How To Stop Dogs From Peeing on Furniture

October 15, 2022 / Dog Training / By: Lilianna Parker

Akita Inu puppy peeing on the couch

No one likes going to sit on the couch to find that their dog has just had an accident on it. This can be especially upsetting if this problem occurs often or is happening to your dog all of a sudden.

So, how can you help stop your dog from having accidents?

There are many different reasons why dogs will have accidents inside of the house, and they can range from issues with housebreaking to medical problems. The good news about this is that there are also a lot of things that you can try that will help stop your dog from peeing on furniture.

Here we will be explaining everything that dog owners need to know about how they can stop their dogs from peeing on furniture. This will include explaining why dogs will have accidents along with answering some other commonly asked questions about housebreaking issues in dogs.

Let’s get into it!

Do Dogs Pee on Furniture Out of Spite?

There has been no evidence that suggests that dogs pee on furniture out of spite towards their owners.

Similarly, dogs do not have accidents in the house to get their owner's attention or to draw up sympathy.

It is believed that dogs really choose to have accidents on furniture like sofas or beds because it is simply a comfortable place for them to do so.

Dogs love to relieve themselves on soft surfaces like grass, carpets, and soft furniture because it is the most comfortable on their feet. This is especially true if you have a female dog that needs to squat down every time they use the bathroom.

It is also possible for dogs to eliminate waste in the same areas where they have had accidents in the past. The scent of their past accidents mixed with the soft nature of furniture creates the ideal bathroom for many dogs.

Why is My Dog Peeing on Furniture All of a Sudden?

While some housetraining hiccups are a common experience for dog owners, it is not normal for adult dogs to suddenly start having accidents. This is especially true if it has been a long time since they have last had an accident.

Here are some possible reasons why your dog is suddenly peeing on furniture all of a sudden.

1. Your Dog Has a Medical Issue

Medical problems are fairly common reasons for dogs to suddenly start peeing on furniture as an adult. There are many medical issues that can cause more frequent urination in dogs, with UTIs and bladder issues among some of the most common.

As a result, it is a good idea to get your dog looked at by a veterinarian if they are suddenly having accidents inside the house, especially if it is unusual behavior for them.

2. Your Dog is Experiencing Anxiety

Anxiety can also cause a dog to suddenly start urinating inside. Most of the time this is paired with other symptoms of anxiety in dogs such as pacing, destructive behaviors, and anxious body language. 

If you believe that your dog is suddenly experiencing extreme anxiety, then consulting with your veterinarian can help.

3. Your Dog is Getting Old

Dogs will commonly start having accidents when they reach their elderly years. There are several possible reasons behind this including bladder incontinence and dementia

Whatever the exact cause may be, speaking with your vet and making it easier for your elderly dog to reach their potty spots can help.

4. Your Puppy is Experiencing Potty Training Regression

Potty training regression in puppies is fairly common, and it is not something that puppy owners need to worry too much about.

The best thing that you can do if your puppy is experiencing this problem is to stick to your guns and power through potty training.

Taking your puppy out slightly more often can help as well.

Why is My Dog Peeing on Furniture All of a Sudden?

5. Your Dog is Marking

Marking is one of the more rare causes of dogs having accidents in the house, and it is most common in intact dogs. That being said, it can happen, especially if you have an intact male dog on your hands.

Will Neutering a Dog Stop Marking in the House?

If it has been established that your intact dog is in fact urine-marking, then spaying and neutering can help to reduce the problem of house soiling. This is because dogs will mark their area with urine when either they are intact or there is another intact dog around them as a way to find a mate and initiate mating.

This is an instinctual behavior in dogs that haven’t been spayed or neutered. This means that the behavior should stop once your dog has been neutered.

However, it is important to mention that neutered dogs will sometimes continue to mark if there is still another intact male or female dog living in the house with them.

So, neutering your dog can be an effective way to stop marking if they are the only intact dog in the home. However, you may want to search for different options if you do not wish to neuter your dog or have other intact dogs in the home.

