All of a sudden, he's peeing in the living room!

stu2900August 9, 2005

We have had our 4 year old male Shih Tzu for a little over a year now. He's adorable and everyone loves him. His manners have always been great. All of a sudden yesterday he gets up in the morning, walks into the living room and lifts his leg and pees on the footstool. With a full bladder, we had a mess. He's never done this before. Then, this morning, DH took him outside right away. He walked around and peed 3 or 4 times, came back into the house, walked into the livingroom and peed again on the footstool. What's up with this? Any ideas? We got a new 3 year old female Shih Tzu about 2 months ago, but they seem to be getting along great. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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Are your dogs neutered/spayed? If not, is your female by any chance in heat or coming into heat?

It sounds like territorial marking behavior to me.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2005 at 11:45AM
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The dogs have been spayed and neutered. We took the footstool out of the room until we can have it cleaned. Someone said that once he has marked it, he'll continue to do so until we can get rid of the odor. Is this true?

    Bookmark   August 9, 2005 at 12:07PM
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Yes, that's likely true. Dogs will continue to overmark their own scent. The footstool will have to be cleaned in a manner that removes all trace of odor - not just the odor that humans can smell. A dog's sense of smell is far more acute than our own. Also, you should clean the area under the footstool onto which some urine probably dripped. Use an enzymatic cleaner specifically formulated to remove pet urine stains. My favorites are Simple Solution and Outright, available at most well-stocked pet stores.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2005 at 1:24PM
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Two other thoughts:

At one time our basset mix did that and it was because he had a stomach blockage.

recently my basset/chow/lab mix has done it, but I think it is because it has been raining every single day and he hates going out in the rain.


    Bookmark   August 9, 2005 at 4:13PM
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It could also be a urinary tract infection.


    Bookmark   August 9, 2005 at 6:20PM
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I'm thinking more medical problem than behavior, especially since he's been fine with the new addition for the last 2 months. Some things to watch out for (indicating a sooner rather than later trip to vet): straining to urinate, weaker than normal urine stream, sudden urges to urinate, urinating more often but not as productive, increased water consumption, increased urination, blood in urine, lack of appetite, decreased energy levels. In either case, if he keeps this up despite the removal of the stool for 24 hours, he should see a vet. The vet can rule out medical problems. If it is not a medical problem, the sooner the behavior is corrected the better. But of course it isn't fair to try to train a dog not to urinate if it is having trouble due to being sick. It could be a UTI, kidney problems, diabetes, bladder/urinary stones, even something like Cushing's disease. So it's better to have him checked out than to assume a behavior issue. Keep us posted.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2005 at 9:49PM
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Oh my God!!!!! My shinTzu amale is doing the same thing.He is four and was housebroken at two months.Peed in the hallway .He had a stomach problem a month ago with diarrhea and that seems to be alright. But now he cocks his leg up like he is outside.He got one more time to do this and he will be homeless.In all fairness I will take him to the vets to see what the problem is but if this is what you do at four years I don't think I can handle it.If I must have a pet it will be goldfish

    Bookmark   August 21, 2005 at 1:46PM
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But now he cocks his leg up

That is standard marking behavior and you can expect it from any male dog, neutered or otherwise. You will have to use some aversion training. Carry a squirt water bottle. When you catch him in the act, squirt his face and use a sharp "no!".

Don't worry about your Shih Tzu - our Border Collie X eventually outgrew the habit at the age of 7 years. :)

    Bookmark   August 22, 2005 at 3:39PM
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Our Husky has been doing this, but hers is due to a bladder infection. Bless her heart, she can be laying down and it leaks too.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2005 at 6:22PM
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Have you had any visitors lately? A salesman or guest? A relative or friend? Has anything in your household changed? It sounds like he may be doing this in response to something else. Did you lay something on the footstool that you forgot about that you normally don't lay on it?

    Bookmark   August 22, 2005 at 8:29PM
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My 6 month old JRT was trained and I let him roam the open areas of the house when we were home. He just started lifting his leg on furniture in the house to pee. The first time I noticed this, he did it on furniture in a room I had never let him into but the door was left open. He did it right in front of me as if it were quite alright to do.

