If your dog poops where they shouldn't and you're tired of collecting poop everywhere, we want to tell you that we understand you. You are facing one of the most common problems among dog owners (although hardly anyone likes to admit it) and also one of the most difficult to overcome.
But don't worry, there is a solution to this unpleasant situation, it is only about having the correct approach to deal with it, as well as a lot of patience and perseverance. Continue reading to learn how to stop a dog pooping in a certain area, whether indoors or outdoors, in the crate, or on the carpet.
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- 1 Identifying the Cause of the Problem
- 2 How to Stop a Dog Pooping in a Certain Area
- 3 How to Keep Your Dog from Pooping on the Carpet
- 4 How to Train a Dog Not to Poop in Crate
- 5 How to Break a Dog from Pooping in the House
- 6 How to Retrain a Dog to Poop Outside
Identifying the Cause of the Problem
You should know that this problem occurs in puppies over 6 months (before this age, ‘accidents' are not considered a problem, but part of the training to do instead), adolescent and adult dogs.
The first thing you should do is take them to the vet to rule out that your dog may have a physical problem that may be triggering incontinence.
If everything is fine, then you have to evaluate what the problem is, which among other reasons may be due to:
- Lack of training : Your dog has simply never received training.
- An “incomplete” training : your dog goes to the bathroom instead when you take them, but if they are left alone or there is any change in routine, they will do where they should not.
- Preference for a particular surface : your dog got used to doing it on certain surfaces and it is very difficult for them to change areas.
- Anxiety : Many dogs respond with anxiety to changes (moving, someone new coming to live in the house, someone who stops living in the house, etc.) and may start to poop where they shouldn't.
- Fear of going out : They are afraid to go outside or open areas, so they poop inside.
- Avoid cold or rain : they only do it indoors when it is cold, rainy or snowy.
- Separation anxiety : your dog is anxious every time you leave home.
- Submission or arousal incontinence : they poop when touched, excited, or scared.
How to Stop a Dog Pooping in a Certain Area
- The golden rule in these cases is NOT to scold your dog, as this will only make the behavior worse because they will feel more vulnerable and afraid and will surely repeat it.
- Cleaning up any mess to remove traces of poop that can cause them to repeat the behavior in the same place.
- Be patient and consistent with the routine you establish to take your dog to the bathroom: try to make it around the same time every morning and afternoon, after eating and before going to sleep, at least. If at any point in the day you are going to leave your dog alone, take them to the bathroom first.
- Really, don't waste your energy scolding the dog and better focus on channeling their behavior positively. Reward and cuddle your furry friend when they poop instead.
- Feed them at a specific time in the morning and afternoon / evening and remove the food between meals. Remember that your dog should always have water at their disposal.
- If you catch your dog when he's pooping where he shouldn't, clap your hands loudly so that the sound will surprise them and stop doing it. Immediately take your furry friend to the place where you want them to do so that they finish doing there. (Don't hit, punish, yell, or rub their nose on the poop. This is cruel and also doesn't work).
- Watch your dog so that they do not do where they should not. And, if for some reason you can't keep an eye on them, you can use a children's gate or a cage or kennel to keep them isolated in a small area. Just do that for a few hours (don't intend to keep your dog locked up all day so they do not poop inside the area where they're confined).
- When the dog is used to doing on one surface (for example, concrete) and you want them to do on another (for example, grass), you can “mix” both surfaces little by little. That is, in the concrete place where they always poop, put a box with grass so that little by little they get used to the new texture and relate it to the area in which they must do. Later, you can make the area of ”grass” larger or, well, remove it immediately after bringing them where there is grass (garden, park, sidewalks) to do there, because at that time it will be easier to do where you want.
- If your dog is afraid to go out or hates the cold, rain or snow, you should try to get them used to being more comfortable in those conditions. Try taking them outside when you're not trying to make them go to the bathroom, but just to play for a while or walk around. Remember to give them rewards when they do so so that they associate their behavior with something positive.
