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petdrz., Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 7350
Experience:  Over 30 years of experience in caring for dogs and cats.
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My dog has started pooping in the house. This is some time

Customer Question

My dog has started pooping in the house. This is some time (almost a year) after we got a second dog and more than a year after we brought him here from my son's home.
I have tried disciplining him in the usual -put his nose in it and admonish him, "no no" then putting him out side for a while, then over night.
I have tried giving him the opportunity to do his business out side while the other dog is confined, as I thought this might be the problem. (The other dog hassling him while he does his thing.)
At this point it seems like angry defiance.
I'm out of ideas.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  petdrz. replied 2 years ago.
Hello and thanks for trusting me to help you and your pet today. I am a licensed veterinarian with over 25 years experience and would be happy work with you. First and most important, are the stools consistently formed and normal in appearance?When he defecates in the house, is it in the same area of the house?Did you house train him as a puppy? Do you use a crate with him at night or when you are not home?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
His stool is well formed and firm, not messy.
I didn't train him myself. I got him from a vet who's son raised him in a fraternity house!
So yes he's a little crazy.
But he has never been a problem in the house breaking area before.
I've had him for six years.
I didn't ever crate train him.
We have dog doors so the little guy can come and go as he pleases.
But not now, due to the misbehavior is is locked outside.
He can get in the garage and so has pooped in their too.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
He has pooped in several different places.
Expert:  petdrz. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for the reply. That is helpful.
I think the best way to approach this is to go back to basic training. First and most important, DO NOT reprimand him for defecating in the wrong place. I know it can make you steaming mad, and you feel he should know better, but truly it only sets things back and adds to his anxiety. He is not being defiant, only confused. He knows you will be mad about finding a stool in the house, but once he walks away from it, he has no idea how it got there. You could plant it there yourself and he would still get that guilty look when you find it simply because he knows it will enrage you. Dogs live to please, but we have to give him the chance to please and let him know that his actions are pleasing. They don't respond well at all to negative reinforcement, but thrive when praised.
So back to basics. Until you get things under control, I would not use the dog door. I would also go to a feeding schedule of twice a day and if the food is not finished, it gets picked up after 20 minutes, for both dogs. No food down between meals. This will give you better control of his bowel movements as most dogs will pass stool shortly after they eat, so you can use this as a time to praise him for the right behavior.
Most dogs that are housetrained will not soil in their "living area". When they are young and new to the household, their boundaries of living area are not defined to them yet. As long as they can get away from it when they are done, they doesn't see it as a problem and as no different than going outside. This is where the crate helps or at least some form of confinement (a room, a pen, etc) What the crate does is to restrict the area so that he has the choice to hold it or to wait until someone lets him out. Most dogs will not want to soil in their crate and if he is respecting his area and keeping it clean and dry, that is step one.
Next, you have to work on the positive reinforcement. You will have to work with him and take him out and praise him for going potty outside (regardless of if it is urine or stool). When you take him out, it would be best if it was on leash for now so you can keep him in one area and give him a few minutes to go. If he is preoccupied and forgets why he is out there, bring him in and put her in his confined area. Repeat the process in a few minutes and praise him like crazy if he potties when you go out. Make it very routine so he gets the hang of it (same door, same spot in the yard). You need to physically be there when he is standing up from a squat so you can praise him immediately (not when he come back to the door). Do the same praise method for urine or stool so he gets the idea that you are happy when he does this outside.
For now, I would keep him separated from the other dog during the potty trips outside so there are no distractions. Once you have done this and he seems to be getting it, I think you can advance to having him use the dog door, but still going out with him and praising him until he is more consistently defecating outside. It has been my experience that with older dogs that were previously housebroken, it doesn't take very long to train them back, but every dog is different. Leaving him locked out or in the garage will not train him and only confuse him You have to show him what you want him to do and praise him when he does.
I hope this makes sense and is helpful. This is a hard thing to cover completely in a few paragraphs, but gives you a place to start. Please let me know if you have ANY other questions or follow up if having problems still. My goal is to give you 100% satisfaction and if you are not yet satisfied, please reply so I can clarify for you.
Dr Z
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Okay, will do. How long do you leave him in the crate,do you lock the crate, I have a crate, in the garage, is that okay?
Expert:  petdrz. replied 2 years ago.
I would use the crate when you are not able to watch him or when you are sleeping. Even when he is in the house with you, and not in the crate, I would keep him in your eyesight. You might need a few baby gates to block off some rooms in the house. The goal is you don't want him wandering off to another room or the garage to go, but you want him to wait until you take him outside. I would take him out every few hours during the day at first and right before bed and then as soon as you wake up. Of course, I would also take him out within 10 minutes of eating his meals. The goal is to decrease his opportunity to do the wrong thing and increase the chance to do the right thing so you can praise him and he will learn this is what you want. I would bring the crate in the house so he doesn't feel secluded and not part of the household. Most dogs don't mind and even like their crate, but if he is not used to it, it may take some building up to it. Ultimately, you want it locked when he is in it, but if there is hesitation at first to walk into it by himself, try feeding him his meals in it with the door open so he can learn to walk in and out freely on his own.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you!
Expert:  petdrz. replied 2 years ago.
You are most welcome. Please keep me posted as to how things progress.
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