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I need help with housebreaking an adult dog

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Wachholtz, Mar 15, 2019.

  1. Wachholtz

    Wachholtz PetForums Newbie

    Mar 15, 2019
    Likes Received:
    I rescued a dog last year, he is now 2 years old. We think he is a terrier-poodle mix of some sort. I have had him for about 10 months now. He has learned a lot of tricks and is almost housebroken with the help of crate training. He won't pee in the house anymore at all, He'll hold it all night, its been quite some time since he has had an accident. The problem I have is with my dog pooping, he used to poop outside but about 4 months ago he just stopped. I have no clue why, I didn't witness anything that could be traumatic or troubling, and he is always supervised is outside. There have been no changes in routine or diet. For whatever reason, he loves to poop inside now (usually on the linoleum in my kitchen), and I cannot for the life of me get him to poop outside again.

    If I take him out to potty, he'll pee, and if I come right back inside without letting him sniff around the yard he'll run off and poop inside within minutes. If I take him out to potty and we are out there for 10 minutes and then we come inside, he will still hold it and poop in the house within minutes. If I take him outside to potty and we're out there for an hour, he still won't poop until we come back inside. The only time I get him to poop outside is if we go on a really long walk (6 to 7 Kilometers) and then he'll go and I can pick it up and throw it away on our way home, but even then he won't poop on walks consistently. He won't even poop at the dog park.

    I have tried potty pads, he won't poop on them. I have tried picking up his mess and putting it outside in the yard in hopes that he will smell it and want to poo near his own smell. I tried leaving him outside for over 3 hours once (supervised), and still, when he got inside he pooped. If I catch him in the middle of the act and take him outside he won't finish going to the bathroom outside, instead, he will continue within minutes of going back inside. If I keep him on a leash and take him outside every 15 to 20 minutes for an entire day he won't poop outside all day, but there is always a pile in the house somewhere when I get up in the morning.

    On the occasion that he will poop outside, I try to make it a big deal, I tell him "good boy," play with him a little, and I'll give him treats to try to reinforce the behavior. But it hasn't helped at all. I can get him to poop outside maybe twice a week (he poops twice a day). I just can't get him to stop going to the bathroom inside. I have made a point of not punishing him for going to the bathroom inside because then I think he would just try to sneak away and continue the behavior anyway.

    I have tried different substrates: grass, dirt, gravel, pavement, woodchips, shavings, I even laid out a square of linoleum in the yard hoping maybe it was just a weird preference, but that didn't work either. It doesn't matter if it's hot or cold, if it's rainy or sunny, there is nothing I have been able to find yet that can get him to poop outside consistently. I have taken him to the vet and they didn't find anything wrong with him or his GI tract. I just can't get him to break the habit, I have been working at it for months.

    I don't know what else to try, my only sense of relief is that it is always on the linoleum floor in my kitchen, an at least it isn't on the carpet, but I am getting sick of mopping my kitchen every day too. If anyone has any ideas on anything I can try to change/fix the behavior please please please let me know, I am at my wits end here.

    tl;dr: My dog is pooping inside consistently and I don't know how to get him to stop, please help meeeeeeeeeeeee
  2. JoanneF

    JoanneF PetForums VIP

    Feb 1, 2016
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    You do seem to be doing all the right things. I have couple of suggestions though. If you haven't already, get rid of the puppy pads. They don't have a magic "poo on me" charm and give mixed messages about whether you want toileting to happen indoors or not.

    The other thing is the timing of your reward for outside toilets. Maybe get a new, super special reward like chicken or frankfurter sausage that is only used for outside poos, take him on walks and as soon as he poos, immediately deliver several pieces of his treat. Several small pieces seem to have greater value than one piece of the equivalent size. It has to be immediate so he gets it that outside toilets earn him this fabulous prize, and it's not something else he is being rewarded for. You want him to realise outdoor toilets earn this fabulous reward so he will hold on until he is outside in order to earn it.

    Another thought - and I'm honestly not sure if this will work or not - but what if you were to block access to the kitchen? Would he hold to go outside, or just poo elsewhere in the house?
    #2 JoanneF, Mar 15, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2019
    Lurcherlad likes this.
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