Ask the Behaviorist: Sudden Change in Housetraining

Check out the Michigan Humane Society blog on Wednesdays to see common pet behavior questions answered by our Senior Director of Operations and pet behavior expert, CJ Bentley. If you have an immediate behavior concern with your pet, please call a qualified trainer or behaviorist! If you have a non-urgent question you would like answered on the blog, you can comment here or email us at mail(at)michiganhumane.org.

Senior Director of Operations CJ Bentley and her adopted dog, Rogue

Senior Director of Operations CJ Bentley and her adopted dog, Rogue

“I have a Boston Terrier who is about 6 years old. She never used to pee on the floor, but now all of a sudden she is, even if I let her out right before bed my boyfriend and I will wake up to find pee somewhere in the apartment. Can you help?”

Sounds like a trip to the veterinarian is in order. It’s important to be sure she doesn’t have any sort of urinary tract infection or something physical that might cause her to need to go potty in the house.

If it turns out not to be medical, has something changed in your world that could make her feel a bit off balance? If yes… then we may need to work on making her feeling comfortable again.

However, if things are pretty much status quo, we could start by keeping her more confined at night. If she can hold it throughout the night (that is, if she’s feeling okay), then we can keep her nearby to stop her from wandering about and going potty. Pick up her water about two hours before bedtime and make sure she goes out before bed.

If that doesn’t do the trick, we may have to go back to potty training basics. A nifty little booklet by Patricia McConnell, PhD, called “Way to Go” may be a terrific help.

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