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How Do I Stop My Lab From Jumping On My Couch?



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Who doesn’t love to curl up and relax on a plush couch?

We do! And so do our canine companions.

After your dog sees you sprawled out on your sofa, he rushes over and jumps up to share in the fun.

He may also love the view of the room or out the window when he’s perched on the couch.

But it may not be very enjoyable to have your lab’s muddy paws all over your new shirt–and new couch.

You’re brand new sparkling white couch may become a dirty brown couch in short order.

So, what’s a new Labrador Retriever owner to do?

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Should My Dog Be Allowed on the Couch?

So now you must determine what to do. Should you let your pup on the couch?

It’s a personal choice. There’s really no right or wrong answer.

You need to take into consideration that your pup may be dirty and jump on the couch. He may leave dog hairs on your new sofa.

Of course, you could always put a throw cover on the couch that you can remove and wash.

Some people decide that they don’t mind the dog on the furniture. But others don’t want him on it.

The important thing is to make a decision. And everyone in the household must be consistent in either letting the dog on the sofa or not.

If your dog guards space and doesn’t want to get off, then he shouldn’t be permitted on it in the first place.

I’ve made the “executive decision” to allow my dogs on the couch in the family room–but not in the living room.

I put a washable throw cover on the sofa.

Because I’m very consistent in enforcing my rules, the dogs learned where they’re allowed and where they aren’t.

Some considerations when making the decision of whether the dog’s permitted on the furniture are:

1. Will my dog get off the furniture on command? 

If he guards space, get the help of a positive-reinforcement trainer or behaviorist to deal with the issue.

But if your pup will get on or off the sofa on your cue, it’s your house–your rules.

2. Will I mind dog hair and dirt on my furniture?

No matter how careful you are and how clean your dog is, inevitably some dog hair and dirt will remain after he’s been on the couch.

Even with a removable throw cover, some dirt and hair may get through to our sofas. And some doggie odors too.

3. There will be less space on the sofa with a pup up

No matter how much we love our dog, we may be uncomfortably squished up against the sofa back with him accompanying us.

If you have a yorkie, it’s not that big a deal. But if you have a lab or golden, there may not be enough room for you to both comfortably share the couch.

4. The couch will have more wear and tear if a dog shares it

A dog bounding up on our sofa unfortunately leads to our furniture not lasting as long. 

Why Does My Dog Love To Be on the Couch?

Our canine companions can be comfortable anywhere. So their desire to be on the couch often stems from more than the need to feel relaxed.

Being on the couch with us is also a bonding moment. He’ll curl up and be close to us.

The couch has our scent on it, which also draws our dogs to jump on it to relax.

Some dogs also like being higher up to see what’s happening in the entire room. And he might even have a view outside if the sofa’s near a window.

How Can I Keep My Dog Off the Couch?

It’s usually best to decide whether you want your dog on or off the furniture at the beginning before any bad habits have been established.

Even if your dog’s been on the furniture, you can still teach him to stay off. But it’s much harder to do so after he thinks the rules allow him to relax on the couch.

If the habit of getting on furniture has been occurring for a long time, managing your pup’s environment and access to the couch will be required.

1. Provide a comfy alternative place to relax

Having a really nice padded dog bed as an alternative should help your dog choose to lie there.

Generally, you want this to be more than just a thin crate pad. Many dogs love luxurious, cushioned ones.

My golden love beds with a bolster around the outside where he can rest his head as if it were a pillow.

Have these beds in the places you hang out so that your dog has a desirable alternative to your couch.

Teach him that good things happen on the bed. You can give him a favorite chew or a stuffed Extreme Kong.

I stuff my Kongs with a pate dog food and freeze them overnight so it takes some time for the dog to get the filling out.

What if you don’t want your dog on the couch but don’t mind him getting on the thread-bare old recliner? You can train him to stay off one, but that it’s fine to get on the other.

Teach the “off” training described in #4 below for the couch. But train him to get up on the recliner.

Lure him with a small, pea-sized yummy treat onto the recliner, using the cue “up.” When he jumps up praise (“good up”) and immediately reward with the treat.

If you and everyone living with the dog are consistent, he should learn what’s acceptable and what’s not.

2. Block access to the couch while you’re gone

You can use a dog gate or door in the house to keep the dog out of the room where the couch is when you’re not present.

Suppose that your pup’s always been permitted on the furniture. If you suddenly change the rules and decide that he’s not permitted there, just training to keep him off may not be sufficient.

You may have to manage his environment so that he can’t get on the couch when you’re not there.

You may want to confine him to another room like the kitchen. Still have a comfortable dog bed there for him to enjoy.

3. Make sure your pup’s had enough physical exercise

All behaviors are better after a dog’s received enough exercise.

The amount he needs depends on your dog’s breed(s), age, and health.

