Canis ISSN: 2398-2942

Lack or loss of housetraining

Contributor(s): Karen Overall, Amy Pike, Meaghan Ropski

Introduction

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Lack of proper education when a puppy - failure to go outside with puppy regularly and frequently; failure to reward behavior when puppy eliminates outside house; failure to monitor closely for early warning signals that elimination is imminent.
  • Problem exacerbated by punishment delivered at the time of elimination which causes animals to avoid eliminating in the presence of humans or in a certain location, resulting in limited opportunities for correct teaching.

Predisposing factors

General

  • Puppies kept in dirty conditions where the bedding becomes soiled and it becomes difficult for them to distinguish between the sleeping and exercise areas.
  • Puppies kept in a flat/apartment with no easy access to a garden or outside yard and whose owners fail to take them outside regularly or often enough.
  • At around 8.5 weeks of age, dogs start to develop substrate preferences for elimination, ie learn to eliminate on grass rather than carpets.
    Early exposure to a variety of substances for elimination is essential if you wish the dog to be comfortable with them later on.
  • Animals that mark more may have a lack of inhibition to inappropriate substances.
  • Puppies whose owners leave them unattended for many hours each day without appropariately sized confinement. Confinement should be small enough that the dog is unable to escape from the soiled area so as to deter the desire to soil.
  • Puppies who are slow to learn.
  • Strays/rescues may learn to be uninhibited about elimination.
  • Small breed dogs have been shown to be harder to fully house train than large breed dogs.

Timecourse

  • Presentation is generally at 6-12 months, when puppy is thought to have been housetrained and indoor elimination continues to occur.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Yeon S C, Erb H N & Houpt K A (1999) A retrospective study of canine house soiling: diagnosis and treatment. JAVMA 35, 101-106 PubMed.
  • Hart B (1974) Normal behavior and behavioral problems associated with sexual function, urination and defecation. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 4 (3), 589-606 PubMed.
  • Sprague R & Anisko J (1973) Elimination patterns in the laboratory beagle. Behavior 47 (3), 257-267 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Horowitz D F & Mills D S (2018) BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Behavioural Medicine. 2nd edn.
  • Horowitz D F (2019) Blackwell's Five Minute Veterinary Consult Clinical Companion Canine and Feline Behavior. 2nd edn.
  • Landsberg G, Hunthausen W, Ackerman L (1997) Handbook of behavior problems of the dog and cat. 79, 81-88, 94, 185-186, 189-191.
  • Overall K L (1997) Clinical behavioral medicine for small animals. 15, 195-199, 208, 245-246, 279-280, 342.
  • Askew H (1996) Treatment of behavior problems in dogs and cats. 228-229, 233, 295, 302.
  • De Lahunta A Neuroanatomy and Clinical Neurology. 2nd edn. Philadelphia: W B Saunders.
  • Vollmer P J (1977) Inappropriate elimination by the older dog. Vet Med/Small Animal Clinician October. pp 1577-1578.

Organisation(s)

  • Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors, PO BOX 46, Worcester WR8 9YS, UK. Tel/Fax: +44 (0) 1386 751151; Website: www.apbc.org.uk.


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