How to Keep Your Dog from Pooping on the Carpet
When a dog poops on the carpet it can cause significant damage to the carpet. You have several options to consider if you need to keep your dog from pooping on the carpet.
The smell of vinegar is unpleasant for dogs and acts as a deterrent. Mix equal parts vinegar with water in a spray bottle and lightly mist the carpet. Be careful not to spray to the point of soaking the carpet as you can damage it. With frequent spraying, you have a greater chance of gradually impregnating the carpet without damaging it. Bring your dog to the mat after you've sprayed the mixture and gently force the dog to sniff it so they are aware that this is an unpleasant area. Vinegar is also good for hiding previous accidents that your dog may have left on your carpet.
2. Aluminum foil
If you see that your dog is focusing on one area and you fear it will become a bathroom spot, spread aluminum foil over the rug. Your dog will not like the slippery feeling or the noise of the paper when walking on it. Clap loudly when you see the dog step on the aluminum foil.
3. Deterrent mats
Visit your local pet store and look to purchase a mat that emits a small electrical current or vibration when stepped on. You can place the mat at the front door to the carpet area of your house. Your dog will begin to get the message that they should not enter that room.
4. Chemical deterrents
Your pet store will also have chemical deterrent spray bottles. This should be the last alternative as repeated spraying could cause you and your pet to suffer from side effects like itching or sneezing. These sprays work best when you are traveling with your pet and want to prevent damage to hotel room rugs with a quick spray.
How to Train a Dog Not to Poop in Crate
Many dogs will try to keep their sleeping place, i.e. their crate, clean. If your dog does poop in the crate, try to make the crate a little smaller temporarily. This can be done, for example, by putting cardboard boxes or large stuffed animals in them.
Do not forget to clean all the rugs and the crate itself. You can buy special cleaning products in the pet shop. A dog is better at smelling than we do, and fecal odor encourages going back to that place. And try to prevent accidents in the future by removing your dog from the crate as soon as they becomes restless and giving them the opportunity to go to the bathroom.
How to stop puppy from pooping in crate at night
It is important that the crate is just big enough for the puppy to lie down in it. The crate is often too big for the little puppy at first. This is especially the case with larger dog breeds, which are still going to grow considerably and for which the crate was bought for the growth.
The advice is to reduce the size of the crate. If you don't, the puppy is more likely to poop in the crate. Most dogs prefer not to soil their own sleeping area. But in a crate that is too big, the puppy will have no qualms about pooping in one corner and sleeping in the other.
We would also like to emphasize that a crate should never be a substitute for good puppy training. It is very important that you take the puppy outside on a very regular basis, so that they have the opportunity to poop.
How to Break a Dog from Pooping in the House
The guideline to ensure that the dog does not poop inside the house is to remain calm, and never punish them (much less, treat them aggressively). The dog is not mortifying their human, but has a problem and needs your help. Punishing them will only increase their stress. The human is their friend, they loves him. For them their owner is the most important thing. Building a good relationship of friendship with the dog is essential, especially when they have not yet finished their period of learning or adaptation to the house.
What to do instead of punishment? The key is to use positive reinforcement! That is, offer a small and rich edible treat to the dog when they do their business outside the home, in the right place. A much more fun way to treat a friend and get them to learn to relieve themself where he should!
How to stop a dog from pooping in the house at night
The lack of a walking routine can be the reason why your dog poops in the house at night, as well as the poor distribution of the hours of walk throughout the day. We therefore advise that you take your dog for a walk frequently and always at the same times; ideally 3 times a day and at least half an hour per walk.
In addition, the walks should be spread throughout the day, that is, morning, noon and, especially, at night, to give them the opportunity to poop before going to sleep. If it is impossible for you to frequent the walk so much, we recommend asking a third person for help or taking two long walks (one hour each) and overcome the laziness of taking it out a few minutes before going to sleep so that they can poop outside the house and, therefore, do not have to wait until the next morning.
How to punish a dog for pooping in the house
Putting a dog's nose into its own feces or hitting it with a rolled-up newspaper when it poops in the house is certainly not an effective method of house training a dog. The dog believes that they have been punished for doing their business and may in the future try to hide from their owner if they “have to go”.