Of course, a young lab requires a lot of exercise. So take him for a long walk, play fetch, or have him play with a compatible doggie playmate before you leave.

4. Make sure that your dog’s had obedience training

Obedience training helps your dog understand what’s expected of him.

You can teach basic commands and can also teach him to get off the couch if he gets on.

Generally, it’s best not to lure your dog onto the couch with a treat just to lure him with a treat to get off. Doing so can teach him that he needs to jump up to get treats.

But, if he’s been allowed on the couch then you change the rules, you can train him to get off.

If he loves toys, you can use a toy to lure him off. Show him a favorite toy, say ”off” as you lure him off with the toy. Praise (“good off”) and give the toy as a reward.

If he won’t lure off the furniture with a toy, you can use a treat. Then, I would redirect the dog to a game such as fetch so that he doesn’t just jump back up on the couch.

Try to stop luring off with a treat as soon as possible so that he doesn’t jump up to get the treat when you lure him off.

Once he understands what “off” means, starting weaning the treat down to occasionally giving the treat when he gets off. Still verbally praise and pet him if he finds that rewarding.

5. Capture and reward the desired behavior when he’s on the floor

If your pup’s doing a behavior you like, you can reward it. Behavior that’s rewarded will repeat itself.

So if you see your dog on the floor near the couch, and he knows what “off” means, praise “good off” and give him a small tidbit of a treat.

You can also reward when he goes to his own bed.

6. Teach your dog to go to his bed

If you consistently teach your dog to go to a place, he won’t be on the couch.

7. Make it unattractive for your dog to be on the couch

You can place upside down laundry bins on the sofa so that he can’t easily jump up on it.

But be aware that some dogs will get creative and move them or lie down between them.

Sometimes putting foil on the sofa cushions will deter a  dog from jumping on the couch. Some dogs really hate the sound and feel of the foil, whereas others don’t mind it.

With either the blocking technique or the foil, first do them with you in the room or where you can view the pup on camera so that you know whether it works.

You also want to make sure that the pup doesn’t chew on the basket or foil or ingest them. (This is more likely with younger dogs.)

Another deterrent that may work is called an X-mat. It has a prickly side that’s uncomfortable if a dog jumps on the couch but it shouldn’t harm him. He should jump right off.

8. Confine your dog to an exercise pen or crate when you’re gone

If you’re uncertain whether your pup will stay off the couch when you’re not present, you may want to confine him.

Just make sure that you’ve trained your pup to be in a crate or exercise pen. Don’t just put him in it and leave or he may panic.

9. Block access to windows near the couch

If your dog gets up on the sofa just to see out the window next to it, blocking access to the view outside may help deter him from getting on it.

You can use a window shade, curtains, a self-stick film for the window that blocks outside view, or blinds to block the view.

But remember that if your dog’s already developed a habit of jumping on the couch, even blocking the view may not deter him.

Also, many dogs will just look under or push aside such window coverings.

10. Set up a video camera to determine what your dog does when you’re away

If you’re unsure how effective your methods of keeping your dog off the couch are when you’re away, you can record your pup’s actions and review them.

What Shouldn’t I Do When Teaching My Dog Not To Jump on the Couch?

Of course, you shouldn’t use any harsh methods in training your dog to stay off the couch.

Such methods can not only ruin the bond with your dog, they can also cause some behavioral problems in your dog.

We have a Furbo Dog Camera setup at our house which allows you to not only spy on your dog, but you can also toss him a treat for being a good boy.

1. Don’t use mats or devices that make a loud noise when your dog jumps on the furniture. 

This includes mechanical devices and “shake cans” with pennies in a dry, empty soda can closed with duct tape at the top.

Even though they may make your dog get off the furniture, they can also cause unexpected problems.

Your pup may suddenly fear loud noises. He may fear the room or area the couch is in.

He may become aggressive in that area.

It’s just not worth the risk. There are better methods stated above to keep our pups off the couch.

2. Don’t wrestle the dog off the couch

This can break the bond of trust with your dog and can even lead to aggression.

Instead, lure him off with a yummy treat or a toy.

3. Don’t use a scat mat

These are mats placed on the sofa cushions that emit an electrical charge when your dog jumps on the sofa.

Like some other devices, these can lead to unwanted fear and aggression issues.

4. Don’t use spray bottles to make your dog get off the couch

Spraying your dog with water to make your pup get off the couch may sometimes be effective.

But, like other harsh devices, it can lead to unwanted fear and aggression issues.

And some water-loving dogs may even think it fun!

Final Thoughts

It’s up to you whether or not you let your dog on the furniture. There is no right or wrong answer.

There are various factors such as cleanliness and wear-and-tear on the couch you’ll need to weigh when making your decision.

