Dear Daisy Dog
Cody, my 5-year-old Jack Russell terrier, started urinating in the house when I returned from a 10-day hospital stay.
One day he urinated on my bed, another day in a corner of the living room, and still another time on top of the dining room table. How can I correct his bad behavior?
It sounds like Cody may be afraid you will leave him again. The problem is called separation anxiety.
When you humans are anxious, you bite your fingernails and eat junk food. We dogs forget our house training.
It happened to me years ago when Mom was away for an extended period. I also chewed the woodwork of the window overlooking the driveway.
The first step in solving Cody’s problem is to have him see his veterinarian. Take along a urine sample to be sure a urinary tract infection is not contributing to the problem.
If your veterinarian concludes that Cody has separation anxiety, ask about Clomicalm, a medication approved for canine separation anxiety by the Food and Drug Administration.
Clomicalm works best in conjunction with behavior modification.
Start by desensitizing Cody to your departure routine. Repeat the routine often – putting on your jacket and picking up your car keys, for example – but remain at home.
Then leave for short periods of time, gradually extending the time you are away.
Keep your departures and homecomings relaxed so Cody remains calm. Don’t make a fuss when you leave, and don’t act overjoyed to see him when you get home.
Soon Cody will be confident while you are away, and you’ll arrive home to find the house clean and dry.