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Rocco’s Dirty Little Secret

Subtitle: And How We Deal.

Rocco‘s been getting a lot of face time on the blog lately. While he may be a fine representation of ideal weight, this write up will be less than flattering. Rocco would NOT like you to know about the single most naughty behavior he engages in on a daily basis. Rocco pees in the house.

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For that, he sports a diverse collection of diapers.

Let me be more specific and confusing at the same time. Rocco is house trained. He potties outside everyday, several times a day, religiously. He holds it in his crate. He always poos outside. The inside peeing, its not out of necessity. Its because Rocco is an insecure kind of guy. And he’s an asshole. We are not talking pools of pee. We are talking 5 to 10 drops of urine on the corners of any convenient item. Rocco marks.

Marking is worse than an actual potty training issue. Potty training issues I can and have corrected. Peeing in the house produces large puddles, easy to identify, easy to clean up. You can anticipate when a dog has to go. It is much harder to always be on the lookout for half a dozen dime sized urine spots. Rocco will mark in the house moments after going outside to do his standard business. He has an inexhaustible reserve tank just for this purpose. In fact, when first Rocco came to live with us, we were in denial about this problem. We would see him potty outside like a good little terrier, and fail to witness in his unseemly in-house leg lifting. In his year and a half(ish) of life before us, I don’t think anyone knew. On top of everything else, he’s sneaky.

When we came to grips with the reality of our secret pee-er, something had to be done. It’s a behavior to be corrected, that maybe can’t be corrected. In which case, it’s got to be managed. In some households, such a habit could mean a less than lifelong home. Not here. For better or worse, we make commitments and we keep them. Even to ungrateful terriers, determined to ruin your hardwoods. Despite his flaws, Rocco is here to stay.

Over the years, we’ve cultivated strategies to keep the house from becoming a big smelly fire hydrant, thereby preserving our sanity.

Di-Di’s. The diapers. Our first line of defense. Officially, its not a diaper. Its a belly band. Whatever, we’ve a collection of them (about 10-14) that the bad dog wears at all times when he is in the house. These are snug fitting, so much so that he can’t get them off. And oh, he’s tried. They don’t stop the urination in and off itself (I had my hopes), but because we are dealing with small quantities they catch and absorb it. We keep an eye on di-di status and change out where appropriate. Even with a large collection, these could become a stinky mess to deal with, were it not for…

Pure Ayre. Rather enzymatic cleaners. I have my doubts as to the efficacy of most of these products. Nature’s Miracle is crap. However, I do know that cleaning with a standard non-pet-enzyme cleaner is not going to do you a heck of a lot of good. Pee is special. It needs a special cleaner. Pure Ayre is the best of the best at eliminating odor in my opinion, and non-toxic to boot. Around here we go through a lot of it. Hence the gallon size jugs. Soiled di-di’s are treated, as are any spots that make appear despite our best efforts. This is all about management and management is imperfect. Di-di’s are in appropriately placed. They become soiled with out us noticing and leak through. Sometimes we even forget or delude ourselves by thinking “Oh, I’m sure he’s over that by now”. Heh. Stupid humans. That means we carefully consider our…

Flooring options. It’s straight forward: Plush, bad. Hard, good. Beyond that though, the finish on hardwood can be compromised by a missed spot. Some colors make it harder to identify those tiny drops. When we recently opted to replace the only section of carpet in our house, very unfortunately placed in out dog-centric TV watching room, we went down to the cement. We ripped up carpet (it had to go), we ripped up (very poorly installed) tile, then we finished and sealed the 60 year old original concrete pour. Shiny and nice. Also incredibly durable, not absorbant and easy to see those ‘little mistakes’ at 15 paces. I learned about the beauty of finished cement from The Pet Store. For us, it was a good option because of previous…

Damage done. How do I know what happens to pee left standing on a hardwood finish? Go ahead, guess. Someday, when Rocco is no longer with us (due to natural causes) I will refinish my floors. Until then, I remind myself that dogs are more important than (mostly) discreet flaws in your flooring. He’s also gotten shoes, laundry baskets, trim, speakers (!!!), furniture. Nothing is safe, and over the years, he’ seized every opportunity available to him. As much as the small amount of pee frustrates me from an identification standpoint, it usually doesn’t ruin things entirely. I’ve learned to take most things in stride. Clean, relocate, move on, continue to love your dog.

