Why Your House-Trained Dog Starts Pooping in the House and How to Stop It
If your dog is pooping inside the house after being outside, you may be wondering what is going on in his head. The issue can surely be frustrating, especially when you spend a lot of time outside waiting for your dog to potty only to come back inside and witness Rover having an accident right after coming through the door.
What is going on? In order to better understand the dynamics taking place, it helps to put yourself in Rover's shoes. There are many things that could be causing this behavior, both behavioral and physical, and therefore, you may need to do some investigative work in order to figure out the exact trigger.
Following are some potential causes for dogs pooping or peeing after coming inside.
Why Is My Dog Pooping in the House?
Dogs that are fully housetrained may suddenly start soiling in the house due to medical conditions or due to stress and anxiety. If medical conditions are ruled out, examine whether you have recently moved, changed schedules, or are leaving your dog at home for a longer period of time than it is accustomed to. Dogs poop and pee through loss of control when they feel scared or extremely stressed out. Identifying and removing environmental stressors will eliminate this behavior.
Causes for a Dog Suddenly Pooping in the House
In many cases, the problem of a dog peeing or pooping after coming inside may stem from the environment outside of the home. The area designated to go potty may be too over stimulating to the dog and the dog may get distracted.
After all, how many times has it happened to you that you were outside among company or having a blast shopping that you only realize an impellent urge to go only once you insert the keys and turn the door knob?
Dogs can be similar. It can be that there are too many distractions going on and the last thing Rover thinks about is to go potty. This can be often seen with puppies. After being enclosed in the home for most of the time, once they are let out, they can't wait to sniff around and romp to get rid of pent-up energy. With all this sensory overload and excitement to stretch their legs, they get distracting to the point of forgetting that they need to go potty. Only once back inside the dull home, they realize the urgency and have an accident right on the spot.
Tips: Avoid talking and interacting with your dog when he is sent out to potty. If you play in the yard with your dog, play after he has gone potty. If feasible, take your puppy or dog out when it's quiet. If your dog gets distracted by neighbors, wait for the neighbors to be inside.
2. A Matter of Fear
While overstimulation can be a cause of a dog peeing and pooping after coming inside, so can fear. If your dog is scared of something in the yard or on walks, he may not feel comfortable enough to go do his business. Perhaps there are too many noises or perhaps other dogs and people your dog encounters make him feel on edge.
When dogs are not comfortable, they will hold it, until they are relaxed again. Going potty when a dog is over threshold, is the last thing the dog may think of as he may be fearing for his life.
Going potty puts a dog in a vulnerable position. First of all, it takes time, which can make a difference when every second counts. A dog who senses danger will typically want to be on all his four legs ready to spring into action.
On top of that, dogs who pee or poop leave traces of them behind which can put them in a vulnerable position if they feel threatened by something. Fearful dogs want to hide as much as they can, becoming small and almost invisible, and therefore, they may not want to leave traces behind (their urine or feces) that may attract predators. Of course, nowadays there are no predator animals hunting them down as it happened in the past, but those instincts may still prevail.
Tip: if you have recently rescued a fearful dog, it may be worth it to temporarily train him/her to use pads inside until has adjusted to the changes and has more confidence. Take your dog outside when things are quiet if feasible (e.g. avoid when the trash truck is going around).
3. Substrate Preference
This is a little known fact, but puppies tend to form a substrate preference by the time they are 8 and a half weeks old. This simply means that puppies develop a preference for a surface to use as their potty by this age.
So if a puppy was trained to pee on paper and then is adopted in a new home where the puppy is expected to pee on grass outdoors, the puppy may seek out different surfaces than grass and may therefore hold it and prefer to use the carpet once back indoors.
Tip: It's a good idea when adopting a puppy from a pet store, rescue or breeder, to ask exactly what surface was used to let the puppy go potty. If the puppy was trained to use pads or newspaper, the puppy can be gradually transitioned to grass by taking outside a piece of newspaper or pad and encourage the puppy to use that. Gradually, the newspaper or pad may be reduced in size or may be covered gradually with more and more gras until the puppy learns to exclusively potty on grass.
4. Change in Schedule
Dogs are creatures of habit and they may be used to going potty at certain times of the day. Puppies tend to naturally go potty a few minutes after eating and drinking, playing and after a nap. Adult dogs tend to generally go first thing in the morning, midday early evening and later at night before going to bed.
Tip: Feeding puppies and dogs at established times of the day and keeping the routine always the same, translates into predictable "outings." This means that it's easier to predict when a puppy or dog will need to poop since he or she is being fed at specific times of the day.
5. A Poor Diet
If you are feeding cheap foods from your supermarket, these may yield more frequent and bulkier bowel movements. For this reason, a premium dog food, even though more expensive, is much preferable, since more nutrients are absorbed and there is less waste.
This means smaller stools and on a less frequent basis. Sudden diet changes may cause an upset stomach and a sense of urgency especially, if you have switched to a lower grade food rich of fillers and grains.
