If your dog has spent weeks, months, even years without having a potty accident, then suddenly dropped a log in an unexpected place… you might wonder if they pooped in your house on purpose.
After all, they know better, right?
The timing might make you suspicious. Maybe they had an accident right after you scolding them or they did not get their way.
I believe you when you say you are observing these patterns. I think that living with an animal gives you a special power to understand their motivations and communicate with them in a nonverbal way.
But sometimes, we rely too much on our experiences with humans when we judge our dogs.
And if you’re dealing with the same issues over and over, you’re going to get frustrated. The only way to see a change, though, is to think differently about your relationship with your dog.
Doesn’t My Dog KNOW It’s Wrong To Poop There?
Even the most solidly potty-trained dog does not know that she has a moral obligation to keep your floor clean.
Dogs don’t think poop is yucky. They think it is wonderful, useful, with a pungent aroma that is packed with information about the gifter.
So, your dog will never understand that you hate cleaning up poop. She will never understand how embarrassing it is for it to appear when you have guests over.
When you potty-train your dog, all she learns is that it is rewarding to go potty outside or on her pad. Successful pottying becomes a habit. Not a moral obligation. Not an act of compliance or respect for your security deposit.
Instead of asking our dogs, “HOW dare you?” we need to ask, “WHY dare you?”
Please don’t take those random poops personally.
People do dumb things to get revenge. Dogs are pure. They just don’t think that way, and that’s why we don’t deserve them.
But if you’re annoyed, angry, exasperated… hang in there. This can be fixed so you and your dog can live together in happy harmony. And you won’t always have to pick up stray poops.
Do Some Dogs Just Prefer Pooping In The House?
Some situations might make pooping indoors more comfortable for your dog. For example, your dog might only have accidents in the winter or during rainstorms.
If you aren’t interesting in using potty pads part-time, you can teach your dog to poop outside in the snow.
Comfort and convenience can make your dog prefer pooping indoors, so you’ll have to motivate her to change those bad habits. At first, it’ll be an extra challenge, but your dog can and will get used to going outside to poop, even if it’s a little uncomfortable for her.
Who Isn’t A Nervous Pooper?
You ever have an upcoming date or job interview, and spend the whole morning pooping every hour?
No? Just me?
Stress and anxiety cause spasms in the gut. This causes the contents of the bowel to move faster, causing that EMERGENCY POOP feeling.
That’s why nervous poops aren’t that usual, “oh, maybe I’ll head to the bathroom in a few minutes,” they’re more like “OH MY GOD I HAVE TO GO.”
Dogs have a much shorter digestive tract than people. That’s why they seem to poop after every meal, or even more. Food moves through them really quickly.
That handy biological trait plus anxiety can make a previously potty trained dog turn into nervous random pooper.
That’s Why Dogs Don’t Poop For Revenge.
I keep hearing stories of dogs who were told off, and then immediately went and pooped on their owner’s bed.
The explanation seems pretty simple to me – your dog may even start acting up because they’re trying to get your attention to go potty. They might have targeted your bed because it’s drenched in the comforting scent of you… even if you’re not being very comforting to them at the moment.
Events like these are just one reason why I advocate for positive training – punishing your dog, or in the case of small, emotionally unstable dogs (most Chihuahuas and many others) even raising your voice can cause enough stress to make your dog poop somewhere unusual.
Don’t beat yourself up if you’ve ever yelled at your dog or overreacted to a poop. Dogs are imperfect, and so are people. They manage to love us anyway. You’ll do better next time, and so will your dog.
What Should I Do Now?
First, consider a vet appointment. If it’s actually a pee problem, your dog will need to get checked for a urinary tract infection.
How are your dog’s poops? They should be firm enough to roll around, not stick to the floor. A healthy poop is actually very easy to clean up and barely leaves a mark on the surface, though you’ll still want to disinfect the area.
If your dog does not have any health issues, make sure that her favorite forbidden potty spots are completely clean. That means using an enzyme cleaner like Nature’s Miracle to break down any trace of a lingering scent.
You can use crates and pet gates to keep your dog away from those forbidden areas.
If you suspect your dog is anxious, you can try Tellington Touch Belly Lifts, a simple exercise that helps calm nervous dogs and those with digestive issues.