The important thing is that everyone in the household must be consistent in following that decision or the dog will be confused.

It’s best to set the rule when you first get your pup. But if that ship has already sailed, there are still methods to keep your pup off the couch.

The methods that you use shouldn’t be aversive or you may have some unwanted behavioral consequences.

What about you? Do you allow your dog on the couch?

If not, why and how do you keep you pooch off? Tell us about your experiences in the comment section below.

Save To Pinterest

My Dog Keeps Jumping On The Couch!? What Should I Do? - Yellow Lab lying on the couch with blanket and pillow.My Dog Keeps Jumping On The Couch!? What Should I Do?

Top Picks For Our Dogs

    We Like: Snuggle Puppy w/ Heart Beat & Heat Pack – Perfect for new puppies. We get all of our Service Dog pups a Snuggle Puppy.
    We Like: KONG Extreme – Great toy for heavy chewers like our Labrador Retrievers.
    We Like: Wellness Soft Puppy Bites – One of our favorite treats for training our service dog puppies.
    We Like: The Farmer’s Dog – A couple months ago we started feeding Raven fresh dog food and she loves it! Get 50% off your first order of The Farmer’s Dog.

For a list of all the supplies we get for our new service dog puppies check out our New Puppy Checklist on the blog.


CPDT-KA, Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Behavior Specialist. Winner Channel 17’s Philly Hot List #1 Dog Trainer. Debbie has been training dogs for over 24 years and has nationally ranked obedience and rally dogs, agility dogs, trick dogs, and therapy dogs.


How Do I Stop My Lab From Jumping On My Couch? was last modified: April 7th, 2021 by Debbie

Dog Training and Behavior

My Dog’s Reactive! What Should I Do?



my dog’s reactive! what should i do?

This post may contain affiliate links. We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.

So your dog goes ballistic when he sees a dog walking on leash a block away. He barks, whines, and lunges as if he was Cujo.

Your Max is usually such a sweet dog at home.

You’re embarrassed and don’t know what to do. Don’t feel bad. Some great dogs are also reactive.

One of my rescues, a Lhasa apso named Mikey, was one of the most reactive dogs I’ve ever seen.

He was the poster dog for reactivity.

He would bark and lunge in a very menacing way when he saw another dog. 

Mikey was a stray found on the streets. He had bite wounds and apparently a very rough life.

He was the cutest, spunkiest, black-and-white ball of fur. 

As a dog trainer and behavior specialist, I wanted to help him live a happy life. 

But I realized that it would take a lot of time and patience to see any progress.

And so our adventure began.

In this article, for simplicity I am using reactivity to another dog as an example. But the same techniques can be used for other things that your dog is reactive to, such as people. 

I am dealing with leash reactivity in this article. 

Dogs may be reactive at home too. Some dogs bark out the window when they see someone.

We call it the “mailman syndrome” because the person goes about his/her business. But your dog thinks that his barking sent the person away.

Again, as in every situation, manage it. Block your dog’s view. If your dog’s reactive to noises, play soft music or a television to block the sound. Or close the window.

And dogs who are reactive in their yards shouldn’t be left alone to practice their reactivity. Do the exercises below, then, when he’s ready, practice them in your yard.

So, first identify what your dog’s triggers are. Then, you can work with him.

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What Is Reactivity?

Reactive dogs overreact to certain stimuli or situations. They respond to stimuli in a higher-than-normal level of intensity.

Some may react adversely to men or women or dogs. Or they may react to very specific things such as men with beards or women with hats. Others react to cars driving by or a bike passing by.

Each dog’s an individual.

Reactive dogs may demonstrate the following characteristics: 

  • Hypervigilence (a high state of alertness)
  • Restlessness (pacing)
  • Vocalization (barking, howling, whining)
  • Systemic effects (urinating, defecating, vomiting)
  • Displacement or stereotypic behavior (spinning, tail or shadow chasing)

I’ve successfully worked with many reactive dogs over the years. I’ve even conducted classes for reactive dogs for a local shelter. 

Reactive dogs are anxious, stressed dogs in the situations in which they’re reactive.

Signs of an Anxious, Stressed Dog

A dog that’s reactive is usually very anxious and stressed. He may show the following signs: 

Yawning when not tired: shedding dandruff; lip licking; tail tucked under body; leaving paw prints when it’s not hot; drooling; and sudden scratching.

A stressed dog that’s highly aroused by a stimuli or situation may show the following body language: 

Whale eye (whites of eyes showing); intense stare; tense/stiff body leaning forward; tail held high with a slow wag; raised hackles (hair on back of neck/shoulders); straining on leash/lunging; and ignoring redirection

What Causes Reactivity?

Generally, reactivity is fear-based. The dog is put in an environment where he’s scared.