Some Do's and Don'ts If Your Dog Is House Soiling

Experiencing housetraining issues with your dog can be frustrating. However, there are some things that you can do to make the process a little easier.

Similarly, there are some things that can make the process more difficult as well. Here are some things to do and what not to do when your dog is having accidents.

What Not to Do When Your Dog is Having Accidents

The main thing that you should never do when your dog is having accidents is to punish them for it.

This is because punishing our dogs for having accidents inside is not likely to teach them that the behavior is not okay.

Rather, it will teach your dog to hide from people when eliminated inside of the house and even to possibly be fearful of you in extreme cases.

What to do When Your Dog is Having Accidents

When your dog is having accidents it is always best to take them to the vet to ensure that there is nothing wrong first.

Once your dog has been given a clean bill of health it is then important to be consistent with a potty schedule and where you want your dog to use the bathroom.

How to Keep Dogs From Peeing on Furniture

Luckily, there are many solutions for dog owners with dogs that keep peeing on furniture. Here are seven things that you can do to stop this troublesome behavior.

1. Identify the Cause of Your Dogs Peeing and Follow the Treatment Plan

The first thing that you should do if your dog is suddenly having accidents is to take them to the vet. This is because there are many different medical conditions in dogs that can cause an increase in urination.

Taking your dog to the vet when this is happening will either give you the reason as to why your dog is suddenly peeing on furniture or rule out a medical problem as the cause.

Though it is upsetting to find out that our dog has a medical problem that needs veterinary attention, the good news is that their accidents usually stop once the condition has been properly treated.

This means that following your dog’s treatment plan from the vet is the only thing that dog owners need to do to stop medical-related indoor accidents. Well, that and deep cleaning some furniture and rugs.

2. Go Back to the Basics With Housebreaking

Issues can always occur with housebreaking, and it is not uncommon for puppies to start having a higher frequency of accidents seemingly out of the blue.

While this can definitely be discouraging, especially when the puppy seems to have finally gotten potty trained, it is important to remember that puppies are still learning.

So, if your puppy has started peeing on furniture again don’t panic!

This is simply a sign that you need to go back to the basics with the potty training for a little while. During this time it is a good idea to make the process easier for your puppy.

You can do this by taking them out more often to use the bathroom and restricting the area where they can free roam.

Restricting your puppy’s free-roaming space will prevent accidents in many puppies because they don’t like to soil the areas where they sleep, eat, and play.

This is instinctual, and it is why crate training puppies alongside potty training can really make the process easier. Plus, having your puppy near you more often will allow you to see the signs of when they may have an accident more easily

3. Train Your Dog to Use an Indoor Potty Area

things you can do to keep dogs from peeing on furniture

It can be difficult for some dogs to hold their bladder as long as we would like them to, especially for elderly dogs and dogs with certain long-lasting medical conditions.

In these instances, it may be easier to train your dog to use an indoor potty area such as a potty pad or litter box lined with newspaper or disposable potty pads.

When training your dog to use an indoor potty area you are essentially doing the same process as you would for outdoor potty training.

Here we will break down how to train your dog to use an indoor potty area into a few steps.

Step 1: Establish the Potty Area

First, set up your designated potty area. It is best to choose a quiet spot that gets low traffic but is still easy for your dog to get to.

Step 2: Take Your Dog to the Potty Area on a Schedule

Next, take your dog to the potty area on a schedule. Most dogs will have a bit of a schedule when they need to relieve themselves on an average day.

Try to bring your dog to the indoor potty area at the times that your dog seems to have an accident.

Similarly, you should take your dog to the potty area if they seem like they might have an accident at any moment.

Step 3: Praise Your Dog for Using the Potty Area

It is important to praise your dog every time that they use the potty area in the beginning, especially when they go to use it on their own.

This will communicate to your dog that they are doing something good and that they should keep it up!

Step 4: Put it on Cue

This next step is optional, but it can still be really useful. Every time your dog is using the potty area properly say “go potty” or any other command that you would like them to use and then praise them when they are done.

