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Lisa, Certified Veterinary Technician
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 16504
Experience:  CVT with a special interest in behavior modification through structure, boundaries and limitations with positive reinforcement.
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Our 18 month old dog is consistently defacating indoors now.

Customer Question

Our 18 month old dog is consistently defacating indoors now. He was completely house trained up until 2 months ago.
He sleeps on the bed with my step-daughter and she sleeps in every day, so he gets up when ready and does his business anywhere.
We are not necessarily home when daughter still sleeping and dog gets up to do business.
Any solutions?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Lisa replied 1 year ago.

Hi there. My name is ***** ***** I'm happy to help you with your question. Just like an in person consult, I have some questions of my own to help ensure I give you the best advice possible....

Is it possible for your step daughter to get up earlier and take him out?

Is he crate trained?

Is it possible for him to sleep somewhere else so he can be let out when someone gets up?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Very unlikely my step daughter will get up earlier to take out the dog... and it's not my place to tell her to. Sensetive issue as to what I can tell her to do... Her mum also almost always sides with her.
No, no crates. There is an outside comfortable kennel which is completely ignored (except by the cat), and a comfortable pet basket, which is not as comfortable apparently as the couch.
Step daughter won't hear of it. Also dog has access to outside via doggy door 24 hours. Dog uses door, but not to go out for toilet.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Step daughter will not let dog sleep anywhere but on her bed. She says he gets stressed when he is alone.
Expert:  Lisa replied 1 year ago.

How old is your step daughter?

Does she contribute to the household finances?

What is she/you cleaning the areas he's messing in with?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Step daughter is 23.Not contributing financially because at full time university. Law student. ( and no need of her contribution) why do you ask?We pick up mess with paper towel then use a pet stain spray to clean up. He never messes twice in the same spot.
Expert:  Lisa replied 1 year ago.

I asked because my theory was if she wasn't contributing to the house, you could request it of her for each time the dog messes in the house since it seems that she is the main reason we're having these issues.

I understand her not wanting to get up, but if the sole reason he's had this break in house training is because she won't get up and let him out, then we need to address her behavior rather than his.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She thinks he is bahaving this way because he is stressed or marking his new territory ( remember we
Only just moved into this house a couple of months ago). She defends the dog non stop and insists this behaviour will stop when he's comfortable in his new environment. I don't agree with this because the dog looks happier than ever here. Much bigger house and yard, and he is taken for substantial walks at least once a day and allowed to run free. He also has lots of visiting playmates every day, because all our friends have dogs and they all seem to take them to each others houses.
I should also say that I am very careful how much I insist on family behaviour. I am relatively new in this relationship (18 months) and this is the first time we are living all together. Step daughter already thinks I have stolen her mother.
Also, I have never had a dog before, so it is taking a lot of getting used to having a dog that has the run of the house that messes everywhere and seems to be more important than me. Still I have to be sensetive to everyone's feelings and the new family dynamics, so there is only so much I can say. What I was looking for from you is:
1/ latest tequniques in re-training dogs, and also how to show them where to do their business.
2/ links to reading material to support this training
3/ any reading material to do with doggy ( puppy ) behaviour after moving house - stress verses laziness or confusion about where they should go
4/ tell me if this will work: advice I have received from friend dog owners is that we should:
. Even after some time passing, take the dog to the mess
. Stern words ( but no rubbing or hitting) pick up the mess and take it to the appropriate place outside and place on ground.
. Show this to the dog and praise and pat there.
. Keep doing this, but everyone in the houshold must do the same thing.
. Take dog out whenever possible to do business in this location, and when he does give him treat.
. Repeat this till he learns.
I have suggested this to family, but stepdaughter refutes this, says it is cruel, wants to know what research I have done to substantiate this, says it will confuse and stress dog further, etc.
Help me please!
Expert:  Lisa replied 1 year ago.

Perfect. Let me give you a basic house training method....

Establish a routine where your pup is taken outside first thing in the morning, after each playtime and before bed. Keep in mind that dogs generally need to urinate or defecate (or both!) about 20 minutes after they eat, drink or have playtime, so pay attention to the time and make sure the dog gets outside during this time frame. When he potties outside, make sure to give him lots of verbal praise and some tasty treats (I love freeze dried beef liver...available at any petstore). If you happen to catch him going in the house (and you probably will in the beginning), clap your hands loudly to startle him, then pick him up and take him outside. As soon as he goes outside, again, give lots of praise and treats. Make a VERY big deal of it so he knows you're pleased.

Here's a link to the HSUS website discussing house breaking:

If she feels like this is stress, there are a couple over-the-counter products you could try to help take the edge off and make him feel more comfortable...

Melantonin is an over-the-counter drug that can be used to treat some anxiety issues in dogs. The dose you would give would be up to 3 mg given orally whenever necessary up to every 8 hours. More information can be found here: , which includes risks, warning signs to watch out for and other bits of useful information.

Try a DAP collar. These are collars that are impregnated with a man-made version of the dog appeasing pheromone, which is a pheromone that nursing bitches give off to their pups to help them feel calm and secure. It's something that humans can't smell, but it has an amazing effect on dogs with anxiety and other issues. Although you can find them at your vet's can also find them online at places like and Ebay for much cheaper. Just make sure they're DAP brand, as they seem to work better than some other versions.

Also, as someone who has been working in dog behavior for 20+ years, I can tell you that it's realy, really, really unlikely that this is due to the stress of a new home...especially when you've been in it for 2 months. This sounds like classic case of him possibly alerting her to needing to go out and then not being let out in time.

I am also happy to have a conversation with your step daughter about this situation. I understand that you're in a tough position, but I really don't feel like this is the dogs fault.

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