I have an appointment next Friday to get him fixed but I don't know what to do now. I've been putting him in the cage in the house more now. Is this the right approach?

Today, after I brought him in from being outside for quite a while, I watched him and when I noticed he was going to pee on the couch corner, I yelled no and he stopped. I then put him out again.

The only thing that's been different here is that the other day while the dog was in the house, there was a tractor on the property for a few hours digging up the yard (not the part where I let the dog out). The dog was going nuts and barking alot during this time.

Any advice?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2005 at 5:21PM
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You can either cage him or keep him attached to you via a 6 foot or so leash. Looks kinda silly walking around the house with a leashed dog, but it gives you much more control. He can't walk away and pee on the sly.
Apparently his testosterone has kicked in. JRTs are, IMHO, harder to housetrain already; adding crazy male hormones on the brain make things that much worse. You're doing the right thing as far as immediate correction and taking him back out. The leash will just help a little more with the immediate correction while still allowing him some freedom. I did it for my very stubborn husky (he was neutered though).
The bad news is that it takes at least a month after neutering before his testosterone levels will start to decrease. That means you are looking at strict re-housebreaking for the next month. It won't be easy- his brain is saying "I'm a boy and I'm telling the whole world by leaving my scented pee-pee everywhere I can!" But at least somewhere in that hormone-soaked brain of his he knows not to pee in the house, so once his hormone levels return to normal you can expect his housebreaking to return to normal as well.
I'm a big advocate of neutering JRTs a little young so this type of thing doesn't happen. 5 months is OK as long as all shots are up to date.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2005 at 5:49PM
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Thank you, Meghane, for your response. We had been saying how easy it was to train Rocky and how smart he was. Hopefully in 5 weeks from now, he'll be back to normal. Or, do I have to start the crate training again?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2005 at 6:00PM
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I had moved away to college 2-3 months ago and my parents had told me my male brittany spaniel was always looking for me. But that had stopped after a while. He is 7 and has always been obediant and has never even had an accident when he was a puppy. But my parents went away this past weekend, leaving him alone, and they came home to numerous piles of poop all over the house. He has always had free access to the house with a doggy door to the backyard he knows how to use and has always used. But now he keeps going in the house. They thought maybe it was justa fluke thing that happend cause he was mad that they were away. But they have come home 2 more times to poop on the carpet, woken up to a nice pile, and today came home from a day of shopping to have to scrub a pee stain out of the carpet. Why is he doing this all of a sudden? What can we do?

    Bookmark   September 30, 2006 at 11:32PM
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My mom's 5yr old shih-tzu is doing the same
thing and there's no reason for it. He has
a doggie door he can get out any time. He
went right in and hiked on her knew quilt.
If he keeps this up he'll hike his way right
out of a home.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2006 at 8:13AM
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"My mom's 5yr old shih-tzu is doing the same
thing and there's no reason for it.

If he keeps this up he'll hike his way right
out of a home."

Patches, there is always 'a reason' for it. As a responsible pet owner, your mom has to figure out what the reason is. And get him medical attention as well as clean the area to be sure no odors remain and then retrain if needed. Unlike children, dogs don't do things out of spite.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2006 at 9:55AM
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I agree, there's always a reason. But until you figure it out, try a belly band.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2006 at 9:42PM
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It seems like the issue you're experiencing is related to indoor urine marking, which is a common issue in households with male dogs and multiple dogs. Alpha males tend to urine mark in response to something new in the environment to "claim their territory" and maintain their social standing in the pack, which seems to explain why your male Shih Tzu has been marking suddenly after the introduction of your new female Shih Tzu.

I was experiencing the same issues with my dogs, and they wear a machine-washable, USA-made garment that has been effective in protecting our furniture, rugs and drapes from this behavior. You can learn more about it at .

Here is a link that might be useful: Markitwear® Belly Shirt For Indoor Dog Marking

This post was edited by ep4810 on Sat, Apr 6, 13 at 12:13

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 12:06PM
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