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Bichon House Soiling

I am at my wit’s end, love my 4-year-old Bichon so much but he pees and defecates at will. I always thought you had to catch them in the act, but lately, I have been scolding and punishing anyway and I hate it because I don’t know if he understands or not. we are an unhappy household these days.

K.M. Brantome France

Dear K.M.

There are more than a few salient bits missing here. If this is a new behaviour, in other words, if your dog was house trained and now is not, I would first investigate medical complications. This is more likely the case when they are peeing only so I have my doubts. Never the less, blood work at a minimum.

If this is something that has been going on since puppyhood given an opportunity to chat I’m sure we could get to the bottom of why after 4 years he’s still soiling in the home. Since we can’t and assuming there isn’t anything physically bothering the dog we can look at psychological reasons. Dog breeding standards aren’t particularly stellar these days and so many dogs don’t have the stress thresholds they should have and these dogs are known to soil whenever stressed.

Outside of genetics, this sort of soiling is not uncommon amongst dogs that may not have been properly socialized between 3 – 12 weeks of age. They tend to be discombobulated by things that other dogs would shrug off. Sometimes the anxiety is caused because the dogs between 3 – 12 weeks of age were imprinted on 24/7 social contact with humans, other dogs etc and if the homes they end up in are dissimilar in that contact it can really throw them for a loop psychologically.

There are other characteristics in dogs that soil for psychological reasons. They are often very clingy to the degree that they suffer from separation anxiety. They can be noise sensitive – thunder, fireworks – loud sound in general but in particular, sounds that come from overhead. Even something as innocuous as the value of a hot air balloon going overhead can panic them. You probably can’t hear all that often but hot air balloon pilots tell me they see reactions from overhead that coincide with them engaging the propane.

Without knowing a lot more all I can do at this point is recommend my puppy house training e-book. (It’s cost is currently less than $5.00 CND) I know yours is not a puppy but there is content in the e-book that covers house soiling issues with older dogs. You may need some additional help though with looking into what you might be able to do for your dog’s confidence as if anxiety is triggering the soiling you’ll have far greater likelihood of success if you address both. If you don’t’ have the expertise you need locally you can contact me again to book a Skype consult.


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