If dogs go for a walk in the apartment despite this, it is usually a sign of insufficient training or a lack of focus while walking. Under certain circumstances, it can also indicate anxiety, stress, or even medical problems.
The first thing to do here is to investigate the cause. Because the better you understand the cause, the better you can fix the problem at the root.
In the following you will learn about the 11 most common causes, how to recognize them, and what is recommended as a solution in a specific case.
1. Existing smell of urine
Depending on the breed, dogs have up to 60 times more olfactory receptors than humans. They can use it to smell up to 100,000 times better than we can.
This also explains why the nose is not the primary sensory organ in dogs, rather than the eyes. But what does that have to do with the lack of housebreaking?
Very easily. When your dog smells old pee or poop around the home, it is signaling that this is an appropriate place to defecate.
If your dog goes into the apartment after the walk, intensive cleaning can help. Here I recommend the following bombproof approach:
- 1) Take immediate action on “accidents” instead of letting the smell sit in.
- 2) Wipe up the worst with regular paper towels.
- 3) Then spray BactoDes (from Amazon) on the area and let it work.
- 4) Pat the area dry with kitchen paper.
BactoDes is not a bestseller on Amazon for nothing. Because it was developed precisely to neutralize even the smallest traces of odor.
When dogs can smell old remains of urine or feces in the home, it can send the wrong signals. Intensive cleaning with an odorless cleaner makes sense so that the four-legged friend does not go into the apartment again despite being taken for a walk.
2. Urinary Tract Infection
Whenever too many “bad” bacteria accumulate and multiply in the urinary tract, inflammation can occur – the “urinary tract infection”.
For anatomical reasons, bitches are much more likely to be affected. Because their urethra is significantly shorter bacteria from the outside can get inside more easily.
It usually manifests itself in the form of sudden incontinence, so that affected dogs sometimes pee in the apartment even though they were outside. Other classic symptoms are:
- Constant urge to urinate
- Cloudy urine
- Whining when peeing
- Dog urine stinks
- Frequent licking of the intimate area
- Dog loses pee
According to statistics, around 14% of all visits to the vet are due to a urinary tract infection. It is one of the most common complaints in dogs.
Antibiotics are primarily used for treatment and drinking a large amount is recommended. The symptoms should be gone within a few days.
Dogs with an existing urinary tract infection are more likely to inadvertently go indoors even after a walk. However, this is not due to the lack of housebreaking, but to the fact that the four-legged friends cannot hold their urine due to the inflammation.
3. Inadequate training
Many first-time owners expect the subject of housebreaking to be like tying their shoes. If it works once, then it should always work in the future.
However, the reality is different. Because the process is gradual. Accidents can therefore occur more frequently during the transition phase. That is normal.
A dog is usually only considered “house trained” when it has mastered it for a whole month. It is at this point that two common training mistakes creep in:
- Missing punishment: There is no clear “No” command if the dog goes for a walk in the apartment despite it.
- Missing reward: Instead of just punishing the accident inside, you can also reward every bowel movement outside with a treat.
With this, you motivate your four-legged friend on both sides. Dogs are known to repeat behavior that is rewarded and avoid behavior that is punished.
If you don’t get any further here, I can recommend Johanna Esser’s online dog school. There you will find several practical exercises.
If young puppies are not sufficiently trained, they sometimes go into the apartment after the walk. Bad behavior should be verbally punished and good behavior rewarded. The rest comes from consistency.
4. Weak Bladder
When colloquially speaking of a “weak bladder”, it does not mean the bladder, but the sphincter muscle. The 3 most common causes of this are:
Among other things, the female sex hormone “estrogen” is necessary for the control of the sphincter. However, neutering can greatly reduce estrogen levels.
In females, the ovaries are removed during castration. And that is the primary production site of the hormone. In the case of male dogs, on the other hand, this is less relevant.
- Young age
In young puppies, the sphincters must first mature. In the first few weeks, it can therefore happen that you go into the apartment despite going for a walk.
- High age
In old age not only do the hormones decrease, but also the muscle strength itself. Some four-legged friends sometimes also suffer from dementia and forget the rules.
In such cases, I advise dog diapers. They are suitable for both puppies and adult dogs, are reusable, and absolutely leak-proof.
Due to castration, young age, or old age, the dog’s sphincters often do not function properly. This can result in them going into the apartment even though they were outside. In an emergency, certain tools can help here.
5. Anxiety & Stress
“I almost peed my pants from fear” – This idiom has hormonal reasons. When you are scared or stressed, stress hormones and adrenaline are released.
Typical triggers for these emotions in dogs are loud household appliances, fear of being alone, an unfamiliar environment, severe sadness, or traumatic experiences.
Sensitive four-legged friends such as all types of lap dogs are most susceptible to this. Bowel movements are also affected by these hormones:
- Dog forgets to do business outside because of fear and therefore does it inside after the walk.
- Dog pees in the apartment because of fear or severe stress, although he knows that he is not allowed to do so.
In the case of breeds that are very sensitive to cold, low temperatures can also lead to severe stress. This can often be recognized by a physical tremor.
In addition, affected dogs usually pull in their tails and behave restlessly. The solution here is to find out what triggers these emotions and work on them proactively.
Severe anxiety or chronic stress can cause dogs to forget about their business outside and return home after a walk. This can usually be recognized by the posture of the dog. To solve the trigger should be removed.
6. Kidney Disease
The kidneys ensure that toxins and waste can be excreted through the urine. It is, therefore, together with the liver, the central detoxification organ.
