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Q: Dog refuses to pee/poop outside but does it inside! ( Answered,   2 Comments )
Subject: Dog refuses to pee/poop outside but does it inside!
Category: Family and Home > Pets
Asked by: lisarb-ga
List Price: $15.00
Posted: 22 Jun 2004 13:02 PDT
Expires: 22 Jul 2004 13:02 PDT
Question ID: 364676
Hello--We just got a cattledog mix from the shelter two days ago. They
think she's about a year old. First afternoon home, she peed and
pooped on the floor. From then on, I've been very proactive...getting
her outside on a regular basis and when she circles or sniffs. Thing
is, we take 2 hour walks and she has plenty of chances to go, but
instead, she waits until we're inside and I've taken my eyes off her
for 2 seconds and she goes around the corner and does it inside. She
has incredible holding power--usually 12-14 hours, so I don't think
it's a medical issue. It's almost like she thinks the INSIDE is for
potty and NEVER the outside. Very strange. I guess I need to crate
her, but is she going to get a bladder infection, holding it for so
long?  We live in a condo and don't have a yard, so it's not an option
to send her outside by herself, or off-leash.
Subject: Re: Dog refuses to pee/poop outside but does it inside!
Answered By: tlspiegel-ga on 22 Jun 2004 15:03 PDT
Hi lisarb,

Congratulations on your new addition!  :)  The good news is this is a
common problem for dog owners, and the ***really*** good news is there
are answers!

One of the first things you'll want to do is effectively remove all
odors from areas where she has had an accident.  A dog may be
triggered to urinate indoors by the smell of the spot where he
previously went.  A dog's sense of smell is 200 times greater than a
human nose!

Two well known products that are good odor neutralizers are Nature's
Miracle Stain & Odor Remover, and Un-Duz-It.  Vets can also recommend
efficient products.

When cleaning up accidents in your home, Do not use ammonia-based
products, as their odor resembles urine and may draw your dog back to
urinate in the same spot again.

When outside choose the spot were you want her to do her business
carefully and she should be taken out on leash to the same designated
spot each time.

This is not walk time or play time; stand in approximately the same
spot and wait for your dog to eliminate. If she does, praise her
enthusiastically. Don?t immediately rush back into the house with her.
 Because she will learn to hold on and not eliminate so that she can
get more time outdoors. Instead walk a few minutes or give her a
minute or two of playtime.

When she has successfully peed and pooped outside, don?t fully clean
up the spot, but leave a trace of urine or feces to provide a scent
that will remind her what she is supposed to do there.

There may be an occasional accident in the house. If there is one
don?t hit, don't yell, and don't rub her nose in it.

Dogs cannot make a connection between your punishment and earlier behavior.

The result of hitting, yelling and punishment will eventually lead to
her being afraid of you.  Just clean up the mess without making a
fuss, and apply one of the odor eliminators/neutralizers.

If you actually catch your dog in the act of eliminating inside the
house, interrupt her and take her outside to the proper place (without
harsh words or punishment). If she eliminates outside, praise her.
Remember to be patient, some dogs take longer than others to

Learn to use the same simple words for accidents and for praise. 

"Nah nah" or "No", for accidents.  

"GOOD GIRL" or "GOOD DOG" or "GOOD (name)"  Praise with joy and
enthusiasm in your voice.  Smile!

Eventually you can get her to go on demand, by teaching her simple
words for elimination. "Go Potty", "Go Poop", "Make Pee".

If you are consistent, watchful, and use the crate, a dog can usually
be housebroken in couple of weeks.


The following links provide information on Crate Training:

Crate Training - Champaign County Humane Society

"Crate Training, House Breaking and Potty Training" By Lyn Richards

Crate Training

Amercan Dog Trainers Network CRATE TRAINING

HAVAHART - Crate Training 


Helping a Shelter Dog Adjust to a New Home

"For an adult dog, the first few weeks in a new home are a critical
transition period. How well you manage the dog's behavior during this
time will determine whether he develops into a well-behaved, loving
pet. This article will help people know what to expect from a new dog.

