How should I correct my dog when I catch him drinking his urine?

  • So my dog drinks his pee, and it's been suggested to correct his behavior when I catch him. As suggested, rubbing his nose in it is not the correct tactic, and in fact may have created the behavior. This is not something I ever did to him, as we are his third (and final) home.

    When I catch him, I usually just yell his name followed by "no!", but this usually happens late at night and others are sleeping up till I holler "no!". Then I usually get yelled at myself, and again in the morning.

    How should I go about correcting this behavior if I catch him doing it?

    Since it only seems to happen in the house, the easiest solution is probably to ensure that your dog does not pee in the house. Make sure he can depend on you to realise when he needs out and that you will take him out in time. It means more drinking urine, no corrections and, best of all, no cleaning!

  • Yvette

    Yvette Correct answer

    8 years ago

    In response to some feedback, I'd like to explain clearly; the point of this answer is not to suggest that a dog drinking his own urine is by any means optimal, either for his health, or as a behavior, I am merely stating that if the animal is not let out to go to the toilet often enough and then does the best he can to correct his mishap; he should not be scolded for this. The idea behind this, is treating the cause of the behavior, rather than treating the symptoms.

    I am not disagreeing with @John's answer in principle; just providing an alternate answer based on the reason your dog is relieving himself in the house; as per your linked question Why is my dog drinking his pee after he urinates inside?.

    Behaviour like this is normal, if the dog is not doing it outside, but only within the house. My answer here Why is my dog drinking his pee after he urinates inside? explains this in more detail.

    Given the dog is going with his natural instincts and trying to keep the den (your home) clean, I wouldn't go with any sort of negative feedback, as it's confusing to the dog.

    The key to breaking this habit is to ensure

    • you dog doesn't have any health problems preventing him from holding on

    • to take your dog out for more frequent toilet breaks

    • to provide, if possible, a dog door, so he can access the outdoors and relieve himself as needed.

    Although it is unpalatable to watch, urine (in it's healthy state) is sterile and no harm will actually come to your dog from doing this from time to time.

    After a bit of thought it also occurred to me; if you catch him in the act of doing this, it might be an idea to call him Rover! high pitched voice, in the tone of quick come and see this! and run to the back door with him and take him outside. It's not a direct reward for the behavior, but like an acknowledgment of yes, that's yuck, let's go outside and also serves as a complete distraction.

    Ingesting its own urine is very unlikely to cause any significant problems in a dog, since any organisms in the urine are already present in the dog's system. As long as another water source is freely available there should be no problem.

    Mike Richards, DVM

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM