Housetrained dog having accidents in the house!

bookworm_2007July 22, 2008

My dog is about 2 and 1/2 years old and is housetrained (or at least I thought he was) but here lately he has been having accidents in the house again. I can't figure out what the problem is. He can go for a week or so and be fine-no accidents and then all of the sudden he will pee and poop in the apartment when I am not there. I don't know what to now he is having to be crated while I am at work which he hates. Does anyone have any advice on what to do?

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Any big changes in daily routine?

Vet visit to check for problem.

Do the accident incidents coordinate with less time with dog---shorter walks, less play time, etc.?

    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 3:14PM
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Handymac is on the right track - we need more information. How often do you leash walk your dog? Do you just let it out in the morning to do business itself? Is there something new in the apartment - a new piece of furniture? Could there be something going on around your apartment complex (Movers? Construction?)

    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 3:36PM
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He is not consistent about when he goes to the bathroom. I feed him same amount at the same time everyday and he goes out at 7:30am, 1pm and again at 5pm. After 5pm he goes out whenever I can tell he needs to go. Nothing going on around the apartment as far as loud noises or anything like that. He is easily distracted by things when I take him out. He will act as if he is starting to go and then his attention gets caught up on something people walking around or a car...could be anything really that can cause him to do that. I don't know how to keep him focused on walking and using the bathroom when I take him out. I think he holds it sometimes when I take him out and then does when I put him back up in the apartment.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 3:47PM
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Since your dog is easily distracted, you need to get him used to two commands. "Go Pee" and "Go Poop". Actually, all dogs should know them.

Assuming your dog does not know them, to get him there, when he pees give the command, and a small treat, and tons of praise, like he is the best dog in the whole world. Same with the poops. After he get's used to them, which should only take a short while, keep up the routine so he will look forward to the treats and praise.

Aside from this, you should also continue the crating when you cannot supervise, with a leash. Continue with his regular routine, just make sure you supervise constantly for about a month when not crated. Having a leash on will allow you to get your dog out easily when you need to.

If you cannot catch him in the act when indoors, you might as well forget it and grab cleaning supplies. When you do catch him, shout "NO" and instantly take him out, and give the commands. Assuming he finishes what he started, give a treat and praise. A few seconds after he does the deed, he will not retain why you are upset and he is going out.

If this does not do the trick, consider that he may be frightened by something you are not aware of. One of my dogs is horrified by noises from a voice mail system on my cell phone and other similar beeps. She doesnÂt poop or pee, but she is traumatized to the point where I can't
control her (I've been working on this).

Also consider that there may be a medical condition.

Good luck!


    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 5:13PM
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I probably would do a vet check, just to make sure. Stool sample, maybe some blood work...

Why does your dog hate being in his crate? Most dogs like their crates?

And I agree with SG, you should work on teaching your dog to go on command...

And exercise is mandatory... a good long walk after you dog goes potty in the yard, is a great reward.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 6:12PM
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yep, so your dog is a little slow in the get up and go when it comes to the walkies department. This is your dog taking control of the reins, and it is not okay. Whe you go out for a walk, you should be GOING OUT FOR A WALK, dont let your dog sniff every bush or climb every mountain or sing every song. NOPE, your dog is out there for a couple of things, get those legs moving, get the internals moving and moving things out. AFTER a good 15 minutes of walkies, and a touchdown or meadow muffin or grunt statue, then he can poke around. To teach your dog to go on command, wait until your dog is in the act, then give the command (dont use "touchdown" if you are a football fan) - big mistake!! When your dog goes, repeat the command a couple of times and then praise your dog as tho it just brought you a bag loaded with hundred dollar bills - or full gift cards from the gas station of your choice. YOur dog will associate going with being rewarded, and it wont be such a chore. NOW - If your pup decides poking along is going to be the thing, pick him up and walk with him in your arms a couple of blocks of so from home, then start. Many dogs like yours are using the area they are familar with to poke around, some new smells will do you all good. Deny the smells at first, just keep walking, command you dog to walk with you, and keep an eye on him, when he begins his business, by all means stop what you are doing. It sounds like your dog could use alot more outside time. Is there a puppy park or dog park nearby where your dog can go play???