Adoptive owners view a dog's new life in their home as a wonderful
change from a shelter pen, but the transition presents some problems
for the dog. The transition brings a change in the dog's daily routine
and caretakers. In the new home, the dog suddenly faces a new set of
social companions in a new environment filled with unfamiliar sights,
smells and sounds. He will be confused, stimulated and a little
frightened. He faces a big adjustment as he learns his way around and
develops relationships with his new family. Some undesirable behavior
may result. Don't panic! By modifying or redirecting his actions, you
can help the dog become a solid citizen in a few weeks."

"Accidents in the house. The shelter rules differ from the new home's
rules, which will take time for the dog to learn."


"Do not give him run of your house.The most important thing he needs
for the first few weeks is STRUCTURE -- enforced rules for living in
your house. Freedom comes later as he develops the responsibility to
handle it. Failure by the owners to teach a dog the house rules is a
chief reason for unsuccessful adoptions."


Rules to teach: 

"1. Housebreaking. Take your dog out on a long leash at two-to-three
hour intervals to the area designated as the bathroom. Allow him to
explore and get used to the area. When he poops or pees, praise
effusively and then reward him with a few minutes of play, sniffing or
a walk. The dog should be kept near you in the house so that if he
begins to potty inside, you can reprimand (say "nah-ah-ah") and take
him out immediately. Punishing a dog after the fact is ineffective and
confusing to the animal."


"4. Dogs should not roam when no one is home. A newly adopted dog that
is free to wander in the home in the owner's absence is almost certain
to get into trouble or practice bad habits. In most cases, the damage
is not done out of spite, but because the animal is nervous, stressed,
frightened, stimulated to escape, bored or just exploring. Restrict
the dog's access when you are out, at least until he has comfortably
adjusted to your home. To do otherwise jeopardizes your possessions,
the dog's safety and your new relationship."


The following site references Cocker Spaniels, but the information is
applicable to any breed.

Potty Training Tips

"Keep an important idea in mind:  don't focus your effort on teaching
your dog not to go potty in the house...  teach your dog to go potty
outside.  Do you see the difference between those two strategies?  One
is trying to convince the dog to NOT do something, the other is
training a dog to want to do something.  There's a big difference.

Pick out a good spot outside, preferably a small lawn area.  Take your
dog on a leash to this same spot every time.  The smell of the urine
from her previous efforts will encourage her to go again.  Ever notice
that they sniff for a good spot?  Well, guess what smell they are
hoping to find!  Do not clean up old poop at this spot until the dog
is completely potty trained.

Teach your puppy words for elimination.
"Go Potty", "Go Poop", "Do Your Business", "Let's Get Crapping, Baby!"
(Well, OK, maybe that last one wasn't so good.)

Use one of these phrases repeatedly as you try to get her to go, then
praise her enthusiastically when she actually does it.   Eventually,
she will learn the phrase just as she would any command, and she'll be
able to do it when you use the magic phrase.

COMPLETELY clean up any potty accidents in the house.  The smell of
urine in the carpet will encourage her to go there again, so you must
remove the smell entirely.  And remember that a dog's sense of smell
is about a hundred times better than yours...  so if you think running
a damp towel over it is going to do the trick, you are sadly mistaken.
 Three little words for you:  Carpet Cleaning Machine.  Get one!

At night, place the dog in a tightly enclosed area with room enough
only for a pillow or dog bed.*  A dog will not pee or poop in their
own bed if they can possibly hold it.  Take advantage of this and
limit their night-time sleep area so that there is nowhere to go
without soiling their own bed.  The easiest way to do this is to place
the dog in a crate or a box that is tall enough to keep the dog from
jumping out.  Take the dog outside for a pee or poop FIRST THING in
the morning.  If the dog has soiled the bed by the time you get there,
you'll know the dog could not hold it all night.   The following
evening, wake your spouse up at 3 AM and instruct them to take the dog
out for a potty break.   (Watch out...  you may end up in the dog
house, though!)

