If you are a dog keeper, it’s obvious you’ll encounter awful smells from time to time, causing you to question whether you flushed the toilet or not. After some consideration, it dawns on you that your dog helped themselves on the floor again, leaving a large pile of poop on the corner or other strategic positions in your space.
This is more surprising or disappointing if your dog is home-trained since you expect it to behave better. Instead of getting into panic mode, it’s essential to consider the possible reasons your pet declines to adhere to its training and opts to relieve itself in the next available spot inside your house.
There are several common causes for this behaviour, and all are addressed extensively below.
What Is Making My Dog Poop Inside The House?
Your dog suddenly starts pooping in the house if it has a medical condition, is undergoing a significant change in life, is stressed, or suffering from separation anxiety. Age is also a factor to consider when seeking answers to why your dog poops anywhere. Old dogs are prone to loose bladders and bowels, resulting in these soiling and pooping emergencies.
Scenario 1: What prompts my dog to poop inside the house at nighttime?
Your dog poops inside the house during night hours because it has a limited time to do so during the day. If it spent more time indoors or got distracted by other activities after moving outside, it may have forgotten to relieve itself, bowing to the urge at night.
Your dog could also suffer from medical problems associated with uncontrolled bowel movements. Anxiety, trouble adjusting to a new environment, and diet change are also possible reasons for this scenario.
Scenario 2: What causes my puppy to start pooping inside my house?
Sudden bowel movements from your puppy inside the house are a sign of parasitic infections in their intestines. The most common types are giardia, hookworms, and roundworms. Due to their young age, your puppy may also lack sufficient potty training, requiring more time and patience to adapt to new instructions.
Your puppy’s behaviour of pooping suddenly can also result from anxiety, substrate preference or inconsistent schedule for using the potty.
Scenario 3: What causes my house-trained dog to poop inside the house despite its old age?
Dogs are likely to develop illnesses or bowel movement conditions as they age, making them poop without control. The most common cause of this scenario is canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD), tampering with your dog’s memories until they forget potty-training routines. Your old pet could also be exhibiting these behaviours due to anxiety, rapid movements of people inside the house, unbearable noises, and bladder illness.
Before diving into the main causes of uncontrolled dog pooping, let’s crack a myth that must have crossed your mind by now. Most people claim that dogs can poop indoors out of spite, leading them to develop the wrong solutions.
If you believe this, it’s time to loosen up because myths are often wrong and misleading. Solving the issue with this mentality will only worsen the situation and cause a rift between you and your dog.
Dogs have high sensitivity and intelligence levels, helping them pick any emotional changes you exhibit towards them. This increases anxiety and distress when they are around you. This line of thought can prompt you to act in a manner that makes your dog nervous, increasing its tension.
You may not find a viable solution by assuming your dog is pooping in the house out of spite or as a result of misbehaving. Instead of solving the issue, you could be making it worse and denting your relationship with the dog.
The situation can also be misinterpreted if your dog maintains eye contact when releasing the fecal matter, making you feel like it’s doing it deliberately and being outright disobedient.
However, this occurrence is common whether your dog is pooping outdoors or indoors, as it’s an act of seeking validation and support. As pack animals, dogs survive by being there for one another. When squatting to relieve themselves of fecal matter, they look around for security because this position exposes their most vulnerable traits.
Lastly, your dog is an animal and may not notice when grossing you out with their poop piles dumped at the corner of your room. Unlike humans, they barely have common knowledge of diseases, disgusting smells, or bacteria.
They also lack second thoughts on how dirty their activities leave your house. Your dog felt the call of nature, and now they are relieving themselves inside the house. It’s upon you to deal with it in the best way possible.
Before your anger or disappointment prompts you to act irrationally, it’s advisable to perform in-depth research on why your dog is pooping in the house and seek appropriate remedies that don’t scar your relationship.
With that, here are the nine common reasons for your dog’s sudden behaviour of pooping indoors.
