It can come as a bit of a shock the first time your dog poops in house, especially if they’ve been perfectly house trained up until now.
The big question is how should you react and how do you stop it happening again?
Faced with this problem for the first time, your reaction might well be a mixture of anger, disgust and frustration. Which is understandable, as clearing it up is never a pleasant job and getting rid of the odour can be quite a difficult task.
Next, our instincts are to scold the dog, or maybe even punish them in some way. Resist that urge! It’s almost universally agreed these days that this approach doesn’t work to solve the problem and could even be counter productive.
Finally we question “Why did they do that?” There’s plenty of dog owners that believe their dog does it on purpose, out of spite or revenge, but that’s a common myth and won’t help you at all. There is always a reason, so lets look at what those reasons could be.
Toilet Training Problems
Puppy House Training:
If you’ve got a puppy, the answer could be very simple – they just haven’t got the hang of the house training yet. For instance, if a puppy has pooped in their crate when you come down in the morning they most likely couldn’t manage the whole night.
If that is the case, the answer is to get up a little earlier to let them out until they are a bit older. By 5 months old they should be able to manage it.
Dogs or puppies don’t tend to poop or pee in their own confined space, so if a dog poops in a crate, they will only be doing it if they are caught short or there are other problems going on like separation anxiety in dogs.
Older Dog Problems:
As dogs get older they can also become less able to last a long time between toileting and may even become incontinent. The way to deal with this is to watch them more closely and let them out more often. However, if you’re concerned, it would be worth a visit to the vet as it could be a health related problem.
Your Dog’s Diet
Without going into too much detail, you can probably tell if your dog is suffering from diarrhea. This could be a result of the food they have eaten, exposure to toxins, or parasites. If there are signs of blood in the poop, you should get it checked out with your vet.
So a health or diet related problems could cause your dog to poop in the house, but it shouldn’t persist once the health problem or diet is dealt with.
Try looking at your dogs diet. Have you made any changes recently, like changing the brand of food you give them? It can take their systems a few days to adjust to new food and vets often advise changing the food you give overtime, mixing the new in with the old to start and gradually increasing the proportion of the new food.
If there has been no changes, try restricting their diet to bland foods – and make sure they get no extras (like the remains of last nights takeaway!) for a while and see if that helps. It may be worth looking into hypo-allergenic dog foods.
Change in Your Dogs Life
If you’ve now ruled out health, diet and toilet training as the reason for your dog pooping in the house, try looking at your circumstances. Has anything major changed for your dog recently? Has someone new arrived in the household (like a baby or another dog), or has someone left? Have you moved home or made major changes within the house. Have you just thrown out the old dog bed and bought a brand new, un-smelly one?
There are many changes that can affect a dog and pooping in the house can be a reaction to being unsettled by the change. Sometimes it takes a little bit of time for them to adapt. Be patient, clear up without making any fuss and the situation may sort itself out with time. Sadly, that may not be the case with an anxious dog.
Separation anxiety in dogs can develop as a reaction to a change in circumstance, and can cause your dog to poop in the house – though probably not for the reasons you’d imagine.
To understand why they do it we need to look at a dogs natural instincts. In the wild their poop is used in three ways as a way of scent marking their territory, as a warning to others to keep away, as a way of finding the pack den.
The first we all understand from our dog’s obsessive need to pee on lamposts, usually over the top of another dogs pee (it’s not your territory, it’s mine). the second makes sense too and with the third we need to remember that a dog sense of smell is up to 200 times better than our own.
So your dog, panicking at you having left the den (home) and not knowing where you have gone, is showing you in the only way they know, how to find (or scent) your way back home – they just haven’t worked out that our noses don’t work as well as theirs do.
A dogs anxiety comes about as a result of worrying about you, so the way to get rid of it is to look at who is the top dog in your household. It’s often the case that anxious dogs have assumed that they are pack leader and if this is what has happened, they will continue to get anxious every time you leave, because the pack leader is responsible for keeping the rest of the pack safe – which they can’t do if you shut them in the house and disappear!
Learning how to show your dog that you are leader of the pack, that they have nothing to worry about and can trust you, is the best thing you can do for a dog suffering from anxiety. Deal with the anxiety and the dog will stop pooping in the house. For a cost effective training programme to help you do this, check out our free dog anxiety training video and take a look at our new Dog Anxiety eBook which provides a step-by-step approach to what to do when your dog poops in house.