Potty training issues.

by Sharon
(Minneapolis, MN)

Our 7 month old rottie, Bear, has been doing very well with potty training. He caught on very quickly to letting us know when he has to "go". We established a routine for him and it has worked well, until now.

He seems to be having a hard time holding his urine. Bear will just come in from outside and not even ten minutes later he pees on the floor. I am not sure of the reason? He seems to be very thirsty all the time. We recently switched his food from a puppy food we bought in the store to homemade puppy food. But other than that there has been no changes.

We also live in Minnesota, could it be that he's eating a lot of snow outside?

Any advise you have would be very helpful!

Thanks, Sharon

Hi Sharon
A sudden change in behavior like this usually means that something is wrong - it's not necessarily anything serious, but something has knocked your pup out of his usual routine.

First of all I'd recommend that you have your vet give him a thorough check up, to rule out any underlying health issues that could be causing his symptoms.

Excessive urination and excessive thirst can be caused by conditions such as Diabetes, Kidney Problems, Urinary Tract Problems and so on, and it's always best to eliminate this sort of thing first.

Providing your pup gets a 'clean bill of health', then I would next look at his diet. If he's excessively thirsty, then a lot of water is going in..... and a lot of water will have to come out! It's also possible that he's eating snow to supplement his fluid intake if he is feeling very thirsty.

As you've recently changed his diet, I would look closely at what you're feeding him. Make sure the ingredients (and the ratio between them) is appropriate for a dog. Homemade dog food can be very nutritious, but it does need to be formulated in the right way. There are several good books on the subject if you want a little help in this area.

The Good Food Cookbook for Dogs: 50 Homemade Recipes for Health and Happiness is one I have in my 'dog book library',

and The Healthy Dog Cookbook: 50 Nutritious & Delicious Recipes Your Dog Will Love is another good one.

As your pup is an adolescent, I just want to be sure that he's not 'scent marking' rather than urinating. At this age, most males attempt to 'mark' their territory by lifting their leg against furniture, door frames and so on. This has absolutely nothing to do with needing to urinate, it's a proprietary behavior.

If you think this may be what Bear is doing, you will need to correct him firmly every time he goes to lift his leg. Let him know in no uncertain terms that this is NOT okay. While he's in the learning process with this, you may want to try some 'belly bands' (which are sort of like doggie diapers). They will help to protect your home and furnishings until he's fully grasped the whole 'no marking' thing :o)

Hopefully one of these suggestions will hit the mark, and Bear will soon be back to normal. It sounds as though he's been doing very well up until now, and I wish you the very best of luck with him.

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