QUESTION: My girlfriend and I have a small breed house dog. She is 2 years old. She is well house trained except sometimes for some reason we will return home after an evening out and she will have messed in the house? When she has, she runs and hides when we walk in? I always walk her before first leaving and usually she does both pee and poo then. Why is she doing this sometimes as we are getting annoyed with it?

ANSWER: This sounds like maybe a classic scenario of a little dog with some "Separation Anxiety" happening. Not full blown Separation Anxiety, but still some.

First is to track down two things. On the times it happens, are you gone longer than times when it doesn't happen? Second, on the times it happens, are you slower getting into the house than other times.

With the first, the time your gone is just to long for her to hold it. Since sometimes she can hold it, we tend to think she should always be able to hold it. But neither you, nor I, nor the dog can always hold it.

With the second scenario, A dog with some "Separation Anxiety" may get so excited about hearing their master coming home that they can't hold it due to excitement. In these cases, they hear you returning long before your in the house. A dog knows the sound of your vehicle, the sound of your footsteps outside, all sounds carefully learned by the dog.
If your extra slow getting into the house, they urinate, occasionally even defecate. It is these cases where a well house trained dog acts AFRAID when you enter since they just now, seconds before went to the bathroom which they know you don't like........................

Animal Behaviorists have long known that any form of "Punishment" AFTER THE FACT does not work. A dog must be caught in the act or within scant seconds for discipline to work. In fact any form of punishment makes training a dog harder, not better as no dog likes to be trained through Fear. NOTE: Fear itself can cause a dog to void it's bladder or bowel.

The third thing worth mentioning is how the master(s) is/are acting both Physically and Mentally upon their return. Dogs hearing a difference in their masters body language (Walking different, heavier tred for example) or voices even from outside the home may urinate or defecate out of nervousness. Talking louder or laughing louder or perhaps arguing are just some voice differences.

The fourth thing is to always immediately take her outside when you get home so that she learns that if she holds it just a bit longer, she will get outside to do her business.

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