Options not tried. There are a few strategies we don’t use, for a variety of reasons. We could keep Rocco tethered to us at all times in the house. If we are with him, he can’t be sneaky. Voila! No Pee! I’ve used this under certain circumstances, but its not practical every day. Frankly it’s exhausting and limits the quality of life for both of us. If it were a temporary training thing, I’d do it. But it’s not. Again management. From time to time I also consider prozac. That’s right drugging the jerk. If this does all stem from insecurity as we presume, a little anti-depressant has been known to do the trick. To quell the urge to constantly communicate his presence and superiority. I consider the moral ramifications of altering his brain chemistry for my own benefit, but maybe that’s silly. Like the floor refinishing, perhaps someday.

Why the confession. Over the years, we’ve put a lot of thought into inappropriate urination. All told, we do a pretty good job of keeping the effects to a minimum. We can’t be the only ones with such problems, which makes this share-worthy. Yep, its gross. However, it doesn’t mean my house is disgusting and it doesn’t mean I have to get rid of my dog. It means I have to be a little more creative, observant and hands-on with my day to day cleaning. There are worse fates. Also, I’d like to point out, my dogs are not perfect. Far, far from it. They bark too much. They jump on people. They pee in the house. On occasion, even their diet is less than ideal. I don’t want to sugar coat our existence. Confessions of the secret-peer should burst that bubble.

Do your pets have their own dirty little secrets? How did you fix or manage them?

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Comments

Tracy
Reply

We have the rug peeing Chihuahua. She will potty outside but let her out of your site and she will go on the rug by the kitchen sink everytime. She came to us late in her life and we have decided she will forever pee on that rug. It’s just something we deal with. We have had her for almost 2 years now and we are on our 2nd rug as it gets washed about 3 times a week. We accept her for who she is and move on. I too have hardwood floors and dream of the day when they can be refinished but until then I will wash my rug and clean the floor beneath it. Oh and we tried not putting the rug down – she just pees on the floor in that same spot. Ughhh!

dogsordollars
Reply

At least is a handy convenient to wash type spot. Count your blessings, right? ;)

Karawynn @ Pocketmint
Reply

For the last five years we’ve had a cat who came with an extreme anxiety disorder, so I feel you on the peeing. It’s gotten so bad now that we’re resorting to drugs. Buspirone had no effect, so today I go pick up a fluoxetine prescription. If that doesn’t improve things, he’s going to become an outdoor cat. :(

Number one requirement for next domicile? Hard floors. Pets and carpets do not mix.

Oh, and you might want to try my miracle anti-pee product. It’s cheaper per gallon than Pure Ayre and more effective — a little goes a long way.

Karawynn @ Pocketmint
Reply

Oh, and a blog bug report for you: since your redesign, when one leaves a comment, there is a line that says “Check here to Subscribe to notifications for new posts” … but there is no checkbox.

dogsordollars
Reply

PS. Thanks! As JD would say, I’ll let the “technical elves” know. ;)

dogsordollars
Reply

I’ve read about your Bad Cat chronicles and I sympathize. A friend with a cat has had great luck with prozac, so fingers crossed for you (& the Bad Cat). Banishing to outside would be no fun for anybody.

On the urine products… I’ve also gone the injection route. Works much much better (even with Pure Ayre) that traditional soaking. Saved an antique chair.

For me part of the concern with carpet, with these chemicals is the toxicity.Off gassing, flame retardants, maybe I am being irrational. But little pet bodies, walking on this stuff, licking paws, rolling around in it…eek!

Kaitlin Jenkins
Reply

My border collie mix Bear has been given the unfortunate nick name of the ‘garbage man’ as he loves to dig through the garbage sneakily. He usually does this only when we’re gone (and has since been prevented by the ever helpful babygate) but he’ll even sneak out of our bedroom in the middle of the night and help himself if he knows we’ve left the gate open. I have yet to figure out if he gets up and checks the gate after we go to bed, or if he’s just an opportunist and ‘happens upon it’ when he’s getting a drink. Such a stinker, but he’s not going anywhere!

dogsordollars
Reply

My BFF had ‘garbage dog’ for many, many years. He loved it! I keep my garbage can in a cupboard for just this reason. Even if I forget, no access for them! Heh!

