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.
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.
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.
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
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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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/
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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