9 Reasons Your Dog Suddenly Poops in the House (Again)
1. Distraction When Pooping
If your dog is easy to distract, it may have problems pooping outside when it has the time. After getting back to the house, it’ll try to compensate for that by finding a cozy corner in which to poop.
Distractions also affect potty-trained dogs that can’t remain still when pooping but concentrate on people’s movements or other activities within the house. As a result, they miss the potty and poop on the floor.
Your dog’s concentration is easily diverted away from eating, altering their digestive process. This means that they can’t poop after going outside at their usual time, and the urge to do this catches up with them after getting back to the house.
A distracted dog freezes in the process of pooping, even after squatting and getting ready to release the mess in the potty. Your dog forgets what it was doing and focuses on what you are doing, cutting short its bowel movements.
During winter, the situation worsens when temperatures are low and freezing, forcing your dog to remain indoors longer. When they finally get the chance to walk outside, they are attracted to everything they missed earlier and forget to poop.
2. Anxiety and Fear
While anxiety and fear may sound similar, these two terms have different meanings.
Verywell Mind explains anxiety as a reaction towards a supposedly risky and unknown occurrence, expected to happen at any time. On the other hand, fear is a threat known and understood by a victim, prompting a conditioned or unconditioned reaction.
Your dog may react the same way towards fear and anxiety, making it hard to distinguish between both.
After sensing danger, your dog responds by having a faster heart rate, muscle tension, and short breaths. Your dog is likely to withhold its bowel movement until it feels out of danger in such situations.
Are you aware that excessive fear breeds anxiety disorders in your dog?
AKC’s research shows that anxiety caused by fear results from specific situations such as being surrounded by strange people or being in a new environment.
Visual objects such as hats or umbrellas can prompt your dog to remember something they were conditioned to, making them fearful and anxious. Loud noises can also be a nuisance to your dog’s comfort, developing fear in them.
While some dogs react briefly towards these stimuli, the results of such situations can be long-lasting and hard to contain or reverse.
To understand if fear or anxiety is why your dog is pooping inside the house, study its behaviour in all instances and note if you observe any triggers that induce fear or anxiety. This will help you understand why your dog refrains from answering nature calls unless they are in their comfort zones, mainly indoors.
If there’s an electric fence around your premises, your dog got shocked when pooping and fears doing it outside again. This causes anxiety, and your house remains the only place where the dog can comfortably poop.
3. Medical Problems
The most common medical issues forcing your dog to poop indoors are parasitic and bacterial infections, arthritis, food poisoning, muscle atrophy, bowel cancer, and stomach flu.
Your dog may also be suffering from inflammatory bowel disease, limiting its bowel movement control. Intestinal parasites such as giardia, roundworms, and hookworms result in diarrhea. You should not ignore these symptoms because they can lead to a more significant medical issue if not treated on time.
After contracting inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), your dog has problems digesting food and absorbing nutrients. Its stool loosens up, prompting diarrhea. Dogs that are too young, too old, or with weak immunity are more exposed to the mentioned infections.
Canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD) makes your dog forget simple routines such as where they are supposed to poop and may end up releasing their fecal matter anywhere. CCD symptoms include fear, anxiety, disorientation, soiling the house, muscle atrophy, and changes in human interaction.
This medical issue is common in old dogs, but it can occur at any age. Your dog’s muscle weakens, and its brain functionality is affected.
4. General Changes in Life
One constant trait with most dogs is their connection to routine. Life changes can disorient them, causing anxiety and distress.
If you want to know the extent of your dog’s situation, picture yourself in a job you’ve worked in for an extended period and consider the things you are used to doing there. For example, you’re already aware of the reporting time, deadlines, targets, how to handle machines, salary, and different schedules.
You are so connected to this routine that you can comfortably perform your duties and find your way around most things without consulting anyone.
Unfortunately, one day you reach your place of work, and everything has changed, including the management and methods of working. You are also unaware of what you’ll be paid as salary, deadlines, or the new targets. This uncertainty can prompt distress and make you anxious, limiting your ability to perform as you did previously.