    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 11:52PM
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Routines are great for dogs. They're great for people, too, but people are a lot more obnoxious about them than dogs. You've already got a morning, mid-day, and early evening time to take the dog out, and you indicate they're at least somewhat successful. Why not just set a bedtime routine for him? Take him out at 10pm or 11pm or whatever time works for you to always take him out to do his thing, regardless of whether or not he "tells" you he needs to go. Most adult dogs can handle 8-10 hours without peeing or pooping in the house.

This is all assuming he's actually going when you take him out at 7:30am, 1pm, and 5pm. Spiritual_gardener is right about making sure you establish times and commands to "potty" vs. times to play and exercise. Luckily, dogs don't object to being told to pee or poop on a schedule.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 1:53AM
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Thank you for all the replies! My dog does seem to have hold of the reins. For instance if I say no when he tries to get on the bed...he will continue to try anyway. If I call him over to me to put on his leash to go out he will sit there and stare at me for a few minutes and then bolt over to me. He does not listen to me very well at all. If I get upset over it and try to make him listen by getting up and physically move him then he tinkles on the floor. Drives me crazy! I feel like he tries to take charge but if I correct him he will have an accident on the floor and if I get upset about that it just gets worse and worse.

When I take him out on the scheduled times...I live on the same road I work so I come home at certain times from work to let him out...he doesn't always poop when I take him out at those times. He thinks those times are for smelling the air and just goofing off really. I could stand there for 20-30 mins sometimes and nothing. Take him back in-go back to work-come home and there is poop in my floor. Very annoying! He knows though not to use the potty in the house. He never does it when I am there...I have never caught him ever going to the potty in the house. He only does it when I am away and usually after I have just brought him from trying to get him to potty. So...that is why now instead of laying about in the bed while I am at work which is what is usually does...he is in a crate which he hates. I don't know why he hates it but he does. I will put treats and toys in there for him and before I even leave for work I will catch him trying to push his treats and toys out of the bars of the crate with his nose. He usually manages to get them out of the crate onto the floor by the time I come home from work. Then when I come home he wants to eat his treats and play with his toys. I put his water bowl in the crate with him and he will take his blankets and dump it in the water bowl too. It is like he is rebelling for being put in his crate. I am pulling my hair out though not knowing what to do about him. I love him and want to keep him but these problems I am having are so fustrating and traning him is so hard because he doesn't listen very well.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 8:09AM
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You dog likely needs more exercise. Right now you have a dog that is inside almost all day, with much of it alone in a crate. I'm guessing when he does go potty outside you take him back in, so his limited outside time is cut short if he goes potty. I'm sure he loves you and your company, but dogs of all sizes need lots of exercise, socialization and mental stimulation to get their minds settled enough to even think about training them.

I have an 8lb dog and she still gets 2 miles of walks a day (plus three trips a week to the dog park or in to town for socialization and mental stimulation.) Walks become very routine and my little dog would not be housebroken without them. She needs to get some exercise before she feels the need to poop. On her walks she will poop in the same spot every time. I bet if you took your dog for a very brisk walk for 30 minutes at lunch time he would feel the need to go to the bathroom. Try walking him for a week to see if it helps. Pick a 'potty spot" about half way through your walk and stop there to give him a chance to go potty. The rest of the time he should be moving at a brisk trot, not leading the walk at a stop and go pace to sniff stuff.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 8:59AM
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BTW - your dog was throwing up a month ago. Did you take him to the vet? That coupled with having accidents worries me.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 9:07AM
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Yup. you have described a situation where the dog is in control. I would recommend that you take a group obedience class, if you have one nearby. It will help teach you how to be in control.

He does not listen to me very well at all. If I get upset over it and try to make him listen by getting up and physically move him then he tinkles on the floor.

Getting upset doesn't help your dog listen to you, in fact it gives him more control by feeding negative energy to an already negative situation. You need to remain calm, cool, collected and in control. Your dog will respond to that and obey.

Just because your dogs pushes toys out of his crate, doesn't mean he doesn't like his his crate. There really shouldn't be anything in the crate, except your dog. No water, no blankets, no toys. When you are not home, your dog is mainly sleeping... that is what they do. So sleeping in a crate is a safer place for him, and better for you because then he is not pooping on the floor.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 9:25AM
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You are not in charge, the dog is. You need to start enforcing your commands---about getting on the bed/etc.

Many people have disagreements with dog behavior training methods, but when a dog is treated as if it were a human, the dog has no way of understanding such treatment. All a dog understands is being treated like other dogs would treat them. That means pack leader/pecking order rules must be set and enforced. A pack leader does not allow a subordinant dog on/in his personal space. Period. NEVER.