Many things may cause a dog to be reactive. His genetic make-up may play a part. He may not have been properly socialized.

Or he may not have been sufficiently trained to have impulse control. He may even have had a frightening experience.

Any of these–or any combination–may cause reactivity.

With my rescue Mikey, it was obvious he had been attacked by or in a fight with dogs by the various wounds on his body. 

All he had to do was see a dog and he barked and strained at his leash.

The first few months with him weren’t easy. But he was worth it.

What Dogs Are Likely To Be Reactive?

Any dog can be reactive. But some breeds and mixes are more likely to be.

This is usually because of the job that they were bred to do.

Herding dogs are often reactive to moving objects. They may bark and lunge when a person on a bike passes by.

Or go ballistic when a car or motorcycle or jogger zooms past them. 

Shelties, border collies, German shepherds, and Australian shepherds are some popular examples. Their herding instinct makes them want to chase moving objects.

Working breeds such as boxers, doberman pinschers, and rottweilers also tend to be reactive with new things. They were bred to be watchdogs and family guardians.

Terriers can also tend to be more reactive than some other breeds. 

Scotties, for example, were bred to hunt and they make excellent watchdogs and, in the breed standard, they are known to be cantankerous towards other dogs. 

Westies also tend to chase after anything that moves.

So sometimes it’s truly in the genes. But that doesn’t mean the reactivity can’t be managed. 

I’ve had herding breeds for over 22 years.

Some have been obedience dogs, therapy dogs, and participated in other activities. 

Of course if I didn’t manage their innate predisposition to bark and chase things, there’s no way they could have participated in these activities.

And it would have been much more difficult for them (and for me) in everyday life.

Safety First

It’s important that everyone remain safe when working with a reactive dog. People and dogs should be at a distance that your dog cannot reach. 

Being too close passes the threshold of what your dog can handle.

Make sure that your dog can’t get out of his training equipment. I recommend a well-fitted harness that he can’t escape from.

If you feel that your dog can get out of the harness, try a different one. 

You can also use a double-leash system with one leash attached to the harness and another to a well-fitted Martingale collar from which dogs shouldn’t be able to get loose.

A leash with a tight collar conveys something’s wrong to a dog. This can set him off to be reactive.

When training a reactive dog, use a six-foot leash, keeping the dog close to you with slack so that the leash forms a “J.” 

Don’t use a flexi-leash or long-line. Your dog should never be able to rush another dog.

What Can You Do To Help Manage a Reactive Dog?

There are many things you can do to help your reactive dog make progress. 

First, his environment must be successfully managed.

For example, if you know he’s reactive to other dogs, you don’t want to take him to PetSmart on a Saturday afternoon where there will be a lot of canines.

Doing so will inevitably set back your behavior program and training. It will be too much stimulation for him.

1. Remain calm. 

I know that this is easier said than done. 

When I took Mikey out to walk him, I was always somewhat on edge about how he’d act when he saw a dog. 

But, as much as possible, I’d try to remain upbeat and calm. 

Dogs read our body language and scent; they can even sense our fear or     stress.

2. Train your dog. 

Training can not only get verbal control of your dog, it can also give him confidence.

It teaches him what’s expected and can give him something to focus on rather than being reactive to the environment.

You can teach him to look at you on command to redirect him away from what he’ll be reactive to.

Mikey developed a default behavior to look at me, which I rewarded.

Your pup can learn to sit on command to help get some impulse control.

3. Keep your dog under threshold. 

This just means not overstimulating him with things that he can’t handle.

Generally, this is done by keeping a safe distance from what he’s reactive to.

So if he’s reactive to moving cars or dogs, you want to stay at a distance at which he’s not reactive. 

This varies by dog. Some dogs can be fine at 20 feet away, but not at 19. 

When I first adopted Mikey, he couldn’t see a dog at even 60 feet away. He would bark and lunge at the dog even when the other dog was nonreactive.

I learned to work with him at his pace and what he could handle and wasn’t triggered.

4. Do science-based behavioral work. 

In classical conditioning, the appearance of another dog means food appears. So, when he sees a dog, give your pup high-value treats. 

This is what you’ll do in the beginning. 

PRO-TRAINER TIP: Use extremely high-value treats. For this work, you want to use something that your dog loves–not just his kibble. It should be a treat that he gets only for this. Some suggestions are: cheese, hot dogs, chicken, or Happy Howie’s meat roll. Cut up the treat in small, pea-sized pieces. Make sure that what you use is something that your dog’s stomach tolerates.

In operant conditioning, the dog learns that the appearance of another dog  means great treats will be given.

He learns to feel relaxed rather than tense what the other canine appears. He’ll learn to look to his owner for reinforcement rather than lunging at the other dog.

The dog performs the behavior of looking at the owner or away from the other dog without having any cue given by the owner.

