Thursday, October 17, 2013

Hops in the Right Direction: It's a Journey, and This One's Wet

I know, I know.  No one is really interested in me, and you've only been checking here for the most important question:  What is Prada the Puff up to?

Well, we moved a few months back.  Now, rather than it just being us girls (Prada, Stink the Cat, and me), we've got boys to contend with (the Dude and his two dogs).  We're kind of like the Brady Bunch, only with pets and no maids.  It's awesome.

But Prada has had a hard time adjusting--she's been marking in two places in the house.  At first we thought the behavior would stop once she had a chance to get used to everything, but we're into month four, and the behavior continues.

Back to the drawing board.

I like research, so I've been doing some.  I haven't worked out yet whether her marking is stemming from dominance or anxiety--knowing her, it could be either or both.  A large part of the problem is that she ninja-pees:  leave the room for ten seconds, and when you return, you've got a mess to clean up.  So it's been very difficult to catch her in the act, when we could correct the behavior, or find any common behavior before she does it.  (Because it's by no means every time we leave the room, and it's frequently very shortly after she's been outside and gone potty appropriately.)

But there are options:

  • A shaker can (a soda can filled with pennies you can shake when you observe the behavior):  This probably won't work for us, because we don't generally catch her in the act, and even if we did, she's anxious enough that we don't want to scare her into peeing more, or have her associate those two places with a scary sound.
  • A thorough carpet cleaning:  We've done this once, but it's probably time again, despite spot cleanings.  Hopefully then any lingering smell won't entice her to repeat performances.
  • Keeping her on a leash:  As a temporary solution, it may help us keep an eye on her and prevent any bad behavior or at least let us catch her in the act.
  • More walks:  A tired dog is a well-behaved dog.
  • More bonding time:  If the cause of the behavior is anxiety at the move and the fact that there are more dogs to compete with, special Dana/Prada bonding time may help ease her nerves and prove to her she's still special.  Even if she is already spoiled rotten and gets lots of cuddle time every day.
  • Sprays/barriers to keep her from the problem areas:  Logistically, this won't work for us, as the problem areas aren't neatly contained or able to be cordoned off.
  • Positive reinforcement:  Continuing to praise/treat for appropriate expelling.
  • Doggie diapers:  it'll keep her from marking and will make her uncomfortably damp, so this may be an option until we can retrain her and break the bad habit.

So at this point, it's a matter of experimenting and figuring out what works for both her and us.

We'll get there, and our carpet will be the happier for it.  So will Prada, for that matter.  And she's worth it.


  1. My dog did this a couple of times too, after we moved, but never in the room where her bed is. After cleaning, try putting Prada's bed or favourite blanky or toys, near or on the marked areas.

    1. That's a great idea, and one I hadn't come across elsewhere--thank you!

  2. @ Von: That IS a great idea! I'm fortunate that neither of my senior dogs "marks" but when the Princess is not feeling well she'll sometimes pee (and occasionally more) in the laundry room. Thank God for vinyl flooring! Good luck Dana, you're right - Prada is worth it!

    1. We've got our battle plan in motion... Fingers crossed!

  3. Is there a chance that Prada is intimidated by the Dude's dogs' previous "markings" outdoors? Could you cordon off a special Prada Pee Zone outside?
    I like your "Ninja-pee" terminology!

    1. Hmmm, I hadn't considered that--she's kind of taken over a corner of the yard where the boy dogs don't generally go, but I'll have to start paying more attention. Thanks for the idea!