Help, I Can’t Stop My Dog Pooping In The House

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.



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  1. Melissa Webb
    9 months ago

    I desperately need help! We adopted a 5 yr.old female dog from the shelter and have had her for over a week. I take her out constantly. She will not poop outside at all. She pees but absolutely will not poop. But she poops in the house and has since we have had her and sometimes it is during the day, but moe so at night once everyone is in the bed. I cannot handle this much longer. She has about ruined my carpet!! I love her and all, but I cannot stand this. Please help!!!

    • Venice Marriott
      6 months ago

      Melissa she does sound very anxious and shelter dogs can take a while to settle in. I can only recommend you use the leadership approach that Tony takes to training dogs. My own dog Sherlock came from a rescue and was very anxious too – he’s fine now but did take some patience and Tony’s techniques to sort him out. He’s adorable now though and worth all the effort we made (it wasn’t difficult – just different). It’s such a great thing to take in a rescue dog. Thank you and I hope you’re successful with settling her in.

  2. john powell
    1 year ago

    My mother in law has just had a rescue dog she is a jack Russell terrier cross she is about a kilo underweight and she has is occasionally going to toilet in house sometimes straight after going outside have you any idea what could be causing this the rescue home don’t know much about her they have said that she was a stray

    • Venice Marriott
      1 year ago

      Well done to your Mother-in-law for taking on a rescue dog! Firstly, it can be an anxious time for a rescue dog and she may take a little while to settle in. The best thing is to keep the house as calm as possible and not pay her too much attention. Certainly don’t scold her for the mess, just put her in another room while you clear up. This is the best time for your mother-in-law to gently start showing her that she, not the dog, is in charge (it’s covered in our ebook – or look for more articles on this site about it) which will help reduce anxiety further. Wishing her every success.

  3. Chris
    2 years ago

    We have an 8 month old puppy who does not poop in the house until we leave him and then he eats his poop too! Whether we crate him or leave him inside, uncrated, he will do this. He also tears apart anything left on the counter or anything left out. He just started doing this when I started back to work. We have not been as calm about this issue as the article suggested (scoldings). Is this separation anxiety or a behavior issue and how should we correct it.

    • Venice Marriott
      2 years ago

      Hi Chris. If your dog is doing something for attention, they will usually do it while you are around and are going to react straight away. I don’t think dogs are capable of doing something then waiting for hours on end before they get some attention for it (good or bad). Watch our video series (just register your name and email for instant access – there’s no cost) which will give you a really good understanding about dog separation anxiety. It does seem like that is what your dog is experiencing from what you have told us. The good news is that you can sort it out if you put some time into training and perhaps changing the way you react to your dog. Watch the videos it will give you so much more info than I can in this little space!

  4. maria
    3 years ago

    We have a 2 year old dog that is house broken, yet every time we take her to the in-laws, she poops on their dining room rug! We’ve taken her to dog boarding, doggie daycare, and the grandparents house, and she doesn’t poop there, and has never had an accident at our home. Why does she do that?

    • Tony
      3 years ago

      Hi Maria, this is a way for a dog to make itself feel more comfortable by making this terriroty “smell” right. There is a chance that the way your dog is treated when at the in-laws gives her the impression that she needs to do this. You can definitely change this idea by implementing the Amichien Bonding technique.

      Best regards, Tony

Discover Why Your Dog Has Anxiety and What You Can Do About It


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