It’s a question I hear time after time, “My dog poops in the house, what should I do?” So I’ve put together my top tips below to help you clear up (literally) the problem of a dog pooping in the house as soon as possible.
Start by considering the health of your dog, because if you think this problem is being caused by your dogs health you should consult your vet immediately. Also look at what you are feeding your dog, because this could be a source of the problem too.
Next, consider the age of your dog, because an old dog pooping in the house might be getting a little incontinent and at the other end of the scale, a young puppy might just be a bit slow at getting the hang of their house training.
Finally, look at how long you leave your dog, because it may just be a little to long for your dog to hang on.
But if your dogs problem doesn’t seem to fit into any of those rather obvious areas, we’ll look at what else could be causing your dog to poop in the house and why they might be doing it.
What Else Causes Dog Pooping In The House?
A key question to ask here is whether there has been any changes in your house recently as any big change can unsettle a dog and cause this new and unwanted behaviour. For instance, have you got another dog? Have you had a baby or has a new person come into your family? Have you moved house? Have you just started going out to work?
If a change has unsettled your dog, it may just be a matter of time before your dog settles down again and stops this behaviour. Stay consistent with your dog, and react as little as possible to the unwanted parcels they leave for you so as not to escalate the problem. Don’t shout at your dog or scold them as this approach has been shown to make it worse.
Why Are They Doing It?
There are three major reasons that a healthy dog will suddenly start pooping in the house.
- For attention
- As a challenge
- Because they’re suffering from dog separation anxiety
A dog looking for attention will sometimes go to extreme lengths, and even if his bad dog behavior gets him into trouble, he will still be getting your attention (a bit like a child who uses anti-social behavior to get attention).
I always remember a dog owner who said that his young dog actually waited until he knew his owner was watching before pooping on the carpet. This was a direct challenge to his owner and was the dogs way of trying to assert his authority and work out who was the pack leader.
Finally separation anxiety in dogs can be a major cause for a dog pooping in the house. This is almost always going to happen when you are out of the house or with a particularly anxious dog, might happen as soon as you are out of sight.
Busting a Few Myths
This signal from the dog is often misunderstood and I’ve heard many dog owners say that the dog has done it to punish them because they left him alone in the house!
That interpretation couldn’t be further from the truth because a dog suffering from separation anxiety will be worrying about where you are and pooping in the house is one way the dog can let you know where you should come back to!
A dogs sense of smell is far more developed than ours and in the wild they would use this method to mark their boundaries, keep other packs away and let their own pack members know where they should come back to.
What to do When Your Dog Poops in the House
The way you deal with a dog that is pooping in the house is crucial as if you treat it the wrong way you stand to make the problem worse. In any of the scenarios above, react calmly and do not shout at your dog, or pay them any attention. Simply put them in another room while you clear it up. This stops it from ever becoming an attention seeking problem.
If it’s health related, seek help from a vet, and if it’s age related create a pattern of taking them outside more regularly. Separation anxiety is a more complicated problem to deal with and is likely to need a special training programme which you can find out more about by clicking on the link. If the anxiety is extreme it would be worth discussing it with your vet so see if any other methods of helping this problem, such as anxiety medication, would help too.