The dog makes the choice to not react to the other dog and is reinforced for that behavior.

5. Do set-ups to work with the reactivity.

In the above method in #4, you can use a handler with a test dog. The handler with the other dog shouldn’t look at your dog and their dog must be nonreactive.

And, like all your training, the handler/test dog duo must be at a distance at which your dog isn’t reactive or stressed.

You can have them go in-sight, then out-of-sight.  When the duo is in sight and your dog is calm, you give him a series of treats until the duo goes out-of-sight.

Do this about three times during your session. You don’t want to over-do it and stress your dog.

Alternatively, you can have the duo in place and you and your dog go in-sight, out-of-sight. 

Of course, you give a stream of treats when the other dog is in sight and give no treats when the other dog’s not in view.

How long should your dog be able to view the other dog? It depends on your dog. You want to end the session before your dog shows any stress signals. 

Generally, it should be no longer than a minute or so.

Once your dog understands he gets treats when a dog appears and he’s not reactive, you can add the cue, saying in a happy tone “where’s the dog?” when the dog appears.

What if you don’t have someone with a nonreactive dog to practice? I’ve used pet shop parking lots.

I’ve stayed at a distance where my dog isn’t triggered as dogs exited the store or their cars.

Of course, do this for only a short time with a few dogs coming and going.

6. Make a u-turn. 

Life happens. So I teach clients to train their dog to make a u-turn and walk 180-degrees away from a trigger. 

A person walking a dog suddenly appears around the corner. That’s when you make the about turn.

Train it without distractions before you need to use it. Walk straight, then have a treat lure in the hand next to your dog as you make the u-turn. 

Also give the cue “turn” simultaneously. Practice a few times per session.

After practicing this with your dog without any distractions, then you can use it in real-life situations.

7. Redirect your dog to something else. 

Train the following exercises without distractions so that you can use them when there are distractions.

Teach your dog to redirect to a game. Have a favorite toy and throw it right in front of him (not too far so that it’s well within the range of his leash).

Tell him “get it” and play with him with it.  After he understands the game, you can use it on his walks.

Another useful game is to have about five high-value treats in your hand and throw them down, telling your dog to “find it.” 

This engages his natural scent ability. 

Most dogs love this. Play this game without distractions. 

Once he understands it, he’ll look down to the ground upon your “find it” cue, looking for his treats when a dog suddenly appears in the distance.

These redirection exercises help your dog focus on something else. 

They also make him more relaxed, which helps because reactivity is usually caused by stress.

8. Teach a “settle” command. 

This is a great impulse control exercise. It teaches a dog to calm down on cue.

Granted, most reactive dogs won’t be able to do this with distractions in the beginning. But, after doing some of the exercises above, they often are.

Always start training in a calm atmosphere without distractions. Add distractions only as fast as your dog can handle them. 

There’s no cookie-cutter approach.

They need to learn that they are safe when they’re with you. 

Check out how we teach our dogs the settle command.

9. Teach a “place” command. 

Teach your dog to go to a place like a mat or bed, Then teach him to settle on the mat as described in #8 above. 

Although this is a command that you’ll probably only use inside or not far outside your house, it’s very important for impulse control.

Training exercises in which your dog learns impulse control will help him in other situations.

Check out how we teach our dogs the “place” command.

10. Exercise your dog. 

A dog who receives a sufficient amount of physical and mental exercise is less likely to be reactive.

It’s difficult when you have a leash reactive dog.

Try playing fetch or other games at home before your walk. Have him play with puzzle toys.

The more stress relief he has prior to the walk should help him.

Is It Aggression or Reactivity?

Both may stem from fear, anxiety, or stress. A reactive dog may become aggressive but not all reactive dogs are aggressive.

A reactive dog may become aggressive if pushed too far. 

As indicated above, there are certain stress signals that a reactive dog will send. 

An aggressive dog will escalate those behaviors. In the spectrum of fight or flight, the aggressive dog will fight.

He may: have a stiffened body; lip licking; muzzle punches (pokes with a closed muzzle); snap; or bite.

A good example of a reactive dog who wasn’t aggressive is my Lhasa Mikey. He had all of the posturing. 

But one time a beagle got off his leash and ran at us. Before I could pick him up, Mikey hid behind my legs.

Luckily, the beagle was very friendly and nothing happened. But Mikey then–and at other times–never followed through with his warnings.

Rule Out Medical Causes

Sometimes there are medical reasons for the dog’s stress and anxiety. A full physical should be conducted and any tests run, like a full thyroid panel, that your vet recommends. 

If there’s a medical reason for your dog’s reactivity, you won’t be totally successful in your behavior modification and training program unless that’s treated.

Get Help If You Need It

If you feel overwhelmed or if you haven’t seen progress, I recommend getting professional assistance. The same is true if you’ve seen any aggression.

