Lately I’ve received a few calls from people who suspected that their darling dog(s) might be using the inside of the house incorrectly…like for potty purposes, and they wanted to get the situation under control STAT! In the case of “number two,” they had no trouble discerning what had transpired via the evidence. In the case of “number one” (and humans’ comparatively inferior sense of smell) they needed to hire a professional.
Don’t ask me why, but I always like this kind of assignment. Step number one is to find and clean up all of the potty accidents, or the client will never be successful retraining the dog not to potty inside. For that I recommend my special tried-and-true, 3-part “kit” consisting of a black light, masking tape and the urine odor eliminator of your choice (I like Nature’s Miracle.) Cleaning up is really key, because if you don’t clean up all of the spots, then the dog’s superior sense of smell will continue to tell him/her that your living room really is the toilet, and we don’t want that!
So I tell them to wait for dark, pour their drink of choice (this seems to help dealing with the shock of seeing the illuminated facts in evidence) and get ready to do their best impression of Crime Scene Investigators from the popular TV show, CSI. Armed with a large black light, they are instructed to turn out all of the lights and slowly, methodically go about the rooms in the house looking for bright spots on the floor, walls and furniture. Next, they use the masking tape on the floor to tape off around the pee spots to indicate their exact locations. This reminds me of those rear view mirror signs, “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.” In this case it’s “Caution: Spots in carpet are much larger than they appear.” That’s because the carpet pad deviously soaks up the urine and spreads it out below the surface. The stain on the top of the carpet is typically much smaller than the real soiled area down below.
Once the crime scenes have been identified, they can get to work cleaning and neutralizing all of the affected areas thoroughly one by one. This plan, along with some consistent, “error-free,” well-managed positive-reinforcement potty training (future blog topic) leads to success every time.