How to Train Your Older Dog to Not Poop in the House

Medium
2-4 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

There is nothing quite as unpleasant as coming home, opening the door, and being hit in the face with the smell of dog poop. If you have just got a new puppy, you probably expected a few accidents, and knew you would need to spend some time and effort housetraining your new charge, but what if you have just acquired an adult dog that is pooping in your house, or if your previously housetrained dog has suddenly started having accidents?  

Before you start working on training your dog not to poop in the house, you should try to determine why it is happening. If you have just acquired an adult dog, especially if they are a rescue or shelter dog, they may never have been trained not to poop in the house. Some small dogs are even trained to poop indoors, on puppy pads or newspapers, and if you decide to change this, you will need to teach the dog a new bathroom habit. Also, a new adult dog may be experiencing anxiety about his change in surroundings or may be confused and may accidentally poop in the house. In these situations, you will need to make your expectations clear, take some precautions to minimize accidents, and invest some time training your dog not to poop in the house. 

It is also advisable to rule out a medical condition, especially if your previously housetrained dog starts having accidents. Medical reasons a dog may break housetraining and poop in the house include tummy troubles caused by parasites, food allergies or illness, cognitive impairment, and bowel disease. If your dog is experiencing a medical condition, treatment of that condition may eliminate pooping in the house.

Defining Tasks

The best way to teach a new dog, or revise the house pooping habits of an older dog, is to prevent the unwanted behavior and create a new habit. This will involve preventing the dog from accidentally pooping in the house, with careful supervision to intervene if your dog looks like he is going to relieve himself on your carpet, using a crate, or tethering your dog, to reduce the likelihood he is going to poop in the house. Also, giving frequent bathroom breaks outside helps establish that outside is for pooping and prevents accidents.  Having a designated spot in your yard, where you can direct your dog to poop, can eliminate some of the confusion about where he should relieve himself and can make training easier.

Getting Started

If you are training your dog not to poop in the house, you should carefully observe his feeding and defecating habits and schedule so you have a good idea of when your dog needs to go poop and can appropriately direct him. Keeping your dog in an area of the house where he never has accidents, or using a crate to confine him in the house so that he does not have the opportunity to make a mistake and reinforce his house pooping habit, will be required. Some owners use a tether method, which will require a lead and somewhere to tie your dog, such as hooks on a baseboard. Use caution tying your dog to furniture--if it moves, your dog could become frightened or injured. 

Creating a designated bathroom space outside, to direct your dog to, can also help eliminate any confusion your dog is experiencing about where to go to the bathroom. Lots of treats to reward appropriate bathroom habits should be available. The best reward for a dog defecating in the appropriate spot is a walk or outside play time, so make sure you have the time to provide this reward to your dog. Be prepared for some accidents, and avoid punishing accidents, as it is generally ineffective in preventing the behavior and can just confuse and frighten a dog that is already experiencing anxiety or confusion regarding appropriate bathroom habits. If you are unavailable for large stretches of time to let your dog outside, getting a dog walker, sitter, or neighbor to help you may be a good idea.

The Crate Training Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Provide crate
When you are not home or when you are not directly available to supervise your dog, confine your dog to a crate. The crate should be the right size for your dog to be comfortable, have soft bedding, and be stocked with a toy or chew toy to keep you dog happy.
Step
2
Take directly out
Let your dog out every few hours and take him directly outside to a designated bathroom spot in the yard. Give your dog a command to poop.
Step
3
Reward with walk
Wait for your dog to poop. If he does, reward him with a treat and take him for a walk.
Step
4
Confine to prevent accidents
If your dog does not relieve himself, take him back into his crate.
Step
5
Decrease crate confinement
Repeat for several days, gradually let your dog out of his crate for longer periods while still carefully supervising him. If he looks like he is about to poop, take him immediately to his bathroom spot. After several days, your dog should have learned where his bathroom spot in the yard is.
Recommend training method?

The Reduce Anxiety Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Set up place and schedule
Make sure your dog has lots of bathroom breaks, call in a dog sitter or neighbor if necessary, if you are away from the house for more than a few hours. Create an outdoor bathroom space for consistency and to eliminate confusion.
Step
2
Reduce anxiety
Give your dog lots of exercise, and play, to reduce anxiety, and increase socialization opportunities. Provide lots of new experiences.
Step
3
Reinforce appropriate behavior
Take your dog frequently to his bathroom spot outside. When he uses it, give him a treat and take him for a walk.
Step
4
Don't create anxiety
If an anxious dog poops in the house, never punish him. Not only is it unlikely that your dog will associate punishment with pooping if there is any time lag, but it will only serve to make an anxious or confused dog more afraid and confused. If you catch your dog eliminating in the house calmly but firmly say, “outside” and take him to his bathroom spot.
Step
5
Be consistent
Be consistent and patient over several days, direct your dog to one spot for eliminating. Calm, consistent, clear direction and interaction on your part will counteract anxiety and clear up confusion, so that your dog will learn not to poop in the house.
Recommend training method?

