Why does my dog mess in the house when shes alone with me?

She was my partners dog before I moved in now anytime my partner goes to work at night and I'm alone with the dog she messes or urinates in the house sometimes minutes after Ive taken her out

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Answered by Alexandra Bassett, Dog Trainer in Los Angeles, CA
Hi there! This sounds frustrating! There are many reasons why this could be happening and several things to consider when attempting to solve the issue:
- Anxiety: changes within a dog's household can cause them to feel anxious. You will want to remain as neutral as possible about your partner's dog making potty mistakes while you try to correct the issue because getting upset or punishing her will probably only make the situation worse.
- If she is pottying in the same spot each time, you will not only want to clean it with a good enzymatic cleaner like Nature's Miracle, you may want to make that spot inaccessible in the future (put a plant on it) or turn it into a place where you feed her (dogs don't like to eat where they've gone potty).
- I'd recommend a good remedial potty training plan: take high-value treats like real meat with you when you take her for a walk and reward her generously for going potty outside.
- You can also create a new rule with her that you won't start the walk until she potties, or that she can't return inside the house unless she potties just beforehand. This would require you to stand around in one spot, just giving her the length of the lead to sniff around and find a place to potty. If you are patient the first few times you do this, you'll notice she will empty her bladder or bowels right when you take her out or just before you return home (really be patient for the first 3-5 days, and this will pay off, especially if she gets treats afterward!!!)
- The umbilical cord method of potty training is very effective whereby you clip your dog to you with a c-clip/carabiner attached to the end of the loop of a leash and a belt loop on your pants. This way your dog can't get very far and can notice immediately if they start to potty in the house (it only takes a second, as you may have found out). Dogs learn by association, so if you catch her in the act, tell her no!, and then immediately take her outside to finish her potty, she will learn it's not acceptable to potty inside on your watch. Since it seems she does this right upon your return, prevention is key!!
- Most dogs want to be near where the activity in the house is, so if you notice she is dipping her nose to the ground and walking away from where you are spending time, she is most probably looking for a potty spot. Take outside immediately if you notice she is doing this.
- Lastly, be patient with her. She may be having trouble adjusting to all the changes. Show her she can trust you by playing with her and also respecting the signals she may be giving you. Dog decoder makes an app that can help you to read her body language. Dogs have a limited spectrum of ways to communicate how they feel, so if you start to notice whey her body language is saying to you, you can find ways to make her comfortable around you - sometimes that means giving a dog space, too.
Hope this helps!! | 02.02.18 @ 17:00
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$commenter.renderDisplayableName() — {comment} | 03.21.18 @ 12:40
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