Make sure there is always a way for the dog to get outside without
your help...  for example, a doggie door, or a door left open.  Don't
expect that the dog will alert you when she wants to go outside.  If
it is impossible to provide a way for the dog to get outside without
your help, hang a small bell next to your back door and teach the
puppy to play with it.  This way, if the puppy goes to the door hoping
to be let out, she'll play with the bell and you will know to get up
and let her out.

All indoor activities should be preceded by taking the dog out for a
pee or poop.  Your carpet will appreciate it.

Whenever your puppy cries or whines, assume she has to go potty! 
(Yet, the same behavior in your teenage daughter is completely
normal.)  You should also assume your puppy needs to go potty
immediately after she wakes up from a nap.

Stop water intake a few hours before bed time.  This will help the
puppy sleep through the night without waking you up to go outside.

Praise the dog when it poops or pees in the right spot, GENTLY scold
when it does it in the wrong spot.  As with any training, do not ever
hit the dog.  You want her to be your friend, right?

When taking the dog outside for a pee or poo, use a leash.  You'll be
able to control the dog better, and keep it from fooling around when
there's business to be done."


An excellent article about potty training written by professional dog
trainer, Pam Young, LVT is called:

POTTY TRAINING BASICS or, Pees and Poos happen!


The following article was given to me by a friend, and I obtained
permission to re-print.  It provides invaluable information on
training - although the emphasis is on the submissive dog - it allows
the reader to get an idea of what is going on inside a dog's mind when
urinating in the house.

The article .

AKC Gazette, August 2002 - The Submissive Dog, Written by Peggy Swager

"Some dogs seem to believe that submissively urinating will win their
owners approval.  How can you change this mindset?

Rocket, a cute little Jack Russell Terrier, was a professional. The 1 1/2
year-old had perfected the art of submissive urination.

Whenever his owner, Mark, or anyone else looked him in the eyes,
Rocket knew what to do.  Mark hated when Rocket did this, which Rocket
would have been surprised to learn, as Mark had very effectively
trained Rocket to display this behavior. Usually this behavior begins
when a dog is between 6 months and a year old.  If handled correctly,
it disappears after the dog is a year old.

Unfortunately, many owners do not know how to deal with this behavior.

Misinterpretations: Many owners assume that the dog is having a lapse
in housetraining reliability. Although some dogs do rebel against
housetraining at this age, submissive urinating is a different
problem. Housetraining problems often occur when the dog is home
alone, or out of the owner's sight. Submissive urinating is done when
the owner is in close proximity and there is some kind of visual or
verbal communication between the dog and the owner. Attempts to punish
the dog seem only to encourage the behavior.

This may stem from the likelihood that in the dog's mind the action is
not a misbehavior. Rather, it is a method by which the dog
acknowledges its respect for you.

The dog probably considers it a gift. Dogs instinctively act in a
submissive fashion when approached bya dominant pack member.
Submissive behavior is an acknowledgement of the dog's lower status.
It is probably also a request for the more dominant pack member to
take mercy.

Some dogs rollover on their back and expose their belly, whereas
others submissively urinate. In both cases, the submissive dog is
subordinating to the undisputed boss, and this is understood by the
dominant dog. Unfortunately, some owners think the dog is misbehaving
when it urinates.

The owner may respond by yelling, scolding, or some other form of
reprimand. The aggressive action by the owner communicates to the dog
that it did not do a good job of subordinating. In trying to appease
the owner, the submissive dog tries to resolve the problem in some
way. For example, the dog may urinate more promptly upon seeing the

What Not to Do With excessively submissive dogs, it is certain owner
behaviors that may have to be tempered. If you own a dog that is
reacting in a submissive fashion, you should avoid looming over it
when you want to pet it. Squat or sit down to greet the dog. Eye
contact can also create a problem with submissive dogs. A harsh stare
from the owner will communicate to a sensitive dog that it must
subordinate. Your eye contact must be friendly. If you come home in a
bad mood, do not look at the dog with a sour expression on your face.
Wait until you can smile before making eye contact. The dog can tell
the difference.

Tone of voice is also important, because some dogs are sensitive to
harshly spoken words. Another action to avoid is picking up the dog by
the scruff of the neck. This puts you in a very dominant position over
the dog and can trigger an unwanted reaction. You must avoid harsh
discipline. Instead, use positive training techniques.