6. Possible Medical Causes
There are some disorders which can cause an increase in bowel movements. Some intestinal disorders may cause a sense of urgency with frequent stools which may be hard for your dog to hold on to. Intestinal worms are also a cause for more frequent bowel movements and something that should be ruled out. All dog owners should have their dogs' stools checked for parasites at least once a year.
7. Is your dog suffering from separation anxiety?
Some dogs do not do well when they are left alone. Consider your dog a separation anxiety candidate if you come home from work and find messes around the home. To confirm your case, record your dog's behavior when he is left alone: whining, pacing, barking, howling, panting, digging, and pooping are all potential signs of separation anxiety.
8. Is your dog starting to get old?
Some dogs as they age develop a condition known as ''canine cognitive dysfunction'' the dog version of Alzheimer's disease. Affected dogs may have a hard time in several tasks, and potty training is one of them. Your dog may forget how to go outside or give you signs he needs to go.
9. Any new stress, recent changes, new dogs, new family members?
Anything stressful added to a dog's environment may cause a regress in house training. It is not unusual for a well house-trained dog to have an accident in a new home briefly after moving. A dog may even be upset if a new dog is added to a home, or if there are guests or a new baby. Scolding the dog for these accidents will only worsen the anxiety the dog feels.
10. Are you leaving him too long inside?
This may be obvious, but it is certainly worth mentioning. If you are at work all day and make it late, it is not your dog's fault for soiling in the home. Dogs should not be left at home for too long, and if this is your case, you are better off hiring a pet sitter or a dog walker so your dog is free to go outside as needed. Rest assured, if your dog is well house-trained he will have tried to keep it as long as he could but arrived at some point, where he couldn't keep it any longer. He is the last to be blamed in such scenario.
These are a few things that may be going on in your pampered dog's life. Never scold your well house trained dog for soiling in your home: very likely there is something going on and it is definitively not done out of spite.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Questions & Answers
My dog is almost three and recently he has started pooping in the same spot some time during the night after his last walk, why?
If your dog has been perfectly housebroken until now, you should consider medical reasons. Increased motility can cause accidents as it happens with diarrhea and some other digestive disorders. Other things that come to mind is that he might be stressed or perhaps he isn't pooping during the day as he normally should. Clean up the spot with an enzyme based cleaner and perhaps see whether placing some object over that spot (chair, furniture, large box) may prevent him from pooping there, but first things first, a vet visit may be in order.Helpful 84
My two-year-old dog recently started going to the bathroom whenever he has to, no matter where he is. The door will be wide open, and he will go pee in the living room. We moved into this house and gained another dog at the same time, but that was five months ago; this behavior just started about a week ago. I work from home. I'm going to make him an appointment with the vet tomorrow. What might be his reasons for doing this?
You are doing the right thing by seeing the vet to help rule out medical problems. Behavior-wise, several things may be going on: it could be that something in the yard has scared him or he doesn't want to pee or poop in the same areas your other dog goes, or he has associated the yard with something unpleasant. Some dogs may pee and poop in the home suddenly out of stress, or they may see that it brings the owner's attention and the dog may be craving that.Helpful 50
We have recently adopted a dog, she is lovely and seems to love it here. About a month in, she started pooping in the house; usually in my daughter's room or my office. We take her out often, and she will be outside with us for a good long time and then still come in and go poop. How do I stop this behavior?
There are chances that she may feel somewhat uncomfortable outside, or perhaps there are too many distractions going on, and she can't seem to focus enough to relax and poop. Pooping in dogs requires them to be a bit in a vulnerable position, and it requires a bit of concentration. It could be she wasn't well housetrained in her previous home too.
In any, case, it's important to make sure she has ample of opportunities to poop outside. Taking her on a walk may help as motion helps trigger dogs to have a bowel movement. It also helps to feed her on a strict schedule so that she poops predictably at a certain time and you can take her out at that time.
If she fails to poop outside, make sure you keep her nearby the door in an unobstructed view area so she can't sneak in a bedroom or behind some furniture to poop. Keep an eagle eye on her. This way you can promptly escort her out as soon as you notice some pre-potty signs (circling, sniffing, lowering her bottom).
It may help, if she has an accident, to collect the poop and place it in the designated area, you want her to poop outside. This way she can smell her poop there and hopefully help her recognize where her new "bathroom" is.
Also, never punish a dog for pooping inside the home. This only leads to dogs associating pooping in front of the owner as punishment. This means the dog will always sneak in a secretive spot to poop so that the owner won't see them poop. This may also interfere with pooping outside in front of the owner.Helpful 27
I have a Great Dane. He is six years old. Why would he start pooping in the house?
If your Great Dane was always remarkable in the potty training department, and now is having accidents, it may be that there's a medical problem at play. Six years old is considered senior age for a dog. Maybe he has joint pain or some digestive issue. Are there any changes in his surroundings? He could be scared of something outside, or he could not want to go outside due to unusual weather.Helpful 13
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