The Tether Training Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Introduce a tether
Put your dog on a short leash or tether no more than 6 feet long.
Step
2
Tether your dog
When you are in the room with your dog, you can tether the dog to your waist or belt, or you can put hooks on baseboards or door jambs and tether your dog to those. Most dogs will not poop when in a confined area, and if he is tethered to you, you will immediately notice if he looks like he is going to poop.
Step
3
Provide bathroom opportunities
Regularly take your dog outside, or if you seem him sniffing around indicating he might need to go, to a designated poop area outside.
Step
4
Reward with walk
If your dog does not relieve himself, go back inside. If he does, give him a treat, and take him for a walk on a long leash, reward him in an enclosed area with off-lead time if possible.
Step
5
Continue
Repeat for several days, until your dog has established that pooping is rewarded outside and he has not had the opportunity to poop inside, eliminating that habit.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Baxter
Havanese
5 Years
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Question
0 found helpful
Baxter
Havanese
5 Years

I will take the dog out; we can be out there as long as 20 minutes and he will not poop; we go in and he goes straight to the dining room and poops

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainier
53 Dog owners recommended

Hello Deanna, I know that can be frustrating, there are a few things that you can do to try to get him to begin eliminating outside instead. First you will need to clean up any areas where he has pooped or peed inside with a pet safe cleaner that contains enzymes and no ammonia. The enzymes break up the protein in the feces and urine, and if those proteins are not broken up then even if you cannot smell the poop or pee anymore you dog will still be able to, and the smell will encourage him to go to the bathroom again in that same spot. Also Ammonia smells like pee to a dog so it will encourage him to pee there, so avoid that. You will need to start confining him whenever you bring him back inside, after he has refused to use the bathroom while outside. A crate that is small enough that he cannot use the bathroom in one end and stand in the other will work best. Take him to the bathroom outside, if he goes there, then bring him in and give him freedom until you know he may need to use the bathroom again. If he does not go, then bring him inside and put him in his crate for thirty to forty minutes so that he will be encouraged to hold it and will not be able to eliminate in your house. After that time, take him back outside to try again. Repeat this until he becomes desperate enough that he will eliminate outside. When he poops or pees outside, praise him and offer him three small treats, one at a time. You can also encourage him to go potty more quickly outside by purchasing a spray from your local pet store that will smell like poop or pee to your dog. Spray that spray onto the area outside that you would like for him to go on and let him sniff it. The spray should help him to think about going. While he is peeing or pooping begin to tell him "Go Potty" before giving him his treats. Doing that will also train him to go when you tell him to, over time. Practice the crating protocol until he will use the bathroom outside every time when you take him and tell him "Go Potty". When he is using the bathroom outside very well, then you can begin to give him more freedom outside of the crate only when you know he has either already eliminated outside, so is less likely to go indoors, or when you can directly watch him. When he begins to go potty outside every time then he will naturally not need the crate as much. Best of luck training Baxter, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Bella
Chow Chow
One Year
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Question
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Bella
Chow Chow
One Year

Bella does not poop or pee in the main part of the house but if she gets in the basement she will go there. How do I break her of this? She has a doggie door so when she is in the main level she will go outside in the yard/

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainier
53 Dog owners recommended