Problems with the kidneys can therefore also have an impact on the urge to urinate in dogs. The most common triggers here include:
- Bacterial infection
- Kidney stones
- Swallowing toxic substances
- Heat stroke
- Kidney Cancer
It can often be recognized by the fact that the dog drinks a lot and often has to go outside. Sometimes they even pee in the house after the walk. Other symptoms are:
- Chronic diarrhea
- Frequent vomiting
- Metallic bad breath
- Dog loses weight
- Loss of appetite
- Foul-smelling urine
The accidents in the house are only a symptom here. If you suspect it, I recommend going to the vet. Treatment then depends on the suspected cause.
When dogs are struggling with kidney problems, it can also lead to sudden incontinence. It is often evident from the fact that dogs not only have to pee all the time but also pee in the apartment despite the walk.
Dogs are known to have descended from wolves. And for wolves, having your own territory is essential for survival. This is the only way to ensure that they have enough food and water.
For this reason, dogs still have territorial behavior, so they defend their own territory. At the same time, dogs also instinctively form a hierarchy.
The alpha is usually the master in the household. And your four-legged friend automatically classifies all other family members as betas, gammas, or deltas.
The problem? Some dogs have such low self-esteem that they always place themselves at the bottom of the hierarchy and submit to everyone and everything.
The consequence? They do not dare to go about their business outside of the house, as this could pose a threat to another four-legged friend’s territory.
And if it’s too uncomfortable for them outside and then at home the bladder hurts, then they sometimes go inside after the walk. However, not on purpose.
The solution? Here it is important to gradually build up the self-confidence of the four-legged friend through positive feedback methods. In the meantime, I advise you to go for a walk somewhere else.
Dogs with a lack of self-confidence are very reluctant to threaten other dogs’ territory with their pee or feces. For this reason, they more often slip it off while going for a walk and then go inside, even though they were outside beforehand.
8. Lack of focus
Did you know that dogs are so-called “macrosmatics”? This means that they sniff out their environment primarily with their nose instead of using their eyes like humans.
You can tell when they walk with their snouts on the ground and constantly change direction. In addition, their senses are many times better:
- Dogs see 5 times brighter in the dark and have a viewing angle of up to 270°.
- You hear up to 4 times further into the distance and even perceive ultrasonic tones.
- They smell up to 20 km away in good conditions and up to 100,000 times better depending on the breed.
The result? In the wrong environment, dogs become overwhelmed with sensory input very quickly. In practice, this can cause them to completely lose their focus.
Some four-legged friends, therefore, forget to do their business outside because of all the stimuli and instead go into the house afterward. But the solution is just as simple.
To avoid this, you should avoid dog parks and new environments. Instead, go to familiar, quiet areas and consciously walk in circles.
When dogs are flooded with new sensory stimuli while walking, they sometimes forget their priorities in their excitement. Among other things, this can lead to them going into the apartment after going for a walk.
9. Hormonal disorders
In almost all mammals, the production of urine is controlled to a certain extent by hormones. The following hormonal disorders can therefore also be the underlying cause:
- Cushing’s Syndrome
This condition causes too many stress hormones to be produced. This, in turn, indirectly results in dogs drinking abnormally large amounts of water.
Affected four-legged friends, therefore, have to pee more often than average. Other classic symptoms are constant panting, sudden hair loss, and listlessness.
- Addison’s disease
This disease of the adrenal glands causes the production of the stress hormone “cortisol” to be reduced. So it’s sort of the opposite of Cushing’s syndrome.
Here, too, affected dogs tend to drink more, so they sometimes go inside the house after going for a walk. Many also lose weight.
Dogs with diabetes either no longer respond adequately to insulin, or simply produce too little of this hormone. So there are 2 different types.
In practice, it is also noticeable here that the four-legged friends drink a lot, have to pee constantly, and sometimes become incontinent. Loss of appetite is also common.
Dogs with Cushing’s Syndrome, Addison’s Disease, or Diabetes drink abnormal amounts due to a hormonal imbalance. With affected dogs, it often happens that they pee in the apartment despite going for a walk because of a squeezing bladder.
10. Lack of attention
The basic needs of every dog include not only water and food but also daily attention, exercise, and a safe environment.
When they lack attention, they like to get creative. Most dogs begin to squeak, jump up on their master, or maintain eye contact.
If the daily attention falls short despite these measures, then young dogs in particular like to go one step further and become destructive.
A tattered shoe and gnawed pieces of furniture are typical here. Out of desperation, some four-legged friends also go into the apartment after a walk.
This behavior is an indirect cry for help before the lack of attention can then turn into depression. And yes, dogs can be affected too.
The solution? Find suitable ways to give your four-legged friend enough attention every day. The more fixed the routine, the better.
If dogs don’t get enough attention over a period of time, they’ll try to get it in any way they can. Among other things, even housebroken dogs then go into the house despite going for a walk. This is where the basic need needs to be met.
11. Territory marker
Did you know that dogs regularly and consciously press their snouts against their masters? Because this allows scents to stick to you that other dogs can smell.
And this scent then signals to other four-legged friends that you are already “taken”. It’s all part of territorial behavior. So completely natural and nothing to worry about.
It becomes a problem when your dog perceives a “threat” in its own household and sees its territory threatened. Typical examples are here:
- Stranger’s bags or clothes in the house smell like another dog.
- New pet that shares in the dog’s food.
- New baby in the family who suddenly gets all the attention.
- New dog in the neighborhood that is perceived as being significantly stronger.
In these cases, some dogs deliberately pee in the house even after a walk to mark their own territory. This is particularly typical for Great Dane species .
You can tell by the fact that your four-legged friend does not randomly touch the floor, but specifically marks carpets, bags, the sofa, furniture or walls, for example.
Territorial behavior is so pronounced in some dogs that they will mark their own house if they feel threatened. In practice, they sometimes deliberately go into the apartment after a walk to mark their territory.