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By Felix Adamo/ The Californian
By Sherry Davis
An email from Welanda describes Hobie as "the perfect dog." The three-and-a-half-year-old Cavachon (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel/Bichon Frise mix) responds to many commands and gets daily exercise walking and swimming.
Neutered before the age of 2 months, he was easy to housebreak and even as a puppy rarely had an accident.
For the past several weeks Hobie has been lifting his leg inside the house and even urinated on the boxes Welanda packed for her son to take to college.
Welanda wants to know if the dog senses that her son is leaving and is reacting to that. Or could it be a bladder infection?
And if he has a bladder infection, how on earth does she get a urine sample?
When a dog has a break in house training I always want to rule out a health reason first. An infection or a reaction to certain medications can make it impossible for a dog to control its urine output. And if an infection is suspected, that requires getting a fresh sample of urine.
The easiest way I have found to do this is by using a plastic Dixie cup held by one of those "helping hand" contraptions that are used to reach and grasp items on high shelves.
Leash the dog and when he urinates, hold the cup under the urine stream. Then just pour the urine into a baggie and take it to the vet.
Now, do I think Hobie is upset because Welanda's son is going to college? No, but he may be stressed and reacting to a change in the family's emotional energy during this time as well as the unsettling disruption caused by packing.
Although Hobie's marking has been observed for several weeks, he may have been doing it on the sly for even longer. With a small dog the initial break in house training is often not discovered because no one was watching for it, it was a small amount and the spot wasn't cleaned. Once the scent fades, the dog will return and re-mark.
Whatever caused Hobie to start marking, the steps for retraining are the same. He must not be allowed to have unsupervised freedom in the house until he proves himself trustworthy again. Welanda must treat all soiled areas with an odor neutralizer such as Nature's Miracle and close the doors to all rooms in the house to prohibit Hobie's entry. A crate can be used to confine him when she can't watch him and she can leash him when she's home to prevent his sneaking off and/or to correct any attempt to lift his leg in the house.
If confinement is not an option, she can purchase diapers specifically designed for male dogs that mark.
-- Sherry Davis is a dog trainer/owner of CSI 4 K9s. Email her at email@example.com. These are her opinions, not necessarily The Californian's.