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My husband and I adopted a dog from our local shelter about 2 weeks ago. He is very sweet and good-natured overall. The only real issue we've been having lately is that he pees almost every time we're away from home. We can't tell if it's because he can't hold it any longer or if he's doing it due to anxiety, anger, etc. He never does it in the same spot or even the same room...so far. If he is marking his territory so to speak, is this a normal thing? There are no other animals in our house or children. He seems to really like both of us a lot. Other than the peeing, he behaves well while we're gone and he has free reign of the house. Never chews anything or gets into anything that's on floors, counters, etc. We typically leave him alone during work days for about 5 hours and then my husband comes home to let him out around lunchtime, so he'll go another 4-5 hours after that. Sometimes there is pee and sometimes not. I've never seen him do this while we are home even after hours of not going outside and we take him out every 5-6 hours so he doesn't have an accident and he's fine. Yesterday we had to leave him for Thanksgiving plans, so we were gone for about 7.5 hours. He peed in the one bedroom which was slightly cracked open because it wasn't latched all the way. I was worried he would pee the whole time we were gone and I guess for good reason since he peed. I've read that adult dogs can hold their bladder for approx. 8 hours and don't typically go in the house if they are fully house trained. I wish we could leave him longer for those days we have to be gone a good portion of the day. I'm at a loss. When we first got him, we tried a crate that was supposedly for a dog his weight, but he JUST fit in there with no real room to move around. He refused to go in there on his own even after several attempts to give him treats and a kong w/PB in it. We always had a blanket in there and soft radio music playing nearby. He actually got out of the crate a few days into the crate training, so I guess he hated it that much or it was a result of separation anxiety maybe. We weren't sure if he just undid the door latch on his own and got out or it wasn't latched all the way on the side door (we had been using the front door to get him in). Either way, we found him at the top of the stairs with tail wagging when we got home that day. So, I hesitate to try the crate again even if we go up a size and get one where he has more room to move around. The other thing I thought about is to get the baby gates that prevent him from going on certain floors and keep him on the main floor of our townhouse (no carpet), so he can't get onto the carpeted floors to pee since we're already having a tough time removing the pee on 4 separate places in different rooms. I thought if we did the gate thing, maybe we could put a pee pad down like what is used for puppies when they are being house/potty trained. But we were concerned that if we do that while we're out of the house, will he actually use it and if he does, will he learn that it's okay to go pee in the house? This is tough! We've never owned a dog before and have no idea of the background of this one since he was a stray picked up by the shelter. He is not a puppy- he's about 4-6 years they think. We guess he just wasn't crate or house trained at all by the previous owners. Maybe he was outside mostly. Anyway, what do we do at this point? We can't have him continuing to soil our light colored carpets of our brand new home on an almost daily basis. So frustrating!! Open to any and all suggestions from experienced pet owners or dog behaviorists. Thanks!
 

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Can you crate train him? A crate big enough to lie down in cosy with room to spare for a 'pee pad' just in case. That will both keep your home clean, and eliminate 'mistakes' while you are away.
I used to work full time along with my husband and all three dogs were fine with the wait, but it doesn't mean all dogs can do that, but this could well be a just a training/knowledge issue. He might just be peeing because he feels the urge and it's convenient and doesn't know any better. Everytime it's happening, it's becoming 'normal' behaviour. A house is a big area, so instinctively, he may see nothing wrong with finding a corner.
If you crate him, then he may just automatically start holding it, or at least have a chance to learn. When you are at home, you are already reinforcing peeing outdoors so all good.
My dogs never even peed at campsites, so teaching them to 'go' on a walk carries over into all sorts of places and situations. Having a good pee outdoors is a fairly self-reinforcing behaviour; they grow to like it, a lot, and turn it into a big deal (marking territory and 'talking' to other dogs)
For the record, I've yet to bring in a new dog into my house that didn't pee indoors at least once. None of them had any house-training issues, and even my incredibly housetrained first dog (an 8 yr shepherd I inherited from my mother) dropped a load within the first hour of entering a newly purchased home. She did that exactly once and never again. So I'm guessing your dog is probably a great catch, and very normal and wonderful, and just brush up on 'how to house train a dog' and 'crate training'.
Enjoy your wonderful dog.
 

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I would use the baby gate instead of a kennel and pee pad idea because you don't want to teach your dog to go where he sleeps. Teach where to go with clicker training it works to identify where you want him to go. You also what to get something like natures miracle to clean the areas he went.
Shop Pet Supplies for Dog Cat Care - Nature's Miracle
The first explains clicker training the second how to potty train with clicker
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wv1uvvqaSw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvPiFcG7ROI
 

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Good catch Dawnben, I have trouble reading long messages on screen & I completely missed him hating the crate (two of three of my previous dogs were crate trained and loved their crates, the middle dog hated crates and after one or two nights we let him have a big room to himself & he was fine).
If I read right, he's not doing it when the owner's home, so I still think there's a chance this dog is housetrained but has a new environment, lots of space, and doesn't know how to 'hold' it yet. I'm hoping it all works out.
 

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An adult dog CAN learn to hold it for hours and hours, but if they don't know they're supposed to, they won't bother. If he really was always an outdoor dog, he simply doesn't know what he's supposed to be doing. Pick up Nature's Miracle so the smell is completely erased in the house, and throw a party when he does his business where you want him to. Treats, praise, good times.

With you being gone for quite a few hours a day, it may take a while to learn to not go inside, but he'll figure it out. The more rewarding it is for him to go outside, the more he'll want to do it outside for the reward.

Baby gates as a warning are pretty small and he may jump right over them if he's big enough. I suggest a TALL babygate if you go that route, or stack one on top of another so he can't jump them.

May I ask how big your dog is? If it's a small breed, like fifteen pounds or so, you can actually litterbox train them like a cat. You can for a big dog too, but then you need... a much bigger box.
 

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A regular schedule of walks, morning, noon, and night. Or morning, just got home from work, and night will help too.
The walks should be long enough that your dog wants to pee, and gets to pee on top of other dogs pee. This is very rewarding, a really big deal in the dog social world. My dogs were never taught to 'not do it in the yard' but all of them ended up 'saving it' for the walks, because that's where it is the most fun, so hang in there. The house training may go smoothly after all.
 
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