There are a few things that could be at the root cause of this and it is nothing to be alarmed at. Many times, dogs in particular, will mark their territory when confronted with a new environment. They can do this out of stress, fear, the desire to make the new home ‘theirs’ or, particularly for small dogs, it could be that they were paper trained and are confused as to what then new rules are. If you suspect it is territory marking, house training again through use of the crate can often provide for quick modification of the undesired behavior.
Essentially it is this: when in the house, put the dog in the crate if you are not directly interacting with them. When you do take them out, put on a lead and go right outside. Do not come in until they “do their business” and once they do, praise, praise, praise. Then, bring them back inside and put them back in the crate unless you plan on interacting with them directly for some time. IF THEY DO NOT DO THEIR BUSINESS, put them right back in the crate. It is not a punishment, but they need to associate outside with using the potty and the only way they are going to do that is through repetition and positive reinforcement. “I go potty, I get praised and get to play/eat/interact for a little while. If I don’t go, I go back into my crate.” Dogs are pretty smart, especially ones that have already been housebroken and just need a little refresher so this will not take long to correct.
Also worth noting is that this can be an issue sometimes for male dogs in particular if:
- the dog is not yet neutered, and/or
- there are other animals in the house, particularly other male dogs
In the case of neutering, that is something that you should look to do right away. It will generally take a couple of weeks for the dogs’ hormones to adjust completely but this, coupled with some house training will cure the issue almost every time. In the case of other animals, house training via the crate is usually a quick fix as well.