Are you desperately trying to figure out how to stop a dog from pooping in the house? Are you constantly greeted with new ‘presents’ every time you arrive home?
A Note on Potty Training
Dogs won’t naturally understand the human desire for their home to be mess-free. It isn’t natural for a dog to hold their business until it can go in a particular spot (excluding the ‘den’ or sleeping area). They don’t naturally know why we want them to do their duty outside.
Every single dog on Earth is going to have to be potty trained! This usually begins between 12-16 weeks of age.
We’ll assume your dog has already been house trained, but continues to poop in the house anyway. Maybe he has just started having accidents for some unknown reason.
If your pup hasn’t been house trained, or hasn’t been potty trained properly, you’ll have to revisit that training.
Why is your Dog Pooping in the House?
In order to treat any undesirable dog behaviour successfully, you’ll first need to understand why it’s happening. This isn’t any different from any other behavioural problems!
Why is your dog having accidents in the house?
Your dog has been potty trained and never had accidents, until recently! Now, it seems like he goes in the house all of the time. What is going on?
Before considering any behaviour problem causing these excess puddings, you’ll want to rule out any medical issues. There are several medical problems that can cause a well-trained dog to begin having accidents!
Make sure you schedule a consult with your veterinarian. Your dog could be suffering from things like:
- Parasites like roundworms, hookworms, and giardia
- Food intolerance/allergy
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Gastrointestinal cancer
Has your dog been especially anxious lately? Perhaps you’ve just returned to work, or your child has returned to in-person schooling, and your dog is suffering from separation anxiety? Have you recently moved or otherwise altered something in the home environment?
Fear and stress-related anxiety is a big reason any dog might be having accidents in the home.
If you want to know how to stop a dog from pooping in the house that is dealing with anxiety problems, you’ll need to treat those anxiety issues.
Have you recently moved, and the change has caused your dog to feel uncomfortable?
How to Stop a Dog from Pooping in the House
The best method to stop a dog from having accidents is still the same as normal potty training. It’s not going to work every single time in every case, but it will work most of the time and is a good place to start.
Offer your dog incentives for going outside! Every time your dog eliminates outside, shower him with praise like this was the most fascinating thing you’ve seen all week! Give him treat rewards.
Correct Every Accident
This works best if your dog is leashed by your side during the day, so you can keep a constant eye on him. When he begins to poop or pee in the home, rush him outside. Allow him to finish outdoors, and reward him once he is done!
You don’t need to scold or punish at all. In fact, doing so can increase anxiety levels. You don’t need to bother correcting old accidents. Your dog probably won’t understand why he is being chastised for something that happened hours ago.
Crate When You Can’t Observe
Instead, crate your dog when you can’t observe him. This will require crate training. Dogs will prefer not to eliminate in confined spaces if they can help it.
Set a Bathroom Schedule, and Stick to it!
Potty schedules are extremely important! These ensure you’re organized and allow your dog to adjust to these new time frames. Your pup will eventually know how long he has to wait until the next break.
- 8-week old puppies will need to go out once every two hours.
- 12-week old puppies will need to go out once every three hours.
- 4-month-old puppies will need to go about once every 4 hours.
This ‘an hour per month of age’ rule will eventually taper off. It obviously won’t apply to older puppies or adult dogs.
House Breaking Takes Commitment.
You’ll need to set up a routine and stick to it. You can’t miss accidents because you weren’t observant, and say “Oh well”. Housetraining takes commitment.
If you have to work nine hours a day, for example, it might seem impossible to house train. You can’t leash your dog by your side at all times if you’re at work. Your untrained dog can’t be expected to hold his business for eight or nine hours, either.
This is a lot to ask from even a well-trained dog. Your dog might have accidents in the crate even if he was previously house trained. He might have accidents in the house if left alone for several hours, and it wouldn’t his fault.
- If you have to be gone all day, ensure your dog is house trained first.
- Slowly desensitize your dog to long absences, rather than suddenly dump them.
- If you must be away from home for 8-9 hours or more, have someone let your dog out during that time.
- If you crate your dog while you’re gone, be sure to crate train him first.
Consider Using “Potty Pads”
These offer a fantastic solution for owners who will have to be gone all day and can’t let their dogs outside! Potty pads are pads you lie on your floor in a certain area, and your dog does his business on them.
Potty Pads aren’t natural for your dog and will also require training. You simply can’t avoid training and ask a dog not to poop in the house.
That being said, most manufacturers offer simple training instructions directly on their potty pad packaging!
The Aging Dog
At a certain point in their long lives, older dogs might begin to lose control of their bodily functions. We humans will encounter the exact same problem if we grow to be old enough. It’s a simple fact of ageing.
Bowel incontinence happens when a dog begins to lose muscle tone, and can also result from problems like:
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Liver or kidney disease
- Cushing’s disease
If you have an older dog with this problem, ask your veterinarian about further steps!