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Pets

I have two adorable 2-year-old miniature Dachshunds we adopted when they were 11 weeks old. I take them out regularly, though they still urinate in the house on anything they want. I'm forever finding puddles around the furniture. When I enter a room, I can usually tell at least one dog is guilty by his body language, so I scold him and say, "No! Bad boy!" I clean the floors with Murphy oil soap. Being a maid to my dogs is exhausting. Any advice?

A: Certified animal behaviorist Katenna Jones, of Providence, R.I., notes that your first objective should be to neuter these dogs, if you haven't done so already. There seems to be a p...... contest going on.

"Do your best to take them out as often as possible," says Jones. "Take them to the same place all the time, and as they do their business, deliver an irresistible treat (such as low-fat, low-salt lunch meat)."

Unless they've just done their business outside, make certain the dogs don't have the opportunity to make a mistake when they return indoors. Either crate them or tether them to you. The more often you take them out and they practice going outdoors, the less they'll have accidents indoors.

Jones says that as you enter a room, your dogs don't likely know they've done something wrong but are responding to your cues. From here on out, if your dogs have an accident, say, "Shame on me." Don't worry about hollering at the dogs for what they've done wrong, says Jones (though she understands your frustration), which teaches them nothing. Instead, focus on what they've done right, which is instructive.