Dealing with a dog pooping in the house is not pleasant, even for those with a strong stomach!
And if you’ve had to give up walking around in barefeet for fear of what you might come down stairs to or discover on the carpet, you know exactly what I mean.
Now, if you’re dealing with a puppy – thats forgivable for a while, after all we put nappies on babies for a reason. Equally with an unwell or old dog pooping in the house, you can understand they may be getting a little incontinent.
It’s the regular parcels when you get up in the morning, or return home from work or shopping, that indicate a more enduring problem.
Methods to Stop Dog Pooping in house
There are a range of techniques that are generally used to stop a dog pooping in the house and I want to talk to you about two that are used regularly but rarely work and can even make things worse. You’ve probably heard of them yourselves.
The first is to make a big fuss and shout at your dog to show them you are displeased and that it is not acceptable behaviour. Now, shouting at you dog may initially make you feel better, but this approach can backfire and actually make your dog more likely to do it again for the attention they get! Some dogs would rather have your attention, even if you are angry, than no attention at all.
The other method is to rub their noses in it. Not pleasant and that approach to ‘teaching them a lesson’ is highly unlikely to work, especially if they did it a few hours earlier. A dog lives in the moment, so if you come home a few hours after the event and rub his nose in it, he’s not going to relate it to the fact that he shouldn’t have done it in the first place.
So Why Is Your Dog Pooping in the House?
Once you rule out age related or health reasons, we need to go back to a dogs nature to understand why it might be happening.
We all know that dogs will scent marking their territory (that’s what lamposts are used for!). In the wild the scent marking is predominantly done by the leaders of the pack with two functions in mind. The first is to warn potential intruders that they live here so keep away, and the second is to give their own pack members a beacon so they know where to find home. Remember, dogs use their sense of smell far more than we humans do.
You may find that the most common place that your dog poops is at a main door to the house, because that is where you leave from and the outside world comes in.
So a dog pooping in your house is a way of both throwing down the gauntlet to others and making sure that your “doggie GPS” knows where Home is. This is a brilliant system in Nature, but in our world it is not appreciated.
If you’ve been putting your dogs pooping in the house down to bad dog behaviour, you can start to see that there is more likely to be a reason behind it.
Dog Separation Anxiety or Misplaced Attention Seeking Behaviour
If they’re doing it for attention, they are going to be doing it when you’re around, and the best way to deal with it is to pay no attention to the dog when it happens. Don’t look at them directly, or speak to them. Instead put them out of the room where it has happened and clear up without making any fuss. If your dog gets no attention for this behaviour they will stop it (though it may take them a little while to get the message).
However, if the mess generally only happens while you’re out, or have left your dog alone in a room, this points towards a symptom of separation anxiety in dogs.
Separation anxiety comes about as a result of your dog deciding that they are leader of the pack and so responsible for you. The trouble comes when you go out and your dog can’t fulfil their duties of keeping you safe. They panic and the best they can do is scent mark the house in the hope you’ll be able to sniff your way back to the den.
Separation anxiety can be more difficult to deal with than attention seeking behaviour, but if you believe this is what is driving your dogs behaviour, it will also make sense that to stop it you need take on being leader of the pack. When it is no longer their job to keep you safe and try and help you find your way home they will relax and trust that as leader you can do it for yourself! Convince them that they can trust you and the separation anxiety will disappear and the pooping should simply stop.