As unpleasant as it obviously is, the canine behaviour of urinating or defecating in your bed is one that is loaded with potential significance to the dog, and one that you can learn to understand in order to resolve the issue. Obviously this type of behaviour can fairly be regarded as a big problem, and one that you will need to sort out sooner rather than later, for a whole host of reasons that do not need spelling out for you!
Assuming that your dog is otherwise housetrained, gets enough opportunities to go out and understands where they should and should not do their business, dealing with a dog that toilets in the bed should be entirely viable, but may take some time.
In this article, we will look at some of the reasons behind why an otherwise well trained dog might go to the toilet in the bed, and how to resolve this.
Many dogs that are shy, nervous or fearful will go to the toilet if alarmed without being able to control this. While this indicates an instinctive, rather than deliberate action on the part of your dog, nevertheless, it should be possible to correct the behaviour.
It is important to suss out why your dog is choosing your bed as the venue they pick when they go to the toilet, and also, to ascertain whether the dog simply happens to be on the bed at the time, rather than seeking it out deliberately when they need to go. For instance, if your dog associates the bed with comfort, safety and a lack of stress, they might head for your bed instinctively when something upsets them. If they then remain upset or something scares them once they are in the bed, this will result in it happening to be the place that they inadvertently do their business. Punishing or telling your dog off as a result of this can then serve to exacerbate the fear and so, behaviour, rather than correcting it.
Try to work on the root cause of your dog’s fear or anxiety and how they respond to the things that trigger it off; if you can calm your dog in this way and address the issue, the problem should go away on its own.
Territorial marking is often closely tied in with going to the toilet, and if your dog toilets on the bed, this should be one of the first things that you consider.
Urinating in particular can have strong territorial connotations, particularly for male dogs. Scent marking in this way is your dog’s way of saying “this is mine!” even when it is actually your bed! Ensure that your dog knows their place in the pecking order of the home, and that they do not see themselves as the dominant or alpha dog. Power struggles between dog and owner, or a dog that does not know and accept their role below the humans will sometimes act out by marking in this way until the correct status quo is established.
If you have never had a problem with your dog marking in this way before, one common pinch point for some dogs can be if a new person joins the family, particularly if this is a new partner who shares your bed! Your dog suddenly finds themselves trying to get used to the new person and their new role in the pack, and that said person is right there in your dog’s space, sharing your bed!
Good introductions, plenty of time spent one to one with the dog and generally, allowing the household to settle into its new routine without letting bad behaviour like this go unchecked should resolve the issue.
There are various different medical issues that can cause a dog to toilet inappropriately or be unable to control themselves, which may result in inappropriate toileting in other areas as well as your bed. However, if your dog happens to spend a lot of time on your bed, the behaviour may be most marked there, as that is simply where the dog spends a lot of their time. If your dog has a problem with their bowels or urinary tract or some illness or condition that means they might not have as much warning of when they need to go to the toilet as they used to do, you might find that they pee or poop in the bed due to an underlying issue.
Get your dog checked out by your vet to find out for sure, and follow their advice on resolving the issue.
Obviously it is not appropriate to keep having to deal with your dog doing their business in the bed, whatever the underlying cause and regardless of whether the issue can be fixed relatively simply.
Until you are able to resolve the issue, keep your dog out of the bedroom and anywhere else that they might use as a substitute for going to the toilet in its place! Always clean up messes with enzymatic cleaners that break down biological waste rather than just masking smells, in order to prevent an accident turning into a habit due to the lingering traces of scent left behind after clean ups.