Why Did My Dog Suddenly Start Urinating on Furniture?

Dogs are not always furniture's best friend. Dogs can rip, chew and tear at furniture, but among of the worst damage that dogs can do is through urinating. Dog urine stains and leaves a foul odor, so if your dog is urinating on your furniture, it could potentially ruin your favorite sofa or ottoman. Understanding the reasons that dogs do this is the first step to prevention.

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Dogs may urinate on furniture for either psychological or biological reasons

Disease

Your dog's reason for urinating on the furniture may indicate a medical problem, rather than a behavioral one—especially in housebroken pets. Indoor urination is symptomatic of such problems as diabetes, internal parasites or bladder infections. Monitor your dog's behavior, particularly her drinking habits, as sudden excessive thirst—and consequently more frequent urination—can also indicate health problems.

Incontinence

Some dogs simply can't help urinating on the furniture; they suffer from incontinence, or an inability to control their urinary habits. Involuntary urination may occur when the dog is most relaxed--when she is asleep--so monitor your dog when she sleeps on your furniture. If there is any urine where she slept, it may be indicative of incontinence. There are several causes for this condition, and your vet can perform tests to determine which one is affecting your dog.

Territorial Marking

Dogs are territorial creatures, and may urinate as a way of asserting dominance. By urinating on objects, such as fire hydrants, trees or furniture, your dog is marking her territory. Having your dog spayed or neutered may help quell this urge, but it is not foolproof—the habit may be as psychological as it is biological. Regularly asserting your dominance over your dog and teaching her that you are the master of the house may keep her from trying to mark her territory.

Anxiety and Submission

Your relationship with your dog may influence his indoor urination. If your dog seems particularly stressed when you leave the home, he may be experiencing separation anxiety, which in turn may be leading him to urinate on the furniture. Conversely, if your dog urinates on the furniture when you return, he may be doing so out of submission—he understands all too well that you are his master, and he does this to try and please you. Corrective training measures can help prevent these causes of indoor urination.

Other Dogs

Introducing a new dog into your household, particularly a puppy, may encourage sudden bad behavior in adult dogs. When your adult dog sees the extra attention a puppy receives, particularly in response to having accidents in the house, she may imitate this behavior. You can correct these relapses with regular housebreaking training.