Marking is a natural behavior and therefore your dog may continue to urine mark, only away from your presence such as when you're not around.
On top of this, if your dog is urine marking due to the anxiety associated with sharing the home with the new puppy, this can cause the anxiety to worsen, and possibly, even create negative associations with the puppy.
Redirect Your Dog
If you catch your dog urine marking, rather than getting angry, redirect him promptly by calling him away and taking him outside immediately, prompting him to urinate in the appropriate place (legit marking area if available).
A Word About Dog Urinating "Out of Spite"
Many dog owners assume that their dogs are urinating out of spite or to seek revenge because they are angry of the new addition of a new puppy.
In reality, dogs don't act out of spite, not do they seek revenge.
"I really don’t think dogs view the products of their elimination as despised trump cards in revenge operas. They are not capable of forming a representation of another being’s future punishment by an action they engage in now," explains world-renowned dog trainer Jean Donaldson, in her popular book "Dogs are From Neptune."
Just recognizing that your dog's behaviors aren't motivated by spite, vengeance, or guilt can at least ease some of your frustration, suggest Stanley Coren and Sarah Hodgson in the book: "Understanding Your Dog For Dummies.
- Veterinary Information Network: House Soiling Causes and Solutions in Dogs, Meredith Stepita, DVM, DACVB