Hello Lynn, Does Bella have a way to alert to when she needs to go to the bathroom while in the basement? If she does not, then since she is used to going to the doggie door whenever she needs to go out rather than alerting you, she might be going simply because she does not know what to do instead. Once that has happened several times, she probably formed a habit of going in the basement, and smells the old urine and poop if you did not use an enzymatic specific cleaner. I would recommend training her to use a bell to let you know when she needs to go outside while she is in the basement. Place the bell in an easy to location spot, such as hanging low enough for her to reach on a door going outside in the basement. When she is in the basement, take her outside every two to three hours on a leash, and have her ring the bell on her way out each time. When she gets outside, tell her "Go Potty" and let her sniff. If she goes potty, then give her three treats, one at a time. Even though she knows how to pee outside, you are rewarding her for asking by ringing the bell and then going after she asked, to teach her to ring the bell and to motivate her to want to pee outside again while in the basement. If she does not go when you take her then bring her back inside, and put her in a crate or another small confined area, that you are confident she will not pee in. After thirty minutes there, take her back outside to try again. Repeat this process until she goes when you take her. After she goes then she can have two to three more hours of freedom in the basement. Do this whenever she is in the basement until she will go over to the bell and ring it whenever she needs to go to the bathroom, and until she is having no more accidents in the house. It might be inconvenient to take her so often, but the more accidents that you can prevent and the more successes she has peeing outside, the quicker she will learn to go only outside, and you will break the habit of going inside. It takes several successful times of eliminating outside to make up for one accident in the home, so prevention is extremely important or training will not work. The crate is a good tool for preventing elimination in an area because most dogs naturally not eliminate in a small, confined space, where they cannot avoid their own pee and poop. Not wanting to eliminate in the crate can prevent accidents but also remind her to hold her bladder in the basement. Also be sure to clean up any previous or future accidents with a spray that contains enzymes. The enzymes will break down the pee and poop on a protein level. Only then will Bella not be able to still smell it. If she smells the old urine or poop places, the smell will encourage her to eliminate there again. Also avoid using cleaners in the area that contain Ammonia, because Ammonia smells like urine to a dog. To teach her how to ring the bell check out these Wag articles: https://wagwalking.com/training/with-a-bell https://wagwalking.com/training/got-potty-with-a-bell Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Frankie
Frenchton
1 Year
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Question
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Frankie
Frenchton
1 Year

Frankie is so stubborn about pooping. She will not poop in the living room if contained (all doors shut and stairs gated off) but if one of my kids happens to leave any other doors open she will go in and poop. We use a bell on the door and that works most of the time but she still does not like to poop outside. I’m at my wits end. Please help!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainier
53 Dog owners recommended

Hello Niki, First of all when she does poop inside make sure that you are using a pet safe cleaner that contains enzymes. Only the enzymes will break down the poop enough to eliminate the smell enough for her not to be able to smell where she previously went. Any remaining scent will attract her back to the same area, particularly if that area is carpeted. Also purchase a spray designed to encourage elimination. You can get it online or at most large pet stores. It is typically called "Hurry Spray", "Training Spray", or something similar, and found in the house breaking or training section of the store. When you take her outside to go potty, spray the spray onto an area where she will some times poop and let her sniff the area to find a spot to eliminate. The smell of the spray will encourage her to go. Also make sure that you are taking outside about twenty minutes after she eats because eating will cause her to need to go, even if she just peed outside beforehand. After she pees outside make sure that you are walking her around again to encourage her to poop as well. Most dogs will not pee or poop right in a row. They typically need sniff around again and think about going for a minute before they will go. When she beings to pee or poop tell her "Go Potty", and after she poops outside give her three small treats, one at a time. By encouraging her to eliminate outside with the spray and giving her treats when she does, she should begin to prefer to go outside because when she does it inside she does not get treats. Make sure that when you take her outside that you either take her on a leash or follow her around your yard to remind her to go and make sure that she is actually pooping when she is out there. Many dogs will get distracted while outside and forget to go and then need to eliminate still when they return inside. This is less of a problem with peeing because territorial instinct and smells outside will encourage Frankie to pee, but pooping often needs more encouragement. Before she can be trusted to eliminate on her own outside without supervision she needs to go several months without an accident inside. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Bella
Jack Russell Terrier
3 Years
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Question
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Bella
Jack Russell Terrier
3 Years

I have a jack Russell who is coming up for 3 years old and I have had her since she was 8weeks. She is fully house trained and will let You know when she wants out for The toilet however I have to keep her in the same room as me as if she is left alone or is allowed to wonder the house she will do solid poops all over the room we are not in... I mean a bit on the sofa, some on the door mat, some on the kitchen floor and generally everywhere she can (despite being out just 10 minutes before hand) if she doesn’t have any poop left she will run away in the a different room and pee. When she is with us she is no problem and isn’t anxious or uncomfortable and as I said will tell you when she wants out.. very vocal. Is there anything I can do to stop this ? I’m at my whitts end.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainier
53 Dog owners recommended