A pack leader does not allow insubordination or long periods(more than a couple of minutes) of misbehavior.

Obedience training---basic Sit/Stay/Down/etc. does not adress the pack leader process. You and your dog need behavior modification training---you need to learn how to become---and remain the pack leader and that will result in your dog becoming the follower.

Being the pack leader does not mean you cannot love or show love to your dog. It simply modifies the way and the times you show that love. For instance, my very Alpha Rott/GSD mix likes to initiate a scratch session by placing his chin on my leg and gazing soulfully up at me with his big brown eyes. If I initiate a scratch session when he does that, he becomes less submissive---as that behavior is a dominant behavior. It is heart wrenchingly CUTE behavior, in human terms----but dominant in dog terms. So, I seldom allow him to do that. 15 minutes later---when he has ceased that dominant behavior--I tell him to go lay down---I call him and we have our play/scratch/etc. session where we wrestle/run/play and I praise him and love on him---because it was MY initiation---not his.

I have never trained a dog to eliminate on command, so have no clue about that area. I simply take mine out---never send them out---at various times during the day. Once I take them out---that means them waiting as I open the door and exit---THEN allowing them out----I can go back inside. But I always bring them in before they ask---in most cases. My dog signals when he wishes to go out---and I honor that wish---by using the processs I outlined. That means he learns I want him to tell me he wants out---but goes out under my control.

I am not a control freak---just ask any of the students who ride my school bus. But, a dog HAS to be treated as a dog in order to be happy and well behaved.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 12:21PM
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justusbarkers-Yes..he was throwing up a while back. He is fine now though-basically turned out he has heartburn and I have to watch what I feed him. He is doing better though with the throwing up.

I feel like I am dealing with an unruly child when it comes to him listening to me and like I just can't get through to him. There have been times I won't even say anything when he is on the bed...I just walk over and give him a nudge to push him off and even then he will tinkle sometimes. Maybe he is reading my body language and knows I am still upset even though I haven't said anything to him. I have never popped him or raised a hand to him but adopted him when he was 6 months old from a I am assuming he had a rough time of it prior to me getting him. I thought since he was a puppy when I got him he would be very trainable still. Up until a month ago he has always been pretty good and now I have to watch him like a hawk to make sure he does have an accident in the apartment. I hate having to crate him..he hides and gets very depressed when he has to go in it. He will pee in the floor sometimes if I try and pick him up to put him in it. I feel like I have to walk on egg shells with him but then he won't do anything I ask of him.

As far as walking him. I take him out every night about 7:30 and we walk and sometimes run for a bit. Won't always poop though. This will sound gross I know but sometimes he can be hunched over and you can tell he is about to go and then all of the sudden he will stop and start running around to sniff everything. I don't get it! Then I can't leave him loose in the apartment because I know he has to go and will probably do it once I am gone. He is diffcult to work with!!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 1:39PM
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Given your last post, and your statement that "He is difficult to work with!!", and, assuming there is no medical issue, I think your dog has reverted back to puppy behavior in the potty department, for some reason.

If you look at his behavior, you almost have the behavior of a puppy, inside an older dog. This means you need to start treating him like a 3-4 month old puppy, instead of an adult.

I have seen older dogs who have had behavior issues like this, and backing up and stating over, making corrections along the way has worked. Keep in mind that correction is a temporary thing until dog shows you he can be trusted again. Strict supervision etc. is a must if you are going to get this under control.

Also, unless I am missing something, you donÂt mention what type of dog you have. (sorry if I missed this). But it would be helpful if this was known.

It seems your dog has decided he is the boss, and again, ruling out a medical issues, you simply must re-instill your alpha position, or things could really get worse than they currently are. I would say that this is the beginning of a very difficult time unless you clamp down and show him who is boss.

Good luck!


    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 5:59PM
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With a two year old dog I would suggest doing at least a mile twice a day. Is he getting that much?

    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 6:56PM
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bookworm - great. first step in changing a problem is to recognize the problem, many people write about issues with their dogs and then dont want to look at the real issues, Kudos to you for really looking at your relationship with your dog.
First thingws first. If your respond to your dog with frustration, you lose. You always want to be calm and assertive, if you lose your cool, your dog wont respect you, in other words you might as well not try... a firm voice, and keep up the command, no matter how stupid you feel.

