"I've followed all of the advice on housetraining my dog and he is still peeing on the carpet!"
Housetraining can be a very frustrating problem to deal with - I know, I have a 90 lb. adult greyhound that wasn't housetrained when he came to me! Begin by reading our article, here, on housetraining your adult dog or puppy. Then, address these common problem areas:
The most common problem I see is in management - it just isn't tight enough. When housetraining your dog or puppy, you must, must, must, must manage the dog's access to your house until he is able to control his bodily functions AND has learned that he should only relieve himself outside. You have three basic options to do this. A crate can be used to contain your dog when you cannot supervise him, a baby gate can be used to keep your dog in the same room with you so that you can supervise him, and a leash tied to your waist or the desk or chair you are sitting in can be used to keep your dog near you when you can't easily baby gate him into a room.
I often walk into clients' houses to help them with housetraining and ask "Where is Rover right now?" The conversation proceeds like this:
Mrs. Smith: "I don't know - he was here just a minute ago."
Me: "He's probably peeing."
Mrs. Smith, as she rounds the corner to find Rover peeing in the bedroom, "Oh no! He's
peeing on the carpet!"
Me: "I know."
Now, I'm not telling you that to make myself sound like the arrogant know-it-all that I come off as in that story. I simply want to emphasize the problem of lack of management. If you are not with your unhousetrained dog, you should expect him to be peeing in the house! And, remember, puppies often have to go about 20 minutes after they just went outside - even if you think he's empty, he probably isn't! So, tighten up on the management as your first troubleshooting step.
Second, if you are free feeding your dog (in other words, just putting down a bowl of food in the morning and letting your dog eat whenever he pleases), you can't know when things have to come out because you don't know when things are going in! Put your dog on a feeding schedule. For most adult dogs, you can feed twice a day - morning and evening. For puppies, you may want to feed three or four times a day, depending on age. If you are switching to a schedule from free feeding, your dog will not know this at first and likely won't eat when you set his food down on the first day. Put the food down for a half hour and then pick it back up until the next feeding. He'll get the point and begin eating when it is put down. (Contact your vet if you are not sure if this is safe to do with your dog or if you are concerned that he is not eating enough - I don't want you to starve your dog!).
Last, make sure you are making a very clear distinction between going to the bathroom in the house and outside of the house. Remember, to your dog, it seems perfectly logical to use the kitchen and living room as his eating, sleeping, and playing area and then use the den or basement to go to the bathroom. Why go outside when he can stay inside where it's warm? Why ask mom or dad to take me outside when I can toddle on down to the basement all by myself? If you catch your dog going to the bathroom inside, interrupt him and scoot him out the door. And always praise, pet, cuddle, give yummy treats, and play ball or tug after he goes to the bathroom outside. Make it clear - interruption in the house vs. big party outside of the house.