Hello Nikkii, When you take her outside to poop does she poop multiple times while outside as well. Normally a dog will poop one or two times, getting everything out at once. If she is pooping multiple times outside when she goes, then have her evaluated by your vet. Something medical might be going on, such as a back up of poop, as gross as that sounds. It that is the case she would probably still be able to hold it with you, and would because she knows that she should not poop in front of you, but if she constantly feels like she needs to go, the the temptation to go in the house and "relax" when you are not with her would be strong, making it hard to potty train her. If you treat the root cause it should become normal to house break her again. If she only goes one time outside and it is enough for her not to be backed up still when she returns inside, then the next thing to check is what you are cleaning your floors with. If your floors smell like Ammonia from a cleaner, or poop from previous accidents that were cleaned up with something that did not contain enzymes, then she is probably associating the house with being outside and thinks that she is just not supposed to poop in your presence and doesn't associate the lesson with being in the house. The solution then would be to remove the smell by not using Ammonia containing cleaners and by cleaning your floors, and especially and future accidents, with a pet safe cleaner that contains enzymes that will break down the pee and poop better. You can also try purchasing an exercise pen. Create a resting area with a crate or bed that she will not chew inside the pen, and add some safe chew toys. I recommend purchasing Kong type hollow chew toys and stuffing them with her dog food so that she associates the area with eating too. Make sure that she has eliminated outside beforehand, and then have her spend time in the exercise pen when you are not with her. Set up the exercise pen in one room at a time. After she has spend about a month in the pen in one room, move it into another room. Continue doing this until she has spent time in each of the rooms while in the pen. This will only be effective if she does not have a medical issue though so pay attention to that. If she poops in the exercise pen despite not having a medical issue then try this with a crate instead. The idea is the get her used to spending alone time in each room while encouraging her to hold it due to the smaller, more personal space, of the exercise pen. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Georgie
Maltese-Shitzu
3 Years
0 found helpful
Question
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Georgie
Maltese-Shitzu
3 Years

My dog is three years old and potty trained for the most part. He goes potty outside, but will poop in the house on occasion. Never in front of my husband or myself. More recently, he has begun to pee on my clothes if they are on the floor. I have no idea why he does this because he doesn't pee in the house otherwise and he does not pee on my husband's clothes. To prevent him from peeing on my clothes, I just pick them up or keep my closet closed, but sometimes my husband will forget to close the door completely and my dog will go in and pee on my clothes. Any suggestions on why he is doing this and how I can stop it? Thank you!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainier
53 Dog owners recommended

Hello Alisha, Has Georgie ever used Pee Pads? If he has, then he might be pooping in the house because of that. Some dogs that temporarily use Pee Pads will begin to eliminate on other soft, fabric type material when they cannot find a Pee Pad to eliminate on anymore. This especially true if he is choosing rugs, mats, carpeting, or other fabric type material to eliminate on, opposed to hardwood or linoleum flooring. The first step is to make sure that you are cleaning up all accidents with a pet safe cleaner that contains enzymes. The enzymes will break down the pee and poop and remove the smell well enough for your pup to not be able to smell it. Other cleaners only remove the smell so that humans cannot smell it. I would recommend washing any clothes of yours that he has eliminated on with a laundry detergent booster that has enzymes in it too. Nature's Miracle has a laundry booster with enzymes that you can probably order online. You will need to get rid of any lingering smells in your home or those smells will just counteract the training. Also avoid cleaners that contain Ammonia because Ammonia smells like pee to a dog. Once you have eliminated the smells, then I would suggest purchasing a doggie diaper and having Georgie wear it inside the house to discourage him from eliminating. You can buy disposable ones and fabric ones that you can add disposable liners too. After the first couple of accidents you should not need a liner anymore though because he will hopefully learn not to go while wearing it. I recommend the fabric ones because he is less likely to tear those up and you can reuse it for a long time. The point of the diaper is to prevent accidents from happening and to break that habit. After you have removed the smell of previous accidents and put the diaper on him, then begin to give him five small treats whenever he eliminates outside. Take him outside on a leash, tell him to "Go Potty", and then give him the treats, one at a time, when he goes. This is to motivate him to go outside rather than somewhere else. He is essentially exchanging his pee and poop for treats so that he will want to wait to go outside to eliminate, which will give him an incentive to hold it since keeping your home clean does not appear to be enough of an incentive on its own. If the above suggestions do not solve the clothes peeing part also, then set up something that you can create noise with remotely to surprise him, and leave a camera pointing towards some of your clothes left on the floor, so that you can spy on him. Leave him alone in the room with the clothes. As soon as he begins to squat to pee on the clothes, create your noise to surprise him. You will need to repeat this several times and make sure that you are not in the room when this happens so that he does not associate the surprise with you and become afraid of peeing in front of you. I would also recommend practicing this in areas where you do not want him to go on his own anyways, such as your closet. This is in case he begins to avoid that entire area for a while after you do this. Make sure that you are still following the other steps with the diaper, treat rewards for eliminating outside, and effective cleaning also when you do this, or you may not see success.. You likely already have a camera device that you can use, rather than having to buy one. Some common options are GoPro cameras with the live feature on the GoPro app, two smart phone or tablet devices with Skype or Facetime transmitted to one another on mute, Security cameras with portable phone apps, and video baby monitors and receivers. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
chanel
Shitzu
6 Years
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
chanel
Shitzu
6 Years