As extreme or unrealistic as it sounds, these scenarios can happen and weigh down on your daily life. Drastic life changes affect dogs the same way they affect humans.
Your dog gets stressed when you change its time for feeding, daily walks, or other routines. Previously abandoned dogs also notice these changes and react by pooping inside the house in search of safety and comfort. They can also detect when a new member leaves or joins the family and renovate the old house.
5. Your Pet is a Rescue Dog
Nurturing a dog you got from the rescue centre is a noble act, but you’ll encounter various challenges along the way.
Each dog comes with a different story, and they may need some time to shake it off and adjust to their new family. Most are anxious, fearful, and shaken, but they later warm up to your love and good treatment.
Your dog may have been separated from its loved ones as a puppy or bullied by people and older dogs, depriving it of socialization skills. It may also lack the necessary training to poop outside or in the potty, and the only place they can do that is inside your house.
Shelter dogs live in small spaces that make it hard for potty training. Some shelters have a secluded area inside the premises where the dogs can poop, making them feel like it’s acceptable to do it indoors.
As they settle your house, it may take a while to make them comfortable enough to poop outside.
However, you should note that a healthy dog is unlikely to poop in its sleeping spot because the mess makes them uncomfortable. Get your rescue dog checked for medical conditions after undergoing home training and therapy.
6. Anxiety from Separation
Separating from your dog for more than five hours can lead to anxiety, especially when used to having you around them often. This condition may also result from a genetic predisposition.
Separation anxiety can be seen through continued whining, chewing, panting, howling, pacing, barking, digging, and pooping in the house. These things occur when you are not in the house for a while.
7. Territorial Marks
It’s rare for your dog to make markings with the fecal matter, but it’s possible, especially when it’s new or when you bring a new animal. Your dog marks its boundaries and belongings when it feels threatened by the newcomers or as a warning of its existence.
8. Preferring One Substrate over the Other
Substrate preference can be a learned or inborn behaviour. Your dog feels more comfortable pooping in a specific texture than the other. The preferred substrate may be indoors, and that’s where your dog prefers to poop.
9. Diet Change
Changing your dog’s diet can disorient its usual digestion process and speed up the pooping urge. This leads your dog to relieve itself at any spot when stuck indoors.
When planning a diet change for your dog, ensure that the process is gradual to give it enough time to adapt to the new food.
It’s also advisable to know the ingredients used to make the food and ensure the quality is top-notch. Some dog feeds are made with grains and fillers that may affect their digestive system and push them to poop in the house. Buy high-quality food to avoid this.
17 Ways to Prevent Your Trained Puppy or Dog From Pooping Indoors
1. Check Whether It’s A Behavioral Or Medical Problem
Understanding why your dog is pooping indoors can be challenging when you don’t know if the condition is medical or behavioural. However, your vet is knowledgeable enough to help you rule out the possible cause and get the most suitable remedies for your dog’s problem.
It is essential to do this as soon as possible to prevent the situation from getting worse. Some conditions get more severe the longer they remain undiagnosed and untreated.
After getting the required clarity regarding the issue, you can start administering the proper care towards your dog and solve the issue of pooping inside the house.
Medical issues are easy to contain using prescribed treatment from the vet. By signing your dog up with a behaviourist or trainer, you can also manage behavioural issues.
2. Prioritize Your Dog’s Pooping Schedule
Besides feeding your dog, you should also prioritize its pooping. It’s essential to know the possible distractions that can interfere with this process and prompt your dog to poop inside the house.
If other dogs are distracting yours from pooping when you take a walk or let it out in the yard, stay close and control the situation by talking to your dog.
You should also note the areas in which your dog comfortably poops and encourage it to relieve itself when you reach them.
Most dogs announce their bowel movements by circling the selected spot before squatting and pooping on it. This way, you can always tell when your dog is about to answer a nature call and encourage it to proceed.
