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petdrz., Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 7325
Experience:  Over 30 years of experience in caring for dogs and cats.
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Female cocker 8 yrs old. on floor in dining room and then

Customer Question

female cocker 8 yrs old. Poops on floor in dining room and then cowers. She has never been hit or yelled at but she will deny herself food after doing poop. She doesn't do it every day. Sometimes she doesn't do it for a couple of months and then may do it again several times in a week. I don't get it.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  petdrz. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thanks for trusting me to help you and Maggie today. I am a licensed veterinarian with over 25 years experience and would be happy work with you but need a bit more information in order to better assist you.

Are her stools consistently formed and easily passed?

Can you look at this scoring chart and tell me which number resembles her stool the most? LINK HERE

Does she ever strain when passing stool outside?

Does she have her anal glands checked regularly?

Thanks and I will respond further after you reply. There may be a slight delay while I formulate and type a thorough response or I may be offline, but if so, I will respond as soon as I am able.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Her stools are firm. She doesn't have difficulty passing stool.She has her anal glands checked when she gets groomed approx every 7 wks. She has easy access to go outside. She is sensitive and we treat her gently. She is aware we are not happy when she poops, but she gets so upset that we don't want her to cower and therefore we will tell her "no Maggie that is bad". That is more than enough for her to know we are not happy.
She is a great dog in every other way except this. Once in a while she will urinate on the floor as well, but thankfully not as often as she poops.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
If phone call is extra charge, I will continue writing messages.
Expert:  petdrz. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the reply.

If her stools are formed and if she exhibits elimination behavior problems with both urine and stool, it is likely then more a lapse in house training. These can occur in the adult dog and the key to correcting it is to go back to what you did to house train in the first place. In most cases, this means going back to going out with her on every elimination so that you can praise her at the moment she is standing up from a squat. It also means that when she is is inside, she is either confined (usually to a crate) or small area or she is being observed so that if she seeks a place in the house to eliminate, you will catch her before it happens.

As far as the punishment or negative reinforcement of any kind, unless you catch her in the act, telling her it is bad or making her face it only adds to the anxiety and is counterproductive. She know you are mad about it and cowers because of it, but once she walks away from it, she has no connection to how it got there. You could elicit the same response by putting a sample of her stool from the yard there yourself. She is reacting to your response. She is not upset that she had the accident, but upset because she knows stool is not supposed to be there and you will not be happy. It is much more effective to eliminate the opportunity to allow this to happen while working on reinforcing the correct behavior with lots of praise for going when you take her outside.

Be careful to control her eating times as well. Twice daily feeding (versus ad lib) as well as regular walks will help to keep her more regular and defecating at a more consistent time that can be scheduled better.

I hope this is helpful. Please let me know if you have ANY other questions. 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

Expert:  petdrz. replied 1 year ago.

Here is a link with a few more ideas. LINK HERE

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Dr. Z,
I don't even have to show her I am not happy. She will go downstairs on her own and poop and I won't even be aware of it. I become aware because of her cowering behavior. She will punish herself by withdrawing from food and praise. She has easy access to outside and goes there over 95% of the time. My house is large and she spends most of her time in my bedroom. I always leave the door open so she and my other dog can go outside ad lib. What I don't understand is why she does it when she feels so bad afterwards. Even if I don't react or even if I don't know she has done it.
She is fed 2x/da only. When I go outside with her she doesn't go. Any thoughts about the psych of all of this? I don't think it is because she has an accident because it is closer for her to go outside than into the dining room. There is something else going on. Please help
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Dr. Z,
So far you haven't told me anything I haven't tried. In fact I even stopped scolding her and simply picked up the poop and act like nothing happened. I really don't want her to feel bad and try to avoid any confrontation. Since sometimes she doesn't poop in the house for a couple of months, I can't really go outside with her everytime she goes outside. I guess I was hoping to understand what is going on in her head. I guess you can't help me.
Expert:  petdrz. replied 1 year ago.

She is reacting to something she knows is not supposed to be there, but she is not associating that her actions are what caused that. She is not punishing herself, but reacting to something she knows is not supposed to happen. That is why she needs some guidance and reinforcement on the correct behavior and restriction from being able to get to the dining room.

How did you house train her in the first place? How did you let her know that she was doing the right thing? If you have always allowed her to have free access to the outside without giving her the reinforcement that is where she is expected to go, then she was never really housebroken. She has not learned the concept what is "her den". Most dogs will not soil in their den, but she is obviously not looking at the whole house as her den. That is where crate training helps little puppies to learn to respect their living space and as they get it, they slowly start to accept the whole house that way. It sounds like she respects your bedroom, but if she feels the need to go, the dining room is the same fair game as going outside. Once she sees it there, she realizes it is not supposed to be there, but she hasn't learned (or has forgotten)the concept of this is part of her "den" and needs to be kept clean. If she is confined to areas she does respect (bedroom, crate, etc) and not given the opportunity to soil in the dining room that will reinforce that. This has to be done at the same time that you are working on reinforcing the behavior you want by praising her for going outside. This has to be done consistently for a prolonged period. Even if she is not soiling in the house everyday, the reinforcement and confinement will help her to learn (or relearn) this concept.

I am sorry you feel I have not been helpful. I will opt out to give another expert a chance to give further input.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your help.
Expert:  petdrz. replied 1 year ago.

You are welcome.