i got Chanel after my parents passed i am her owner,,,,,,,,i also have oliver a shitzu,bear a golden retriever and barney a wirehaired dachshund,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Chanel is a mess,,,i confined her to a room where she ate the door,,,i walk her every 2 hours,,,,,she now is in the kitchen with a gate,,jumps it poops in the dining room,living room and bedrooms and hallways,anywhere she wants to,,,,,,,,,,,i now have her in a crate and this is the last resort for her,next will be euthanization,,,,,,,which i really do not want to do,,,,,,,,help what can i do the other 3 do not go inside,i have praised her,and her walks consits of at least one mile each time,so i dont know what to do,helppppppppppp

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainier
53 Dog owners recommended

Hello Holly, Check out this article bellow and follow the "Crate Training" method from that article. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside That article includes more frequent potty breaks, more confinement, rewards for going potty outside to encourage the dog to hold it while inside, and a potty encouraging spray to speed up pooping while outside. If you feel like you cannot keep Chanel, look into Shit-Zu or all breed rescues who foster the dogs that they take in, in your area. If you email or call one of those rescues you should be able to easily find someone to take Chanel in, work on training with him, and then re-home him, free of charge for you. Many people would be glad to take him in, especially after someone like a foster family works on his issues. You are correct to use the crate to deal with his behavior. He needs to learn to self-sooth, self-entertain, and hold his bladder. Try to be patient with him though, even though it is frustrating. He has gone six years without proper potty training or house manners training. It's a big adjustment for him to learn manners now. That does not mean he cannot learn to be a good pet, but if you feel like you cannot commit to that job, look into rescues in your area before you consider euthanasia. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

thank you,it seems she likes being in the crate i will do my best and keep you updated

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Question
Molly
Shih Tzu
5 Years
0 found helpful
Question
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Molly
Shih Tzu
5 Years

Our dog poops in the house only when we leave her home alone. We keep her in the kitchen and the issue we're having is that she poops in random spots and sometimes, if we're lucky, she'll step in it. It causes us so much frustration when we come home to stepped in poop that's caked into her paws and into the floor. What can we do to break her of that? I understand she might need to go but I rather her go in the same spot on the wee wee pad then in random spots.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainier
53 Dog owners recommended

Hello Randy, First, purchase a pet safe spray that contains enzymes that will break down any remaining poop and pee proteins in the kitchen and thoroughly clean the kitchen floor. Regular cleaners do not break down the poop and pee enough to remove the smell to the point where your dog cannot still smell it. Any remaining smell from previous accidents will encourage your dog to go in those spots again. Also, avoid the use of Ammonia containing products in the area because Ammonia will also encourage your pup to eliminate there. Second, I would recommend at least temporarily enclosing Molly in a different area of your house while you are gone using an exercise pen since she has formed a habit of pooping in the kitchen and she needs for that habit to be broken. Third, purchase a spray designed to encourage elimination and spray that spray onto the pee pads so that the scent will encourage her to go there rather than just anywhere. When you are at home, whenever she eliminates on the pads, go over to her and give her a treat so that she will begin to associate going on the pads with something pleasant and prefer to go there rather than just anywhere. If doing all of that does not work, then you will need to switch out the pee pads for either a litter box or trips outside to use the bathroom. If you end up deciding to just take her outside to go, then I would recommend using crate training to teach her to go outside. For some dogs the pee pads themselves are the issue. Because the pads are made out of fabric and require you to teach your dog to go on a thin fabric type material indoors, some dogs have trouble differentiating the pee pads from other areas in the house. This is especially true if your pup is using the bathroom on just area rugs or mats that feel similar to her to pee pads. A litter box tends to be a clearer location to go potty since it does not resemble other areas in the home, and taking her to use the bathroom outside and teaching your dog to never eliminate inside the home is the clearest lesson of all. If you decide to switch to using a litter box you can teach her to use one using one of the methods from the article that I am linking bellow. https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Lil Bit
Chihuahua pug mix
9 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Lil Bit
Chihuahua pug mix
9 Years