A veterinary behaviorist or positive reinforcement trainer who has a successful record with reactivity and aggression issues can help.

Don’t Try This at Home: What NOT To Do

There are some things that you shouldn’t do. They can make the problem worse–much worse.

Don’t punish your dog. 

Doing so will make him more stressed and more reactive. 

And suppressing his reactive behavior may lead to him being aggressive and biting someone seemingly without warning. He may feel he has no choice.

Don’t let others ruin your training program. 

Be your dog’s protector and advocate. As much as possible, don’t let dogs or people (if that’s his issue) greet your dog unless you invite them.

And don’t feel obligated to let someone say “hello” to your dog. Depending on your dog, he may never greet dogs or other people face-to-face.

We have to respect what our dogs can handle.

Move at his speed.

Final Thoughts

If you have a reactive dog, don’t despair. Help is available. 

Many reactive dogs’ behavior can be very successfully managed to the point where a casual observer wouldn’t even know he has an issue.

Believe it or not, my reactive dog Mikey got to the point that I could take him places and he was a different dog. 

He went to obedience classes and learned to ignore other dogs.

I even showed him in obedience and he was a top Lhasa. 

Of course it took a lot of patience, work, and time. But it was worth it.

Have you had a reactive dog?

If so, please tell us what you did to help him in the comment section below.

Save To Pinterest

My Dog Is Reactive! What Should I Do - Yellow Labrador Retriever growling

Top Picks For Our Dogs

    We Like: Snuggle Puppy w/ Heart Beat & Heat Pack – Perfect for new puppies. We get all of our Service Dog pups a Snuggle Puppy.
    We Like: KONG Extreme – Great toy for heavy chewers like our Labrador Retrievers.
    We Like: Wellness Soft Puppy Bites – One of our favorite treats for training our service dog puppies.
    We Like: The Farmer’s Dog – A couple months ago we started feeding Raven fresh dog food and she loves it! Get 50% off your first order of The Farmer’s Dog.

For a list of all the supplies we get for our new service dog puppies check out our New Puppy Checklist on the blog.


CPDT-KA, Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Behavior Specialist. Winner Channel 17’s Philly Hot List #1 Dog Trainer. Debbie has been training dogs for over 24 years and has nationally ranked obedience and rally dogs, agility dogs, trick dogs, and therapy dogs.


My Dog’s Reactive! What Should I Do? was last modified: May 10th, 2021 by Debbie

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Dog Training and Behavior

My Puppy Keeps On Peeing Inside After Being Outside – WHY?!



my puppy keeps on peeing inside after being outside –

This post may contain affiliate links. We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.

If you just started to house train your new puppy, you are prepared for accidents to happen. But, the thing no one warns you about is that your pup will pee outside and then go inside and pee again! What’s that about, and is it normal if a puppy keeps peeing inside after being outside?

The first time my puppy did that, I was completely baffled by his behavior. We had just come back inside from a successful potty, and as soon as he was off leash he squatted and peed again in the middle of the carpet. And let me tell you, cleaning up urine stains from a white carpet is even harder than it may seem!

PRO TIP: you’ll want to use and enzymatic cleaner when cleaning up potty messes. Our favorite is Rocco & Roxie’s Stain And Odor Remover.

Needless to say, the whole experience left me extremely frustrated, and I was worried that my pup would form a habit of peeing inside the house.

As someone who is obsessed with cleanliness, I decided then and there that I couldn’t live in a home that smells of puppy pee. Armed with enzymatic cleaners and potty training guides, I was determined to nip this problem in the bud!

In this article, I’ll tell you why your puppy pees inside after going outside and what you can do to stop it from happening. Keep on reading to learn more!

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Why Does My Puppy Pee Inside After Going Outside? 

If you are in the process of potty training your puppy, certain behaviors such as peeing inside the house after being outside will leave you scratching your head. The first thing you will ask yourself is “why?” 

I know I wondered why my puppy was doing this and whether this was some sort of revenge. But if that were the case, what did I do wrong to deserve this?

Knowing what I know now, I realize how silly I was being—my pup wasn’t on some bizarre revenge quest or trying to make my life miserable. As it turned out, he had an actual medical problem, which I’ll tell you about in a bit. 

The only way you will ever resolve inappropriate urination is to figure out why your puppy keeps on peeing inside after being outside. Once you identify the reason behind this behavior, you will know what to do to stop your pup from peeing inside the house. 

Below, I’ll list the most common reasons puppies may pee inside after being outside on a regular walk.

1. Your Puppy Has A Medical Condition

Puppies, like older dogs, can unfortunately develop all sorts of diseases and infections that can cause increased urination. There is no point questioning or changing your puppy’s training routine if the answer to your problem is as simple as a prescription for antibiotics. 