The things they do while we are sleeping though…

Kaitlin Jenkins
Reply

Ahh if only my sink wasn’t so ghetto that a garbage can can’t even fit underneath!

Heather
Reply

I’ll testify to the garbage dog syndrome which we’ve “managed” by having auto-lids on all garbage cans that provide interest to the dog. But we’re a geek house, so having a plethora of silly gadgety things in our house is not a new concept to us. Beats finding that trail of nasty bathroom or kitchen trash throughout the house.

Jenny
Reply

My dog is a garbage dog, a litter box dog, and a dirty diaper dog. Basically, he can’t help himself around anything smelly. I live for the day when I can justify buying one of those nice “dog-proof” trash cans. We just don’t have enough room under our sink for even a small trash can. I made new litterboxes out of rubbermaid bins for the cats, which he can’t get into. But of course, my older girl cat is rebelling against them (but that’s a whole different story). The dirty diapers thing is really the one that gets me. And it’s every bit as disgusting as you’re probably thinking. Our management is basically two parts: Riley can’t have free reign over the house when no one is home and he pretty much can’t be by himself in any room. Riley prefers to be with his people anyway, so this isn’t much of a problem, but occasionally he’ll sneak off and I just know there’s some disgusting mess waiting for me somewhere.

Tracy
Reply

Do you all ever ask youself why we let this nasty little creatures in our homes?

dogsordollars
Reply

Totally.

And then they do something cute.

Lee
Reply

My dog loves duck sh** Our favourite walk is round a large pond with ducks and she sniffs ‘it’ out and eats and rolls in it.Yuk! We have to find a labrador sized puddle -not too difficult in rainy Uk and let her wallow , then take her home and finish off by hosing her down, which she loves. The only thing is -we then have to make sure she doesn’t get past us and dries herself on our beds. If we are not on the ball she gets past us before being washed and rolls on the beds anyway. If caught she just rolls her eyes and shows all the whites then gives an extra wriggle lying on her back.
She also will eat all the solids out of the cat tray and then be sick, curiosly the duck poo does not make her sick!
We just have to try and be cleverer than she is and stay one step ahead.

Trish
Reply

wow! that would really be frustrating, having a dog mark inside the house. I never knew a dog would do that. My dogs can come and go thru a dog door, and they have a habit of bringing delicious treats inside the house to enjoy in comfort. Deer season is especially unpleasant. Once we saw Rex, the biggest guy, stumbling across the fields with a hide, and tried to intercept him. he made it into the house, but dropped the hide in response to our frantic shrieking. Saffron, the bully blue heeler, will often remove herself to our bedroom, where she feels safe, to enjoy her spoils in our bed. I have thrown out bedclothes on one occasion. The worst time was waking up one night to an unpleasant smell, and finding that Saffron had brought a very old dead creature to bed with her.

But they are my friends and I love to see them happily trotting across the fields. And the finding of gruesome delicious treats has declined as they have reached middle age.

Julia
Reply

I love this post (and the comments). I work with dogs for a living, and because I know a thing or two about their behavior and training, I sometimes feel like my own dog should always be perfectly well behaved. I’m glad to know that I’m not alone in having decided that there are some things we can just live with. My guy can’t NOT whine when he sees another dog. And he starts bouncing around the house like he’s on springs if he sees the nail clippers, and therefore, he does not get nail trims. Ever.

Lesli
Reply

My Jack Russell has more attitude than she should. She “talks” back to me all the time. She’s strong willed and difficult. She’s not going any where. I adopted her from a cult (seriously, it was a cult. It’s on wikipedia!) and gave her my heart that very day. The good and the bad, I’m in it for the long haul.

Angie
Reply

Thanks for writing this! I have 2 sneaky boys, can not catch them doing it and don’t know that they did it for a days afterwards. And with 2 bad boys, when one does it the other one has to go over it. Bad bad boys. I use the vinegar, borax water solution, it does take the stains away. I am liking the belt idea :)

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