Dog behavior often leaves owners scratching their head or fuming in frustration. One of the biggest issues owners encounter are dog’s bathroom habits.
Why does my dog pee in the same spot?
Has your dog declared a place in your home their bathroom? Unfortunately, once a dog identifies an area as their potty location, it can be a difficult habit to break. Understanding why dogs pee in the same spot is the first step to changing their behavior.
One of the reasons your dog keeps going in the same spot is because they smell their urine in that location. Dogs tend to go in the same area. When they smell their urine, it tells them this is the place to pee.
Even if you can’t smell it, your dog can. A dog’s nose is 1,000 times more powerful than a human’s. You may think the area is clean and deodorized, but your dog will still smell their calling card.
Speaking of calling cards, this is another reason dogs tend to go in the same spot. Dogs use their pee as a method of communication. It contains important information about your dog’s health, sexual maturity, and status.
Male and female dogs use their pee as a way of claiming territory. Your dog may be peeing in the same spot as a way of marking the area as theirs. This tells other dogs the territory belongs to your dog.
Dogs usually don’t pee in an area they consider their living area. Your dog is probably peeing in an area where they don’t spend much time, away from the areas where they sleep and eat. Because your dog doesn’t use the area frequently, it becomes their bathroom.
Dogs are creatures of routine and habit. Once they do something a few times, it can become habit. The original reason can become lost. They continue it simply because it’s what they’ve been doing.
Dogs memory works on the principles of positive and negative reinforcement. They have strong associative memory. This means that they remember feelings associated with behaviors.
If they find peeing in the area enjoyable, these positive feelings will stick in their memory. They will continue to pee there because they remember it feels nice to do so.
Dogs all have their own surface preference. This is usually the surface they peed on as a puppy. Even as adult dogs, they will prefer to pee on the same surface they used when they were young.
If you notice your dog going on one particular surface and not always in the same exact spot, this is likely the reason.
Why does my dog pee in the same spot in the house?
To you, your entire home is your living area. However, your dog may not see it that way. If you find your dog going repeatedly in an unused area of the house, it’s probably because they see it as a bathroom area.
Even if you use the room, if your dog doesn’t, it exists out of their living space.
Changes in Environment
Changes in the environment can trigger marking behavior. The most obvious trigger is another dog entering the home. However, unfamiliar people or scents can also cause your dog to begin marking.
This may be your dog’s way of claiming their territory. However, it can also be because unfamiliar scents make your dog uncomfortable. Your dog’s scent is comforting to them, so they may urinate in the same area to create a familiar smell.
Why does my dog pee in the same spot outside?
Preventing your dog from peeing outside is only half the battle. Your dog may pee in areas outside that you’d prefer them to avoid as well.
Obviously, your dog doesn’t see the end of their territory as your front door. Dogs have a natural drive to expand their territory, so they will mark things far outside their living area.
Smelling Other Dogs
If one dog pees in an area, other dogs are likely to pee there as well. This can be part of marking behavior. However, it can also because the area smells like urine. The smell of urine is essentially a sign saying “bathroom here” for dogs.
Outside Their Area
Again, your dog may choose a spot because it is out of their area. Do they stop at the same place and pee on walks? Do they run to the corner of the neighbor’s yard? This is because to them these areas are outside their living area, so they are suitable as a bathroom.
Doggie Social Media
In addition to the reasons listed above, your dog may pee in the same spot outside because it’s essentially a messaging area. The fire hydrant cliche is actually fairly accurate. Dogs have hubs where they urinate to communicate with each other. Think of it as doggie Facebook!
How do you stop a dog from peeing in a certain spot?
So you now have an idea why your dog is peeing in the same spot, but how do you get them to stop?
Regular cleaners don’t remove all the components of pee that your dog smells. You may have heard of enzymes that exist in your gut and break down your food. They work in a similar way in cleaning solutions. Because urine is a natural compound, enzyme cleaners are able to break it down to eliminate it. Enzyme cleaners are commonly used in septic tanks as well, because they are able to break down biological waste.
If you have carpet, you may be tempted to use carpet cleaner or steam clean the area. Surprisingly, these are bad ideas. Steam can actually bind the odor-causing proteins to the carpet, making them impossible to remove completely.
Cleaners will not remove all the proteins from your carpet. When you use an enzyme cleaner, its effects will be diminished because it is also attempting to break down the residue of the cleaning solution.
Instead, blot up as much urine as possible. Spray with cool clean water and repeat the blotting process with a clean cloth. You can also use a shop vac to remove the liquid. Then follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using the enzyme cleaner.
Spend Time in the Area
One way to convince your dog the area isn’t a bathroom is to spend time there with your dog. It’s unwise to leave them unattended in the area, because they may pee there again. However, playtime or snuggles in the room are a great idea.
Restricting access to the area is a temporary solution, but it’s often a necessary one. It keeps your dog from continuing the habit of peeing in the same spot. This works great as a band-aid fix while you are cleaning the area and getting your dog to see it as part of their living area.
Place Food in the Area
Dogs will typically instinctively avoid using the bathroom where they eat. You can try giving your dogs their meals in the area where they pee, or placing treats in the area. If your dog sees it as a place where they get food, they are unlikely to continue peeing there.
Recreate the Surface
Dogs develop a surface preference as puppies. If your dog is going in the same area because they like the surface they are peeing on, place that surface in an area where they can pee.
If they prefer peeing on hard floor, try finding a hard surface like concrete, or placing a piece of scrap wood where you would like them to pee. If they prefer grass, you can purchase astroturf designed for dogs.