We really need some advice, but first I'll set up the situation. It's a long read :(
We have a five year old male Corgi called Fortie. We got him as a three month old puppy and trained him up. By around six months he was fully house trained, no problems with anything like that. Apart from being stubborn, he was great! At the time we were living in a two bed room apartment.
Around the time he was two years old we moved to a house in the country with a big garden. It's a big house, but not massive chateau or anything. It has a very open kitchen/living/hall area and then ground floor bedrooms and upstairs bedrooms.
For the first year it was good, no problems for our boy. We renovated the kitchen, started laying new floor tiles and no problems with Fortie. But then mid-last year we started major renovating work on the ground floor and we moved into the bedroom on the second floor while the downstairs areas being renovated. After that work started, Fortie started peeing in the house. Sometimes it would be that he would stay with us upstairs and then leave and go an pee downstairs and come back again, like the ground floor was no longer 'the house'. So we would close the door so he couldn't leave.
Then he started peeing when I would go out and he'd be left alone. This has become increasingly worse to the point that every time I go out, he pees. It seems to be me he has the issue with, not my husband, I think because I work from home so I'm 'always around'. He was also peeing in the house when I was in my workspace because he couldn't be with me (I work with food, so he can't come in).
We've tried several things to stop it including sectioning off areas so he has a small zone when we go out. I always take him out to the garden before I leave the house (he actually doesn't want to go into the garden without us for some reason. Sometimes I'll be out gardening and he'll go back inside :/ ).
We don't crate him and we won't be doing that as he has never done it in his life.
Recently we started a new method. He understands a lot of words and he knows the word for pee, no, good etc etc. So we started giving him a stern talking to saying 'no pee in the house' and then giving him a super yummy treat to keep him occupied while we were out. It started to work. For two weeks he stopped peeing in the house! Every time we'd go out, 'no pee' here's your treat et voila! No pee!
Then, last weekend we had friends come to stay and help with the renovations. They brought their little dog with them, who Fortie knows. He has stayed with them several times when we go away and she's been here before. He started peeing in the house -- during the day. Since they left on Sunday, he's peed three times upstairs (we've moved back downstairs) and peed when I've gone out. Today was the limit though. I've never seen anything like it. I was upstairs using the bathroom and came down to find he'd peed on the edge of the couch. I had to go out for a few hours, so I gave him 'the talk' and the treats and left. When I came back I found he'd peed SIX TIMES including once on the side his own box. SIX TIMES.
Then my brother-in-law arrived tonight and Fortie freaked up. Totally afraid of him, though he's met him a couple of times. Seriously afraid and hiding behind us and eyeing him off :/ I've only seen him act like that with one other person, but not as bad...
I'm at a loss as what to do now. I don't know what's wrong with him. We're trying to make the house more 'normal' while the work continues (our workman has abandoned us, so we're having to do a lot ourselves, thus it's taking longer). We've cleaned up a lot of the house, put the furniture back into place and use all parts of the ground floor. I close off the second floor so he can't go up there when we're not there. However, the house isn't going to be fully 'normal' for a few more months and there's not much we can do about it.
To make matters worse, I'm six months pregnant and due in January so we have to stop this asap. It's our first child and I'm worried that Fortie's not going to be able to handle it. As I'm pregs I can't do big walks with him, but try to walk around the garden several times (it's almost an acre) with him and make him run with games of fetch or chase the ball etc.
To me it's like an anxiety issue. I think he's super attached to us and for some reason has become anxious when we leave. I don't know if the noise of the renovations upset him in the beginning and now it's this bad habit, or what, but I need some solutions.
Can anyone please, please, please help? Please only positive and helpful advice cos I'm at the end of my tether :( He's normally such a sweetheart and I want him to be happy again :(
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my LLLLOOOONG message! I was kind of at the end of my tether that day!
I think the problems stem from the renovations and the disruption to the household routine and now it's like a bad habit that we have to break. We were doing well until the other dog visited recently and he lost it. He definitely has a jealously issues associated with my husband (no idea why) which we need to address cos we can't have this happening when the baby arrives!! He is also a 'sensitive soul' and gets easily spooked. He especially dislikes wind and the noises it makes. If I have the doors and windows open to air out the house and there's a breeze, he totally freaks out -- he literally tries to climb up the walls and he starts shaking really badly and he only stops when I close up the house again. So it's possible that there were some noises when we were out once and it freaked him out and now he doesn't like to be left alone :/
So, I think we'll take him to the vet as you suggested and get them to check and ask them for some advice. Prefer not to put him on any 'calming' drugs as it's a band aid solution so I'll tell them that. I don't think he has an infection, I think it's a behaviour issue, but you never know and it's better to be safe than sorry!
He was definitely house trained before this started. He's over five now and this started happening last year when he was four and he'd never done it before. We live in the countryside now so he's pretty much free to go out when he wants, but he prefers for us to go out with him, I guess because he got used to that when he was little and we lived in the apartment. The move went well and we were in the house for 1.5yrs before this started, I think...
I take him out in the morning, during the day and always last thing before bed. Then I try to take him out for games, too. Hmmmwhat else...Oh, I always take him out before I go out of the house, too. I give him bottles with treats in them that he has to figure out how to remove and a ball that does the same. He has rope toys and bones to chew on and I play fetch with him, too.
Since last week we've tried to put a few things into action. It's things we'd done before, but maybe we haven't been so vigilant recently. So we're not getting him excited when we come home, we're not greeting him and when we do we tell him to calm down before we greet him. We're trying to take him out more, even if it's to the shops (thank god they let you in the shops/restaurants with dogs here :) ).
I've given him chewy treats (like those teeth cleaners) or his food when I go out and the last two times he hasn't peed, so that's good!
We're being extra careful not to give into him for anything to try to reestablish the alpha position in case that's the problem. Eg, my husband's bad for giving him food from his plate, so he's stopped that. Also Fortie is really poky when he wants a pat so I'm just ignoring him until he stops and then I'll randomly pat him.
Any other suggestions? Like you said, schedules are good...
I really like the dog walker idea, too. I've been speaking with a woman I know in my area who has given me some suggestions for walkers. Also, she has a Border Collie which drives her nuts cos she's so energetic, so I'm thinking she should bring her over here and the two of them can wear each other out!! Finding time at the moment is so difficult :(
Anyway, thank you so much for your advice and if there's anything else, especially little day-to-day things, that you can think of please let me know! We were pretty strict when training him, but maybe we've been too lax because of all the upheaval and he's got lost. :(
I agree with checking for a UTI but it sounds to me like he is marking his territory because he's stressed and confused.
Have you tried a belly band while you are out?
Oh I was wondering about that -- do you have any experience with them?
I think he's confused and possibly scared, too. He doesn't like it when my husband and I are in different parts of the house, either. Yesterday I was having a sleep in and my husband was doing some things around the house. Fortie came into the bedroom with me, even though he's not supposed to. When my husband got him out, Fortie peed in the lounge room! What's with that?! *Tearing my hair out*