Another way to get your dog pooping outside is to avoid playtime until they have taken the dump. Regardless of how short you intend to make the walk, ensure that your dog has pooped before going back indoors because if they don’t, they’ll compensate by pooping in the house.
3. Praise Your Dog For Pooping Outside
Dogs react to praises and affirmations as a human being does. They are conditioned to distinguish between rewards and punishments, associating their achievements with praises and wrongdoings with punishments.
A study was conducted to evaluate the importance of positively training your dog, which found it more effective than negative reinforcement. Traditionally, most people trained their dogs by administering punishment and conditioning them to do what’s required of them through punishment.
In a study, 364 dog owners were questioned on their preferred training methods when performing seven common tasks on their pets.
The research concluded that the participants who trained their dogs by punishing them instilled anxiety and aggressive behaviours in their pets. Their dogs were not well behaved or obedient, as is expected in animals that underwent such training.
Another study by NCPPSP Regional Shelter Study proved that most dogs end up in rescue centres and shelters due to behavioural issues.
Using a soft voice and affirmative words is a fun way of raising your puppy or caring for your old dog. However, using a rough tone and heavy punishment makes your dog react aggressively and become distant. With this knowledge, you now understand the essence of positively training your dog if you want to have them pooping in the right place and not inside your house.
You can adopt positive training by gradually rewarding your dog for small actions done right. Carry treats during walks and utter the words “good boy or girl” before offering the reward after it poops in the right place.
If you maintain this routine and train your dog, they will be conditioned to associate rewards with good behaviour. This helps them poop outside more often than in the house because they expect to be rewarded as often.
To make the routine more special, separate reward treats from the usual treats you give your dog on normal occasions. You can buy high-quality treats with different flavours and make your dog get accustomed to them.
4. Create a Safe Space for Your Dog
Dogs enjoy peaceful and quiet spaces, regardless of their ages. They require maximum focus to poop because they are easily distracted. Noise and other dangerous aspects can trigger fear or anxiety in your dog and interfere with their pooping when outdoors, pushing them to do that indoors.
Among the common distractions for your dog are house renovations, a passing garbage truck, other dogs, children in a park, among other activities.
Walking your dog in safe and quiet environments will improve their pooping process and make it more successful.
5. Minimize Your Dog’s Sensitivity
Even if you didn’t get them from a rescue centre, your dog might still have past experiences that were emotionally traumatizing.
However, rescue dogs from a shelter are at high risk of emotional traumas, often reflected in their behaviour. Desensitization helps your dog manage the fear or anxiety caused by specific stress triggers.
This works by exposing the dog to its stress triggers more often and helping it gain gradual control in such situations. The exposure makes the triggers seem less scary as the dog gets used to them without encountering the harm they may have feared all along.
Your dog finally starts seeing them as common objects, going on with their usual business in the presence of the stressors. Professional trainers and behaviourists are knowledgeable in different issues concerning your dog’s behaviour. You can consult these experts and get a concrete plan on desensitizing the pet and helping them poop in the appropriate locations.
6. Create a Consistent Potty and Feeding Routine
Dogs value routines and easily adapt to them as long as they are consistent. Despite sounding like a boring thing to do, creating a feeding and potty training schedule for your pet is beneficial to both of you.
Routines are predictable, creating a safe feeling for your dog. You can also note whether your puppy prefers to poop before or after meals and encourage them to do it at that specific period.
Create a stable feeding routine and maintain it strictly to ensure your dog poops at the right place.
You can also set a timer to ensure your dog eats within a specified period. For instance, you can remove the feeding bowl from its spot 30 minutes after serving the food and keep it away until the next feeding time. This way, your dog understands that feeding time is strictly that, and any distractions will break the routine.
Your vet can assist you with a better plan and schedule for your dog, depending on weight, age, and medical conditions. Depending on your other schedules, you can teach your dog to use the potty in the evening, midday, or evening.
You can also monitor your dog’s behaviour and pick cues on when they want to relieve themselves.