Taking him out, mid day is a great idea. He does not always need to poop. So dont expect it, so go out for a walk and the rest will take care of itself.
You wrote: "I could stand there for 20-30 mins sometimes and nothing." This is the part that has to change, you need to have him walking, actively walking not sniffing. Boy he really did take control of you didnt he. You need to know he will resist walking. He will make you stop at a bush and he will be adamant in his body language, like he absolutely MUST stop at this bush to go, YOUR DOG WILL BE LYING TO YOU, so dont believe him, just command him to keep on walking.

You wrote: "He only does it when I am away and usually after I have just brought him from trying to get him to potty." This is because being out side IS stimulating to him, but he is not walking enough to encourage his bowels to work, the walking without stippping should help.
Some dogs hate crates, some dogs feel save in crates - just like people they are all different.

Okay, so try and not be so frustrated. This is going to be the hard part. You might want to see if there is a dog training class at your local humane society. Make certain the trainer is a positive reinforcement trainer. Next try and find yourself a dog park where your dog can play with some other dogs, this might help alot, your dog is not stimulated enough, he needs more interaction with people and dogs. It is important for themto socialize. Your dog is flat out bored. This is why he is giving you so much trouble. I wont deny it, you have some work on your hands. I suspect you dog is going to resist basic training if you try and start it yourself, So I would suggest some other form of activity you can do together, walking is good, but he needs some other form of stimulation as well. So socialization, stimulation and start training and you will find your dog to be more obedient and easier to handle. Remember, your dog thinks it is the boss right now, he is going to resist change for awhile...try not to get frustrated. if you do find yourself getting frustrated or mad, walk away and take a time out. reapproach your dog when you feel more calm. Good luck

    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 10:23PM
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Your dog is not housetrained. A dog who is housetrained will never pee or poop in the house and don't have "accidents", unless they are old, incontinent or ate a chocolate cake!
You need to show him/her that you are the boss, and you have rules.
Dogs LOVE rules. They love a routine and consistancy -- eating at a certain time, going for a walk at a certain time, sleeping in the same place ALL the time. This way they feel safe and secure -- hence a happy, happy dog.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 1:51AM
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I agree that your dog is not getting exercise - especially if you only walk him during one of your outings. I would plan to spend *at least* 15 minutes each time you take him out. During this time you need to walk. If you are just standing around waiting for him to go potty it will be easier for him to get distracted.

Exercise stimulates the bowels! It increases the chance of him going potty on the walk, which in turn decreases the chance of doing it in your apartment - a win/win. ;) If he is still getting distracted pick a small, grassy area and walk him in a small circle. Let him sniff (that's what most dogs do before they potty) and just keep circling. Be boring enough that there's nothing for him to do but potty. You need to walk him first though, otherwise nothing will come out.

BTW, I would only expect him to poop a couple of times per day, unless you are feeding too much food with a lot of fillers. And I agree about not heading back inside as soon as he potties - one of my dogs learned to hold it in to extend her outside time. They're too smart sometimes. ;)

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 1:10PM
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He did great yesterday and so far today too. I praised him when he went potty outside and gave him a treat. I am going to have to keep working at it but hopefully things will get better. I also agree that maybe I am not getting him out for enough exercise. Before I lived in a house with a yard and he ran all the being in an apartment I am trying to figure out just how often I should walk him and for how long.

I know exactly what you mean olga d-I think sometimes my dog holds it on purpose because he knows we may go back in as soon as he is done. He will act as if he is starting to and then will stop and act like he doesn't have to go anymore. It's the strangest thing.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 3:38PM
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bookworm, good to know things are changing so quickly, keep up the good work!!!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 6:09PM
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Adrienne Caldwell

There is some really inaccurate advice here. I know the post is from 2008 but I fear people will read this and be influenced by the inaccurate information. I have been an animal behavior consultant for over 30 years. A dog does NOT suddenly start having accidents in the house because you "need to show him who is boss." The alpha-dominance theories have been discredited years ago. Your dog is having accidents in the house WHILE YOU ARE NOT HOME because he misses you. While this issue in and of itself does not constitute separation anxiety it does show that your dog has anxiety about being alone in the house in your absence. The fact that your dog ONLY has accidents when you are not home is a tell tale sign that he is so beside himself about being separated from you that he losses control of his bladder or bowels. It is a pretty easy work around in working with this. Please contact me if you need more information.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2015 at 1:10AM
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