We’ve all heard the expression, “Do bears s**t in the woods?” Of course, they do! It would be rather terrifying to encounter one in a public restroom, wouldn’t it? We poop indoors, animals poop outdoors, That’s nature. So what do you do when your dog defies the laws of nature and refuses to do it outdoors?
Why Won’t My Dog Poop Outside?
So, just why does your canine companion refuse to defecate outside? The answers are as varied as the animals.
A Basic Instinct
First of all, many of us assume that, just like the proverbial bears, dogs are innately programmed to relieve themselves outdoors, but this is not exactly true. It is not instinctual in a canine. The only instinct your pet has is to not relieve himself in the same place he sleeps.
If your pet is kept indoors, he will consider your house his domain and will feel free to pee and poop anywhere, except his doggy bed.
A New Environment
Even if he has been trained to go outside, if he is in a new environment, he simply may not know how to access the area. He can see trees and grass through the window but has no idea how to get there.
Too Much Food … Or Distraction
An animal who has access to food throughout the day may poop in the house because he is unable to get outside. And even if your pet is outdoors, he may be easily distracted by sights, sounds, smells, and the like. If this happens he may delay pooping until you lose your patience and call him inside.
The problems may have to do with the tie of the day. Does it occur only at night?
If so, perhaps your pet is being fed too late in the evening. He may be faced with the simple problem with the need to go, and no one available to let him out.
Strange as it may seem, although you may know the area is perfectly safe, your dog may believe otherwise. He may be nervous about peeing or pooping because he instinctively knows that predators can track him this way.
This may seem a bit ridiculous to you, as you know there are no lions, tigers, or even bears looking for a convenient meal in your well-groomed backyard, but your pooch does not.
A young pet, or even a small mature dog, once attacked by an angry bird, may come to be a bit fearful out of doors.
Inclement weather may also play a factor. You can understand how trying to relieve yourself in the pouring rain may be a bit uncomfortable, or squatting in a mound of snow could be off-putting.
Some pet owners have installed a canopy over their pets’ toilet area to keep them dry as they do their business, or have shoveled snow from the designated area to prevent frostbite on their delicate hindquarters!
Finally, you have to be aware that, though the problem is behavioral, there may be an underlying physical reason.
Your pet may be ill, and this could be especially true is he is exhibiting loose stools or diarrhea. This could be caused by parasites such as hookworm or giardia, food intolerance or allergy, a bacterial or viral infection, inflammatory bowel disease, or even bowel cancer.
Old age can also cause weakness in your pet’s hindquarters and subsequent incontinence.
Any of these conditions may make it impossible for your canine companion to control his bowels, and will definitely require a trip to the vet.
What Can Be Done To Fix This?
So, now that you know that your beloved pet has a problem relieving himself in the great outdoors, what can you do about it?
Adjust The Feeding Schedule
It may be a matter of changing his feeding schedule.
Puppies can be fed three times a day, but adult dogs should only be allowed access to food at most twice a day.
A dog’s gastrointestinal system is much smaller than yours, so it stands to reason that meals are processed much more quickly.
It usually takes only twenty to thirty minutes for your pet to feel the need to defecate, so, knowing this, it will be easy for you to know when to take him outside.
Do Not Interrupt!
Accompany him to his designated potty area and remain in the area until he poops. Do not interact with him, or offer any attention. Once your pet has pooped, reward him with affectionate pats and verbal praise.
Offer A Bribe!
A treat of two would serve to reinforce his good behavior.
Now reward him with whatever activity he desires. Play a game of fetch, walk him around the block, perhaps.
He will, of course, begin to understand these treats as rewards for a job well done, and, hopefully, will continue to do it.
Catch Him In The Act
If your pet has a problem with soiling in the house, you must be very observant. This means to watch him like a hawk.
If you catch your pet assuming a posture which indicates that they are about to defecate indoors, grab the leash and scoop him up in your arms to carry him out to his designated potty area.
Keeping him on the leash, walk in circles around the area, withholding play or conversation until he has gone. Then it’s time for abundant praise and rewards.
In addition to all this, you must understand that peeing and pooping, for a dog, is not simply a matter of relieving themselves. It means much more, as it is also the way your canine companion marks his territory.
Remove All Previous Signs!
And, as much as you may love him, you don’t want him to consider your new living room carpet as his territory.
Once your pet has claimed the area, he will return again and again to renew that claim.
That’s why it is so important to remove all signs of previous accidents.
Standard household cleaners are not sufficient in this respect. You must use specialized cleaning products with enzymatic action, or even hire a carpet cleaning service to do so.
This instinctual response may work to your advantage, in some respect, however. If you come across a doggy accident, you know you have to clean it up, of course, but you may want to make it work for you.
Pick up the stool, and transport it to your pet’s designated outdoor relief station. This will reinforce his natural instinct to relieve himself in the same area.
Time to Acclimate!
If you think your pet has been soiling inside the house due to inclement weather, you should consider trying to acclimate him to such weather.
This will mean accompanying him on walk in unpleasant conditions, but it will be worth a bit of a chill or dousing.
You could, of course, build him his own covered restroom outdoors, but the walks, while a bit uncomfortable for both of you, will prove more rewarding and less expensive.
The best way to have your pup defecate in the great outdoors is to train him from an early age.
Once you bring a puppy into your home you must be committed to training him to meet your expectations. This will require quite a bit of work and a lot of patience.
The first thing to do is to put the puppy on a schedule, regarding both feeding times and potty breaks.
Puppies can be fed three times a day and will need to defecate within about thirty minutes.
Peeing will be required more frequently, and if you don’t establish a schedule, you will be slipping on puddles in no time at all.
Schedule potty breaks to an hour apart. The timing will depend on the size, age, and breed of the dog. Take your pet outside to a designated area, and use a consistent command, such as “Go potty.”
Stick to the schedule until it has proven successful, at which time you can gradually increase the intervals between breaks.
As your pup becomes more dependably trained, allow him more freedom inside the house. However, if you continue to experience “accidents,” go back to square one.
Crate training 101
If you have decided to crate your pet at night, remember that the size of the crate is of utmost importance.
A pooch will consider anywhere inside his home as his territory and will be inclined to mark it as such. The only exception to this rule is that your pet will most likely refrain from pooping or peeing in his sleep area.
If your pet’s crate is too large it may allow him enough room for sleeping and marking, and this is never a good thing. A crate should be just large enough for your pet to stand, turn around, and lie down.
You may think he looks a bit cramped, but he feels comfortable and protected. This is definitely a case where bigger is not better. A properly sized crate will allow you both to rest comfortably.
As dismayed as we all have been to have stepped in some messy doggie droppings while on a walk in the park, we all know that the same experience indoors is much more distressing.
Good to know that, with some effort, the experience can be avoided in the future.