My girlfriend has a new CockerSpaniel. It used to occasionally pee on the tile floor, but has graduated to peeing on the bed and upstairs on the carpet. Why would she suddenly start peeing in more inappropriate places and how do we break this behavior?
Ok, I usually have more tolerance for your dominance stuff. And I'll admit, I'm a bit cranky today.
But this does NOT sound like a "leadership" issue. Cocker Spaniels are my life...we have three, I've fostered others, I've met tons from all different breeders and rescues. The breed is prone to urinary problems, including UTIs and spay incontinence. This makes Michelle's recommendation of a vet trip a great first step.
OP: If a vet rules out medical problems (keeping in mind that spayed females are especially prone to incontinence and weak bladders in general...), think about the dog's environment. How new is she to the house? Has anything changed recently? Cockers can be prone to anxiety. Also, like Michelle, I'd be interested in your current house training technique and routine .
Hmm... Yea I am not sure what the issue is. She is definitely a very young puppy. Initially my girl would kind of reward and encourage her when she went outside. It apparently did not work at all. It is kind of assumed when no one is home, but it's very strange that she would start going when people are home. I kind of rule out medical issues, because it's not just urine. It seems to just be not knowing the difference.
Well really a big part of potty training is to not allow them to have accidents unnoticed. She really should not have any opportunities to go to the bathroom on the bed or rug because if she's not potty trained she really shouldn't be allowed to wonder the house unsupervised.
Do you or have you considered crate training?
I can tell you what we did when our dog was a puppy, which worked very well (but it does, of course, take some time). We crate trained him. When no one was supervising him he was in his crate. When he was out of his crate we kept our eyes on him at all times. Some people will even attach the dog's leash to their belt loop to make sure the dog doesn't stray to far away.
I took my dog outside for bathroom breaks a lot, and rewarded him with treats and praise when he went outside. If he started trying to go inside I would calmly tell him "no", pick him up and bring him outside. Once outside I'd let him finish going and then reward him for going outside.
The key I think is to catch them every time, or just about every time, they try to go inside. You don't have to yell or anything, just take them outside and show them the right place to go then reward them for going where they are suppose too.
That's what I did anyways. It took some time and a lot of patience but was well worth it. My dog is 3 years old now and it's been years since he's gone to the bathroom inside the house.
Remember to clean the area where she has accidents really well too. You can buy enzyme cleaners at most pet stores that work really well at eliminating pet odors. If she can still smell an area where she peed, even if you can't, it will encourage her to go in that same area again.