We have an older dog who has no accidents when we are home. When we leave for work she pees and poops on everything... Dog bed, rugs, wherever. We have tried the kennel training and she has accidents in there as well and just lays/steps in it. We have also tried confining the hallway and provided puppy pads to no avail. We do clean the area with nature's miracle when we see it. We don't know what else to do or try. We thing she has some issues with anxiety, but also suspects that she doesn't care about having accidents wherever in the house.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainier
53 Dog owners recommended

Hello Christy, It sounds like the issue likely started as separation anxiety and now she has learned to do it out of habit also. In order for potty training to be effective she will need the anxiety dealt with first. Once the anxiety is dealt with you can deal with the accidents by putting a doggie diaper on her to prevent her from peeing directly in the house until she stops attempting to. I would also recommend crating her while you are gone like you did before, but you will need to address the anxiety in order for that to be successful, and you may need to use a different type of crate to break the association with peeing in the old crate. Make sure that you clean up any accidents, old or new, with a pet safe cleaner that contains enzymes so that the smell will be removed well enough for her not to be able to smell it still. Other cleaners without enzymes do not break down the poop and pee enough to fully remove the smell for dogs. Any remaining smell will encourage her to eliminate in the house again. I would need a bit more information in order to address the anxiety. Spy on her with a camera or through the window and see what she does while you are away. Is she destructive? Does she pace? Does she shake? Does she bark or whine? Does she look nervous or stressed? Is she peeing and pooping as soon as you leave or every couple of hours? When you are home also pay attention to how often she is peeing outside. Make sure that she is not peeing very frequently during the day. If she is then the issue might still be incontinence, which is common with age and needs to be addressed with more frequent potty breaks during the day in addition to breaking her habit of peeing inside. If the issue is incontinence, and you cannot take her out frequently because of work, then you might want to litter box train her inside of an exercise pen in a specific area of the house. Do not use pee pads though or they might make the issue worse since they resemble household items like rugs and clothes. If you decide to litter box train her, then you can use "Exercise Pen" method from the article I have linked bellow. https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy To address the separation anxiety practice gathering your things, placing her into the crate, and leaving and then coming right back within five minutes while she is being quiet for two seconds if she barks too. When you arrive home ignore her until she calms down, then go over to her and carefully open her crate door, but if she rushes out quickly close the crate door again. Repeat this until you can stand a few feet back from her with the crate door open and she will remain inside. When she is being calm and respectful and not rushing out of the crate, then tell her "okay" and encourage her to come out. Also work on teaching her a "Place" command and having her stay on place with a chew toy for longer periods of time while you are at home to build her independence and self-control. Also work on creating clear boundaries for her and not rewarding her demands with attention. When she comes over to you do not pet her until she does something for you such as sits down when you tell her to, or unless you call her over first. The idea is to build her respect for you, create clear boundaries, work on her independence, and make the crate a calmer place for her. You can also stuff a hollow chew toy such as a Kong with kibble and peanut butter or soft cheese and give it to her when you place her in the crate. Also practice putting her into the crate during the day while you are at home, and when she is calm and quiet go over to her and drop treats inside and then leave again. Do not let her out until she is being quiet and at least a little bit calm for a couple of seconds. Start with shorter amounts of time and gradually increase the amount as her anxiety improves. If you are still having issues after trying these things then check out Jeff Gelman's separation anxiety protocol from SolidK9Training's YouTube channel, it's a bit more comprehensive than what I can write here. You might also need a trainer to come to your house and assess the issue in person and develop a plan. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Melvin
Labrador Retriever
10 Years
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Melvin
Labrador Retriever
10 Years

Melvin doesn't move around too well and has some large benign lumps on his body. For the past year or so, he's infrequently gone potty in the house, sometimes without realizing it. His owners (my in-laws) are eager to put him down if this behavior keeps up, so to avoid that, is there anything we or a vet can do to help treat his condition? He does initiate going outside to go potty, but seems to be losing control of his bowels.

Is this a sign that he's at the very end of his rope, or does he have a handful of years left? Any advice and insight you can give me would be appreciated! I'm afraid they're going to put him down after we move out of the house in the coming weeks.

