We were asked on our Facebook page how to deal with your otherwise delightful pooch toileting in the house and eating their own poop -ick!
Pippa had these exact problems when she was rescued but we were able to put things right without shouting at her, smacking her or doing anything other than setting some guidelines and giving her loads of praise. We start by tackling toileting in the house – here’s what we did.
Going in the House
Health check – Confirm there are no underlying health issues, (such as water infections), that could be contributing to the problem.
Food – Make sure the food you’re giving is nutritionally balanced and isn’t causing an upset stomach or going straight through them (ask if you’re not sure). Brands like Bakers are pretty much a dog version of junk food. With the right food they will actually poop less! While training, just give them their lunch and dinner, no extras or changes to the brand of food.
The routine – Most adult dogs need to go to the loo about 4-5 times a day; during training it could be more like 6-7. You need to give your dog a regular opportunity to get outside, you can reduce it down slowly as they learn the ropes.
- When you wake-up, before you do ANYTHING , take your dog out to the spot you want them to use . You may need to hang around with them but when they go, give loads of fuss and praise. You have to make a big fuss every time they go to the loo outside, you look mad but who cares!
- If possible feed twice a day at a regular time – Consistent meal times help your dog to get into a routine.
- After every meal, take them back out to the spot
- Before bed, take them out for last wee.
- During the day – Watch like a hawk for signs they’re about to go. If they start wandering around or squatting, let them out just incase.
- Always let them out before leaving the house.
Our routine was:
- 7am – Let outside
- 11am – Food and walk
- 3pm – Let outside
- 7pm Food and walk
- 11pm Let outside
- Inbetween – Let out if she looked like she needed it or we were about to leave the house without her
If you catch them in the act
Say ‘no’ and clap. It may surprise them into stopping, then get them outside quick. If they don’t stop, still take them outside afterwards. DO NOT yell at or threaten them. It will only make them anxious and it will probably make matters much worse.
If they’ve gone in the house but you didn’t see it happen
DON’T yell at them or rub their noses in it. They won’t understand why you’re shouting and it’s been proven this does not help the dog to learn. If anything, it just makes them afraid of you.
Clean up with an enzyme cleaner designed for the purpose. These will help to discourage your dog from going in the same place again. We used this range when Pippa was being trained but there will be others: Stain and odour remover
Other things to consider
Patience and Consistency – Everyone in the family has to follow the same routine and approach even if you have people over and you’re embarrassed. A confused dog learns nothing.
Your dog will make mistakes! You’ll think you’ve cracked it then they’ll seem to go backwards. Stick with the routine and they will get there. They will want to please you so it’s important you help them to succeed. If you leave them for longer than they’re used to or feed them new food or treats, you can’t be upset when they have an accident. Remember – they’re not doing this to annoy or challenge you.
Fear – Some dogs are worried about going outside. You may need to put better lighting outside or stand with them while they build their confidence, even if it’s raining. Some dogs are happier going away from home so try and get your dog out for a couple of walks a day.
Access to the house – Pippa tended to go in little used areas of the house like the dining room so we made sure she had no access to these areas overnight.
Commands – When Pippa started going to the loo outside we’d say ‘Go toilet’ (or whatever phrase you choose), once she’d learnt this we would take her out and tell her to go.
If Pippa started pacing and looked like she wanted to go to the loo while we were inside, I’d say, “Do you want to go out?”. In time she responded to this by spinning or woofing to indicate I was right. Any time your dog indicates they want to go out by sitting by the door, walking up to you and pawing at you etc, do it immediately and praise them for telling you. Pippa now informs me when she wants to go out and life is a lot easier!
Cleanliness – Scoop any poop from the garden quickly. Some dogs don’t like going when poop is building up in an area and anyway, it’s pretty gross 🙂
Hopefully this has been helpful. Pippa was a horror at first but she never has accidents now. Any dog can learn this if you stick with it and train in a kind and positive way.
Any questions? – leave a comment or get in touch on Facebook
See you again soon – Bessie, Pippa and the human staff xxx