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Help!! My five month old female sprocker spaniel has suddenly in the last week started urinating on the rug or duvet cover in the evening. She was fully toilet trained before this and throughout the day will tell us when she needs to go out for a wee. She’s walked in the evening too and wee’s and poo’s on the walk. But suddenly this week, in the evening only, she urinates just once on the rug or duvet. How can I stop her from doing this?
 

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First step is to take a urine sample to the vet and have her checked for a urinary tract infection. It's pretty easy to treat, but can really disrupt toileting schedules if left untreated and can lead to even more serious complications.

If she gets the all-clear from the vet, start over with house-training. Five months is still pretty young and some dogs, at any age, will not alert you if they need to go. If she has a UTI, she may have little or no control.
 

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My foster dog had one accident in the middle of the night, both pee and poop - after weeks of solidifying her training to go on an astroturf mat on deck (I live on a boat). First thing I did was thoroughly clean the floor and eliminate/neutralize urine odor with vinegar (it was a hardwood floor). Then I started feeding her in that spot and confining her space at night when I wasn't able to watch her. I gradually gave her more space to roam around the cabin at night. She hasn't had an accident since. I'm guessing you don't want to feed her on your duvet, but maybe you could on the rug? Dogs don't like to mess where they eat and sleep, if they can help it.
 

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Thank you. I will get her checked by the vet to rule out a UTI. She sleeps on our bed - I totally failed with crate training and gave in to the bed, big mistake! 😂 - so I find it odd that she would wee there. The other evening my daughter took her out for a wee before bed, she was out in the garden for about 20mins and pup wouldn’t go, she ran straight back in, jumped on my bed and wee’d! The last couple of weeks have been a little disruptive for her. She’s very attached to me, literally follows me everywhere and has to sleep right next to me. But due to my job, I have been called out to work in the night which she hasn’t liked much and it’s been since this that she’s started the wee’ing again which makes me think it’s anxiety related particularly as it is only once before bed she does it so maybe she could be anxious about me leaving at night again??
 

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IMO, letting a puppy sleep on your bed is perfectly fine, IF you're okay with having them sleep there as an adult. For both my dogs, we allowed them to graduate to sleeping on the bed as soon as we were confident they would wake us up if they had to pee (helps that I'm a light sleeper). It doesn't inherently cause any behavior problems, it's just a preference thing.

I think you're probably onto something with the anxiety. Some dogs do get really upset with routine changes, and many Covid-era puppies are having a particularly hard time with separation related issues because we're all home so much. Definitely follow through with the UTI check, of course, but also look into separation training and helping her be calm and happy when home, even if you have to leave outside of your usual routine. I like Emily Larlham - AKA Kikopup on YouTube - for her instructional, informative, and reinforcement-based videos on many common dog issues, and suggest starting with this one here:

But there's lots of resources out there, from books (I'll Be Home Soon! By Patricia McConnell is my go-to primer for the basics) to online courses (I haven't taken this Home Alone course, but I've seen a talk by the instructor and liked her approach a lot), to personal online consults with a professional (I've heard good things about Dr. Melanie Cerone, who specializes in separation related problems). I'd start with the free ones and see how it goes, but if you need more help it's definitely out there.

In the meantime, if your pup doesn't pee when outside, try to pre-empt the issue by taking her right into a crate, playpen, or other dog-proof area. Ideally, she's already crate or pen trained and doesn't have a history of peeing in these places, but if not it should at least be easy to clean. Take her back out in five-ish minutes to try again, and rinse and repeat until she goes outside and you can reward her (or, if she has an accident, you clean up without a fuss and try three minutes next time). My younger boy went through a phase of coming back in to pee inside when the weather was nasty, so he had to go back to a more regimented routine like this until he realized that peeing outside was the best and only option, whatever the weather. Goodness knows why when he's delighted to splash around in muddy puddles when he's out on a walk, hahah, but it worked.
 
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