7. Clean Your Dog’s Indoor Pooping Spots
Enzymatic cleaners are suitable for a thorough cleaning, and you can pick a brand that works for you. Some brands are strong enough to remove the stains and odours for your dog’s comfort. After pooping in a specific spot within the house, your dog may repeat the process if you leave the area uncleaned.
Ensure you’ve eliminated all poop traces and scents to help your dog forget about the spot.
For effective cleaning;
- Wear your latex gloves.
- Scoop the poop using plastic bags, paper towels, or a small shovel if the amount is too large.
- Apply bio-based or enzymatic cleaner and start scrubbing.
- Rinse the space with clean water before wiping it dry.
8. Avoid Punishing Your Dog for Indoors Pooping
Avoid punishing your dog after pooping inside your house. Instilling this kind of discipline will likely backfire, leading to stress, fear, and anxiety.
Please refrain from yelling or scolding your dog because it can worsen the situation instead of teaching them the intended lesson. Dogs make facial expressions often mistaken for guilt instead of seeing how scared they are. They feel threatened by your tone and gestures.
Some people go to the extent of smearing their dog’s face with poop. You’d think of this as teaching your dog not to poop in the house. Instead, you are communicating that poop is unacceptable.
Your dog gets conditioned that it’s wrong to poop in your presence. During your walks, they might refrain from pooping outside and wait until you’re out of sight to poop in the most private part of your house.
Your dog starts feeling like pooping is wrong. They stop relieving themselves and holding the waste in their bowel until it’s unbearable. They also build anxiety when they’re with you, altering the relationship you’ve built all along.
Your dog starts connecting staying indoors with receiving punishment. This is unfortunate because your house should be their safe space and not the opposite.
Your dog may not stop pooping in the house, but they’ll be waiting until you’re gone so that they can do it. They’ll continue pooping in the house and hiding when you’re around to avoid getting punished.
Punishing your dog pushes them to avoid you, interfering with the housetraining process. This makes it hard to issue other commands when needed.
9. Avoid Startling Your Dog When You Find Them Pooping Inside the House
Some dog parents think that startling the pooch when pooping can prevent them from doing it again in the future. It may sound like a harmless gesture, but it negatively impacts your dog.
Your dog may stop pooping near you or when you’re around, but that doesn’t mean they are not doing it. They’ll be waiting for you to go out of the house and get down to the act. This distances them from you, making you miss vital signs when your dog needs medical care.
If you want to know what your dog is up to at all times, avoid startling them even if they poop inside the house. You can use other means to deal with the issue without interfering with the close relationship you have.
You can approach the situation gently by correcting your dog on the right place to poop and rewarding them when they oblige.
If your dog shows signs of pooping, encourage them to come outside with you, give them a “good boy/ girl” pat and show them where to relieve themselves.
10. Let Your Dog Understand the Importance of Taking a Walk
When training your dog, it’s advisable to teach them the meaning of the word “walk”. This way, mentioning the word helps them look forward to the activity because they know what happens.
You can tell by their reaction whether or not they understand what you mean, especially if they bark, spin, or make sounds when you say it. Some dogs rush to the door when you mention the word “walk” because they associate it with going outside.
Verbal cues help your dog participate actively in the actions that follow. They don’t require you to push them or convince them to go out because they are already mentally prepared.
11. Teach Your Dog to Use the Potty When Commanded
This is the most effective way to avoid the foul smell of dog poop in your house. Potty training comes in handy during winter when your pet can’t go out regularly.
It’s also challenging to keep stopping at different points for your dog to relieve themselves when travelling. Each stop can only last less than 30 minutes, and your dog may not get enough time to poop comfortably since the journey has to continue.
Potty training helps your dog poop at any point without the fear or anxiety that comes with squatting in unfamiliar places. This saves time and upholds your dog’s comfort.
The following steps will help you potty train your dog successfully;
- Choose a specific time of day to start training. Mornings are more suitable
- Wait until your dog squats and say the word “poop” when they are in the act of associating the word with pooping.
