Training a dog to poop outside requires a lot of patience and maybe a lot of work, but it is always better than to clean poop in your house for the rest of your dog’s life.
If your dog refuses to poop outside, you should investigate the reason. Sometimes the reason is obvious and you can work around it, but most of the time there is no apparent reason and you need to proceed by trial and error.
Why some dogs don’t poop outside?
Has your dog never pooped outside or did they just suddenly stop? In the first case, you need to teach your house-trained dog to poop outside, in the latter case, there might be some medical or psychological problems and you should visit your veterinarian.
In the absence of an evident reason, we can only guess why a dog will not poop outside by compiling the most common or obvious reasons why dogs assume this strange behavior.
A house-trained dog may not poop outside because they don’t know any better. If pooping in the house is all they’ve done since they were born, this is normal behavior for them.
This is especially true for puppies because they will learn by watching you and it is fairly obvious they’ve never seen you pooping outside.
It is up to the owner to guide their dog through the threshold of adulthood and teach a dog to poop outside.
When you have to walk endlessly while waiting for your dog to poop, every potty break can become a real nightmare for you, but it could be the best moment of the day for your dog.
Your dog loves to spend time outside with you and they could associate not pooping with more time outside with their favorite person, even if you grow increasingly impatient by the minute.
The outside world can be scary for our little pups, especially if they spend most of their time between the safe walls of our home.
There is much outside that can scare even the bravest dogs. Traffic sounds, children running, other dogs, helicopters, thunderstorms, or the weather in general.
If your puppy won’t poop outside, maybe their first experience with the great wide world has not made a good impression and they’re not ready to try again.
This can happen to adult dogs too. Sometimes, owners are not aware of what happened to their dog before they adopted them. Some dogs may have been mistreated or have traumas we don’t know anything about.
Dogs that got into car accidents may be scared to be near cars again and may not feel safe going on walks where there are roads and traffic.
In this case, identifying the problem is the first step towards the solution.
Picky and Shy Poopers
Dogs are highly intelligent animals and can experience discomfort just like us.
Some dogs are simply shy poopers, don’t like to feel exposed, and don’t like to be watched when they poop, so pooping outside can be a real nightmare for them, since not only there is you, but there could be other people and dogs nearby.
Of course, no one is interested in watching your dog pooping, but this is something they don’t understand rationally. Imagine how would you feel if you had to go to the bathroom in the middle of the streets and you can guess what your dog is going through.
Other dogs simply look for safety and comfort, so they can’t just poop anywhere, they need to choose their spot carefully and it may just be that you haven’t walked far enough for them to find that specific spot yet.
Observe your dog at home. Do they poop in specific places or over specific surfaces? In this case, a solution to make your dog poop outside could be trying out new parks and places until your dog finds the perfect spot for them.
Sometimes your dog won’t poop outside because they have a medical condition that makes them feel pain when they pee or poop, for example, a urinary tract infection or gastrointestinal problems.
When this happens, your dog may associate doing their business outside with a painful feeling and will want to stop doing so.
Of course, it is not a logical solution, because soon enough your dog will realize that they feel pain even if they poop inside the house. However, this could make things worse because your dog may start to hold in their poop in order not to feel pain.
The longer feces stay inside the body, the more bacteria they’re going to develop. When your dog holds pee in for too long, they will develop infections or even urinary stones, so this is a medical emergency.
What should you do if your old dog poops in the house?
When an old dog poops in the house, try to assess the situation by asking yourself:
- Is your dog pooping in the house, or is poop just falling out without them noticing?
- Does your dog know that they must poop outside, but they can’t seem to hold it in long enough?
- Have they shown symptoms like confusion, inability to recognize places or faces, or to find their bowls?
When a dog gets old, their mind and body start to change just like ours and your dog may not be able to do many things they did when they were young.
Your old dog may be pooping in the house because of many reasons including:
- Metabolic diseases
- Cognitive dysfunction syndrome
The bad news is that there won’t always be a solution to the problem and you may have to live with it for the rest of your dog’s life. The good news is that the situation may be made manageable with the help of therapies, so you should consult your veterinarian.
How to train your dog to poop outside.
We mentioned all the possible reasons why your dog won’t poop outside, but it is not always possible to establish the cause behind this behavior.
It may also happen that a dog pees outside but poops inside for no apparent reason, which makes dog owners even more confused, even though the dog may be completely healthy both physically and mentally.
Even if you don’t manage to find the problem, there are several methods to stop a dog from pooping in the house.
If your dog waits to come back home to poop, put them in the crate instead and then walk them outside again. Do this again and again until your dog will have no choice but to poop outside.
Usually, after the first time they poop outside, your dog will get used to it and shouldn’t give any more problems. But if that’s not the case, just repeat this method every day until they eventually get the point.
Reward your dog
Most dogs will do anything for treats and you can use this “weakness” skillfully by rewarding your dog at specific times.
First of all, you will have to sacrifice yourself a little and wait outside until your dog poops. This may take up to a few hours of your time, but eventually, your dog will have to cave in.
When they poop outside, give them a delicious treat, a toy, or anything your dog fancies at the moment. This way, they will associate the treat with pooping outside and they will be more willing to do it. Once they are used to pooping outside, you can remove the treat.
Make it a habit
Dogs are creatures of habit because it makes them feel safe and comfortable. If you start feeding your dog at the same time every day, you can pinpoint the exact moment when they need to poop and use it for your own advantage.
Usually, when you walk your dog around 30 minutes after a meal, it will be harder for them to hold poop in. If they do, you can always bring them home and outside again before they have the time to leave their little gift on your floor.
You will need to be patient because this method may take several in and outs before your dog finally poop outside.
Early morning is the best time for poop walks because your dog will need to free themselves after the long night and feel a great relief from it.
Make it another habit to walk your dog in the morning before going to work and make sure to reward your dog with treats whenever they poop outside in the morning.
Find a poop friend for your dog
Dogs are most likely to pee and poop in areas that other dogs use because they want to leave their own mark on that territory. It can be compared to a sort of very smelly form of communication between dogs.
In addition to that, you could arrange walks with a neighbor to have a poop friend for your dog. The ideal poop friend is a very extroverted dog that loves being outside and has no problem pooping wherever.
Your dog will feel more comfortable and confident seeing another dog doing it, and it’s easier for them to learn by watching their peers.
Use a long leash
If your dog is a shy pooper, all they need is a bit of privacy. Using a long leash allows your dog to get away from you in complete safety and to explore a bit farther than they normally would.
They could find a nice spot behind a corner, a tree, or between bushes, and when they think they’re out of your sight, they might finally release themselves.
Usually, after the first few times pooping outside, even shy poopers gain enough confidence to be bolder the following times and won’t need such a long leash anymore.
What you should avoid when your dog won’t poop outside.
Having a dog pooping inside the house may be frustrating and even enraging at times, but there are things that could actually make it worse.
If you want your dog to stop pooping inside the house, avoid doing the following:
– Don’t punish them for pooping inside. Dogs won’t understand why you’re doing it, at best they may think you don’t want them to poop at all and will try to poop in increasingly secret places, making it harder for you to clean the poop;
– Do not go home soon after they’re done pooping because your dog may associate pooping with going home and they might not like that. Reward your dog for pooping with longer walks or playtime at the dog park instead;
– Don’t forget to clean up the spot where they poop with products that remove all the odors, because dogs use their nose to find their spot and may keep pooping in the same place as long as they smell their own scent. You can also use sprays that will discourage your dog from pooping there again.