Thanks,
Ken

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainier
53 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ken, I am so sorry that you are going through this with Melvin. Only a vet can assess how he is doing in general and how long he might have left, but incontinence is a very normal issue for older dogs and by itself does not necessarily mean that his general health is declining rapidly. If he seems mentally impaired, then that is something to mention to your vet and that could be related to the loss of his bowel movements. He could have a while left, or if he is showing other signs of decline, he may not. Ask your vet. Only a vet can tell you whether or not surgical intervention can help him or medication can help him or whether or not that is even a safe option for him, but for the majority of dog's his age, in his condition, it is more of a management situation rather than being able to fix the issue. Ask your vet though, only he will really know. Check out this Wag! health article I have linked bellow. Specifically, you can ask a vet a question if you scroll down to the bottom of the page. Hopefully you can gain a little bit of medical insight to add to my training recommendation. https://wagwalking.com/condition/urinary-incontinence As far as managing his condition, you might try closing off an area in your home where there is not carpet, and teaching him to use a home-made litter box that is located in the far end of that area, away from his bed. You can make a wide, shallow litter box out of a short plastic storage container and cat litter. If that is too different for him, you can also place a piece of grass sod into the box rather than litter. Confining him by the door without a litter box may also help. Since it is harder for him to get to the door to let you know when he needs to go out and to remember to go outside your goal should be to increase his access to the bathroom and to make the trip to go potty shorter for him. That will hopefully decrease the number of accidents that he has. For peeing accidents, you can place a doggie diaper on him. You can buy disposable ones, or reusable fabric ones and disposable pads to place inside. You can even purchase human urinary incontinence pads to use inside the reusable fabric diapers instead of using the ones from the pet store, if it is more convenient. Here is an article on teaching your dog how to use a litter box. The steps to train him should be the same as with a small dog. You will need to build your own box for him though. Use the Exercise Pen method from that article if you choose to try it. I will say, whether or not this will be effective for him will depend on his mental state. Normally an old dog absolutely can learn new tricks, but if he is suffering from something like doggie dementia, then learning something new at this point will likely be too difficult for him. There is no harm in trying either way though! https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Mystic
pit bull lab mix
6 Months
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Mystic
pit bull lab mix
6 Months

Hi! We started fostering a pup 2 months ago and she's been a HANDFUL and has recently been pooping/peeing in a couple spots in the house. Some history.... First - she came to us from the south where we think the southern foster encouraged pee-pads all day, so no consistent bathroom breaks outside. Second - She came up with lots of stomach issues so regardless of the size of the crate, she wouldn't be able to hold it and would mess in the crate; even after leaving her alone for 30-40 minutes in there. Third - She has distemper and is deaf. I'm not sure if the distemper ever plays a part in things like this but the deaf part has added a slight complexity to training in general.

After a month of regulating her diet, she got better enough to hold it in the crate so luckily she didn't view the crate as an acceptable place to empty anymore . We continued crate training throughout the night and while we're gone for short spurts and immediately take her out to a designated spot in the back yard to eliminate. This has worked and we reward her every time and shake hands vigorously and go for walks and give scratches after and let her play with our main pup inside for a while. Here's the rub - it seems as though she sees her "poop spot" inside with the same regard as her spot outside. As if they're BOTH acceptable places and is happy to use them interchangeably. We can feed her in the morning, take her out to eliminate where it'll work 60% of the time and if she doesn't, we'll bring her back in and walk into another room for 2 seconds and she's pooped in her spot again.

We're not at our wits end at all, just very confused because it seems like her relationship with the crate after 2 months hasn't solidified with the rest of the house where the entire inside is not a place to eliminate and only outside is. I may be leaving out other behavioral details, but any advice you have is helpful! Thank you...

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainier
53 Dog owners recommended

