The other day, I caught Matilda just as she was pooping on a plastic shopping bag I’d left on the floor.
She looked up at me, quivering, her ears crooked, as she squeezed out one of her famous logs.
She’s 1.5 years old, and fully potty-trained. She knew she wasn’t supposed to poop there, and I could tell by the look on her face that she was well aware.
What did I do?
I soothed her. I told her it was okay, and stroked her back until she finished.
Then, I cleaned up, asked her to ring her potty bell, and took her outside.
I didn’t yell at her, spank her, and scold her in any way.
I realized that I hadn’t left her a potty pad. I’m not sure if she remembered to ring her potty bell, but if she had, I must have not heard, or even ignored it. Maybe I’d been neglecting her, as I’ve been spending more time with my sister-in-law and her new husky pup. (Hi Janie!!!)
All in all, Matilda only pooped on the bag because she needed to go, and saw no better option. She even took care to use a piece of trash that was easy for me to clean up. She’s a good girl.
So I didn’t scold her.
And, guess what?
She hasn’t had any more accidents since.
What I’m getting at here, is, you don’t always need to scold your dog to make them behave.
Some positive trainers say you never need to scold your dog. As I get better and better at understanding dogs, I’m starting to think they’re right. I’m finding fewer and fewer reasons to so much as say, “No!” and discovering more creative ways to encourage good manners.
When Your Puppy Pees Or Poops On The Floor
If you’re potty-training your new puppy, you’re going to catch her mid-accident many, many times over the next few weeks.
Since she doesn’t already know the rules of the house, you will have to do something when you catch her having an accident.
The best thing to do is this:
- Pick her up, even if she’s still going. Even if she’s not going anymore. Be calm. Don’t say anything.
- Place her on her pad, or take her outside.
- If she finishes her business, or at least sniffs around, praise her and give her a yummy treat.
Picking up your dog mid-stream or mid-log is discouraging enough to prevent future accidents. Can you imagine someone grabbing you while you’re on the toilet? How annoying.
She’ll be happy to use the correct spot if she realizes that’s the only place she can relieve herself without being interrupted.
Saying or yelling “No!” just scares your dog. The potty-training process needs to be anything but scary. It’s harder for your dog to pee and poop when she’s afraid of you.
When you pick up your dog, and bring her to the appropriate place, the message is pretty clear.
In addition, the appropriate place should carry her own scent. Soak up her accidents with a pad, and leave her poop outside in her potty area. She’ll instinctively relieve herself in areas that smell like her own waste. That’s also why it’s so important that you properly clean her messes with an enzyme cleaner. If it smells like pee under your bed, she’ll keep peeing there.
Dogs don’t pee or poop where they eat and sleep. So, if there’s an area of the house where your dog won’t seem to stop having accidents, try moving her bed or food there. I can’t say I’ve tried it, but it could help!
Why Your Dog Pees And Poops On The Floor
I’ll leave you with this: remember your dog’s intention. Know her heart and mind.
More likely than not, your dog is peeing and pooping on the floor because she had to go.
She either didn’t know what else to do, or simply couldn’t hold it any longer.
Once she figures out what you want from her, she’s going to be more than happy to do it.
Visualize her as a perfectly trained pooch. Then work backwards to make it happen. Work on reducing accidents, avoid getting frustrated and don’t take shit too seriously.