Repeating this process many times will teach the dog the word. Once your dog has learned this cue you can then tell your dog to use their indoor potty area when you need them to.

4. Keep Your Dog Off of the Couch With Deterrents

Some deterrent sprays can help to keep a dog off of the couch because they do not like the smell.

Using these deterrents on furniture and other areas can help with stopping your dog from peeing on furniture.

However, it is best paired with persistent potty training as your dog may just go find another spot in the house to eliminate otherwise.

When purchasing a dog deterrent from the store, it is always important to check that the product is safe for use around pets. Similarly, it is also a good idea to check and make sure that the product is not going to stain your furniture.

Using a bit of vinegar can be a great homemade deterrent because dogs typically hate the smell. However, vinegar does not pose a health threat to dogs and it is also not likely to stain furniture when used properly.

Similarly, scent deterrents like vinegar or store-bought ones are also better than things like motion sensor alarms or sprays. This is because these products could really frighten dogs and have the potential of causing anxiety in dogs when they are near the areas where they have gone off.

5. Cover Your Couch With a Couch Cover

Of course, it could be a good idea to use a couch cover if you are worried about your couch becoming damaged. Plastic couch covers and washable couch covers made of thick fabric will both work!

6. Put a Belly Band or Dog Diaper on Your Dog

Belly bands and diapers both work to keep urine off of your furniture. This could be a good alternative to neutering for owners of intact dogs that like to mark.

Belly bands tend to work best for male dogs because the dog can still move around unrestricted and go number two outside business as usual. However, diapers made for dogs can also work in a pinch.

If you're DIYer check out our post on DIY dog diapers for some homemade solutions.

7. Consider Neutering Your Dog

Of course, marking could be the cause for a dog’s peeing on furniture if they are not neutered. This means that neutering your dog could very well stop this marking behavior altogether.

If you believe that this is the cause behind your dog’s accidents then you may want to consider neutering your dog. 

Of course, it is always a good idea to consult with your vet before going through with the procedure, especially if you have any questions or concerns.

Some Helpful Products for Cleaning up Pet Accidents

If you are reading this article, then it is likely that you have had at least a few pets messes to clean up.

Out! Oxyfast activated pet stain and odor remover or Nature’s Miracle Urine Destroyer are some good cleaning sprays that help get rid of pet stains and odors effectively.

These sprays tend to be better than just using soap and water because they get rid of the odor completely.

This means that your dog cannot smell that spot, so they are no longer enticed to mark over that spot with more urine later.

Of course, it is always important to thoroughly read and follow the product’s directions for it to work properly as well.

You may also have the problem of needing to wash dog pee out of things like blankets and clothing.

Nature's Miracle Laundry Boost is a good laundry detergent that will get rid of pet stains and odors effectively.

If Your Old Dog is Peeing on Furniture, is it Time to Put Them Down?

Many elderly dogs will experience bladder issues as they get older. While bladder problems can sometimes be indicative of serious medical problems in older dogs, this is not always the case.

When considering this question it is always best to consult with your veterinarian for their professional advice on how to move forward with your dog specifically.

***

There you have it! Everything that you need to know about housebreaking issues in dogs. Staying consistent and persistent with puppies during potty training is key to finding success.

Meanwhile, it is a good idea to take your adult dog to the vet for a checkup if they are suddenly peeing on furniture out of the blue. Always remember, you can do this!

WRITTEN BY

Lilianna Parker

Lilianna Parker is a certified dog trainer through the Animal Behavior College, and has been involved in training dogs in the New York State community for several years. Lilianna has also written numerous works on dog training using positive reinforcement. She believes that every dog owner should have the tools that they need to see their dogs succeed. Her articles and blog posts about dog training are excellent ways for dog owners to get started with force-free training. She owns Simply Positive Dog Training and when she’s not writing or training, she enjoys going for hikes with her Shiba Inu called Cleo!

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