There are a lot of variables when it comes to solving poop issues. You can leave a comment to discuss what’s going on with your dog. You may also want to enlist the help of a trainer or behaviorist who can figure out exactly why your dog is having accidents so you can find a real, lasting solution.
Friday 24th of February 2023
There are definitely exceptions. Once I threw a shoe at my 11 month old Doberman who had been potty trained since she was about 4 months old. I didn't aim for her, I was just trying to scare her and let her know again that she could not watch people eat. Of course the shoe did not hit her, but she gave me a hurt look and then went in the room. I went in the room and found that she had peed in my bed. It was in the shape of a circle, like she had walked around intentionally made her lil design. I found her hiding under the bed. That was the last time I did that and that was the last time she peed in the house. Honestly, it was at that moment that I realized how human like my baby was. I think she became my daughter and not my pet on that day. She was my angel and I am so grateful to have had her in my life for 11 1/2 years.
Courtney A Blatz
Wednesday 23rd of February 2022
My dog knows to pee outside but he prefers to poop inside because he is a beagle and beagles are known to eat their poops. He is basically hiding it and rewarding himself. How do I break that habit when he is so sneaky about it? I stay outside with him for 20 min in the morning on a leash going to his spot and he usually has to go. But sometimes he chooses to hold it until I feed him and run to the bathroom myself then he sneaks it when I'm not looking. I crate him immediately after eating.
Monday 22nd of November 2021
This article, though informative, leaves me scratching my head a bit about what to do. My dog is a little over 2 years old and is now consistently peeing/pooping inside.
I work 8-10 hours, days in a row but endeavor to get her good long walks before I leave and when I return. This has not been an issue for her up until now. She might go once or twice inside while I'm gone, which I can understand, but now seems to be doing it to spite me. I'll go return home, and she'll go before I can get her out. She'll watch me clean up after her and go in another room. I crated her to try to demonstrate it was bad, let her out for a moment while getting ready to walk her, and she immediately went in another room. She's never been one to have solid poop despite being fed high quality food.
I've tried rewarding/dissuading behavior, gates, and even working different hours/timing her walks on days I'm off. She just seems to be doing this more regularly.
I'm beyond frustrated as she's demonstrating a lack of obedience in other areas she previously had it (walking, getting along with the cat she grew up with). I cannot afford repeated vet visits or daycare right now. I don't want to, but she'll be rehomed if I can't rein her in. I inherited her and admittedly don't know know enough about dogs. If anyone has any ideas on how to get her back on track, please let me know, and thank you.
No Dog Expert
Wednesday 10th of November 2021
How do you know they aren't vengeful? Are you able to speak dog? Did you spend thousands of dollars studying this? If so, what science did you use to come to your conclusion?
Personally, I think much of the problem is dog lovers treat their dog as though it's human. It IS NOT human. Treat it as a dog, not a person.
Wednesday 1st of September 2021
We have a cavapoo who is 7 months old. We potty trained her with a doggie door, so she can go outside whenever she wants/needs. She has an older (perfectly trained) goldendoodle best friend and they play all day together. A couple of months ago she started sneaking downstairs to pee and poop. She has to wriggle under a stair gate to even get down there, so it takes some effort. I’ve had the carpets cleaned with enzyme. Then, this week, she has started pooping on each of my daughters’ beds downstairs. I don’t know what’s going on. My husband works from home all day, she has a furry BFF, she’s not a fearful pup, no vet issues, the weather has been beautiful and she has a doggie door. What am I doing wrong? Why is she doing this?
Thursday 2nd of September 2021
Hi Virginia! Seven months is an awkward age, and regression around this time is really not unusual. She may be going through a fear period, even if she's not a very fearful pup. The reason I suspect this is the way she's having accidents on the beds - she might be drawn to the familiar scents. With the way she's been hiding when she has to go, that could signal she's feeling fearful in some way.
I can't say for sure what has caused your pup to regress, but at this time you'll want to start with the basics, taking her for scheduled potty breaks and accompanying her outside so she can get back on track.
It sounds like you're not doing anything wrong, and you're looking out for her the best you can. It's wonderful that she has a BFF! Hopefully she starts to get back on track soon, she just needs a little more help from you.