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Does Rubbing Your Dog’s Nose In Their Own Poop Or Pee… Really Work?

Does Rubbing Your Dog’s Nose In Their Own Poop Or Pee… Really Work?

If you’re a regular reader of Little Dog Tips, this blog post is probably not for you.

You most likely have learned a lot about potty training from my blog already, if it’s been one of your personal struggles, and know that there are many ways to communicate with a dog, like using potty bells, that help them understand where to poop and pee.

But if you’ve ever been given this advice, or even used this practice, and wondered if you’re doing the right thing… this is an article for you.

First off, I’d like you to know that this is written without judgement.

Conflicting advice from family, veterinarians, trainers, blogs and books can make it extremely difficult to do right by your dog.

Especially when you’re losing sleep over potty training.

Especially when you’re sick and tired of cleaning up.

And you’re worried about permanent damage to your home.

Why Do So Many People Rub Their Dog’s Nose In Poop Or Pee?

I’m in a lot of dog-related Facebook Groups, so at least weekly, I see a post about someone who has been rubbing their dog’s nose in their own poop or pee, and wondering why it hasn’t worked.

I don’t think most people can do this in good conscience. People are asking these questions because they don’t like punishing their beloved dog in this awful way.

I’ve read a lot of dog books and articles, and I’ve only seen advice against this. I’m not sure where this advice originates.

I don’t believe any reputable veterinarian would recommend such an unsanitary training method, if we can call it that.

I don’t think any trainers are still doing this, but since there are no required regulations in the training industry, it’s totally possible that people are still getting this advice.

I think this advice comes from way back in the day, when dogs were just starting to enter our homes. Dogs were not yet considered “part of the family” to most people.

All you need to know on this point: this advice is outdated. No professional would tell you to do this because there’s better, safer, more effective ways to communicate with your puppy.

Why Is It Bad To Rub Your Dog’s Nose In Their Wastes?

Actions must have consequences, right?

If a dog hates having their nose rubbed in their wastes, she’ll stop going potty on the rug, right?

Well, here’s the thing.

Even though it’s unsanitary to do this, if your dog is relatively healthy, they probably wouldn’t get sick from it. Dogs regularly eat their own feces, and the worst illness they would get is extended the lifecycle of worms that they already have in their body.

Dogs don’t dislike the odor of their own feces and urine quite as much as we do. For dogs, wastes are an integral part of the way they communicate with others of their own species.

Even so, one of the most effective ways to potty-train a dog is to use a crate. A dog will typically hold their feces and urine while crated because they do not want to soil their sleeping space.

So, rubbing your dog’s nose in their poop might not be as unpleasant as you might expect, though they definitely will not enjoy the experience.

The potentially traumatizing part of this practice is the physical force you’d use to hold the puppy down, and rub their nose into the carpet.

I’m not sure if people are getting more detailed advice about this. Are they restraining their puppy to the point of a struggle? Are they smearing feces all over their own dog’s nose?

It’s horrifying to imagine. I’m trying to remain non-judgmental, and I would hope that anyone who has make this mistake was able to avoid doing it to the point of extreme trauma.

If you were to rub your dog’s nose in their feces right after she had an accident, she will associate going potty on the floor with this bad experience – but she’ll learn that she needs to hide from you, rather than magically figure out that you want her to go potty outside.

If you were to do this long after the accident, it would be even less effective.

The truth is, the biggest lesson your puppy will learn is that you’re scary to be around. As this practice is often done early in the puppy’s life, it builds a relationship based on fear.

When your dog fears you, they don’t know when you’re reaching towards them to pet them – or to force them down.

But My Cousin’s Uncle’s Dad Did This And It WORKED

For every strange, abusive training method, there are dozens of people who will defend it with anecdotes. If it worked for me, they say, it must be the best way to do it.

People have success with all kinds of training methods because they build habits. No matter how abusively you treat a dog, if you keep taking them outside, they’ll sooner or later get potty trained.

But sometimes they don’t. Sometimes those dogs stay fearful, which leads to stress that makes it even more difficult for them to control their bladder.

What your so-and-so wouldn’t tell you is that they may have abandoned many dogs that they used this practice on when it failed.

For that one resilient dog who, on the off chance, was successfully potty trained without humane methods, it can seem to work. But that’s despite, not because of, the abuse.