A lot of different medical conditions can cause a puppy to repeatedly squat and pee inside the house after peeing outside. The most common one is a urinary tract infection, which was exactly the problem my puppy had.

If your puppy pees inside the house after being outside and is also only releasing a few drops of pee, they may have a urinary infection.

Furthermore, other medical conditions such as diabetes and kidney disease can also cause your pup to urinate frequently. Your pup may also obsessively lick its genital area, drink more water, and ask to go outside repeatedly.

Even if your puppy isn’t exhibiting any of these other behaviors, you should take them to the veterinarian. Inappropriate peeing in itself can be a sign that your pooch has a health problem. 

Your vet will most likely take a urine sample from your pup and do a urinalysis and probably a urine culture. These tests will show if your pup has bacteria and abnormal cells in its urine. If the tests confirm a urinary tract infection, your vet will prescribe antibiotics that will kill all the bacteria that are causing your pooch to frequently pee inside the house. 

However, if it turns out that your puppy doesn’t have urinary issues, your vet may want to do additional tests to rule out other conditions that can cause inappropriate urination. These tests will depend on your pup’s other potential symptoms, and the treatment will be determined based on a diagnosis. 

2. Your Puppy Isn’t Completely Potty Trained Yet

Another reason your puppy pees inside after going outside is that they aren’t entirely potty trained yet. It’s not uncommon for first-time owners to think their puppy is completely house trained just because a few days have gone by without peeing accidents. 

Naturally, you start to relax, giving your puppy more alone time inside the house, when all of a sudden you come across a puddle on the floor. And because you believe that your pup is already potty trained, you fail to consider the alternative. 

House training a puppy won’t happen overnight—it takes a lot of time, patience, and consistency to properly potty train a dog. Generally, it’s safe to say that your pooch is potty trained only if they haven’t had an accident in the past six months. Anything less and you will be lying to yourself and expecting too much from your pup way too soon. 

In the light of things, be honest: Is your puppy really potty trained or not? If the answer is no, don’t worry! Start or continue house training your puppy as you did before, and don’t expect a miracle to happen in a day, a week, or a month. 

No dog was potty trained in one day, and it’s unrealistic to expect that from your pup, no matter how smart they are. If you’re struggling with house training and don’t know how many times a day a puppy should poop and pee, take them out on a leash every hour. When they go potty, praise and reward copiously.

However, if your pup doesn’t do anything while outside, take them back in and keep them on a leash close to you, to prevent accidents. Take your pup for another potty break in 20 to 30 minutes, and if they go that time, praise, reward, and repeat. 

As time goes by, you will be able to prolong the time between potty breaks and eventually train your pooch to hold it until it’s time for a walk. 

3. Your Puppy Isn’t Emptying Its Bladder Completely While Outside

Being outside is extremely exciting for puppies, especially first thing in the morning. Your pup may be too eager to see you and spend time with you outside that it fails to completely empty its bladder in the first go.

Some puppies also get so overstimulated or distracted by all the smells and sounds while in the backyard that they forget why they came out in the first place. 

In this case, the puppy will remember that they have unfinished business only after they come back inside the house. If your puppy quickly pees while outside and then comes inside and pees again, you may be dealing with an overly excitable pup. 

For an easily excitable puppy, staying outside a bit longer and giving your pooch extra time to potty should do the trick. Staying out a few minutes longer will give you a good idea of whether or not your puppy needs to pee more. Some pups may even pee three or four times when given the opportunity.

Another thing that helps with easily distracted puppies that forget that they need to pee is training them to go in a designated potty area. This means you will have to pick a spot in your backyard that will serve only for peeing and pooping. 

Taking your pup day in and day out to the same spot may be boring, but it will teach them to focus on the task at hand. To encourage your pup to empty their bladder completely, just walk around the designated potty area in small circles that will discourage sniffing and exploring. After your puppy pees, you should praise them and offer treats.

If you have a completely fenced-in yard, you can let your puppy off-leash after they finish peeing completely. This way, you are teaching your pup that they will earn some fun time to sniff around and explore only after going potty. And by going to pee in the same area day after day, your pup will be able to focus on peeing rather than be distracted by all the fun things in the yard. 

4. You’re Praising And Rewarding Your Puppy Too Soon

Picture this: You’re outside and your pup just started peeing in their designated potty area. You’re so over the moon about your pup’s accomplishment that you start doling out treats too soon, distracting your puppy and interrupting the urine flow. Now you have a puppy with a half-full bladder and a tummy full of treats!

So once you go back inside, your pup will remember that they still need to pee and finish the job on your brand new carpet. If your puppy pees after going outside or is coming back to you excited after releasing a few drops, you might be an untimely reward-giver. 