- After pooping, give your dog a treat and praise them.
This works for your dog because you can utter the word “poop” anytime you want your dog to move their bowels, and they will act promptly because they know what the term means.
They are also motivated to poop on command because they’ll get a treat afterwards like they’re used to during training.
12. Place Scented Puppy Pads at Strategic Points in the House
Puppy pads prevent your dog from soiling your tiles, carpet, or floor. Instead of pooping directly on them, your dog does it on the pad, which is easier to clean.
While this is not a permanent solution to stoping your dog from pooping in the house, it serves as an alternative before you train them to poop outside or in the potty.
You can move the pads near the door after your dog gets accustomed to pooping on them. With time, it’ll be easier to place a potty on the same spot as the pads and train your dog from there.
Although this training method takes longer, it’s better than when your dog poops on the bare floor, carpet, or tiles since they’re harder to clean.
13. Take Advantage of the Poop Attraction Concept
Dogs are attached to places they’ve pooped at before. They tend to go back to the same spots they last pooped whenever they feel the urge to release fecal matter.
With this in mind, you can shift the dog poop to a different area whenever they perform the act inside the house. If you take it to the yard, the dog follows the smell and poops there during their next session.
You must clean the indoor spot on which the dog pooped to eliminate the odour and prevent them from going potty on the same spot.
After realizing their poop is outside, your dog will adapt to this message and move there when they want to poop. Always do your best to clean up after your pooch whenever they poop.
14. Monitor Your Dog Closely
Monitoring your dog doesn’t necessarily require you to place cameras at every corner of your house. However, you can keep a close presence or lookout for signs alerting you when your dog is about to poop. This helps you prevent the act before it happens.
Your dog has specific methods of announcing their poop moments. They include squatting, circling, sniffing, or keeping still at one particular place in the house.
If your yard is fenced and your dog is free to roam around, you’ll still have to be outside with them when they poop so that you can reward or praise them. This encourages them to continue doing the noble deeds of pooping outdoors instead of doing it in the house.
15. Don’t Rush to Introduce a New Diet to Your Dog
As discussed earlier, your dog can react negatively to sudden diet changes. They may develop diarrhea, loose stool, or other medical complications, especially when they have never eaten that kind of food before. It’s advisable to introduce them slowly to a new diet alongside the old food they’ve been eating before. This way, your dog’s digestive system is prepared to work on the food and prevent your dog from pooping inside the house.
16. Contain Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety
If your dog exhibits signs of separation anxiety, you have to train them to help them remain comfortable when alone at home.
With the difference that you’ll be gone for just a few minutes. Be patient, as you’re going to hear a lot of whining and barking. Start by going away for a short time so that they can adapt to stay without seeing you around.
If your dog notices your absence for up to ten minutes about two to five times every day, they will gradually adapt to it and wait for you to come back without feeling anxious. You can increase this time to 30 minutes, one hour or more, until your dog warms up to the idea that you can be away for a whole day.
During the early periods of this training, you can turn on the music system and play a soundtrack your dog is familiar with. Even if they do not see you, they can feel your presence and feel comforted by it.
Severe separation anxiety should be examined and treated by a vet or behaviourist, where you’ll get professional help.
17. Teach New Family Members or Visitors How to Relate Well with Your Dog
You can help your dog adapt to new changes in the house through treats. When a new person moves into your house, show your dog enough attention and interact with them until they are comfortable with the newcomer’s presence.
This helps your dog connect visitors with good treatment, preventing anxiety that may build up and cause your dog to poop in the house.
If your visitor is old enough, let them help you give treats to your dog as they warm up to each other.
Dogs react to many things, which can interfere with their daily routine or simple acts like pooping outdoors. As a dog owner, you’re obligated to monitor your pet closely to understand the cause of their reaction, helping you solve the issue sooner. If you notice your dog pooping in the house again, don’t panic or rush to punish them. Instead, look out for the reason causing the changes and work on them before they manifest into serious medical problems.