Teaching your dog to communicate with PoochieBells (available on Amazon) ought to be the next generation’s sage advice for new puppy parents. They take so much of the frustration out of house-training.

How Should I Potty Train My Puppy Instead?

The most effective way to potty train a puppy is to prevent accidents before they happen. You can do this using a crate, but it’s also possible to train your puppy without a crate.

A wire crate will prove endlessly useful throughout your dog’s life. Get one you love! This pink crate from Carlson Pet Products is to die for. (price check on Amazon)

If you’re reached the end of this article, I’m hoping you’re jumping for joy at the idea that you actually don’t need to use training methods that make you feel bad on the inside.

Not everyone who has rubbed their dog’s nose in poop is a bad person. They may have not known any better.

Fortunately, we now have access to so much more information, so many more methods and choices that we no longer have to do things that scare our dogs just to train them.

Rubbing Your Dog's Nose In Pee Or Poop - Does It Really Work?

Lindsay Pevny
Lindsay Pevny lives to help pet parents make the very best choices for their pets by providing actionable, science-based training and care tips and insightful pet product reviews.

She also uses her pet copywriting business to make sure the best pet products and services get found online through catchy copy and fun, informative blog posts. She also provides product description writing services for ecommerce companies.

As a dog mom to Matilda and Cow, she spends most of her days taking long walks and practicing new tricks, and most nights trying to make the best of a very modest portion of her bed.

You'll also find her baking bread and making homemade pizza, laughing, painting and shopping.

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Charles Cole

Saturday 2nd of March 2024

Hi, for several days Aries would poop on the pad. The last four days he has pooped on the carpet. I have refrained from rubbing his nose in his feces. I talked to Aries hoping he will start using the pad again. Aries is eight weeks old I know he is intelligent he would let me know when he does his business. I read part of your article I will continue reading it.


Friday 8th of March 2024

@Charles Cole, it's wonderful that you've been patient with your baby Aries, eight weeks is still so young. Do you have any idea why he might be using the carpet instead of his pad? Some possibilities. If it's far away in another part of your home, it can help to put down more pads for now, as he might still be so little that it might be hard for him to make it to his pad. It's also possible he's not ready to be unattended in every part of the house. Usually there's a pattern, like going to the same spot, having accidents at night, that can be corrected. Still, the biggest help for me with Matilda was teaching her to use the potty bells, it helped her learn to communicate rather than hiding and finding a secret spot to poop!


Tuesday 8th of August 2023

Who actually has the time for all this? I board dogs in my home. Sometimes a number of them at once. I love dogs - but I've noticed the more politically correct methods of dog training don't seem to work at all or take months to get results.

I think tossing a dog in a cage until it has to pee (sometimes dogs can hold their bladder for six hours!!) and then putting it outside when it has to go seems a lot more abusive to me than making it smell its waste for literally 2 seconds.

If you do the nose rub method, I do highly recommend putting the dog outside immediately after doing this because, guess what?? A dog WILL learn that pee belongs outside!! Who would have thought??

Then I give it some spqce and let it come back inside again so it can play with friends and family. There is no need to shove a dog's fa e in its waste and let it roll in pee or poop. Just place it in a napkin, put it in their face and ask, "What's this? Did you do this? Go outside."

And that's it. Keeping a dog locked in a crate for hours at a time is terrible advice and should be followed by no one with more than half a brain.


Tuesday 31st of October 2023

@Claire, Anyone that is ignorant enough to rub a dog's nose in its poop, especially a puppy learning is an abuser and should be banned having any pets. If they have that mentality to an animal I'd hate to be a family member!.


Thursday 25th of May 2023

Wow.. didn't know anyone interpreted this advice literally. I don't think anyone touting this method literally means getting poop on your dog. I'm pretty sure this means shove their face near it so that they have to confront their mistake and see why you're mad. Your whole article here is ridiculous. Oh, I see a bunch more comments saying about the same. Author is clearly Chat GPT 3.0 and not quite useful yet.

C Alexander

Tuesday 11th of April 2023

What do you do when your puppy intentionally waits till she is in the crate to pee?


Wednesday 22nd of February 2023

Or just leave the dog and it's mess outside where it belongs.

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