Hello Dan, First of all Distemper can cause GI issues, including diarrhea, so that probably is or was making the training harder for her when it comes to pooping .It also generally just makes the dog feel worse, and when a dog feels bad, learning is more difficult. When she recovers, the training will hopefully get easier for her. It sounds like you have made progress with the crate, continue using that. Using Pee Pads inside probably has taught her to pee in the house, especially if she had a lot of diarrhea before and had several accidents because she could not help it. After a certain amount of accidents, a dog will often give up on trying to hold it while inside if he is forced to have accidents. You will need to back-track with her even more by limiting her access to the areas where she is choosing to pee over and over again.Either block off those areas or set up an Exercise Pen or gate off part of the room for her and keep her in there while you are trying to get Potty Training under control. When you take her out of the area to spend time with you, then attach her to yourself with a six or eight-foot leash. She needs to have her environment managed enough to prevent accidents inside, so that she can form a new habit of going only outside. Obviously you do not want to keep her confined or block off areas forever, but limiting her freedom until she breaks her old habit of peeing inside will make Potty Training easier for her. Make sure that you clean up and new or old accidents with a pet safe cleaner that contains enzymes. Only an enzyme containing spray will remove the smell enough for her not to be able to smell it still. If she can smell an old accident, then she will want to go potty on that same spot again. Also avoid cleaners containing Ammonia because Ammonia will encourage peeing and pooping too because Ammonia is found in urine and poop. If Mystic's stomach can handle it, then find treats that she enjoys that won't aggravate her stomach. In addition to the affection that you are already giving her, reward her by giving her three tiny treats, one at a time, whenever she pees outside. You also might want to teach her to ring a bell when she needs to go outside. She will not be able to hear the bell so it will take her a little longer to learn, but she can be taught to touch and make it move. If she is not alerting you when she needs to go outside, then I would add the bell. When you teach her, at first, reward her for simply touching the bell. As she improves, require her to make the bell move before you reward her. Even though she cannot hear the sound of it, if she can see the movement, then she will know that she did it right. Here is an article on how to teach her to use the bell. Use the "Hanging Bell" method from that article and point to the bell as her cue instead of saying "Bell". https://wagwalking.com/training/got-potty-with-a-bell If you feel like she is struggling with training in general, then you might want to train her with a low level vibration collar. You can use the concepts of clicker training with a vibration collar instead of a clicker. To do this, first purchase a vibration collar that vibrates very softly. Look for one with adjustable levels or very light vibration. Educator Collar brand makes vibration collars that have one-hundred vibration levels., called the PG-300 and Pg-302 Vibration collars. If you choose a collar with that many levels, then you can also use the collar for teaching a distance come by teaching her that the low level means that she did something correctly and the higher level vibration means come. To train with the collar, measure out her breakfast or dinner, or grab several of her favorite toys if she does not like food. Set the collar to the lowest level that she seems to recognize, then push the vibrate button once and immediately give her a treat or a toy. Repeat this until her breakfast or dinner food is gone, every day at meal time for one to two weeks. With time, she should begin to associate the vibration with the reward. After she associates it with a reward, then you can vibrate the collar whenever she does something correctly, right when she does it correctly, and you can give her a treat, affection, or toy right afterwards. The timing of the vibration will help her to learn more quickly because she will be receiving feedback right when she does something correctly, rather than receiving it a few seconds after, which can be more confusing. It will also cause her brain to release Dopamine in anticipation of a reward, which makes training more pleasant for her. If you train her with the vibration collar, then you can vibrate the collar any time that you would normally verbally praise her, including when she rings the bell to go outside and when she pees outside. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Thanks for such a thorough and understandable answer! We're going to try these suggestions out asap for sure. Thank you again -

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Nacho
Chihuahua
12 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Nacho
Chihuahua
12 Years

Nacho poops in the house when I'm not home. He never Pee's just poops. how do I train him not to do this if it only happens when I'm not home?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainier
53 Dog owners recommended

Hello Laura, I need a bit more info to help but I have a couple of thoughts. Has Nacho always pooped in the house when you are gone or is this recent? Does he poop in a crate also if you crate him? Is he pooping in the morning before you leave him? If this is a recent problem and you have not moved or majorly changed his schedule or environment, then a visit to your vet is in order. Because of his age, he might have a physical issue that effects his ability to control his bowel movements and when you are at home he can tell you when he needs to go out. If that's the issue, then you need to address the physical issue with your vet and if the issue is permanent, then you probably need to litter box train him and place him in an Exercise Pen with a litter box on one end and a non-absorbent bed like a PrimoPad, which can be ordered online and is easy to clean, on the other end. Spend time when you are at home training him to use the litter box in the Exercise Pen. You can do that by following the "Exercise Pen" method from the article that I have linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/litter-box-train-a-chihuahua-puppy If this has been an issue all of Nachos life, then you need to crate him to teach him to hold it during the day. When you do this go outside with him when he goes potty and make sure that he is actually going and not becoming distracted after he pees. You can get him used to being in a crate by following the "Crate Training" method from the article below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside If he also poops in a crate and you know that he pooped outside beforehand, then he might have a Separation Anxiety issue. I would suggest hiring a professional dog trainer to come to your house to help with that because Nacho would benefit from being evaluated to see if that is truly the issue. Solving Separation Anxiety involves changing multiple things in a dog's environment, tailoring the training to the specific dog based on that dog's physical anxiety cues, and trying different approaches to find the one that is right for that dog at that time. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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