If the dog offers a submissive behavior, refuse it. When a dog is in
the critical period between 6 months and 1 year of age, do not pet it
if it rolls onto its back to expose its belly.

Turn away any time it crouches or looks afraid. If it submissively
urinates, immediately break eye contact and walk away. Do not say a
single word to the dog.

For some people this is tough, because they want to discourage the
behavior. But remember that any sign which suggests you are
acknowledging the dog's "gift" will encourage the dog to continue to
urinate submissively.

You can clean up the mess later, when the dog is not looking.

What You Can Do In addition to ignoring submissive behaviors, after
about five minutes sit on the floor and call the dog over . Being on
the floor puts you in a less dominant position.  When the dog comes,
do not make immediate eye contact.

Instead, offer a treat or throw a toy for play.  This teaches the dog
the kind of behavior you want from it, not just the kind you do not
want.  Petting a submissive dog under the chin can also help raise the
dog's status.   ***note from me... this is an amazing thing to do with
a submissive dog - works so well.

If you treat the dog correctly, the submissive-urination problem will
disappear after the dog is a year old. Changing the behavior of a dog
that still urinates submissively when it is more than a year old may
be tougher than it would be with a younger dog.

With Rocket, it reached the point that he urinated when anyone made
eye contact with him.

The first step in Rocket's reform was to have Mark change his
behavior. I suggested that Mark should be on the ground when he
greeted the dog, and that he stop picking Rocket up by the scruff or
yelling when Rocket urinated submissively.

Although this strategy calmed Rocket, it didn't reform his behavior.
For Rocket, the breakthrough came in the kitchen.

Rocket was not afraid to make eye contact with people in the kitchen,
which we knew because Mark's wife often threw treats to the dogs while
she cooked.

I began tossing Rocket treats in the kitchen.  After a few treats, I
lifted the treat to my eyes before tossing it. After a few days, I
started hesitating between the time Rocket made eye contact with me
and when I threw the treat.

Rocket and I were, soon making eye contact for up to half a minute
before a reward came.

The next step was to teach him to make eye contact without urinating
at those times when he did not see me holding a reward.

To do this I used a technique called spitting the treat. I put I a
small piece of bread or cheese in my 1mouth, directed Rocket's
attention to my eyes by pointing with my finger, then I spit the treat
for Rocket to pick, up and eat. When Rocket became comfortable with
this exercise in the, kitchen, we moved to other parts of the house.
If Rocket urinated before I could spit the treat, I turned away and
ignored him. Then we went back to the kitchen and reinforced the "eye
contact means a treat" training before trying it again elsewhere.

After a month. when Rocket returned home, he was willing to make eye
contact with other people without urinating. Submissive urinating is a
dog-and-owner communication problem that is typically seen when a dog
is between 6 months and a year of age.  If handled incorrectly, it can
become a long-term issue."


These are other dog behavior questions I have answered:

out of control dog!

Aggressive dog

irrational fear on the part of labrador retriever

Keyword search:

shelter dogs
housebreaking dog
dog urinates and defecates in the house
dog behavior urinates in house
crating dog
crating dog housebreaking
training dog to eliminate outside

Best regards,
Subject: Re: Dog refuses to pee/poop outside but does it inside!
From: daytrader76-ga on 24 Jun 2004 19:21 PDT
fwiw I like the animal repellent spray that is meant to keep deer from
eating garden vegetables.  It contains red pepper wax.  I find it very
useful, especially to keep a dog out of the garbage.  If you sprayed
it on her special indoor "spot," she might be less inclined to go
there.  I have not found the spray to stain anything yet.  Good luck.
Subject: Re: Dog refuses to pee/poop outside but does it inside!
From: sbradshaw-ga on 30 Sep 2004 08:43 PDT
You may want to check out Odor Free, which works internally to
prevent dog odors from forming (urine, fecal, gas, body & bad breath).  
After you eliminate the old urine odors inside, then Odor Free will 
keep the environment free of urine/poop odors wherever your dog does 
its business. 

Your local pet store might have some good ideas for removing old pet odors.

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