Even if you have just realized the error of your ways, don’t despair! Just start waiting until your pup finishes peeing before offering praise and treats. And if your pup stops mid-pee and turns to you for a reward, don’t give any treats or praise until they pee again.

Dole out rewards only after you are certain that your puppy has emptied its bladder completely.

5. Your Pup Still Doesn’t Have Full Bladder Control

If your puppy will only pee inside the house, you need to remember that young pups don’t have complete control over their bladder. Most puppies aren’t able to hold it until they are about 4-6 months old, and this is the time most accidents happen. 

You should also monitor your pup’s water intake, since everything that goes into your puppy must come out at some point.

If your puppy drank too much water, they will have a much stronger urge to pee and may not be able to completely empty their bladder in one go. In that case, your pup will pee outside and then go back inside only to realize that they need to pee again. 

Keep in mind that puppies tend to drink the most in the morning, after waking up, after eating kibble, and after playing. That means that your pup is more likely to have an accident inside the house after these situations.

So, to prevent inappropriate urination, be one step ahead and take your puppy out for a walk first thing in the morning, after a meal, and after an exciting playing session. 

Don’t forget to give your pooch a chance to empty their bladder fully while out, even if that means prolonging the potty break for a few minutes. Also, always reward your pup for a job well done before heading back inside. 

FAQs About A Puppy Peeing Inside

What do you do when you catch your puppy peeing indoors?

Whenever you catch your puppy peeing inside, interrupt them right away and, using a firm voice, tell your pup “NO.” Then, pick up your pooch and take them outside to their designated potty area. Tell your puppy to go pee, or use your cue word for elimination, and then praise and reward your pup after they finish peeing in the proper place. 

Make sure that your puppy has fully emptied its bladder before you start praising them and giving treats. Don’t yell, scold, or punish your puppy for peeing inside the house! Rubbing your pup’s nose in the urine puddle won’t work either, so don’t do it, no matter how frustrated you are. 

Why does my puppy refuse to go potty outside?

Fear and anxiety are the most common reasons why a puppy refuses to urinate outside and continues to have accidents inside the house. There is a chance that your pup had a bad experience while being outside on a potty break and is now scared of reliving the same bad thing.

To get your puppy to pee outside comfortably, consider whether there is anything that may be stressing your dog out and causing it to be afraid. Are there any loud sounds such as a lawnmower or construction site nearby? Unfamiliar smells left by other dogs or leftover holiday decorations can also be the things that are making your pup nervous to pee outside. 

How long should you wait outside for your puppy to pee?

You should give your puppy 15 minutes to go potty outside. Take your pup to their designated potty area and give them the cue to pee. If you think that your pooch hasn’t emptied their bladder completely, walk around the potty area and give them a chance to eliminate again.

After you are sure that your pooch has finished peeing, praise and reward them and spend a few minutes playing in the yard. However, if your pup doesn’t pee within 15 minutes, take them back inside, put him in his crate, and wait around 15 min before taking them outside for potty again. 

How do you train a stubborn puppy to pee outside?

Although it might seem impossible, even stubborn puppies can be potty trained to pee outside. Keep in mind, it takes up to six months to properly house train a puppy, so stick to training and stay patient and consistent. You’ll also need to put your puppy on a regular feeding schedule, so they will eliminate at the same time every day. 

Don’t forget, puppies have small bladders and poor bladder control, so you will need to take them out to pee every two hours in the beginning. As your pup grows and develops bladder control, they will need fewer potty breaks. 

What is the hardest dog to potty train?

Small dog breeds, especially those from the terrier group, can be exceptionally hard to potty train. Jack Russel terriers and Yorkshire terriers are notoriously hard to house train due to their stubborn nature and the fact that they are easily distracted. 

If you have trouble potty training your small pup, set up a designated potty spot in your backyard. Make sure there isn’t anything that can distract your dog from the task at hand, and reward and praise them extensively after they pee in the right spot. 


As you can see, there are many reasons why your puppy keeps on peeing inside the house after being outside.

While your pup’s accidents may seem like some type of revenge, there are many factors—some medical, some behavioral, and some training-related—that can cause your pup to pee inside the house. The most likely reasons for your pup’s peeing accidents are:

  • Urinary tract infections
  • The puppy isn’t properly house trained
  • Your pup is easily excited and forgets to empty its bladder completely

In the end, figuring out why your puppy is peeing inside after being outside is the only way you will deal with inappropriate urination and stop cleaning pee puddles once and for all!

Is your puppy having potty training problems?

If so, tell ask us questions or leave us a comment below.

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My Puppy Pees Outside then Inside? What Should I Do? - White fluffy pupy peeing on the floor.

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My Puppy Keeps On Peeing Inside After Being Outside – WHY?! was last modified: May 9th, 2021 by LTHQ

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