Their human being may then find the remains behind the sofa or in the bathroom. Or the dog no longer dares to do their business as long as their owner is present, although they are in the place where they should relieve themself.
So the problem is not that the dog “does”, but where it does. After all, dogs should ease themself, just not in the house. You should therefore absolutely avoid punishing the dog if it has already happened. Your dog will not associate the punishment with the dog poo because it has been a while.
However, if you catch them trying to start loosening up, then the right thing to do is correct the dog. Many use a loud NO! In any case, take the dog outside with you immediately. Then, when they've done their business there, praise them extensively.
How to discipline a puppy for pooping in the house
As we have explained above, avoid punishing, as you could later have problems of many kinds (that the puppy catches fear of you, that they get used to responding to punishment aggressively, that they misunderstand that they cannot poop in your presence because you are going to scold them and, then, when you go out with them to the street, they do not want to do it in front of you…). In any case, punishment is not necessary. Puppies are fast learners and it just takes a little patience.
Teaching a puppy to relieve themself in a specific place is essential to avoid problems in the future. However, many owners have doubts about how to get it. Here is a simple explanation to help you.
Before starting with the basic guidelines, I would like to add a short explanation on how the elimination behavior (peeing and pooping) works in puppies:
From 3 to 8 weeks of age is when dogs learn to leave the nest to relieve themselves. Until then, they pee and poop inside and the mother ingests the waste as a cleaning method and to avoid leaving traces that may attract potential predators (this behavior is inherited from the wolf).
From 8 weeks is when the puppies develop what is called “substrate preference”, something that, as you will see below, is very important.
Developing a substrate preference means learning to pee and poop on a surface of a particular material. Thus:
Around 8 weeks is the ideal time to teach a dog to relieve themself in a specific place.
Dogs that do not learn to distinguish substrates because they do not have the opportunity to do so – for example the puppies that are sold in some stores and that are locked in a cage for the 8th week of life onwards – are very problematic dogs afterwards, who pee and poop everywhere without knowing how to distinguish which places are indicated to do so and which are not.
How to Retrain a Dog to Poop Outside
One of the first things to ask yourself is whether your dog has actually been house trained? Have they ever not peed or pooped in the house for a period of 6 months?
Typical examples of incomplete potty training in dogs are:
- Dogs kept in a concrete kennel for long periods of time with constant access to a concrete runway (or none at all). These dogs lose their ability to distinguish between indoors and outdoors. They also often develop a preference for hard surfaces (eg: tiles) to eliminate on. This is also the reason that house training is often a problem in puppy mill dogs.
- The dog that, unsupervised, is sent into the yard to poop, whether or not after asking for it. The dog gets distracted by other things outside and does not poop. Without realizing this, they are called back in by the owner. After a few minutes they suddenly feel the urge to poop and then does so at home.
- The dog is taken outside for 1 to 2 hours several times a day at times when you would expect them to poop. This dog poops outside because they just happen to be there when they have to. They will not have learned where to poop. They are allowed to poop “where they are at that moment”.
A good potty training is therefore obviously essential. Here's how to retrain a dog to poop outside:
- Take the dog outside on a leash. Stay completely passive and don't interact with the dog. Walk to the place you have designated as a toilet and walk around it a few times.
- Stand still and wait about 5 minutes.
- If the dog goes to the bathroom, you reward when they are almost ready and then let them run free in the garden. You may also play a game with the dog.
- If the dog does nothing, walk back in in a calm and passive manner and try again within an hour.
- Accidents will happen until the dog is completely house trained. It makes no sense to punish the dog for this after the fact. It is best to clean up the stool without protesting. Under no circumstances should the dog be physically punished for an accident as this will only make them more sneaky, making it even more difficult to house train the dog.
- If you catch the dog in the act, say “No” sternly but not angrily and put them where you want the dog to poop or in an emergency toilet if the yard is too far. Then reward the dog exuberantly when they finish it in the garden.