Is My Dog Peeing For Attention?

Will your dog do anything for your attention? ¹

A dog may be man’s best friend but you need to expect various communication issues between the two of you. Unfortunately for you and your carpets, dogs often use peeing as a means of communication.

This article will help you understand what your pet is trying to convey by peeing around the house. While this type of behavior is more common for puppies, you can expect dogs of all ages to use this means of communication.

If you’re wondering whether your dog is peeing for attention, the answer is yes, maybe. Only it’s not that simple.

He may not know why he’s doing it, so it is your duty to figure out his reasons and, of course, how to stop him from stinking up the house. 

Can dogs pee to get attention?

If your dog is house-trained and starts making little puddles at random times, this may be a form of getting your attention. It’s hard to figure out a dog’s thought process, but it is safe to assume that if your dog has managed to get your attention once by soiling the house, he’ll use the trick again.

Attention-seeking peeing in dogs

Let’s have a look at the most common reason your dog might do this.

Separation anxiety

Many dogs, including large fearsome ones like German Shepherds, can suffer from separation anxiety. It’s not just that they hate being left alone, your dog has no way to know you’re coming back. A dog doesn’t understand the concept of going to work so they might be genuinely afraid you’re not coming back.

When your dog sees you getting your morning coffee and dressing up for work, he’ll know you’ll be away for a while. 

If he pees on the floor just as you’re putting your coat on, you don’t have to assume it’s a conscious act. Like acting out of spite. He may simply pee because he’s afraid of you leaving the house. In other words, he may not be doing it on purpose, but because he cannot help it.

Or, a clever dog might figure out that you will have to clean the puddle so you won’t be leaving in a hurry. A sensitive dog may risk a scolding just to keep you around some more.

If that is the case with your dog, you should look up separation anxiety and learn how to deal with it. 

The general idea is to train him by progressively increasing the duration of your separation. For the first few days, leave the house at the usual hour but pop back in five minutes later. The dog will be reassured. Next try leaving the house for 15 minutes, 30 minutes and so on. You need to reinforce the idea that he has no reason to worry. 

Do not scold or punish the dog as this may only increase his anxiety. Now he knows you’re angry and he has all the more reason to believe you might not come back. 

Boredom

Your dog may be peeing to get your attention even if you work from home and separation anxiety is not an issue. But, if you sit in front of your computer for hours, your dog will get bored. And he knows that letting go in the middle of the room will make you get up and attend to him. Once again, do not scold the dog and don’t rub his nose in the puddle. He doesn’t know that your tapping away at the keyboard is important and he may resent you for not paying attention to him instead. 

Since you cannot spend your time entertaining your dog, to stop this type of unwanted behavior don’t give him what he wants, and that is attention. Clean the puddle, but ignore the dog. Remove him from the room if necessary.

However, you need to consider the underlying issue and find ways to relieve your dog;s boredom.

One way of doing that is to increase the duration of your walks together. Instead of taking him out in the morning for a quick pee, take a 30-minute tour of the neighborhood. Give him time to sniff around trees and lamp posts to see who was out and about, or interact with other dogs. This will give him something to think about for the next hours and, also, a brisk walk might get rid of the excess energy so he’ll nap for a couple of hours.

Another way to relieve your dog’s boredom is to provide entertainment in the form of a toy filled with treats. Working out how to get to the juicy treats will keep him busy for a while and all the excitement might make him sleepy afterwards. You can also give him a large bone to chew, but only if the dog is in the same room with you and you can keep an eye on him. Remove the bone after 20-30 minutes at any time if it gives signs of splintering.

Jealousy

Dogs do not like to share the attention and love of their favorite human with anyone, two-legged or four-legged. If there are any changes in your family life, your dog might resort to peeing to get your attention.

At the same time, experts qualify this sort of peeing as territory-marking.

For instance, if there’s a new baby in the house, your dog may suffer a lot, especially if it’s the first child and he used to be the center of attention before its arrival.

Your dog may pee in the baby’s room or on its toys as a way of announcing the house is his. To reassure your dog of your love, make sure to offer a nice treat whenever the baby’s around or make a point of sitting down on the floor and give him a good belly rub while your partner tends to the kid. 

This may happen if you have a new partner. Don’t be surprised if your dog urinates on your boyfriend’s new shoes. The message is clear – this is my house, get lost! Do not punish the dog as this will only reinforce his conviction that he’s losing you and make the peeing situation worse.

Also, you can expect some sort of attention-seeking peeing if you bring home a new pet. If you’re fussing over the new pet, a quick pee is a sure way of getting some attention. It’s also a way of letting the newcomer know this is his territory. 

What is my dog suddenly peeing in the house?

Peeing for attention is not the only reason why your dog might be urinating around the house all of a sudden. Let’s have a look at other reasons why your house-trained dog might be peeing in your room.

Submissive urination

This has nothing to do with attention-seeking. Submissive urination is more common in puppies or dogs who have suffered abuse in the past.

Submissive peeing is a way for your dog to show he knows he’s not the boss. By submitting to you or another dog, usually older, your pet begs not to be punished.

Submissive peeing is relatively easy to identify as your dog’s behavior and body language will indicate fear. A dog trying to convey submission may crouch or lie on the floor, with his ears flat against his head. He will refrain from making eye contact to avoid making it seem like he’s looking for confrontation.

A young puppy will eventually outgrow this type of behavior, but you’ll need to be careful around an older and sensitive dog. Again, punishment is counterproductive as it will only make your dog more fearful. You need to work on establishing a confidence bond between you and your dog.

If the submissive urination has to do with another dog in the household, you’ll have to solve the conflict between your pets.  

Excitement peeing

Sensitive dogs may express their excitement by peeing. It’s not something he does on purpose, it’s just the excitement that makes him lose control of his bladder. 

This may happen when there are visitors and the dog is emotionally overwhelmed or he might do that as a way of greeting you after a few hours of absence. He’s so relieved to see you home he relieves himself on the floor. 

If your dog is prone to this type of emotional peeing, you should think of ways to minimize the excitement. For instance, warn your guests not to make too much fuss about the dog . Tell them to ignore the dog and only acknowledge him once your pet has grown accustomed to the idea of them being in the house. 

If it’s about you, keep it low-key. A loud display of affection on your part might make the dog too emotional. Greet your pet in a low voice and immediately give him something else to think about. Walk straight into the kitchen and offer him a small treat, while you change into your home clothes. Once the dog has had a chance to calm down, sit on the couch and invite him to join you for a bit. 

Medical issues

You should never ignore the possibility of a health issue. House-trained dogs may start peeing around the house when they have a urinary tract infection or other conditions. If it doesn’t look like a behavioral problem, have your dog checked out by the vet. 

Also, keep in mind that urinary incontinence is a common problem among spayed female dogs. Your vet may be able to recommend meds to control the symptoms, but this is a problem you’ll have to learn to live with.

Closing thoughts

Dogs are fully capable of peeing for attention even though they might not always be aware of what they’re doing or why they’re doing it. If your dog is suffering from separation anxiety or boredom, find ways to fix the problem rather than address the symptom. Train your dog to cope with being left alone and provide physical and mental stimulation to relieve boredom. If your dog is jealous of a new kid or partner, show him nothing has changed between you and you still love him. 

Dogs don’t pee out of spite, but rather out of complex frustration feelings over which he has little control, so he doesn’t deserve to be punished. 

Photo credits

¹ Photo by Cold, Indrid on Flickr