Peeing at night/ early morning

Posted by PATCH
May 25, 2009
My 16-month old Jack Russell pees inside the apartment and on the corridor of the building in the morning before we take him out. He started this when we moved into a new apartment three months ago. At the beginning he peed inside the apartment at night and now he does it early in the morning just as we are about to take him out. On the other hand, during the day, he is very well behaved and can stay alone for up to 12 hours without doing anything. I need some insight into this as we don't know what to do with him anymore and how to stop this. We have tried to respect all the general rules: taking him out late at night, taking his water away at night, waking up early in the morning to take him out, etc. Does anyone understand why there should be such a difference between daytime and night time? He didn't used to do this in the old apartment. I really need some help as! Thank you!
Posted by KOPsarah
Jun 3, 2009
Hi patch, thanks for your post.
I have been carefully considering your situation for the last couple of days and I think I need a little bit more information to solve this mystery. Does he have particular spots in which he toilets inside or does it seem to be very random? Is he being locked inside during the day for longer than he used to at the old apartment? Is he reluctant to toilet outside or is there anything he dislikes or finds scary outside such as loud noises, lots of people or heavy vehicles? Finally does he show any signs of difficulty or pain when urinating or have his drinking behaviors in the evening changed? Sorry for so many questions but I just want to get a clear picture of the situation.
Posted by PATCH
Jun 4, 2009
Thank you so much for your reply! It would be so good if we could get to the bottom of this as we have tried so many things and nothing has worked.

In the first few nights in the new apartment, we put his bed with us in the bedroom and closed the door since it was a new place and he was quite anxious at the beginning (ie he was scared to go into certain rooms). We would wake up in the morning and find that he had already peed. Then we moved him to the living room and he peed there (it not always the same place but he had roughly two areas where he usually peed). Finally, we closed him in the kitchen but we had no better results. Sometimes, he would take two pees not one. About two weeks ago, we tried again closing him with us in the bedroom, and for three, four nights he did not pee. But we had a new problem - he peed on our way out (bedroom, hallway, outside corridor, elevator). I swapped with my boyfriend (the "alpha male" in our little "pack") too see if it made any difference, but nothing changed.

He is alone during the day but for no longer than he was in the old apartment. The only difference may be that a month before we moved into the new apartment we had my boyfriend's parents staying with us. His mum was at home for a part of the day and he may have got used to her company. Because of the peeing problem, about one and a half months ago, we arranged for him to be taken out for walks with other dogs in the forest three times a week (which means he is alone at home only two days a week). This has made him more confident outside and more relaxed but has helped in no way with the peeing.

He has absolutely no problem urinating outside. He does it two or three times during the morning walk (less in quantity because he has already peed inside), and several times during the evening and the night walks. Noises, lots of people and heavy vehicles do scare him very easily though I find that since he started going for the walks with the other dogs, his reactions are less pronounced. To pee and pooh, we go to quieter places.

He does seem to drink a lot of water but I don't know how much is normal. After moving to the new apartment, we started taking his water away earlier around 8:00-8:30 pm. In the old apartment, we would only take it away after his last walk around 10:30- 11:00.

We take him out for walks three times a day or twice on days when he is taken out: 7:00, 18:30, 10:30-11:00 and we have been trying to reinforce our leadership/ dominance by following some of the advice in the Secrets to Dog Training.

It would really help if you had any advice to give us, or point to any possible clues as to why he does this and how we could tackle this! We really don't understand it and don't know what else we could try. Thank you!
Posted by KOPsarah
Jun 8, 2009
Hi again, it is possible that this is a physical problem if your dog has not shown many other behavioral changes. The next step in the investigation is probably to measure water intake and keep a urination diary for about 3 or 4 days. If you fill the dogs water bowl with a known amount of water and then measure what is left after 24 hours keeping track of water intake isn't too tricky. You can then give this give this information along with the weight of your dog and preferably also the dogs daily energy intake (easy if your dog is on kibble because its on the back of the bag) to your vet and they can calculate (usually just over the phone if you do not want to try a full consult although a good check up is advisable if your dog hasn't had one recently) if the dogs daily water intake is excessive. Excessive urination and drinking (known as polyuria, polydypsia) is a symptom of many various illnesses and so its important to check whether one of these could be the cause of the dogs toileting problem.

In the mean time keep letting the dog out to the toilet as many times a day as possible and try spraying common urinating spots with urine deodorizer to discourage re-use of these locations. Hopefully we will have some more clues once the drinking and urination has been monitored for a while.